Locale: Garage Mak Total Tuning – Aokijima, Nagano

About a week after arriving in Japan, I received a message from my good friend Tsubaki.  Since I photographed his S15 for Import Tuner back in 2014, we’ve always made sure to stay in touch as the years pass.

For the past few months his S15 had been at Garage Mak getting repaired and fitted with their new Type 6 front end.  Until recent, he had been so busy with work and with responsibilities as a new father, he had little time to spend on cars.

“Hi Sean, welcome to Japan!  Blue Shark will be delivered on June 4th.  If your plan is ok, I want to go to Garage Mak with you.”

A day trip to Nagano from Saitama wasn’t something I had planned, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t possible.  I’m no stranger to long days when I’m in Japan and this wouldn’t be any different.  So, the following day we planned out my route; a 3.5 hour series of train rides from Misato station from my temporary home in Saitama, to Matsumoto station in Nagano.  When the 4th rolled around, I woke up at 5am, gathered my things, and walked to the station.  I took local lines to Tachikawa station outside of Tokyo, and transferred to the Azusa 75 line; a limited express train that would take me the rest of the way to Nagano.  Admittedly, I really enjoy trains in Japan, especially when I spoil myself with reserved seating on rapid lines.  It was a relaxing hour enjoying the change of scenery as we headed into the mountainous areas of Nagano.

When I arrived Tsubaki, or Bakky, picked me up outside the station with his friend Masato and we headed out for Garage Mak; a little under an hour by car.

We arrived and were immediately greeted by Amemiya-san and his ever-changing, carbon clad S15.  Ame’s car was among the first to have the Type 6 front end but naturally his is in full carbon fiber.

There’s actually little left on this car that isn’t carbon, as the hood, front fenders, bumper, dashboard, mirrors, rear overs, side windows, trunk and wing have all been changed to carbon alternatives.  I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a carbon roof in the cars future.

Unfortunately, we picked one of the brightest, hottest days of the year to come to the shop.  It was extremely difficult even with an array of filters to photograph in such blinding light.  It did, however, make the weave of the carbon very vivid.

The Garage Mak Type 6 front end for the S15 was inspired by GT cars.

Looks like Ame switched out the massive end plates on the GT wing for a more mild set for driving around town.  I photographed this car back in 2018, you can see it here, and compare the differences over the past 4 years.

It really is a ‘living’ build, proof of Amemiya’s passion for the chassis.  From taillights, the vents, side skirts, front bumpers, canards, engine settings, power levels, and more, it seems as if he cycles through modifications more than most people I know.

One of the most talked about parts that Garage Mak produces, I think, are these fender gurney flaps.

Earlier in the week, Amemiya saw that I retweeted something about a Danbo figured I was looking for.  He came across this Danbo folding container on Amazon and managed to buy the last two haha – he gifted me one when we arrived.  So nice!  It’s perfect because Danbo is actually a box (kind of)…so is that irony, or life imitating art…or something.

Type 6 is noticeably more boxy that their earlier revision of the Revolution aero.

RS05RR are the wheels of choice for a lot of the cars coming out of this shop, as they have close ties with Enkei.

Amazing profile on these cars.

Tsubaki’s newly finished car on the right, also sporting a new set of wheels; GTC01RR with 295 series Advan tires all around.

Tsubaki and Amemiya chatting about their cars, or maybe about how hot it was.

Amemiya’s S15 has a ridiculously practical interior for how insane this build is.  Imagine having a 1,000+hp SR20, sequential transmission, and watching TV with the air conditioner on full blast.

Neat 180 for sale on the lot.


Tsubaki’s car, which could be considered a more street inspired look for a Garage Mak car, also has the new Type 6 front end but retains the older side skirts and his original rear end and wing setup.

The interior also remains pretty much the same, however, unlike Amemiya’s, Tsubaki’s interior is a but more circuit inspired.  Reducing weight by forgoing carpet, headliner, and replacing the door cards and dash with carbon units.  The back seats are also completely stripped.

The blue on this S15, which isn’t actually a custom color, comes from a factory car.  Although, even after all these years, he still won’t let anyone know what car its from.

The last time I saw this GTR was when it was getting towed off track at Fuji Speedway with a broken transmission!  Back in 2017, however, when we first introduced the car on NDF, it was much more mild.

With Tatsuhiro, one of the two Miyagawa brothers,  behind the wheel, this black GTR turns a lap at Tsukuba in 56.55 seconds, making it the 4th fastest GTR at Tsukuba Circuit – just behind their white GTR, which ran a 55.455 this season to become the 3rd fastest GTR at TC2000.  Number 1 and 2 are the Phoenix Power GTR with a 55.455, and the K2 Racing GTR with a 56.312.

One of the cleanest 180s I’ve seen – part of the brothers personal collection.

 

The aforementioned ‘White’ GTR, 3rd fastest R35 at Tsukuba.  It was currently under the knife getting a full engine rebuild for next season.  The plan is to bump the power up to 1,200hp this time.

Check out the welded and tapped clamps to keep the couplers together on the intercooler piping.

After we chatted a bit and caught up with life, it was about time we took off to drop Tsubaki’s car off at his house, just south of Garage Mak. I rode with Masato in the BMW and snapped some photos of the S15 on the expressway back to the suburbs.

Heading back to Matsumoto area.

Getting gas for the first time in years probably haha

And back in the suburbs at Bakkys new house.

A successful delivery.  After we relaxed at home for a bit, and before taking off back home (I was on a tight schedule), we decided to take some photos of Masato’s S13.  Those will be coming soon in the next post.  Thanks for watching, and be sure to check out our YouTube channel as we’re uploading more often now.