It’s been a while since I drove on the Hakone Turnpike, you know the road where I took most of the cars I’ve reviewed in Japan so far for testing. That place. Things looked positive at the beginning, on the motorway journey there we could see Mount Fuji.


Out of the four or five times I’ve been there I never actually got a glimpse at the famous landmark from the Turnpike. This time was no exception. I’d like to say there was a silver lining to this but really it was more a lining of fog.


We arrived at the turnpike at little earlier than the Paganis so we positioned ourself up near the top to catch them all going up. Unfortunately there were some police standing by the top, apparently there to keep everyone in check due to the large number of crashes that have happened there recently.


That meant the cars came in quite slow. Eventually they all arrived at the peak of the Turnpike to regroup and make base there as they would be having a free run up and down the Turnpike for the afternoon. Luckily the police went away after they’d given out their quota of tickets that day. Unfortunately one was to me, but that’s a different story.


Not long after the cars started to gather at the parking area by the restaurant at the top that’s also when the fog started to roll in hard. And fast. Perhaps it was Mother Nature’s way of showing the Huayra who’s the real god of wind.


Soon all the Paganis, and the lone Enzo, gathered at the main parking area that had been specially reserved for them. Despite missing a few cars, mainly the local Paganis, the line up was still breathtaking. Probably as breathtaking as the view at the peak if it hadn’t been for the thick fog.


Sorry to keep going on about the fog, but it really was that thick. And windy, and cold. But still, we soldiered on. Anyway, seeing the collection of cars in front of us at the legendary Mazda Turnpike in Hakone was beyond belief.


It’s one thing to drive on this incredible road but it’s a whole other thing when it’s with my favorite supercars in the world. After seeing and hearing the Paganis on this road, I don’t think I’ll ever look at it the same again.


As the owners had lunch up at the restaurant, we took the time to get some shots of the cars on their own without anyone around. As we started finishing up Kris Singh, owner of the La Monza Lisa, comes out and brings two plates of pizza for us to all eat off his Huayra. As far as lunches go, that was without a doubt the most special I’ve had.


With the drivers refueled with calories from the pizza, it was off for another stint down the Hakone Turnpike. We were lucky enough to get some rolling shots of the Cinque Roadster as it went down. Then on the way up we got the La Monza Lisa.


I’m still pinching myself from doing that. There’s nothing quite like looking over your shoulder and seeing a tonne and a bit of Italian supercar chasing you on one of Japan’s most famous roads.


Some of the other Paganis enjoyed multiple runs up and down the Turnpike too. I mean, when you’ve got access to a road like that and you’ve got a V12 supercar to play with, why wouldn’t you?


It was literally a day of seeing one car go up, and then another go down. We moved up and down the mountain with them too, trying to get different vantage points. Some in the fog, some out in the clear. All with a V12 soundtrack.


The guy in the Enzo wasn’t pushing quite as hard, understandably, but still looked like he had a lot of fun. Actually, the Enzo wasn’t the only other non-Pagani that joined us on the Turnpike. There were a few other oddballs thrown into the mix.


Firstly there was a four-rotor RX-7 that was completely stripped out. Perfect for the Turnpike. There was a rented Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34 of course) as well. Oh, and some random guy in a Ford GT who was just there doing his own thing.


One of the strangest thing to happen though was the Zagats ZM180 that turned up. I had never seen or heard of this car before. Turns out it’s a restyled Toyota MR-S by the famed Italian coach-builders. Who knew such a thing existed?! It was pretty cool to see another bespoke Italian creation at the Turnpike.


Soon the owners stopped driving their cars and retreated back into the restaurant to warm up with some coffee and heating. The weather was starting to turn cold, the little lighting we had was fading, and the fog still kept coming in.


Soon it was time to say goodby to the Hakone Turnpike and make our way down back to sea level via the Izu Skyline. I had never been here before but had heard good things about it and always wanted to go. So what better time than with a convoy of Paganis and thick fog.


It was both a scary and exciting drive down the tight and twisty roads on the Izu Skyline. Due to the thickness of the fog it did make visibility hard and I guess the cars had to stay close to each other to avoid getting lost. That meant multiple stopovers to regroup. Which was no problem for us as it gave us a chance to get more photos.


We left the cars at their final stop which was a restaurant at Gotemba for dinner. All in all, the Hakone Drive was a world away from the autumnal views from the Nikko Drive. This was less of a scenic drive and more a free-for-all drive up and down one of the best roads known to man. And this is only the start of the final leg of this drive.

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Ken Saito
Words cannot begin to describe how much I love cars but it's worth a try. Grew up obsessed with them and want to pursue a career writing about them. Anything from small city cars to the most exotic of supercars will catch my attention.


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