The world is utterly divided and in turmoil right now, so this is exactly the kind of story we need. Recently, an R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R was restored by expert mechanics as part of their duties for one of Japan’s largest car companies. Except, the company wasn’t Nissan. It was their age-old rival, Toyota.
Why would Toyota do such a thing? If you’ve ever been to the History Garage next to Toyota’s MegaWeb showroom in Odaiba, Tokyo, you’ll understand. The garage and display area are owned by Toyota, but the rotating display of classic cars feature models from all over the world, not just Toyota’s own family tree. You’ll see everything from a BMW Isetta to a C2 Corvette, and offerings from every Japanese carmaker.
All of the cars in the History Garage are driveable, and the staff periodically take them out on demonstration runs and let the public ride along. On the lower level of the History Garage is the Restore Pit, where maintenance and restoration take place. You can even look in on the technicians as you visit the gift shop (which has a tremendous selection of diecast cars). The technicians are typically older gentlemen that have put in many years with Toyota’s manufacturing side, and know cars inside out.
If you’ve been, you also know that the space is not big and often has several cars undergoing restoration crammed into it at the same time. That must have made the R32 project even tougher but the technicians make the best of the situation, working with just jack stands and a cherry picker to drop the drivetrain like us shadetree schmoes at home. The only outsourcing was the paint and body work, as the site isn’t really set up for that kind of work.
The restoration began at the start of 2019, so it’s taken about a year and a half to complete. We don’t recall seeing an R32 in our past visits there, so it may be a new addition to the collection. Or, it could be a job for the Toyota Automobile Museum in Nagoya, which the Restore Pit sometimes undertakes. One does wonder if they only chose to do it now that Nissan is remaking restoration parts for the R32.
Maybe it’s what’s going on in the rest of the world that makes us feel all fuzzy about this. It’s touching to see one carmaker paying respect to the greats from another, and showing such camaraderie is good for the greater car hobby as well. If Toyota can proudly restore a Nissan, then maybe there’s hope for the rest of us.
Images courtesy of Toyota.