Unloved Cars of Tochigi


Location scouting North of Tokyo, we were surprised to pass a yard not filled with the usual rural kei cars — or farming implements — but one filled with an enormous range of nostalgics.


Looking like a wrecking yard from some angles, the many cars parked in tight rows were perhaps slightly unloved, but thankfully not so unloved that they had been stacked on top of each other.


They are part of a on-going operation to sell, service and perhaps repatriate. Many of the cars had (often silly) prices in their front windows, and the service area was buzzing with the sound of an arc-welder underneath a tatty brown Fairlady Z.


A few helpful staff were on-hand to help with any questions, though discussion about prices resulted in the usual “Chotto muzukashii” teeth-sucking (literally “a little difficult,” an implication such talk was the domain of the yard owner I assumed).


Perhaps I should have taken a full inventory, or even just counted them, as there would have been over 60 or 70 cars scattered over two sides of the road, but my non-sympathetic companions went and sat back in the car after just a few minutes of wandering about getting dirty in the hot sun. Wimps.


Most of the cars were exposed to the elements, and all were wearing at least a few millimeters of dust and past road-grime, making it difficult to peer through their grubby windows at nostalgic interiors.


A few had heavy body perforations courtesy of a serious program of rusting, but many appeared to be good solid cars – even if I had to fight off the spider webs and wade through knee-high weeds to inspect.


The range of machines included a restored Subaru 360


Cedric


Gloria (including a Super 6 and some wagons)…


Fairlady Z, including this 2+2…


more than a few hakosuka, a couple of kenmeri, C210 and tekamen Skyline, an NS-X…


some more old Subaru (such as an R2)…


Bluebird (including a few SSS & Coupe)…

a smattering of twin-cammed Toyota including a Sprinter Trueno, a Lotus Europa. Plus Laurels, at least one early Crown, some Sunny, a grossly-spoilered and neoned Silvia, at least two cars sitting on flattened slicks, and a Z31.


Their second floor, above the showroom and office, is filled with boxes of parts, things wrapped in newspaper, stacks of wheels, and I am sure enough stuff to make any Japanese classic car collector weak with anticipation of possible lost parts for their hard-to-find restoration project.


With more time, a few visits back to Tochigi-ken should be planned, as even in Japan there are not too many car yards that have on hand such a wide range of kakkoii machines, including nearly every Skyline from a C10 to an R35, and a secret stash of suitable parts.

Skorj is a photographer/journalist living in Japan. You can see more of his work at Magnesium Photos.

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15 Responses to Unloved Cars of Tochigi

  1. Datman74 said:

    I remember this place, I used to live in Tochigi Ken and often drove past drooling….hehe I remember the ‘silly’ prices too. One thing I could never believe was the condition of a lot of the cars, back here in Australia anything pre 1980 is generally more rust than metal, I remember going over one of the 510’s there and not finding a speck of rust…..didn’t know about the parts though, might have to pop by next time I visit…..great post, brings back memories!

  2. Bernie-Jay said:

    Save that TE27!!!

  3. Kevin Lee said:

    this could be a future JNC museum, with future donations from the readers here :D

  4. Mark said:

    I’ve seen that laurel with the SSR mesh on Yahoo. I’d love any of the S130 2 seaters there!

  5. kingtoy said:

    I think some of those cars need to make a container trip stateside.

  6. big O said:

    All i dream about is getting my hands on a kenmeri skyline or laurel. where would I even start to look for a car like these in the US? I live in Austin tx.

  7. GEN2TWINCAM said:

    Unloved !?!?! Now that’s a misnomer!

    I’ll take the Subaru R2, thank you!!

  8. Tyler said:

    I love it. Though the black and white is very nice, I would also be interested to see the colors of these cars!

  9. Slithering said:

    That 2+2 Z made my heart skip a beat :O I was damn lucky to find my rhd HS130 in of all places South Dakota. LETS BRING EM OVER AND GET EM SOLD!

  10. Mike said:

    Needs moar pics of the white Z31

  11. Camshaft said:

    I want to rescue ALL OF THEM

  12. Tai said:

    This guy really needs to get an old warehouse or something and keep these cars out of the elements. Does anyone know some of the prices they were asking?

  13. yeng said:

    are those prices x1,000??

  14. Datman74 said:

    The prices you see on the windshields are in 10,000 yen “man”(US$100 approx), 148 denotes 148 x 10,000 or around $14,800……might sound like a lot but finding cars in as good a condition as these pretty much anywhere but Japan is near impossible….some look like they just rolled out of the factory…

  15. yeng said:

    Datman, i totally agree with you. these cars are fabulous looking. wish someone could save them all.

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