We need thought that we’d be back in Japan within this year. We certainly planned for next year though for the Tokyo Auto Salon. It was back in June when Kazunori Miyamoto threw the idea of having us documenting an event in Nagoya. It’s an hour DVD production of the event, Autolegend 2013.
None of us have any idea about the event until we stumbled upon its website, and as usual it’s all in Japanese. It turned out Autolegend is quite similar to the Art of Speed that was held earlier this year at Citta Mall. Autolegend was first held in Port Messe, Nagoya back in 2010 organized by none other than the infamous Rocky Auto.
After months of wait for confirmation as it turned out that we have a competitor eyeing for the job as well, Miyamoto finally confirmed that we’ve been selected for the job less than a month prior to the event. It was quite a comfort traveling by MAS instead of AirAsiaX. Better food gets better as it’s free and having a number of movies to choose from is quite a luxury considering that it takes 6 – 7 hours flight to Japan.
We arrived a day earlier via Narita Airport and thanks to Miyamoto-san and Kobe-san who picked us up at the airport, we saved 100 bucks each from taking the train to Tokyo Central. Once we arrived in Shibuya, we had a quick breakfast at the Freshness Burger before heading to Creatuer Building for meeting. Once it’s all been sorted out, we head to Sakura Hotel in Hatagaya, unpacked and went for a walk.
The day after, we head to Nagoya which is about 400 clicks from Tokyo. It’s a four-hour plus drive via the highway. Driving in Japan is totally different compared to Malaysia. No zig-zagging and everyone adhere to the speed limit, which is 120km/h. I was itching to speed up but the scenery just took my breath away… that and the discipline of the drivers got me infected to the law-abiding driver syndrome. After all, a ticket in Japan cost 3000 bucks minimum and I just can’t afford that!
A short stop at the R&R in Shizuoka had us trying new cuisine. It’s kinda steamboat thingy complete with sweet soy sauce minus the spiciness that we Malaysians are so used to. The scenery at the R&R was picture perfect and we had only a moment to savor it. We arrived at Port Messe, Nagoya close to 4.00pm and we’re introduced to Yoshiya Watanabe-san, owner of Rocky Auto as well as the head of the organizer of Autolegend. Simply said, he’s our boss for the weekend. He’s well-built and was in a jumpsuit, getting his hands dirty working on the preparation as well. It was preparation day, and we went straight to work right after gawking at some of the cars there.
Our presence there caught the exhibitors attention but we kept a straight face and went ahead with work. Once in awhile, we went for a drink while gawking at ’em cars and bikes as well. Having the opportunity to be there while they’re preparing for the opening day the day after, surely was something that can only be experienced and not explained. Simply said, despite the lack of rest and fluid as it was quite hot in the dome of Port Messe… we’re in modders’ heaven!
The very next day, we arrived early by 7.00am after leaving Port Messe at 9.00pm the day after for dinner and straight to bed for a good night rest in a usually cramped up hotel in Japan. Some of the crews as well as exhibitors were there as well for a last minute preparation. Two hours prior to the opening, there was already a queue to enter Port Messe, and they waited in patience as well. There were quite a number of activities in Port Messe and outside as well. Cars and bikes varies from stock restoration to modded and restored Japanese classics as well as the American muscles, both old and new. Supercars and imports came in full force as well, from the old race-spec 956 Rothmans Porsche to Lamborghini Diablo SV, Ferrari F40, Mustang, Saleen, Challenger SRT, chopped-top and modded Fiat 500 to name a few.
As for the Japanese classics, the Hakosuka took the stage at most of the exhibitors as well as the S30 and 280Z. Rocky Auto’s main attraction were the full CF both wet and dry carbon fibre Hakosuka and S30 in all its glory and perfection. There was quite a number of Kenmarie Skylines on display as well. Drag machines were in varieties of looks and set-ups. For the first time, we got the opportunity to get up close and personal to funny cars. The sheer set-up would sent chills up to your spine.
Outdoors was the place for the super cars’ dyno challenge as well as the demo of the drag machines. Cranking it and revving it up deafened the crowd nevertheless they enjoyed it to the max despite the side effect of being temporarily deaf for the next few days. Live performances by Cools, Yokohama Ginbae and a whole lot of other bands had the crowd dancing and singing along to the classic rock tunes and it was a blast. We felt that we’re out of place as we’re surrounded by those reliving the 60s and 70s complete with attire and hairstyle. It was as if we went back in time. The next day since it was a Sunday, the parking lots were full to the brim it was chaotic in a civilized kinda way. The reception of Autolegend was astounding to say the least. We’ll be looking forward to Autolegend 2014 for sure. Anybody wanna tag along? 😛
words: hage’ pix: Hazwan Najims, Jeo & hage’