I almost didn't get out to the Toyota MegaWeb during my time in Tokyo. I had read about it before going, but it seemed a bit out of the way and possibly hard to get to depending on what hostel we ended up staying at. I couldn't have been more wrong about that. My friend passed by it while checking some other places out and told me that I HAD to go, and so I decided to figure out exactly how to get there.
A quick Google search told me that it wouldn't be all that hard to get to, just a couple trains and a little walking. So I made my plan to be there a little before 10:00am when it opened, so that I could also quickly check out the only Vans store in Tokyo that was conveniently located nearby.
The next morning I packed my belongings and cleaned up my bunk, as it was our last day at the hostel in tokyo and we'd be leaving on the shinkansen towards Osaka in the afternoon.
I walked over the metro entrance just around the corner from the hostel and followed the signs underground to the first train. While switching to the second train a little later I was excited to see that it would be above ground and not below like all the others I'd taken within Tokyo.
Finally I was able to get a better idea of the layout of the city, because constantly travelling underground though a city that you aren't familiar with can be quite disorienting.
I'd even recommend taking this particular line for the sole purpose of getting to see the city from a different perspective. Tokyo definitely has some great architecture worth seeing, and the line actually crosses inside the bridge pictured above.
The History Garage is located inside part of a mall, and just a short walk away in a separate building is the MegaWeb City Showcase. Because I was coming from a nearby mall where the Vans store was, I ended up going into the History Garage through a side-door, rather than the main entrance.
Immediately, I found myself in the middle of an awesome diorama of '60s America, which included a '64 Mustang, a '63 Stingray, a '59 Impala and some really good-looking gas pumps. Definitely not what I expected to see in Japan, but obviously very cool no matter where you're from.
Instead of continuing through the dioramas, I decided to start by going through this grand hallway that was absolutely stocked full of historic memerobilia.
Upon turning the corner into the next room, my jaw dropped.
At this point I had to message the others and let them know that I wouldn't be meeting them at the owl cafe for lunch because I was alone in a room with a Hakosuka Skyline. I couldn't even tell you how long I've been dreaming of owning an R32 Skyline GTR, and to get to see the original GTR was too damn cool. The RS Watanabe wheels it was wearing made it that much more awesome.
I spent what felt like forever just looking over the car and taking in the details. (I may have also touched it, I couldn't help myself)
The Hakosuka wasn't the only cool car in the room though. Across the room was one very rare Fairlady Z. This special edition 432 has the same S20 engine from the Hakosuka, and less than 500 were built.
Next to the skyline was a well-kept AE86 Levin, and a gorgeous Celica 1600 GT.
Around the corner were some cute Italian classics.
A little further ahead, and wrapping up the top floor of the history garage, this 1953 Citroen Traction Avant was looking quite menacing in its corner of the street. Fun fact: this was one of the first cars to be mass-produced with front-wheel drive, as well as one of the first with a unibody, and four-wheel independent suspension (when production started in 1934).
Just below on the main floor is the café, lounge, and store.
On display in front of the store was the three-time winner of the Kenya Safari Rally, the Celica TA64.
The store was full of cabinets containing tons of highly detailed, very expensive models (AutoArt, Ignition), as well as some smaller, more affordable collectables.
A quick and easy way to convert Yen to US dollars is to move the decimal two places to the left, so 17000 Yen becomes roughly $170 (currently $151 US, $186 CAD). Yes, that's for one car, not both, and they weren't the highest priced either.
Between the store and the Motorsports Heritage room was a huge display of cars from the Rally Car Modellers Community. Front and center was Toyota's new 4wd turbocharged Yaris WRC, but I couldn't help but admire what is, in my opinion, the best looking WRC car in history, the Subaru STI 22B.
The last room of the History Garage was the Motorsports Heritage room, which really only showed Toyota's history in rally, but was still very cool.
The first car that caught my eye was this Celica GT-Four ST185, simply because it was the only car in the room that looked like it'd been through war. Turns out this is the car that won Toyota's fourth consecutive Safari Rally in 1995.
Across the room was an earlier model GT-Four, which was the winner of the 1990 Safari Rally. The ST165 was Toyota's first full-time 4wd rally car, and also the first Japanese car to win a WRC drivers championship in 1990 (Driven by Carlos Sainz).
Moving on to the last car in the room, and also my favorite...
The 1997 Toyota Corolla WRC. Although not as successful as the Celica, it did bring toyota the WRC manufacturers title in 1999 before they backed out of WRC to focus on Formula 1. This particular car was a prototype, but it looks exactly like the cars that raced from '97 to '99. I just think it looks so good with the widened arches, classic Castrol livery, and white Speedline type 2013 wheels.
One of the employees saw me admiring it and even offered to open the hood for me. This car featured a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder that made 300hp, a 6-speed sequential and 4wd, which was normal of WRC cars of the time.
Before leaving the History Garage, I grabbed some pictures of the restoration area, where it looked like a DeLorean was getting some work done, and what looked like a Series 1 Citroen DS being restored from the ground up.
Outside in the courtyard were a few more cool cars. In order of appearance: Honda S800, Toyota Sports 800, Subaru 360, and Datsun Bluebird SSS (510 in America).
That was it for the History Garage, and I made my way over to the Toyota City Showcase in another building nearby.
(Okay I may have gone back upstairs to look at the Hakosuka one last time)
The bottom floor was a showroom for Toyota's latest models, but I didn't find anything interesting until I climbed to the second floor.
All alone in a corner of the second floor was the gorgeous FT-1 concept. I remember being shocked to see it at the Montreal Auto Show, of all places.
Toyota made two FT-1s, and only one was red, which means that this is the exact car that I saw two years ago. I don't care for the front end much, but the rest of the car is so aggressive, and beautifully sculpted. Hopefully when Toyota unveils the new Supra (possibly in october) it'll maintain some of the FT-1's lines.
On the other side of the building were some interesting modified GT86s, this one being one of 100 GRMN models built by Toyota's Gazoo racing division in 2016 to be sold only in Japan.
This special edition model features a whole bunch of carbon fiber goodies, as well as polycarbonate windshields, to reduce it's weight by about 100 pounds. It also has 16 more horsepower and 9 more pound-feet of torque thanks to upgraded internals. Gazoo also updated the suspension, brakes, wheels, interior, and diffuser, which houses the unique single center-mounted exhaust pipe.
Behind the GRMN were a couple new GT86s that had been shown the full TRD treatment. Although not exactly to my taste, the rear window louvers and top-mounted wing were pretty cool.
Just next to the GT86s was the insane Gazoo Racing LFA, which came 1st in it's class and 15th overall in the 2012 Nurburgring 24hr endurance. You have to hear this car to understand how crazy it really is. Earphone listeners beware.
Sitting just to the right was a car that somehow made the ear-piercing LFA look tame. The Lexus RC-F GT500's turbocharged 4-cylinder engine definitely doesn't sound as good as the LFA's V10, but the bodywork is incredible. Check out the detail in the carbon fiber grill!
Last, but definitely not least, the car that almost brought Toyota their first ever Le Mans victory in 2016.
With three minutes to go on the final lap of the 24hr race, and an almost certain victory, Toyota's #5 LMP1 lost power and stopped dead next to the pit lane. An absolutely heartbreaking loss for a team that deserved the win. Here's the video if you haven't seen it.
That's the end of my story on the Toyota MegaWeb & History Garage. I was a bit disappointed that there was no Supra, 2000GT, or GT-One, but the cars in the building seem to change often to keep things fresh, and getting to see a Hakosuka Skyline made up for everything. If you made it this far, I hope you enjoyed it, and if you're travelling in the Tokyo area, don't hesitate to check this place out. If not for the cars, ride the train for the views.