The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 6: Twin Ring Motegi and The Honda Collection Hall…

When we last left off, we had just finished our dinner with the guys from USDM Magazine. It was getting late and since we had already spent an entire day walking around the Tokyo Auto Salon event, we were all pretty beat. We didn’t plan on attending the third and final day of TAS because we had made plans with Takeshi from Type_K Autosource to travel to Twin Ring Motegi. Rywire Ryan had been to Twin Ring before but some of us hadn’t and we wanted to check out the famed Honda Collection Hall inside. The last time Ryan went, it was a real journey because he took a train there and had to make the hike along the Japanese countryside just to get there. Since it was on the way home from Tokyo to Sendai, Takeshi offered to take us in his USDM 2012 Toyota Sienna mini-van. It would save us a significant amount of time traveling there and after Twin Ring, he would just drop us off at the train station where we could travel back to our hotel in Shinagawa…

It was a couple hours away so we arranged to meet at the hotel lobby by 8am Sunday. We were excited to see Takeshi that morning because Ryan, Der, and DPK David decided a couple weeks before to build a custom engine harness for Takeshi’s ITR. Takeshi has been a dear friend of our’s and since his birthday was a week before we arrived in Japan, the guys thought it would be cool to surprise him with a custom Rywire engine harness. He had no idea at all and we even got him a funny Japanese birthday card to go with it…

Before we begin, as usual, the links below will take you back to each of the five previous parts of the Japan Trip coverage. Please feel free to go back in time and catch-up if you missed anything…

The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 1: Intro and TAS 2013 Coverage…
The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 2: TAS 2013 Coverage…
The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 3: More TAS 2013 Day 1 Coverage…
The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 4: Dinner With USDM FREAX and Day 2 of TAS ’13…
The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 5: The Last of TAS ’13 Coverage and Dinner With USDM Magazine…

Now, onto our Sunday morning…

May, Salem, and I woke up early Sunday at around 7 am to get ready to meet up with everyone. Even though we went to bed early the previous night, it was still pretty difficult to feel “rested” since we were still getting adjusted to the whole time difference. After the three of us finished getting ready, there was some time to spare so we decided to walk outside to the McDonald’s by our hotel and try out some JDM McD’s…

I was too busy eating in a hurry because we didn’t want to be late so I snapped some quick photos with my Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone…

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The employees at the Japanese McDonald’s didn’t speak much English at all, as expected, but they were pretty accustomed to foreign customers. They were located right next to the hotel after all so I’m sure they deal with Americans all the time. They presented us a menu with detailed photos of everything and I really wanted to try something different. For whatever reason, I felt panicked since there were others in line behind me so I randomly decided to order a Filet-O-Fish sandwich, which in Japan, is a breakfast item…I forget what May got but I’m sure it was something related to a Sausage McMuffin. One of the more interesting items on the menu was a hot dog, or McHotdog or whatever it’s called there. Fish and hot dogs for breakfast is normal and I wish I would have given the hot dog breakfast a try…

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Here’s my Filet-O-Fish sandwich…nothing really special or different about it other than the fact that you can get it before 10:30 am…

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What I should have gotten, had future health not been at risk, was this monstrosity of a sandwich which I will call “The McCholesterol”. Salem ended up getting it because he wanted to try it and even with our insane American ability to eat anything fattening, not even he could finish it. I promise you, this was not custom-made. It is really a double sausage McMuffin topped with bacon. I’m pretty confident in saying that I doubt the Japanese natives order this too much, otherwise they would look like us obese Americans…You could easily dock some years off of your life-expectancy if you decided to eat this more than once a month…

After we finished-up at McDonald’s, we walked over to the hotel lobby to meet up with everyone. Takeshi was already there waiting along with the two Ryans, Nick, and Joy. They had probably been up earlier than us to grab breakfast so we were ready to get on the road…

As I said earlier, Ryan had made a custom engine harness for Takeshi as a gift and we decided to give it to him before we took off for Twin Ring…

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Takeshi pulling the Rywire engine harness out of its packaging after Ryan presented it to him. He had no idea and it was great to see how surprised he was. The Rywire guys did a really nice thing for him and I’m sure it made the long drive that day much easier, haha…

**EDIT** Here’s a video of the actual moment when Takeshi received his engine harness, as captured by Ryan Der..

Now to give you guys an idea of how far we were traveling, here’s a map that I put together…

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As you can see, it was by no means a simple train ride. I don’t know how accurate Google Maps is when it comes to the JR Line (Japan Rail System) but I looked it up and it was an 8 hour, 20 minute train ride! By passenger car, the route is much easier and only about 2 1/2 hours. The only thing about driving is that all the highways are privatized and are tolled, meaning that you have to pay to use them. It ain’t cheap either but thankfully for Takeshi, he took care of it. It’s not like the U.S. where you can avoid toll roads. If you want to get somewhere in a reasonably amount of time, be prepared to pay some tolls…

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The guys excited to get on the road and to check out some Japanese scenery away from the rail system…

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I took a front seat on the Sienna to possibly get some cool shots while on the road. I thought this shot of an older Japanese gentleman on a small motorcycle was pretty cool…

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Takeshi had one of the craziest navigation units that we had ever seen. Shit looked straight out of a video game with proximity metering and all. For those who are unfamiliar, Carrozzeria is Pioneer’s brand in Japan…

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There wasn’t much to look at towards the beginning of the drive. We had yet to experience the Japanese highway until that day so everything was pretty exciting for us…

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I thought it was pretty cool to see this Nissan Stagea in its native habitat after only seeing it in photos prior…The Stagea is commonly referred to as the Skyline wagon, as it was fitted with the RB engines in the two generations previous to this M35 chassis that you see above. This one is more related to the V35 Skylines also known to us as the G35s here in America…

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We noticed that Takeshi was driving a little slower than usual. He told us that he was waiting for some of his friends to show up to meet us on our way to Twin Ring and not soon after, Masahiko Shoji pulled up next to us on the highway in his USDM Scion xB. It was in “winter mode” and had the stock Scion wheels. Normally you’d probably find his xB sitting on white Regamaster EVOs…

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A couple minutes after Shoji pulled up, Wataru Oseki arrived in his USDM Honda Element SC… Even though we were in the heart of Japan, we were rolling with a trio of Hondas and Toyotas from America…

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The only car in our caravan that wasn’t originally from America was Yosiyuki Hatano’s Honda S2000 Type S and even that was completely outfitted to resemble a U.S. S2000 CR model. I had met Hatano once before when he came to America during an Eibach Honda Meet with Takeshi, but it was cool to finally witness his S2000 in person. It was by far one of the cleanest S2Ks I had ever seen…

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Snapped this because it was the only Evolution V that I had seen in all of my time in Japan…

Maybe an hour or so into our drive, we decided to take a snack break at a rest area nearby. I don’t remember what city it was in but it provided some great scenery. There was a food court that offered a variety of different types of food along with a Starbucks for coffee, but the thought of eating was quickly forgotten when we randomly came upon a small Bosozoku gathering in the parking lot of the rest area…

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I couldn’t believe that no matter where we went, we were encountering other car guys. Though we didn’t really relate to the Boso style, it was something that was a pretty surreal experience. We had only been exposed to the Bosozoku style in photos online and whatever was interpreted on some U.S. builds. Being able to see this style executed in person was incredible. Not because it’s a style that we want to attempt in our future builds, but just based on the nostalgia and the whole idea of witnessing another form of pure Japanese tuning…

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Nick Caster getting his first taste of the Bosozoku lifestyle…

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This Toyota Cressida was by far the most “tame” of the bunch, with just a simple lip kit, drop,…

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…and aggressive 14-inch SSR MKIIIs…

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This was the only vehicle of the bunch that I could not identify…I thought it was an old Toyota Mark II but the rear shoulder/roof line throws me off. I’m sure someone more knowledgeable will elaborate…

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Der preparing his iPhone for some intense iPhone app editing…

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Wild Toyota Cressida/Mark II coupe flared-out in purple and silver…

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The craziest one of the bunch was probably this Z10 Toyota Soarer coupe with massive arched rear wing that puts the BYS EG spoiler to absolute shame…Also note the custom metal front end/hood and wide SSR MKIIs…

We looked over the Boso-styled vehicles for a couple minutes and the owners of the cars stood in the background and watched, probably bewildered by a large group of us jumping out of a left-hand drive minivan randomly and bombarding their cars with photos. After I finished capturing their cars, I turned my attention to Yosiyuki Hatano’s S2000…

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Just a beautifully-assembled Honda… A couple of the guys over here like to joke around and say that it is DPK Carlos’ doppelganger but honestly, Hatano’s is so clean that it almost doesn’t compare. The joke itself is a little redundant anyway and I’m honestly tired of hearing it every time someone posts a photo of Hatano’s S2…

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A little Ryan and Ryan pow-wow going on in the rest area…

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I was busy eating so I didn’t get much content of us at the rest stop. I used it as a break to stretch my legs and eat a hot dog wrapped in a flour tortilla. Why they have that as a meal and why they would put those two together is beyond me but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Here’s a shot of the group as we made our way back to Takeshi’s van…

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As we walked back, the Boso guys were still hanging out and talking huge wings and giant fender flares…

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Another car that I was really happy to spot in the parking lot was this pristine completely stock R33 Nissan Skyline GT-R…I love R33s and this one was actually the only one that we saw the entire time in Japan until we made it to Osaka later on…

We hopped in the car and got back on the road. There wasn’t really much to look at other than the old Japanese countryside so I won’t drag this out any longer. I put the camera down and just hung out until we finally arrived at Twin Ring…

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The sign that greeted us upon our arrival at the legendary Twin Ring Motegi…

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The one and only…

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Takeshi’s buddy Akifumi Ikeda cruised up and met us in the front of Twin Ring in his Honda Integra. It had been in a major accident a couple months back but was as good as new with a brand new paint job when we got out of the Sienna to check it out…

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Yosiyuki’s S2000 in front of Twin Ring…

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Being that Ikeda worked for Honda Corporate, he was able to get us into Twin Ring at a discounted rate. The only stipulation was that he had to physically drive us in. We couldn’t all fit into his Integra so Takeshi switched places with him and drove Ikeda’s DC2 inside for him while he hopped into the van…

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The last time Ryan was there, he told us that he had seen a ton of modified cars in the parking lot because there was a track event going on. When we parked this time around, the lot was virtually empty with only our cars and maybe one other…

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The entrance to the legendary Honda Collection Hall… I should mention that I’d been to the American Honda Collection Hall maybe a year before and was wondering how much better the Japanese equivalent would be, haha. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my time inside the American Honda building but Honda’s history started in Japan so of course the Japanese Collection Hall would have much more to offer…

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1924 Curtiss Special parked inside by the front entrance of the Collection Hall. This race vehicle was built by Soichiro Honda when he was just 18 years old while he worked as an assistant at Art Shokai. Art Shokai was the automotive servicing company where Honda learned everything as a youth and where he honed his automotive craftsmanship…

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1963 Honda S500 powered by a 4-cylinder, 4-carburetor engine featuring chain rear-wheel drive. This roadster marked Honda’s first venture into passenger car production…

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1965 Honda RA272… Piloted by Ronnie Bucknum, a similar RA272 won Honda’s first Formula One Grand Prix victory at the Mexican Grand Prix…

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This 1959 Honda RC142 competed in the Isle of Man TT Race, which was the most important Road Racing World Championship at the time. Honda won the manufacturer’s team awards in its first competition and established a foundation for participating in the series year after year…

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Not sure why they thought that this was a good interpretation of the word “DREAM”…

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I’m sure you guys all know ASIMO by now… and for those wondering, I do believe this was the same one that fell down the stairs, haha…

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Joy and Ryan participating in a battle of balance…

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Honda FCX Clarity concept car that was tested here in California for awhile but I’m not sure whatever came of it after…The idea of a hydrogen-powered vehicle I guess is still something the public isn’t ready for. I’m sure oil companies are dreading the day when the FCX becomes a common reality…

We eventually made our way upstairs to where the older Honda motorcycles and motor vehicles were held. You guys have seen photos of the Collection Hall before and are probably bored with seeing the same old Hondas over and over again, so I tried to only take photos of the really unique, interesting stuff that caught my eye. I made an effort to cover the Collection Hall without taking the same photos over and over again. Sorry if some of this is a bit boring for you guys but it gets better, I swear…

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The 1885 Daimler Reitrad was the world’s first motorcycle built by German engineer Gottlieb Daimler…This was the motorcycle that also inspired stunt-riding and the blockbuster flop of a movie, “Biker Boyz”…of course I am just kidding, haha. The bike pictured is also a replica built by Daimler Benz because I’m certain the original Reitrad would not be housed in the Honda Collection Hall…

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1952 Honda Cub F motorcycle… These red engines with white tanks were marketed back then through a nationwide network of bicycle dealers and the engines were shipped in cardboard boxes. That’s why you see a cardboard box in a glass case in the background. Thankfully they have description signs that detail what is all on display, otherwise I would be lead to think that this bike was the bicycle that inspired baskets, because there would be no way of transporting that sloppy cardboard box while riding with all the excitement from the gas engine…

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This 1992 Honda NR was the first production motorcycle to feature an oval piston engine. Utilizing knowledge from the Honda NR 500 GP bikes, they were able to use this as a platform for all sorts of state-of-the-art technology including the use of titanium and carbon fiber…

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1967 Honda N360… This was Honda’s first front-wheel drive vehicle that was powered by a motorcycle-based engine (Fact). The N360 eventually inspired Honda to make bigger cars because they realized that not everyone is 4-feet tall (Fiction, possibly)…

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The 1981 Honda Motocompo featured a mechanism that enabled the bike to be folded (as pictured) so that it would be able to fit in a passenger vehicle….

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Honda’s first mass-produced 4-wheeled vehicle, this Honda T360 pick-up, was powered by a 30 horsepower DOHC 4-cylinder, 4 carbed engine that was mounted mid-ship under the floor…It was also known as the first truck that could not carry anything…(again kidding..)

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One Honda that I had never seen before up until my visit to the Honda Collection Hall was this ’69-’73 Honda 1300 Series 99. The “Series 99″ indicates that it was a 4-carbed 115 horsepower engine. If you’re thinking to yourself that it looks almost exactly like a Datsun Bluebird/510, you’re not the only one. It was the largest car ever-produced by Honda up until that point and it was primarily manufactured to compete with the Datsun. It’d be pretty cool if someone actually had one of these modified here in the states so everyone that saw it could say “Is that a 510?”…

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The Honda 1300 Coupe 9 was Honda’s answer to the Toyota Corona of that era, hence the resemblance in styling of the 1300 to the Corona. Why you would create a car that looks just like your competition is beyond me, but what do I know, I’m not a car manufacturer. Chevrolet did the same thing during that time period when they created the Camaro to rival the Mustang. Maybe auto manufacturers didn’t think that consumers knew enough about cars to differentiate between each other and just hoped that they would buy something that looked like what they saw on the road…Everybody always makes fun of Hyundai and Kia these days for making their cars look like other auto manufacturers but people seem to forget that companies like Honda, who were just starting to get into the passenger car market then, were doing the same. Of course you can’t compare them in terms of longevity or motorsports history, I’m just saying. The utilization of very similar styling cues is very apparent. Not hating by any stretch of the imagination, I fucking love Hondas, just stating the obvious…

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Anyways, here’s a 1981 Honda Quint. The Quint was a more “upscale” five-door hatchback Civic that ultimately served as a predecessor to the Integra that came later. Random information, but the name “Quint” is actually derived from the word “Quintet” which is a musical group of five members. This doesn’t really mean anything of course, until you take the Honda Ballade into consideration. A Ballade is a type of French Poetry set to music. Both Ballade and Quint (or Quintet) are names that both are related to music, much in the same fashion how the Honda Quint relates to the Honda Ballade. The Honda Ballade was a sportier version of the Civic that shared the same chassis as the Civic, which later became the Honda CR-X. Originally, the CR-X was released as the “Honda Ballade Sports CR-X”.

I just thought it was interesting how both the Quint and the Ballade were named based on music, and how the Quint later became the Integra and how the Ballade ended up being the CR-X, all created from the Civic platform. When you put it all into perspective, The Civic and Integra relationship of future generations makes a whole lot of sense… It’s all a little too fascinating for those who are really into Hondas…

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Further evidence of the above can be seen in this first generation Honda Integra, or as it was badged in 1985, the Honda Quint Integra….

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Original Honda NSX-R on display… While I was staring at the NSX-R, Takeshi told me some interesting news; he said that we were actually very lucky to be able to walk through the Honda Collection Hall because maybe a week or so after, there were plans to shut down the Collection Hall for a period of time so that all the cars inside could be taken out and serviced. Knowing this, there could have been a chance that we could have missed out on the entire hall just based on a scheduling change…

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Iconic 1st gen. Honda CR-X. If you try to acquire a Honda CR-X diecast, scale model, or any form of CR-X toy in Japan, you’re more than likely going to see only the 1st generation CR-X in this exact colorway. As Nick mentioned, it was virtually impossible to find a 2nd gen. CR-X model because Japan seems to be all about the 1st gen. only. Interesting considering how popular the EF chassis is both in Japan and here in the states, you would figure that the EF CR-X was just as immortalized as the original Ballade Sports CR-X…

Alright, I’m gonna go ahead and stop here for today but before I do, I thought I’d leave you with this disturbing image of Nick, aka Retardo Giant, posing in front of a Honda Beat…

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Legend has it that he one day slipped on a puddle of handsome but somehow ended up transforming into this mutant scarecrow known as Retardo Giant. In Japan, he is the most feared man giant known as “gHey-zilla”…

Haha, sorry for that, back tomorrow with the second half of our Honda Collection Hall visit and much much more… Thanks for looking!!

11 thoughts on “The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 6: Twin Ring Motegi and The Honda Collection Hall…

  1. Nice coverage, when I was in Tokyo the last 4 times I wanted to make the trip out to visit this place but being with family, nobody wanted to drive 3 hours out to look at a bunch of Hondas.
    Those Motocompos were designed as a factory option that fit in the back of a Honda City (forgot the name of the exact generation). I had the chance to purchase one BNIB and passed on it about 5 years ago. Now they’re worth crazy amounts of money!

  2. Pingback: The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 7: More Honda Collection Hall and Trackside At Twin Ring Motegi… « The Chronicles© – No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

  3. Pingback: The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 8: The Meal After Motegi and We Begin Our Journey To Osaka… « The Chronicles© – No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

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