This time is a bit different, no factories or galleries. Instead it’s a good old fashioned car meet at an old fashioned car park. But of course this being Japan it was no ordinary car park and far from being an ordinary car meet.
I actually only found out about this meet the very same morning it was happening, I got a message on Instagram (of all places if you can believe it) telling me there was a meet at the Daikanyama T-Site. The Daikanyama T-Site is a popular place for car meets in Tokyo. There’s usually a meet once a month, every second Sunday. The T-Site is basically a glorified Tsutuya book shop but with a futuristic utopian design. It’s a pretty cool building and so far it’s the only book shop I’ve seen in Tokyo with a collection of English car magazines and books to die for. Literally every motoring related subject could be found here, in English and Japanese.
Peak times for the meets are usually between 7am-9am, well before opening hours of the store. By the time I got there at around 9:30am, all the complimentary coffee and sandwiches were gone. This particular meet was organised by Lexus, who had kindly contacted some owners of their cars to come along to show them off. Which explains why there were two LFAs; a matte black one and a yellow Nurburgring Edition. Naturally most people crowded around these two supercars. The combined worth in yen has too many zeros for me to comprehend. Luckily there was a RC350 and an RCF next to them to balance that out.
Lexus clearly only contacted those with the most interesting cars as there were a couple of IS Fs present too. There was the stray NX300h and SC430 but we can gloss over that. The rest of the cars present more than made up for it. If ever there was a place to see the different aspects of the variety of cars in Japan, this was it. Everything from pristine condition classics to the most modern of supercars were present.
Let’s start with the classics. As I arrived a beautiful Honda S800 Coupe was leaving, a shame as I’ve wanted to see one up close and personal for some time. There was an absolutely spotless “Hakosuka” GT-R there too. I had to take a moment to regain control of my breathing. After wiping all the drool off, my eyes went towards an original Nissan Silvia. It’s as rare as it is beautiful. I’ve never seen one before, so rather embarrassingly I had to resort to looking at the badges to find out what it was. At first, I thought/hoped it was a Lancia Fulvia. Another surprise was a 1970s Isuzu 117 Coupe, a Giugiaro designed beauty.
Some more modern classics included a Mark 3 Supra Twin Turbo and a FB RX-7. It was a delight to see both cars in pretty much the same condition they came out of the factory. The yellow Honda Beat is nothing to shout about but it was definitely one of the tidiest I’ve seen, plus it looked like a toy next to the brand new Suzuki Alto.
European classics were there too including a Morgan Plus 8 and an Aston Martin V8 Vantage, both painted in British Racing Green of course. It goes without saying 911s weren’t in short supply. Everything from the originals right up to today’s 991 were there, including a rare 993 Carrera RS. Close to my heart was the 996 GT3 RS in white and blue combo. I have a model of one of these in the same combo and was the first time I’d seen one in the metal.
Another car I’ve never seen was the first-generation Renault Clio V6. These were the ones with the V6 mounted where the back seats and boot would usually be. A grocery getter this is not. Being a Sunday a few toys were out too. In one corner there were five Caterhams lined up itching to be taken on a track day. There was a unique orange MGB too, but I didn’t realise it at first. There were two KTM X-Bows, one yellow and one in Terminator silver. The icing on the cake was the Lotus 2 Eleven.
Of course there were some practicality present too including a B7 RS4, a car I still lust for. A rare find was the M5 Touring, only a handful were produced and not many made it to Japan. Oh and a special edition of the 612 Scaglietti, the family man’s Ferrari. This was the Cornes Edition, only 20 being made specially for the Cornes dealership in Japan. This was to celebrate 20 years of Ferrari for the popular dealer in Japan.
Now the supercars. The mix was great with everything from the brand new Alfa 4C to the legendary F40. The guy in the F40 left earlier than everyone else so we got to hear it start up and leave. I had never seen so many grown men so excited in my life, it was a fantastic thing to see. The couple in the red R8 V10 made quite the exit too but it was nothing compared to the loud and proud TVR Sagaris. I never expected to see one of these in Japan. Perhaps the maddest of all TVRs, the noise was absolutely glorious and befitting of a legend.
The owners of the cars were very friendly and accommodating. The guy with the Sagaris showed off the engine proudly, first opening the full bonnet and then through the special ‘peep hole’. He passed the fibreglass cover around to show how light it was. Not to be outdone, the chap with the Vantage fired up the 30 year old V8. My Japanese did limit conversations so I just smiled a lot and gave more thumbs up than a desperate politician.
It was certainly a great experience to have attended one of these meets. It was great to see the diversity of Japanese car culture, which is more than ricers and yakuza-spec Toyota Centuries. In terms of the cars it gets, Japan is a unique country. It gets both right and left-hand drive cars. It gets cars the USA don’t get, take the TVR as an example, but also cars Europe don’t get, primarily US cars. American Muscle was absent at this meet, presumably because an American car wouldn’t fit in the small spaces.
From the time I’ve spent here I can safely say Tokyo is like a massive toy box. It may not seem it but there are some proper die-hard collectors here, which is why I’m always excited to see what will surprise me next. I’m sure there are many, many more rare and interesting cars hiding in Tokyo waiting to be taken out. I literally can’t wait for the next meet and see what’ll show up. I’ve already started counting down the days.
*Note: If you want to see more of the cars Tokyo has to offer follow Auto Clique NZ on Instagram (@autocliquenz) where I’ll be posting some photos now and again.