If you’re a car geek (who are we kidding – you must be one if you’re reading this article) and you ever find yourself in Tokyo, then there is a monthly “Cars and Coffee”-style meet you’d probably love to attend. It’s called the Morning Cruise and it goes down monthly at the Daikanyama T-site, one of, if not the, largest Tsutaya Books in Tokyo. Although there is no actual organized cruise before or after the meet, it is a great chance to see some interesting cars, grab some overpriced coffee, and check out their massive selection of automotive magazines and books from all over the world.
Each month has a theme; for example on this day it was Porsche 911s (just can’t get away from them, can we…), but of course everyone is welcome to join. As soon as we rolled in, we came across this dune-buggy’d Volkswagen Beetle, which we would later learn is coincidentally owned by Hossy’s business partner. Definitely not something you see everyday in Tokyo. Sitting next to it was a regular at the Morning Cruise, an Alfa 155 done up in old DTM livery.
We were surprised to see this first generation CSP311 Nissan Silvia in the parking lot. Old JDM rides aren’t exactly common at the mostly European-themed T-site affairs. This one was in extremely minty condition and looked like it could be in the Nissan Zama Warehouse. Not many people realize how rare these things are, and fortunately for Silvia enthusiasts you can pick one up for cheaper than a beat Hakosuka Skyline 2000GT.
Shortly after, someone pulled in with a car that we have seriously considered getting just to putz around Tokyo in – a Citroen 2CV. Prices are pretty reasonable and the Japanese are completely fascinated with them. So much so that these cars pull as much attention from layfolk as a Ferrari. Also parked up was a first generation Honda Insight, complete with rear wheel covers and sitting on some Volk TE37s, as you do, you know, for increased fuel efficiency. There was another curious little machine, a “Crystalia Superleggera” which is basically a kitted Toyota MR-S. This thing first debuted at Tokyo Auto Salon 2006, and considering that in the past 10 years this is the first time we have run across one, there must not be too many around.
Getting around to the cars that came for the actual theme of the month, a gaggle of classic Porsche 911s showed up, but we were more interested in the 356s this time around, especially the one with the whitewall tires. To think that these cars were contemporaries with the C1 Corvette and sold for about the same price is a bit mind blowing. That would have been a tough choice for us to make if we were around back then and had the scratch to get one or the other.
Perusing through Facebook while over at Daikanyama, we happened upon some photos of a small get-together at the Symbol Tower out near the port in Yokohama, so having nothing else planned we hopped in the car and drove over. Upon arrival we decided that the place looked like something out of Star Wars, and after imagining the Death Star off in the distance we set about roaming the parking lot.
Immediately we hovered over to the white Hakosuka trying to hide amidst a slew of Datsun 510s. The interior of the GT-R badged 2000GT was immaculate and the choice of seats and bolt-in cage means that the owner probably has taken her around a track or two before. We really loved the shift lever and shift pattern sticker on the transmission tunnel. Look how clean that floorboard is!
Apparently we were just in time to admire the car because not more than 1 minute later the owner walked over and started the engine, making his way out of the lot. Lawd we love us some KGC10 rear end.
As we mentioned, a lot of 510s showed up, and in all varieties of trim; wagons, coupes and sedans. The black one, riding on Barramundi‘s new old-school-inspired Sunder wheels, had a really sweet interior that was caught up somewhere between two cultures.
Red and black leather with chess board and dice patterns? Can you say rockabilly? More fitting for a Cadillac, but hey somehow it works here too! The Katana column shifter is a really cool touch that reminds us of Kill Bill for some odd reason.
After melting in what felt like 100 degree weather at max humidity we decided to head home, but our spidey sense was tingling. Tucked away in the back we spotted a blue Dattora (Datsun Truck) wearing super vintage Hoshino Racing Impul D-01 wheels. These wheels were remade a few years ago under the new model name of G5, but the original D-01 is of historical significance because it was the company’s first product! Not to mention they were debuted on the Super Silhouette S12 race car that was piloted by Nissan’s works driver, Mr. Hoshino himself.
On the way home, we stopped off at Daikoku Parking Area, because as my friend said, “it’s Supercar Sunday!” We were not disappointed. Cheese is back on the menu boys, because when we arrived we spotted three yellow cars right away, one of which was a Veilside NSX. Not quite our taste, but we couldn’t deny the rarity. Car number two was one of our favorite Ferraris, the “more than you can afford pal” model made famous in The Fast and The Furious, the 355. We couldn’t believe how clean it was…
…Yet it was nothing compared to this NSX-R. The owner was extremely proud, and for good reason, as these cars are the pinnacle of Honda’s sports car history. It is actually an early model NA2 NSX-R , but the owner gave it a bit of a remake with parts from the facelifted model. He also decided to “carbon fiber all the things” and had some OEM replica parts fabricated entirely in CF.
We got to talking and mentioned that we would kill a man to obtain this thing. Although flattered, the owner said he actually dreams of owning a Testarossa, which is why his number plate says 512. Of course we thought he was crazy – who would want a Crockett and Tubbs special over something that was in Melrose Place, 90210, and Clueless?
Now if he had said, “I want a 348”, we could definitely relate. These things are awesome, much better looking than the 512, and were the last model that Enzo Ferrari made before his death. It even has a small connection to Japan in that later models used Denso alternators and starter motors. The one we saw at Daikoku also was helping to keep alive the old adage, “everything looks good on BBS LMs.”
Ferraris were on the prance all over, as we spotted this 488 GTB failing at burnouts while hitting the on-ramp to get back on the highway, and this now borderline classic 360 Modena chilling near the semi-trucks.
An F430 Scuderia also stopped in to rest its weary horses. It was wearing some JDM aero, having been fitted with the full RS-D kit which consists of a wing, tiny side skirt winglets, and a front lip, all for the low-low price of $5,500. We’ve gotta admit, it did look pretty badass, but not in any part thanks to the “kit” or wing.
A pair of 997 Porsche GT3 RS were also at Daikoku. We don’t normally think about the water-cooled 911s as much, but that might change for us soon, as rumor has it Nakai over at RWB is about to come out with a kit for the 997!
Having left Daikoku, we made our final stop before continuing on our path home at the Tatsumi Parking Area. Funnily enough, the 430 we saw at Daikoku had blasted past us on the highway like a SCUD missile, only to end up at Tatsumi as well, parked next to a brand new 991 GT3 RS. For once however, we weren’t enamored by the Porsche, because shortly after something ridiculous showed up.
Your eyes don’t deceive you folks, that is indeed a Chevrolet Corvette Z06 prowling the parking area.
Now some might call us weird for getting excited about a USDM car, seeing as how we live in Japan, and we just ran through a full roll of Ferrari and Porsche photos. However, it is for those exact reasons that we get giddy as a schoolboy when we see a fine piece of American automotive art.
Not only was this the first time we were seeing a C7 outside of a car show, but it was our first chance to see (and hear) the Z06 model! Man, did that 6.2-liter supercharged LT4 sound mean! This blue devil had the aero package on as well, which means a lot of carbon fiber stuff. An aggressive front splitter, wider side skirts, and a cool as hell race car-spec split “wickerbill” wing. Rad. Ditching the stock wheels for some HRE P101s that show off the 6-piston Brembo brake calipers and carbon ceramic rotors was definitely a pro choice.
It might be just us, but do you see some bass-boat flakes in the paint of the black parts of the car? Hooooo-weeee! Bubba likes. This might have been said before, so apologies if you’re hearing it again, but to be honest with you, back home in the States, this writer never had a huge love of American cars. Respect sure, but desire, not so much. Now, having lived in Japan for almost five years now, driving a loud and proud V8 monster is up there on our list of quality-of-life improvements. For now we’ll have to make do with tiny rental cars that max out at 90 miles per hour. At least we ‘gon save dat money.