After shooting Takashi-sans’s cool whips, we headed to another area of Kobe, a more industrial area. It was a ghost town, hardly anyone to be seen anywhere.
On the way to the location we started following this pretty sick S13, turns out he was actually going to the same place, how cool!
Upon arrival in true Tokyo Drift style we opened the carpark barrier to gain access to the parking lot. Already a few cars waited for our arrival. Mainly silvias apart from one skyline.
I hadn’t yet been to an ‘underground car park’ meet yet. So I was extremely excited to see if Japan really lived up to its name. Would I find a green hulk car pumping out some tunes, or the Mona Lisa of the drift world parked up in the corner? Ohh it was going to be an interesting night with hopefully many cool cars ahead!
This meet was organised by Akifumi-san as an official S-Chassis meeting. So with that official S-Chassis tag, I was hoping that some truly epic S-Chassis would make an appearance.
Over the course of the day from about 1pm to midnight, cars would dribble in one at a time. By about 2 or 3pm we had probably 10 of the raddest S-Chassis I’d ever seen with my own eyes. If you’re a fellow instagram user and love S13’s you’d probably recognise Mae-san’s super low grey S13 tucked in the right of this photo.
“Blacked” seemed to be a general theme of these cars. Maybe it’s their favourite style, or perhaps it’s easier to escape the cops when they can’t see you. Anyway, with the majority of the cars parked up under the mostly abandoned car park, I headed for the first individual photoshoot.
I soon realised that I was going to be individually shooting every single car that night, and with about 20 or so turning up during the evening I could tell it was going to be a long night for sure! Kenjirou-san’s 180SX had some nice wheels to roll around on.
Sitting on the wheels, and I have to mention just how damn clean they were, is a blacked out 180SX. Fully blacked out when the pop-up lights are closed. It would make for one mean night rider if someone were to paint the wheels black. Each car seen in this article with have a spot-light feature in the near future. So not to worry if you want to see more, because you will!
Next up was Naofumi-san in his daily street driven S13. That’s right, this is his daily! Which means he has another Silvia sitting his garage. The big bad mean brother – an S14 that he drifts around Meihan Sportsland.
Unfortunately I missed my opportunity to head out to Meihan, but that’s okay, I’m sure another one will pop up soon. Mae-san’s 180SX and Naofumi-san’s S13 set the benchmark for just how amazing the cars in Japan are. The level of detail and the amount of time and attention that is spent on these cars is downright unbelievable.
I think this is my favour picture from the two months I spent in Japan hands down. This car literally blew my mind and made me act like a little five year old again. Hidemaru-san owned this eye boggling show spec S15. I asked him what he used this for and he said it’s a ‘dress up’ car only. So it’s made to just look the part. Who knows if it drives the part?
Hidemaru-san fit the personality of this car perfectly. He was hilarious throughout the night, cracking out English words he thought were funny, even studying for a few hours on his pull out deck chair. A real character indeed paired up with a car of the same calibre.
The main man of the night, the one who organised the neck breaking show, was Akifumi-san and his bayside blue S15. Can you believe that this is considered normal in Japan. It’s not too low, some nice wheels, a good bodykit and a wing. I can tell you now that if you went anywhere in this throughout NZ, everyone would be looking twice that’s for sure!
The most popular Chassis of the night was the S13. Each of them had a very different style indeed. Show spec, race spec, daily, and street spec. All different personalities to suit the owner.
One massive problem I had during photo shoots in Japan was giving directions. I could speak a bit of Japanese, but I never thought to learn the words like, “a little bit left”, “this way”, “that way”, “stop” etc. That would have helped me in my mission to setting up cars perfectly that’s for sure.
I was lucky enough to feast my eyes upon a V2 Rocket bunny S14 this night. When I saw it pulling up it reminded me of Tokyo Drift (If you hadn’t realise yet, I really enjoyed Tokyo Drift). We had someone opening the gate to let the cars in, all I needed was the right music and it would have been 11/10 perfect.
Some people are very on edge about this particular conversion. It’s all to do with the car and the quality I think. This one really suits it, but I’ve seen several online that did not work whatsoever. Actually, I think in this particular case, the part that ticked the box for me was the owner rocking up with a green monster energy hat, green monster energy bag, green monster energy shoes, and a green monster energy shirt. It was a sight you had to see to believe.
As well as the V2 Rocket bunny silvia present, we also had a V1 Rocket bunny Silvia. How cool was it to see both in the same parking lot. Very cool I tell you! The dish is understated in this photo, but in the spot-light feature you can really see just how wide those rear wheels are.
The next Silvia, and probably the most modest of the night was this black and orange example owned by Singo-san. He was the happiest person I’d met having a photo taken of his car. Showing me all the optional features he’d acquired over the length of his ownership, like the light up rear windows.
I think, If I could go back and relive any day on my trip, it would be this one. Just 10/10 cars everywhere. Something that you don’t see everyday in NZ. I actually just went out last Friday to town in Auckland to see the local talent, or sadly lack of talent. This makes me want to return to Japan even more.
I wasn’t too sure what I was going to do with Mae-san’s S13; how I was going to shoot it. It was becoming a bit mundane shooting one car by itself with the same scenery. Luckily for me, another Silvia just as slammed turned up, so it was a no brainer to shoot these two concrete draggers together.
Looking at that clearance, it’s pretty much just sitting on the ground! Both cars look to have at least one part of the car mere centimeters away from the surface beneath them. It’s okay though, never fear as the roads in Japan are well maintained and for the most part are smooth enough to make driving a car like this somewhat bearable.
Lots was going on and my new photographer friend Kuriyama-san who turned up on the night with lots of nice gear to use was doing his own thing down the back there. I’m amazed at the generosity of the Japanese people again and again, as he let me use his gear like it was my own. But back to these two cars, which are part of a Silvia group in Japan. Known as ‘Gathering S15’, who have meets every now and then with the other generations of the Silvia line up.
It was getting rather late now, but still we had cars showing up. This convertible S15 was something that I had never seen before. The body kit was supposedly the only one made and the interior was VIP as hell!
Everyone else was chilling, talking, playing soccer, drinking, and eating while I worked the course of the day. A relaxing day for everyone involved, apart from me, but I wouldn’t have it any other way to be brutally honest.
This is the whip of one of the founders of ‘Gathering S15’, A nice factory blue S15 with some classic tri-spokes up front and the more common Volk wheels at the back. He also installed this rather subtle rear bumper and side skirts which adds a nice touch to the overall look.
Just as I thought it may be time to pack up and call it a night, the last car rolls down the street and into the parking lot. Another car that you just would not see in New Zealand. This wasn’t even the best part though, the interior was just unrivaled.
Light up this, and light up that. Tv’s everywhere. The back seats had lights and in the boot there were lights, along with a collection of stuffed teddy bears, of all the things!
While I was working away on the other cars, a few of the guys set up their own photoshoot on the other side of the parking lot with these four silvias. It was just so relaxing being around everyone. The vibe they put out was so welcoming. They really seemed like a close knit family.
I had finally finished shooting the 20 or so cars that had turned up throughout the night, and it only took about 10 hours to do so. With the battery about to die it was time to pack up the gear and just enjoy the sight that I know wouldn’t happen again for a long time.
Before we all packed up and left, something different happened. Everyone gathered around in a circle and just looked at me. I wasn’t really too sure what was happening. So with my silence, Akifumi-san introduced me and thanked everyone for coming. I also took it upon myself to use my Japanese and say how much of an unforgettable time I’d had in only a day! After I’d spoken we then did a Japanese chant of sorts to finish off the night, and with that last bang it was time to head off back to central Osaka.
Photos: Shaun Constable | Words: Shaun Constable | Proofer: Chadd Davis
© Ambition Works 2015