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Dispatches from Tokyo: Porsche 962 for the street, Tomica Shop, and ahead by a Toyota Century

Illustration for article titled Dispatches from Tokyo: Porsche 962 for the street, Tomica Shop, and ahead by a Toyota Century

The Tokyo Motor Show is a wonderful event, although the best thing about it this year was once again the parking lot. However, if you can escape for a bit, you might find something interesting. Like 13 Toyota 2000GTs in a hidden warehouse. And other stuff too.

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The above Porsche 962C should be familiar to any long-time Jalopnik reader, who will recognize it as one of the cars driven on the street in that Motohead video from some years ago - Spinelli posted it up and interviewed the reporter/videographer. I was introduced to the owner through Tomohiro Aono, who I visited in Japan last month (we went for a boot in his Le Mans spec Murcielago - these guys are all nuts).

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Illustration for article titled Dispatches from Tokyo: Porsche 962 for the street, Tomica Shop, and ahead by a Toyota Century

Well holy crap. Moroi-san’s collection is accessed through a freight elevator, and encompasses the entire upper floor of the factory he owns. They make titanium machines for harvesting tidal energy and converting it to electricity. Basically, he’s the Japanese Hank Scorpio. My favourite car was probably his Mk III GT40, which he’d just done a hill-climb in. Full gallery of pics at the link above.

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Illustration for article titled Dispatches from Tokyo: Porsche 962 for the street, Tomica Shop, and ahead by a Toyota Century

He’s also a member of the Toyota 2000GT owners’ club of Japan, hence the baker’s dozen ‘Yota OG Supercars scattered around. Not only are these things rare and interesting in stock form (built by Yamaha originally, just 351 produced), but some of the members modify them for either vintage racing or just because it’s fun. One of Moroi’s cars had a hybrid Supra-2000GT straight-six with triple Mikunis, fully reworked suspension, and F355 brakes up front and R32 GT-R brakes out back. Spectacular - I’m already working out how and when to get back there.

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Illustration for article titled Dispatches from Tokyo: Porsche 962 for the street, Tomica Shop, and ahead by a Toyota Century

Furthering the Toyota theme this trip was this second-generation V12 Toyota Century that I hired to drive me around Tokyo a bit. I’ve always loved these, and getting into one was simply a matter of calling up a limousine company and explaining that I absolutely didn’t want a Crown to show up. This required some repetition.

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Illustration for article titled Dispatches from Tokyo: Porsche 962 for the street, Tomica Shop, and ahead by a Toyota Century
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What an epic machine. This car was built at the height of Toyota’s engineering (arguably), and represents to me the high water mark of Japanese auto industry that gave rise to the original NSX, the Supra Twin-Turbo, and the FD RX-7. Nothing much has changed about the car since 1997, and given Japan’s slight frozen-in-a-futuristic-mid-90s feel, it makes a great chariot for riding around downtown.

Illustration for article titled Dispatches from Tokyo: Porsche 962 for the street, Tomica Shop, and ahead by a Toyota Century
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Of course, it’s horrendously expensive to hire one of these things, so I buggered off at Tokyo station and went to catch a train instead. However, not before checking out the Tomica Shop.

Illustration for article titled Dispatches from Tokyo: Porsche 962 for the street, Tomica Shop, and ahead by a Toyota Century
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Lookit these little adoramobiles. The brown thing is Rilakkuma, which roughly translates to “Relax Bear.” Relax Bear, of course, being the Care Bear with the giant spliff on his stomach. Relax Bear Car: cute, nonsensical, Japan.

Illustration for article titled Dispatches from Tokyo: Porsche 962 for the street, Tomica Shop, and ahead by a Toyota Century
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They were out of these Walter Wolf Countachs, which was highly annoying. Probably easier just to look for this sort of thing on eBay.

Illustration for article titled Dispatches from Tokyo: Porsche 962 for the street, Tomica Shop, and ahead by a Toyota Century
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I leave you with this enormous Denali driving through Shibuya Crossing, the famous pedestrian scramble in the middle of Tokyo’s busiest shopping area. This, too, does not make any sense - but I love it. Japan never fails to surprise and delight.

@brendan_mcaleer
www.brendanmcaleer.ca

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