With a couple of days of the TAS taken care of we now only had 4 more days to try and get as much done as possible while we were in here. We had contemplated picking up a rental car but because none of us had a current international driver’s license, that would be out of the question. No problem though as Japan has one of the worlds largest railway systems spanning over 27,000 kilometers (almost 17,000 miles!) And as complicated as some of the maps were it’s still easier than getting around Tokyo in a car. Luckily Trey and Billy were straight up Magellan with the system or I would have been lost in no time.
So armed with a few addresses and maps we headed out to our first stop, BIKOWORKS. After a quick walk a little less than a mile from the subway station we had reached our destination.
From across the street I had noticed that all the bay doors were closed which had me a bit nervous but it was Monday so we figured they should be open right? Knock, knock?
No answer. Seriously??? bummer… oh well, those are the breaks I guess. I was hoping it would look a bit more like this….
Oh well, we tried. Maybe next time. We decided to shoot for our next destination hopefully with a little more luck. On our way there was an Up Garage which is somewhere I’ve always wanted to check out so we stopped by to see what they had in stock.
For those of you who don’t know Up Garage is used aftermarket car part paradise. Sick of your wheels? Trade them in for something else.
They had all sorts of used parts…. gauges, intakes, coilovers, you name it. Here is the wall of used exhaust systems, titanium or stainless?
I almost picked up a genuine Altezza sports grill for my SXE10 family cruiser because I have been looking for one for quite a while but with a long day of train riding still ahead of us I decided I didn’t want to lug it around all day. However if I could have picked up a full set of these Riversides, or Hayashi streets I would have been more than happy to. Unfortunately they only had a pair of each
On to the next stop, on our way out there was a pretty decent Stagea Crown Estate Wagon (oops) in the parking lot sitting on some TE37 SL’s. Tuned wagons were way more prevalent in Japan than I thought, I think they outnumbered the amount of Skylines.
Next up, while we were in Chiba there was no way I wasn’t going to try and talk the guys into visiting one of the most notorious and highly regarded tuning shops in Japan. Luckily, they didn’t need much convincing. This one was a bit more of a walk than we had thought but I really enjoyed walking through the quaint neighborhood streets. You really get a feel for what it’s like here for average people on a daily basis outside the crazy city streets in Tokyo.
The sidewalks, or should I say lack thereof were a bit sketchy though… sometimes you just had to hope for the best as cars whizzed by inches away.
It was well worth it for me though to be immersed in such a beautiful country.
After what we had figured to be around 3 miles each way, we starting to think we may be lost . But out of the mundane streets appeared a beacon of R35 GT-R’s.
This was by far the biggest shop we visited in Japan. R35′s seemed to be the preferred vehicle of choice here and this grey one was looking particularly menacing.
Titanium tow hooks are baller status for sure. I think one of these things costs about as much as my entire KP61.
We were all quite pleased to see Cobb getting a little JDM love at Top Secret…
And as far as R35′s go, this one has to be pretty high up on the list in that unmistakable Top Secret gold. I really like how subtle their bumper is for these cars, its actually a bit longer giving the front end a bit sleeker look.
And just behind that was the modest little Bosch dyno enclosed in a mall cinder block garage that I’m sure has a story or two to tell.
Here’s a peek inside the shop, quite a few legends have come out of here and it was quite a humbling experience to actually see it in person.
Stacks of parts were everywhere..
And back outside a few more vehicles awaiting service…. see what I mean about the Stageas?
And a peak around the side of the building revealed a few more gems, even a couple of nostalgics like this 73 Mitsubishi Galant GTO.
And what appeared to be a very sad and neglected 4 door Hakosuka.
For some odd reason, while I wouldn’t drive one in this condition I really like seeing them in their natural unrestored state like this. I guess it gives me a bit more perspective and appreciation for what we do here
While I could have poked around this place for hours it was starting to get dark and we had one more stop to make, not to mention another 3 mile walk back to the train station down that gnarly little 2 lane road again. Hopefully we can make it back in one piece.
Umm…. yea, did I mention that road was scary? I didn’t know reflective jogging gear would come in handy or I would have picked some up. We eventually made our way back to the station and hustled to the next stop as quick as we could because with our luck it would surely be closed when we got there. After a short train ride and another trip through some more neighborhoods we had finally reached our final destination of the night.
And there it is, another shop on the top of my list to visit Star Road. These guys build some of the most amazing Hakosukas, Kenmeri’s and S30′s you will ever see and it was very enlightening for me to see what can be created out such a small, unassuming shop. We definitely take for granted all of the space we have to work with here in the states. Luckily for us there was still someone there and he was nice enough to let us poke around his shop a bit.
The first thing that caught my eye was the fact that they were working on a Celica liftback and a Toyota isn’t something I’ve seen come out of Star Road before. I’m very excited to see how this car turns out.
And next to that was a KGC10 GT-X undergoing restoration on a nice little chassis stand. I’m going to have to build one of these eventually.
And in the second part of the shop behind that was a KPGC10 GT-R on the lift, a few Kenmeris as well as the blazing yellow S30 that I posted pictures of in part 2 that was at the the TAS.
You will have to excuse the poor quality of the next group of pictures as it was completely dark at this point and night shots aren’t my point and shoot camera’s strong point. There was a pretty nice collection of cars in the lot including this S30.
And another G-nose equipped one wedged between ANOTHER KPGC10. Man, I wish we could have made it here when there was a bit more light…
And under the hood of that GT-R was just as I had expected a Star Road S20 should look like. PERFECTION.
And in the corner of the lot was something else I didn’t expect to see…
KP61 on MKII’s?? Nice! It looks like the guys at Star Road have very similar taste in cars as we have here at JDML. I will say this Starlet is a little better than mine though….. for now.
And to make up for my cruddy night shots, here’s a desktop sized pic of one of their Hakosukas flanked by a mysterious floating C110. One of my favorite images of all time. Click and save, you know you want to.
That’s all for now, more adventures in Japan next week. Have a great weekend!