We Visit Type_K in Sendai!!…

After visiting ACROSS, we packed our bags and set off to Tokyo, which was a 3-hour ride on the bullet train. We dragged Yasu along of course since he likes to go on adventures with us even though he’s been insanely busy with work at Exceed and arrived in Shibuya, Tokyo in the early afternoon. I found us a hotel right in the heart of Shibuya which made things super convenient for us since we wouldn’t have a car until we were set to go to Attack that weekend. We checked-in at our hotel, dropped our bags off, and then we just hung out in Shibuya for the day. Masa from X-Point met up with us for dinner nearby and then we returned to our rooms early because we’d have another bullet train ride early the next morning….

One of the main things we wanted to accomplish on this particular trip was to go and visit our friend Takeshi Kobayashi from Type_K Autosource. We’ve known Takeshi for so many years now and he’s one of our closest friends from Japan. Throughout the many years we’ve been going, we’ve just never been able to find the right time to go visit him in Sendai. The city of Sendai is a couple of hours away from Tokyo via bullet train and since our train passes allow us to go about anywhere, it would be a waste not to. Ryan Der wanted to go to Sendai a few hours earlier because he wanted to go snowboarding with Takeshi. Yasu and I, well, we weren’t really trying to go and possibly injure ourselves so we took a later train and met up with them after…

We arrived at Sendai Station around 1PM where Der and Takeshi were already waiting for us. They had a good time snowboarding but were pretty tired so we went straight to lunch so they could refuel. Takeshi told us that he wanted to take us to shop that was local which specialized in building Honda race cars. The shop, known simply as “S.T.A.”, worked closely with Spoon Sports in the past in the development of their race cars. That alone sounded interesting enough to me so I was excited to see it…

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We arrived to a lot filled with what looked to be old Honda one-make race cars from years past. Some may have been still currently in-use, but seeing how weathered some of the cars looked, one could tell that they probably hadn’t been used in a while…

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There was a mix of everything from ’90s Hondas to a couple of DC5 Type Rs and FD2 Civic Type R one-make race cars. I was so busy doing video there that I didn’t get to shoot much, but seeing how closely the cars were parked together, I knew it’d be difficult to get a clean shot of any of the cars..

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All I could really see were minor details that stood-out to me, like this carbon block-off plate inside one of the EK9 race cars. I don’t know what the Mugen badge and serial number means, but perhaps there was a point when these plates were made available in a limited capacity or the EK itself was a car prepped by Mugen for racing. I just found it interesting so I snapped a photo of it….

If you missed the Vlog episode, give it a watch right now..

It’ll give you a better idea of what we saw that afternoon at Auto Shop S.T.A….

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While visiting the shop was nice, I wished that we would have gone back to Takeshi’s house a few hours earlier so I could get some good shots of his house before it got too dark. His house is unique because it’s literally an American house, built off of blueprints from the U.S., on top of Japanese land. So in a neighborhood full of traditional Japanese houses and apartments, you’ll find this full-size American house, complete with grass and a white picket fence. Outside you’ll see his Toyota Tundra, also imported from the U.S. and occasionally you’ll see this Acura Integra Type R outside. Yes, an ACURA Integra. A dream car of his that he also purchased in California and imported back to Sendai…

Even more unique is the fact that Takeshi operates his business out of his house as well. He not only has his own collection of parts in his garage, but adjacent to it is a shop stocked with USDM goods of all types, whether it be toys, car parts, or clothing. It was cool to finally see it all in-person after hearing about it for so many years and just seeing photos of it. Just seeing the house itself was a bit surreal…

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I was trying to figure out the best way to capture his garage space with it being so dark so I went with a very straightforward approach so you can see just how much stuff he has crammed in side where his ITR is usually parked…

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The funny thing about this whole situation is that Takeshi has not once ever parked his car backwards inside his garage. You’d think with Japan being so traditional with its rear-end-first parking that Takeshi would have done the same in his own garage. I also found out that “Phoenix Yellow” was a color only known to the Honda market in North America. In other parts of the world, the same yellow tone is known as “Sunlight Yellow”. I can’t believe no one has ever mentioned that before or how this was universally known information. Takeshi, being a true American Honda fanatic, only knows his ITR as a “Phoenix Yellow” ITR because he purchased his car in California…

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I tried to get a very moody, vibey, shot so I had Takeshi turn his headlights on while Yasu hid inside the ITR to mash his foot on the brake pedal to get the taillights to glow brightly against his plethora of parts…

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Other than some minor accessories and add-ons, his ITR is essentially stock with the factory B18C still in-place. What is unique about his Type R, however, is that it has a custom one-off Rywire engine harness which was hand-made to resemble an OEM harness…

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When we got inside his office he pulled out his collection of Spoon Sports clusters which are probably worth an insane amount right now. I know the Spoon cluster for the Integra goes for about $7-8K USD these days but how much could the DA and EF clusters be worth, considering they are actually far rarer than the DC2 cluster…

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The DA instrument cluster he has is pretty mint. Takeshi doesn’t ever plan to have a DA and just has this cluster because he’s a Spoon collector…

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A close-up of the 220kph speedometer on the DA cluster which has the Spoon Sports logo…

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The EF cluster is even cooler because it uses the original Spoon Sports logo…

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I can’t say I’ve ever seen these clusters before and have only seen a rare BB1/4 cluster in-person prior to this but its crazy that Takeshi has them. The EF cluster doesn’t have any miles on it either but Takeshi says he assumes it has been rolled-back before he acquired it…

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Crazy how the Spoon Sports DC2 cluster is worth such an insane amount these days. What makes all these so rare is that there is no way to ever make new ones or reproductions since Spoon can’t source the OE parts for the clusters anymore being that they are long discontinued…

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I asked if Takeshi would ever part with any of these clusters and he says that he’d likely someday sell the EF and DA clusters because they could pay for his daughter’s school or some other more important family expense. The DC2 cluster I doubt he’d sell but, as they say, everyone has a price…

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We had to depart for the train station soon if we wanted to get back to Tokyo before the last bullet train of the evening left, but before that, some more friends showed-up to hang out, including Takahiro Hasegawa and his Mugen complete Integra Type R. He and some other friends wanted to see us off to the train station so we all cruised together to Sendai Station. Takeshi was driving us in his wife’s Prius and we came upon this brightly-lit tunnel, so I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to try and get some rolling shots of the Mugen ITR…

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They weren’t perfect, but I liked how they came out, despite the car being so difficult to shoot since it was so dark in color. It was a nice test to truly see the limits of this Canon dSLR body I acquired a few years ago since I’d always been so reluctant to shoot lowlight…

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At a stoplight, the car still pops with just ambient light shining onto the ITR. It would have been cool to shoot this car during the day time as well but Hasegawa has this thing human beings call “a job” so he couldn’t just hang out all day with us…

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After we arrived at Sendai Station, I snapped this photo with the camera laying atop my camera bag and then we set off on our way back home. We had an early start the next morning because we had Attack Tsukuba to cover. If you like time attack and Japanese race cars in general, boy are you in for a treat. Thanks for looking and stay tuned for Attack Tsukuba coverage!!…

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