One Grande Coffee With a Side of Cars Please!

Ever since becoming active in the Japanese automotive culture, I made a discovery that one substance that goes well with cars is coffee.  The mood lifting qualities of the magic drink combine perfectly with sounds of engines as well as enhance personal skills of the vehicle owners.


Hence the common tradition of "cars and coffee" that has been rising in popularity in California has found its way to Japan.

Despite early morning temperatures still rather chilling in March, the first month of spring is a perfect time for owners to dust of their rare rides and make their way to Daikanyama T-Site.
Joined by a couple of friends TokyoCarGuy was there at 7AM sharp craving for some motoring fun and a warm cup of Starbucks brew.

Known for a very relaxed and posh atmosphere accompanied by ridiculously high parking fees Daikanyama T-site was transforming into a one-of-a-kind car gathering

where everyone with a car was welcome.

And speaking of cars, some of them were absolutely fabulous.  Where else can you such rare Renault Sport Spider in such great shape?

This time, however, the theme of the day was "Caterham"

As they showed up in numbers taking a big part of the parking lot,

showing how much time and effort they put into tuning and perfecting their rides.

What can I say, Japanese love customizing their cars.  The phenomenal combination of passion, craftsmanship and common sense is ever present and when it comes to customizing such pure car as Caterham their approach is even more visible. 

Sometimes I just wish that people who are involved in customizing their cars would direct their passion towards manufacturing and be in charge of major car makers.

But today is not about major car manufactures; as Caterham Japan had something special up their sleeve.

The Seven 160 made its first public appearance in front of this crowd.  Fully road legal and finalized it was presented to us before even the press got to it.

The 660cc 3 cylinder turbo-charged Suzuki engine is indeed tiny.  Barely exceeding the size of this coolant container it sits at the very front of the car, which is a bit unusual for such long bonnet machines.  According to Justin Gardiner, the CEO of Caterham Cars Japan, the engine had to be moved forward to balance the car.  It weighs so little that putting it in the middle, where most manufacturers try to place heaviest parts made the car back-heavy and prone to under-steer.

New Caterham does indeed look promising, but this being Japan, it was not the only car here.   As sun was pointing towards the second serving of coffee even more cars began to arrive showing the awesome diversity of Japanese car culture.

Lotus is one of those manufacturers that has won its place among Japanese car enthusiasts.  I am seeing more and more of these Evora's on Tokyo streets and I am liking it. 

It is not everyday, however that I get to see one of these. The rare and absolutely mad Lotus 2-Eleven race car defines driving perfection. 

But for me, Lotus can be summed up to this: The beautiful S2 Esprit, made famous by the legendary car chase in Roger Moore's 007 "The Spy Who Loved Me".  I gotta watch it again!

From Lotus to Ferrari.  Of course these meetings won't go without a couple of prancing horses showing up....

Older models soon joined by a couple of current ones looking as gorgeous.  Japanese are indeed very unorthodox in choosing colors for their Italian Supercars. 

This meet was turning into a truly global event.  Austria is not amajor automotive country, but when they do make something it's indeed special.  Seeing the KTM Xbow this close for the first time was mind boggling. 

There are different  ways to enjoy open air hooning at 7AM on Sunday morning in Tokyo, and while pushing the KTM to the limit, living every day as if it was your last is one thing, cruising around in a 3 wheeler Morgan is a completely different experience.  This car takes all possible oddness in automotive world and throws them in one bucket.  Whether it's the front mounted Harley Davidson engine, or exhaust pipes of strange legality, or the seemingly out of place posh leather interior, the car defines uniqueness. 

The car the defines pure automotive fun, however is this track-ready Ginetta G12.  There is so much purity in its form that every now and we have to stop and ask ourselves: is anything we see in cars today actually needed?  Well, maybe the roof.

There was plenty of room for JDM classics in this meet which were proudly represented by this S30 sounding absolutely awesome.  It reminded me of the ones we saw at Nostalgic 2 Days not so long ago.

Interestingly, JDM can be represented without a Japanese car.  Hold on now, let me explain.  The owner of this Rover 75 kept the JDM appeal with upgraded suspension, brakes, and perfectly fitted Enkei wheels, creating possibly the best looking Rover ever! 

We were then brutally interrupted by a thunderous roar of something special.  Indeed, there are many AC Cobra replicas driving around today,

...but a closer look revealed that this was not one of them.

Original interior with manufacturer badge, containing VIN number can only mean one thing,

that everything, including this magnificent engine is 100% original.  I don't know the history of this car or how much restoration has been done, but given the condition of the machine and abundance of original parts I can only say that this car is absolutely priceless.  It does feel special to see cars like out in the wild.

As it was getting closer to opening hours of the nearby shops, the uniqueness in the parking lot has slowly been replaced by blandness.

As the incredible rides were slowly making their way out of the lot the only logical question, with one obvious answer was "what's next"?  Nobody wanted to go home at 9 in the morning.

I guess it was a foregone conclusion; as we hit the streets; our destination was set to Daikoku PA, which will be featured in Part 2 of this coverage.

Thank you for reading, everyone, please check back for Part 2 in next few days and don't forget to share, follow and comment!

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