Japan part 5: Classica Auto Gallery/Protec

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Posted on March 22 2011

While we have all been sitting on pins and needles waiting to hear the latest news form Japan which seems to be one bad situation after another,  it finally seems that the situation has somewhat stabilized for the moment.  This picture below shows readings from a Tokyo based Geiger counter and as you may have guessed, that spike in the middle isn’t a good thing but the radioactive levels seem to be back where they should be.  (pic courtesy of  Noriyaro)

Let’s hope that it stays that way so hopefully the citizens of Japan can continue on the long road to recovery.  And while our thoughts will continue to be with those affected in this catastrophe I thought it would be a good time to look back on my visit there when things were a bit more serene.

I’ve been holding onto this one for a little while because it was by far my favorite shop we visited in Japan and completely changed my perspective on what a classic car shop could be.  To some of you familiar with classic Skylines the names Protec and Classica Auto Gallery should be already be somewhat familiar.  Located in Yokohama, they are both in the same facility with Classica being a used car dealer and Protec being a high end parts manufacturer for the more circuit oriented Hakosukas.   Once again we jump on the railway and after a short walk out of the train station we soon passed an alley filled with a few cars that let us know we were probably in the right place.

And right around the corner we were greeted by the glass covered exterior proudly flaunting the treasures within.

This was actually one of the first shops we visited in Japan so saying I was giddy would be an understatement.  Opening up the doors I was in awe by what was before me…..  first up to the right  in the showroom was a row of KPGC10 and PGC10 GT-R’s all cleaned up and ready for sale.  

And to the left separated only by, well umm.,….  other GT-R’s was what I assumed to be the workshop in the same room.  I mean seriously,  before I came here I had only seen L-series equipped clones in person but I was now surrounded by no less than six S20′s.

And that stack of tasty semi-slick Bridgestone shod Panasports belonged to this fine specimen.

Yup, right in the middle of the showroom floor undergoing what appeared to be a pretty decent amount of work.

And under the hood was one of the many aforementioned Protec -tuned S20′s in all it’s glory.  You can definitely spot the difference in the blue valve cover and velocity stacks they sell which have their own unique look.

And here’s the view from in between those two impeccable KPGC10′s

And under the hood,  this one is pretty standard and CLEAN.

A walk behind the cars lies a row of shelves full of almost everything required to bring your classic Skyline back to, or better than it’s former glory.

OEM parts alongside vintage race pictures were everywhere….

How about a genuine Hakosuka fender still wrapped in the original Nissan packing material?

Need some side drafts?

Or maybe the OEM setup is more to your liking…

Original KPGC110 instrument cluster bezel and a whole bunch of reproduction underhood stickers to make your restoration complete.

And if you are in the market for aftermarket suspension parts for your Hakosuka you will be hard-pressed to find anything better than Protec built products such as these custom lower control arms complete with spherical bearings for toe adjustment and adjustable spring perches for dialing in that perfect corner balnce.

And while I’m not yet intimately familiar with every single aspect of the KPGC10′s I was told that this is an exclusive gearbox designed for them that can be distinguished by the center section.

And don’t even get me started on how I feel about this titanium header…..   I wonder if the wifey would consider this a suitable decoration above the fireplace?

We’re working our way around to the back of the showroom now that is filled with more cases, full of more cool stuff.

And a shelf  stuffed full of awesome vintage models.

Cool miniature S20 motor surrounded by a bunch of old literature

You can see it a little in some of my shots but I was too overwhelmed to actually think to take a picture of the whole place in it’s entirety but there’s actually a small Cafe in back with a huge projection screen where you could come back from the track, kick back with your friends and watch some race footage.  A showroom, a shop, and a Cafe all in the same place??!!  Yep, this is dream garage territory for sure and you can see why I was so enamored with this place.  Here’s a tiny pic from their site that shows the cafe section.

Directly behind the row of barstools stood the only non-Japanese car in the place, and as much as I’m not much of a Merecedes guy if I had to pick one the the 190 E evo would be up there on my short list.

Continuing around the back of the showroom you can see how the tables for the Cafe are right next to the tool boxes and lifts giving this place a vibe unlike anywhere I’ve ever been before.

They also had this television hooked up to these big speakers that constantly blared in-car footage from one of the shop’s circuit prepped, works-style KPGC10′s.  And honestly, is there a better soundtrack to to sell these cars to?

And on the second lift was BNR32 above a very curious looking Fairlady……   er….  no that’s a US spec Datsun 240 Z!  I actually saw a few of these while I was in Japan,  I think we need to get into the exchange business ;)

And if that hood in the shot looks familiar to some of you it should.  This car is notorious around the circuits in Japan and is sure to be seen at almost every nostalgic track event that goes on in the area.

BAM!!!!!  #74 In the flesh!  Good thing I took pictures of it because I can hardly believe I was there walking around this thing.  This car is basically a test bed and running parts catalog for everything Protec sells, AP brakes and Aragosta coilovers….

And the motor setup is nothing short of art.

You gotta love those big, bubbly works-style over fenders.  All function.

Same goes for the oil cooler, this one isn’t for looking all “Boso” at car shows or keeping your oil temps down on your  leisurely Sunday drive to McDonalds.  This is there because it has to be, and by the looks of the duct tape covering part of it up it may work a bit too well.

I would take a little track damage over a concourse queen any day.  A couple of stickers on the fender indicate some of this car’s history.

And here’s the other side with a bunch of parts from that R32 strewn about, and let’s not forget this is the SHOWROOM.  Is this place insane or is it just me?

Working our way back up front there was that Hakosuka up on the lift that looks like it’s in need of a little resto work.

Let us not forget they’re not all immaculate, it takes a bit of work to keep these old cars cancer free.

On the other hand, on our way out the door was yet another pristine KPGc10.

And while it looked pretty basic on the outside, one look under the car showed this particular customer car was not only immaculately restored but also had every single Protec suspension part available as well as a downright sexy twin-pipe exhaust system.

Upon closer inspection of the interior I also noticed the very clean installation of the aftermarket temp and pressure gauges that were hardly noticeable, exactly how they should be done in my opinion.  Also note the cool factory radio delete panel….

Sorry for all the close up pictures but as you can see they definitely make the most of all the available space in Japan.   That about wraps up my amazing trip to Classica/Protec.  We have the ability to bring in any of Protec’s amazing parts for customers that have purchased a vehicle through JDM Legends so if you see something  that needs to be on your Hakosuka, drop me a line at eric@jdmlegends and I’ll see what we can do for you.

And in parting I’ll throw in a desktop sized picture of #74 taken from the recent Nismo festival at Fuji Speedway courtesy of 7tune.  Enjoy!!

Protec

Classica Auto Gallery

 

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