Event: NDF x FRS Casual Summer Cafe

I don’t think it’s a secret that I prefer racing events to car shows.  One look at the past articles on this site will paint a pretty clear picture.  I get a lot of questions regarding if I’d ever consider hosting a meet here in the US; and the answer is generally ‘I don’t think so’ (maybe an invite only track event…).  Despite it being held almost 4 years ago, the Winter Cafe was overwhelming for just 2 people to manage and I’d hate to run into that situation again.  That’s precisely whey we began these little casual meetings between NDF and FRS.

The guys representing NDF Japan and the Fun Ride Sharing group are usually able to get together just once or twice a year.  Being so spread across the country makes it difficult to meet on a regular basis.  A lot of guys are up in Nagano, some people like Takaya are all the way in the Kyoto and Osaka areas.  As you can tell, there is a pretty large geographical spread there.  Since our last series of pop-up meets were such a success, we decided to hold another one as I was going to be in Japan on business anyway.  We actually had one in 2017 that wasn’t recorded for the site – which I enjoyed very much.  Which is most likely among the top reasons I enjoy the scope of these smaller meets; I get to socialize much more than a large gathering.  The time spent is more meaningful for me.

The meeting was moved last minute to Umihotaru because of forecasted rain; monsoon season in Japan brings unexpected storm cells more often that not.  The venue we had originally planned on using was exposed, and car meets in the rain are about as fun as track days in the middle of Summer (not fun at all); so, given the distance some people were driving, it was decided to proactively relocate the meeting.

I had met with Sekinei earlier in the evening so we could drive out together.  We stopped by his shop where Matt is storing his car so that he get a chance to stretch it’s legs on the expressway.  He had recently got it in form to pass shaken and was itching to take it out – this meet provided the perfect opportunity to do just that.

From the Kawasaki side of the Aqua-Line we headed towards Umihotaru around midnight.

In typical fashion we were late to arrive, and so there were already a lot of people there.  Those driving out from far away actually arrived in the Tokyo area earlier in the day.  Eisuke Sato, a friend I see more often on a race track than in a parking garage, was front and center as we pulled around.

His R32 is a great compromise between a street car and all out race car.

Morita-san made the drive out with Hayashi-san in his EVO 6

You may recognize this 180 from my visit to Garage Mak last year.  It belongs to Uchiyama-san who made the drive down from Saitama – coincidentally where we had been staying a few weeks ago.

Last I saw it in Nagano it was undergoing somewhat of an exaggeration with all new exterior pieces from Garage Mak.  The end product looks great!

One of the main reasons we held the meet this Summer was to debut the car that Masao has been working on over the past 8 months under the Dogfight Japan Body Works name.  Takaya-san, who owns the car, was involved in an accident last year.  The damage was reparable, but he took the opportunity to see what Masao could craft for him in the form of a one-off widebody.  The finished kit has garnered a lot of attention just from the few photos posted on the NDF Japan Instagram page.  I’ll have a full feature soon, but currently am working on a different project that includes the build that unfortunately doesn’t allow me to post up many pictures just yet.

Masao drove his R34 out to Umihotaru, and also had a friend drive out his 180 to show as well.

I really enjoy this car.  Looks great with the new wheels.

Ito’s newly revised FC!  Hayashi from Auto House Solid just wrapped this up a few weeks ago with an entirely new exterior, new paint, new stripped and painted interior with updated cage, and full fiberglass dash.  The interior wasn’t 100% complete yet, but it was still cool to see the change.

If you don’t remember the car, you can see the old feature here.

Amemiya made the long trek with some of the other friends from Nagano with his S15.  I was pretty stoked to see the newest revision to his carbon fenders that came in the form of this specific middle vent.  It seems like every time I see this car it’s changed a bit, but no matter how much it changes or Ame adds on to it, it never seems to get too overboard.  I don’t know if that’s a testament to his vision or if the S15 is just able to be that aggressive looking (I mean, look at Under’s car).

Pretty cool R32 with some mild exterior upgrades owned by Mr. Takahiro.

Yuuki and his Garage Mak Revolution kitted Z33 that was just recently featured in Super Street.  I think it’s incredibly cool that so many of the Garage Mak built cars in Japan are still sporting our collaboration rocker decal from the ‘Achieve’ series we featured a few years ago.

Very clean FD

Seki, one of the founders of FRS, of course made it out.  Always great to see how his car evolves over time.  Seki recently started remodeling his house and garage, and jokingly told me that eventually carboys begin modifying their houses as well.

His car isn’t registered at the moment, but he threw on some borrowed dealer plates and made the drive.

I had to do a double take at this car because at first I thought that it was a completely different car that what I originally remembered.  It actually turned out to be the same 180 owned by Yachita-san that first attended our Winter Cafe, and subsequent FRS meetings since.  It looks completely different!  Seki’s style really rubbed off on him as he kind of handed the reigns over to him to remake the exterior.  The car is finally painted entirely one color (purple of course) and the URAS kit has been modified like no other.

Looks wild.

It really matches his personal style now.

Very nice FD on RPF1’s that was painted in a glossy, semi-translucent grey color.

Tom’s kitted FRS.

Masao was checking out Matt’s car – not sure what they were looking at.

TanTan’s 180 – she’s the main photographer for NDF Japan.

Masao’s personal 180.

Looks good with no GT Wing.

Yuichi’s Z32 keeps getting better and better as well.  I like the current ride height on the 18″ Nismo wheels.

…and finally, the NDF Japan demo car.  Takaya’s 180 stole the night – even people that weren’t attending the meeting came to look at it.  I wish I could show you more at the moment.  Check out NDF Japan for some individual shots.

All in all it was a great night, despite not leaving the PA until 3:30 in the morning.  Thank you to everyone who made the long drive to spend time with friends.  Thanks for viewing. Enjoy!