Juicebox in Japan: Umihotaru PA and the old guys
After what would only be an unforgettable night at Daikoku, we rolled the dice and chanced our luck. It was late, we had been kicked out of Daikoku and there was one place left on the list I wanted to tick off before we went home.
This place is known as Umihotaru parking area, I spent years as a young teenager watching Smoky Nagata and friends push 300+ KMPH through these tunnels.
The tunnels lead to a parking area which is basically in the middle of the ocean, its a hot spot for car activity and we were rolling the dice when considering making the trip out at 1 am on a Saturday night. It didn’t matter, something was telling me it had to be done and this was our last night with wheels in Japan so it was a total no-brainer.
I could sense something was going down, or at least we would see some cool cars to polish off the night. I knew we struck gold when we came up out of the tunnel and into the parking areas high rise. We parked up next to this immaculate BNr32. I could hear laughing down below and a quick look over the wall was a sight ill hold dearly for the rest of my life.
Like a scene out of an old Dodgy VHS rip of the Wangan golden days, five of the coolest high-speed machines I had ever seen were causally lined up down below.
I couldn’t believe my eyes, the Chargespeed JZa80 Supra and their Fresh R35 I had seen on the net.
If there was ever an era which influenced the western world it was the late 90s Japanese style which eventually trickled its way down on to all sorts of dodgy machinery in Ireland Europe and the rest of the world, forever tainting what would be considered the Golden era of Japanese styling. Wild graphics, big body kits, all to resemble the JGTC, these cars had the wild looks and had the power to match.
Its when you see this stuff in the flesh you realise just how awesome this styling was back in the day, these cars look like they are going 300kmph even when parked up. I couldn’t believe I was seeing these things in real life, quite literally the last cars I would have expected on the final leg of our journey.
A few stragglers had arrived from Daikoku and ill never forget how mellow this moment was. It was a humid Julys night, with the roar of six-cylinder cars in the distance, pushing high speed runs in the tunnel as other friends stood around chatting in what can only be describedcibed as a car park in the middle of the ocean.
This was a night that cemented my love for the Japanese car culture at the top of my list forever.
The Bomex Supra, with its Lambo doors and outlandish kit, its and its livery is perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing and I’m glad these cars still run the night, they are almost dinosaurs from another generation now, their owners were chain-smoking, standing around, well in their 50’s laughing and chatting, maybe reminiscing on old stories, who knows.
We were the only foreigners and these guys were enjoying our enthusiasm, as we desperately grabbed a few snaps trying to savor our final night in this magical place.
This BNr32, with its TBO kit, will forever be in my heard, you just know this car was build for menacing on the Wangan, seeing these owners well into their lives, still enjoying their cars long after the expiration date placed on them by so many others.
As we get older many of us feel its time to get sensible and throw in the towel, sell up and buy that semi detached dream and leave this stuff behind. It was great to see guys like this still out there, I for one know ill be the same guy standing around in twenty years time, still enjoying this stuff.
It was 3 am and these guys were out here, god knows how many times they have done this before, or how much has been spent on these machines. I loved every second of it.
There was something so majestic about these machines, they embodied the true essence of what all this Max Power, fast and furious spin-off was all about back in the day. These were true Japanese car culture, proper I hate to use the term “JDM”
Across from the old school, stunners was this beauty, I can’t remember the number of times we said ” that’s the best version of X I have ever seen” on this journey, it happened so often yet it was a spark of excitement that never gets old.
This was easily the coolest GD Impreza I had ever seen, my brain couldn’t comprehend I was almost maxed out on car stuff for the night.
Across was this subtle four stud 14 on SSR Meshes, every one of these cars had appeal, even after the two weeks of seeing practically everything, I know we had only struck the surface.
These cars were like something a 13-year-old would have had on his bedroom wall back in 2001, I’m amazed they remained intact with the style of the times, they are wild and they have aged well and I hope these can be passed on to people who respect these cars for what they are.
Some of this stuff needs to remain intact, I feel Japan and the world have lost a lot of its car history over the years with stuff being sold abroad or broken down or rebuilt into something else.
Even though this was a brand new machine, it fits nicely in with the crowd with its bold Chargespeed kit.
The owner, who I’m fairly sure is also the owner of Chargespeed, gave us some stickers. He was thrilled with us taking photos of the cars.
This thing, I don’t know what it is about the combination of the dirty Regamsters, the yellow paint, that wing and TBO kit but this is what I love about Japanese car culture that has kept me hooked all these years.
And beauties like this, with the bit kit, glitter hood and crazy wheels.
I love the contrasting colours between each chassis here. What a treat on the final night, to be greeted to some high-speed machines, a nice way to round off the trip.
I personally love this shot, like a scene from a movie you would be mistaken into thinking this was all set up, an outtake from some other take on street racing in Japan, but this was the real deal, in fact, this was as genuine as it was ever going to get, old guys with big powered machines, machines we tried to create in video games for half of our lives. Each and every one of them exited Umihotaru screaming off into the night, Japan had been good to us.
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