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Bugatti Type 35

What would you prefer, 100 of the Japanese car or motorbike of your choice, or a Bugatti Type 35?

Although it’s worth squillions, that didn’t stop the owner driving the car to it’s limits

Winner of the 1926 Gran Prix, it is a stunning car

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Formula 5000s at Phillip Island

Growing up in the 90’s, I was unfortunate enough to miss ever seeing the formula 5000s race. What a class – an open wheel chassis with a five litre V8, that could lap a race track about one second slower than an F1 car of the time

This Ansett No. 11 car was raced competitively back in the day by a good family friend of mine, Stuart Kostera He was at the event with me, and I could sense he was itching to have a drive

The rubber on these cars is increadible, and both front and rear tyres have stretched sidewalls

Some cars run electronic fuel injection

While others run quad 48mm webers. What a sound!

Especially when they drive past in a pack.

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Philliip Island Historic

This past weekend I travelled down to Victoria for the annual Phillip Island Historic car race meet. I had been a few years ago and enjoyed it, but with a whole new appreciation of cars this time around I simply loved it. Imagine the prettiest race track in the world (only rivaled by Ebisu) with Formula 5000s, historic touring cars and pre-war race cars roaring around. I’ll be bringing a whole lot of cool from the race over the next couple of weeks but here is a taster.

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While in Hiroshima, I took a day trip out to Miyajima, another of Japan’s famous ‘top three most beautiful places,’ and my second for the trip.

It is on an island that requires a 20 minute ferry ride to get to, with brilliantly clear water. You are greeted by this shrine that they claim floats in the water without support…

The temples and shrines are endless

Perhaps they could use this mask in the next Saw movie?

As someone with big feet, I continually struggled with the size of the slippers you are required to wear at many places – it was much more comfortable without them but that would have been rude

But when the tide goes out, you can quite clearly see the foundations of the shrine. I’m not quite sure why they make their claims?

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A visit to Kazumasa Hirota‚Äôs Workshop

After spending a few rainy days down on the Izu Peninsula – Japan’s surf capital – I jumped on a train to Hiratsuka to visit Kazumasa after we met at the JCCA event last month. This was the view I was greeted to as I arrived – not bad! He builds race car chassis for a living, and is working on an s12 Silvia at present

Please forgive the phone pictures, my Canon had run out of battery power. Kazumasa’s pit bike, with matching paint job

This is Mai Hirota, Kazumasa’s daughter, with their dog Weber. Their next two dogs will be called Dellorto and Solex! At 13 years of age, Mai was a Japanese go-kart champion, and there is a wall full of trophies in the office. She showed me a picture of her, a tiny girl, standing on the podium inbetween two fully grown men! She has raced a TS Cup KP61 Starlet before, and will be taking over driving duties from her father when he hangs up the boots – the car is in safe hands

I am a lucky boy – Kazumasa gave me a model of his sunny so I’ll bring you updates as I put it together

He also gave me a copy of a 1982 copy of Auto Technic magazine

This is just a taste, but I’ll be bringing you some content from it’s pages


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Kyoto is known as the ‘old Japan’, and for good reason. You can barely walk a few hundred metres without running into another temple or shrine. They are really quite impressive, expecially considering their structure is generally made of wood!

But of far more interest to me was how the city has modernised

with little restaurants down side alley ways

and botique sake bars with plenty of choice

It is probably my favourite city out of those I visited in Japan

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TS Cup Sunnys at Mt Fuji

This photo was hanging on the wall of Kazumasa Hirota’s workshop, owner of the TS Cup Tomei Sunny.

I’ll do a quick post about my visit later, but he and his two daughters were super-welcoming to me. Kazumasa gave me a magazine from 1982 from his collection, that has a 50 page special on the history of Sunnys racing in the TS Cup. Unfortunately it’s all in Japanese, but I’ll be scanning the pictures and bringing you as much as possible.

I fly back to Sydney tonight, but I still have about a weeks worth of posts about my trip to Japan. I’ll be posting a bit more regularly too, with reliable internet!

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