Growing up with his father, Akira, Yusaku Shibata was embraced with motor sport from the moment he arrived in this world. His life would see him behind the wheel of numerous race cars throughout a number of series, and eventually coming full circle to own and operate the tuning shop his father founded in 1985; ARVOU Motor Sports Service.
With the possibility of snowfall around Mt. Aso over the weekend, the likelihood of Autopolis Super Lap being cancelled loomed over me as I boarded my Solaseed Air flight to Aso-Kumamoto Airport.
It’s been 3 years since I had the privilege of seeing ATTKD’s GTR take on the titans of Japanese time attack at Fuji Speedway. Witnessing the somewhat lesser known car back then clock times within seconds of the fastest at the time was something that really impressed me. I know it’s not intentional, but when cars like the Top Secret S2000RR and HKS R35 GT1000 take center stage, their opponents seem to get put on the back burner. When the ATTKD GTR32 hits the track though, it’s performance alone will demand the attention back from everyone in attendance.
Years ago I had the good fortune of befriending a couple of Garage Mak customers who have close relationships with the Miyagawa brothers; owners of the Nagano based tuning powerhouse, Garage Mak. Amemiya, Tsubaki, Seki, and others, have become good friends of mine, and have also given me the opportunity to meet, and work with, the two men behind one of Japan’s most comprehensive tuning shops. This last week I made the drive out to Nagano again to talk to Tatsuhiro and Kazunori Miyagawa about the upcoming Attack season, and get a better look at their new line of R35 GTR aero.
Tucked away in the Southern countryside of Gunma, situated on a corner just behind a beautifully scarce rice field, in a very cliche Japanese building, lies a haven of meticulously crafted engine bays that rivals that of any other shop in the country. In fact, if you weren’t looking for it, it wouldn’t be hard to pass it by, writing it off as just another unmarked building in the foreground. The unassuming tuning shop Auto House Solid, is owned and operated by Hayashi Kazuyaki; the foremost authoritarian on what a clean motor package should look like.
The amount of influence that Amemiya-san has in the field of tuning Mazdas, specifically the RX-7, is arguably untouchable. The popularity of his designs and the overall originality of his creations are known not just throughout Japan, but the entire world. Walking through the showroom of Isami’s flagship shop in Tomisato, Chiba, you’re given proof of how much weight the name carries. Trophies from race events, car shows, and manufactuer recognition are plastered from one wall to the other. Momentos of achievement past and present line the glass cases along the walls of the showroom, surrounding the beautiful blue, Super GReddy clad demo car sitting front and center.
Awhile back, if I recall correctly the day I was leaving Japan, I messaged Kaz to see if he was around the shop; I had 30 or so minutes to spare and was in the neighborhood. Things generally get pretty quiet throughout the summer in the realm of time attack, and I was curious to see if Unlimited Works had anything cooking for this coming season.
As you know by now, Advance builds their shop cars specifically to take on Fuji Circuit. Their FD, which they’ve been developing for some time now, is hands down the shop’s fastest build. It’s able to lap Fuji Speedway in a very respectable 1’56; a lap time most street cars can’t touch.
Last month, when I went to Advance, there was a customer’s NSX parked on the street next to Masahiro’s. After taking chatting and taking some pictures of Yagi’s S15, I snapped a few stills of the NSX duo.
*Brushes dust off of WordPress topic*
Whew, been awhile since we’ve visited this one hasn’t it? I didn’t realize it until I went back and verified, but the last post on my personal build was all the way back in July! What the hell have I been doing the past 8 months? I can answer that for you – not working on the car. You can view the last update here to get an idea of where we’re picking up from. In all honesty I probably wouldn’t have posted anything more on the car except for a few comments I get on IG (@naritadogfight) requesting an update. I’ve pretty much just relied on the few pictures I post as a record of my progress, but since I had my camera at the shop yesterday I decided to snap a few pictures. You’ll be quick to notice not much has changed.
Awhile ago, I had messaged my friend Masahiro that I was in the area and if he was at the ADVANCE, I would stop by to say hello. Fortunately he was there, and while Sekinei made a quick trip to the DMV, I was able to chat with him and snap some pictures around the shop. There’s always something new going on here, as many of the NSX owner’s (and other car enthusiasts in general) in the Kanagawa area know, ADVANCE is one of the most knowledgeable shops for their chassis. When I arrived, one of the lead techs, Yagihashi, was working on a white NA1 but was able to take a break to chat.
If by chance you found yourself driving on the Hachioji Highway in Kitamachi, West Yokohama, there’s a possibility that you may catch sight of a bright red building in your peripheral […]
I got a few things done on the car since my last post, I mean, not much, but it’s something I suppose. I realized I hadn’t really posted many pictures of the cage, so […]
If there happened to be a collegiate panel somewhere in this world discussing the topic of ‘slow progress’, they’d probably call me in as an expert consultant. I’d inform them that the key […]
Throwing it back to last year when Jay and I stopped by Kunny’z to say hi to Kuniaki-san and Masahiko-san, seen here rocking the Uggs. I had met Kunny-san awhile back briefly, but had […]
I’ve been overdue for an update on this build for awhile now; even though not much has happened since. This past Saturday Jay and I drove over to Bardabe’s place to finally wrap up […]
I’m very excited to finally be able to release these after working to perfect them for the last month. When I offer something with the NDF name attached to it, I want to be […]
Happy to announce we just got a new shipment in from the Dreamroom of new ‘helloゆうた‘ vinyl; the official mascot of NDF. This time around we have 3 new colors to choose from: Saitama […]
I told everyone who emailed me regarding decals I would announce when we had more available, and while we’re still waiting on a couple designs to be restocked, we did just get another order […]
Voiture-502 Custom and Service Silvia at the Minkara Meeting. One of the two Silvias the shop brought out to show. Looking great with a lowdown style on SSR Longchamps. Very strong Minkara flavor. […]
High Power & Save Energy. The words that make up the entire mission statement of Revolfe S.A.; a tuning shop most famous for it’s high power, wangan inspired builds. Earlier in the week, Sekinei […]
One night in Yokohama, my friend and I went out to dinner to a restaurant in LaLa Port; a giant shopping center near Kamoi station. If you remember my last post about Advance, you’ll […]
One of the cars I was looking forward to seeing the most at Evome was the Carshop Glow FD3s. At the last Battle Evome this February it was running a new canard setup, that must […]
The store is now restocked with the ‘helloゆうた’ decals as well as a new supply of Narita Team stickers. Head over to the NDF Shop and grab some before they’re gone! We sold out much […]
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting a shop that I have had on my list for quite some time; Advance Flatout. I’ve known about this shop and it’s involvement in […]
. You can tell this was edited awhile ago because of the old watermark; proof that I have a lot of content that’s waiting to be posted. I’m almost embarrassed to call this another ‘Preview’ […]
One thing that continually amazes me about Japan is the sheer density of the place. You can spend a month contained in a one mile radius and still not see everything. I find myself in Yokohama quite often and was surprised that I had never been to ASM before. Under the arm of the Autobacs flagship name, ASM Yokohama offers not only specialized S2000 parts and tuning, but probably the best selection of Recaro seats you’ll ever find; short of catching a flight to Germany. I took a brief tour of the shop last time I was in the area – check out the pics past the break. “To the stage that no one could reach. Yes, we can!”