All posts filed under: Motorhead

2000GT Documentary

Sean Connery drove the Toyota 2000GT in the 1967 Bond movie “You Only Live Twice.” In Japan, a 13-year-old boy called Michio saw the iconic Toyota on the cinema screen, and it became his dream car. The 2000GT was Japan’s first supercar, extremely expensive and very rare. This mini documentary is the story of how Michio spent the next 40 years striving to achieve his goal. We filmed the interview and driving sequences in winter 2019 and spring 2020 just before COVID-19, and I spent lockdown editing when possible. Murata-san, his wife (a jazz singer whose tracks are used in the documentary), and his 2000GT are doing well. He’s even started restoration on an early VW Beetle convertible. I’ve had the pleasure of photographing Murata-san’s various restored cars over the last decade. And although I haven’t driven any, there are a few pictures I’ve shot that make Yuki and I look like we’ve upgraded our vehicles recently! I hope others enjoy watching this documentary as much as we enjoyed making it. Murata-san has introduced us …

Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale

A few pics from a recent shoot with some beautiful Italian craftsmanship. The first couple of shots show the difference created by lens selection. Both were shot with the 645Z camera but for the image above I used the 35mm wide angle lens and the image below is the 90mm. For these final shots I have to thank Patrick for driving so that I could get images of the car in motion. A really fun shoot!

Godzilla – Nissan GTR

A fun shoot with another Japanese icon. The Nissan GTR is a technological marvel, able to make far more expensive European and American supercars look archaic and sluggish. Shot with the 645Z and 25mm lens. Shutter speed was kept relatively slow at 1/125 to show motion on the road. A huge thanks to Michael for bringing his beast to the shoot.

A Close Call

Had an eventful day today. As I was leaving the Okinawa expressway at the Ishikawa exit, in my rearview mirror I glanced a white car hurtling up behind me. I guess it was doing about 120 KPH exiting the expressway and not slowing at all. The car swerved around me hit the railing, careened across the road hitting the road markers and grass, but didn’t stop. It seemed the driver kept his foot to the floor as he veered back across the road hit the railing again then ricocheted back across again up the grass and drove along the banking. I thought he was going to flip, but he dropped back to the road, and kept on going. He went through the little tunnel under the expressway and then amazingly through the automatic barrier of the toll gate. I continued following him, as he bounced off more sidings. He reached the major junction bounced over the kern, hit the median, and the car came to a halt. I stopped my car at the lights, took …


Things seem to be back to normal in Okinawa. Yesterday I went for a drive to the north of the island, and noticed this parking space at one of the convenience stores. These E.V. (electric vehicle) charging stations are starting to appear across Okinawa. There are some at the expressway service areas , and I even spotted one all the way up in Higashi Village. This is a quite uplifting, a really positive sign for the future, especially following days of seeing catastrophic images on the news. I also saw my first Nissan Leaf electric car. Okinawa is pretty much perfect for electric vehicles. The islands compact size means that all journeys should be less than the official 100 mile range of the Leaf (and also less than the EPA’s  estimated range  for the Leaf of 73 miles). My hope is that the Leaf, and similar vehicles, will become the standard rental cars on the island. Great for the environment, great for the lungs of pedestrians and cyclists, great for the car companies to showcase …

Suzuki on the beach.

I’d been planning to take this shot for about a year, but kept on being distracted by other things. Drove car on to a deserted Okinawan beach in the middle of the day. Took some photos, drove home. I shot this with a wide angle Pentax-FA 645 35mm. The lens is exceptionally sharp and is thought by some as the best medium format lens available. I’ll be shooting a lot more with this lens over the following month. Glad to have it in my camera bag as I was really missing a wide angle on my last trip.

Fast cars, slow roads.

A Japanese motoring website just reviewed the much anticipated Nissan GTR specV sports car. The V-spec is the faster, lighter version of what was already one of the fastest sports cars on the planet. The video however is a great example of the paradox for sports cars in Japan: fast cars, slow roads. Speed limits in Japan are surprisingly low. In cities the maximum is usually 40 or 50 kilometers an hour. Toll-road expressways have speed limits of 100 kph ( and in Okinawa only 80 kph). In rural areas of Japan the low speed limits continue. Unlike Britain where country roads often have 60 mile per hour  limits,  many deserted rural roads are still restricted to 40 kilometers an hour. Unless you live close to a track the Nissan GTR specV is simply all dressed up with nowhere to go. The motoring journalist in the video however happily hurtles along  past signs and road markings for 50 kilometers an hour. This disregard for the speed limit isn’t unusual, it’s epidemic. If you simply drive with …

Goodbye Honda Sports Cars

In 2005 Honda ceased production of the fantastic NSX super-car. In December 2008 the company announced that plans to produce a new generation NSX had been cancelled.  In the same month Honda also announced it was leaving F1 racing. This summer Honda ceased production of the S2000 sports car. This was another truly great sports car, and that’s not just my opinion,  it was ranked number 1 three years in a row on the BBC’s Top Gear Survey (2004, 2005, 2006).  Honda no longer make a true sports car. The company’s Japanese website still carries the above sketch of  two Honda S-cars on the homepage, but it’s just a little sad that, when it comes to sports cars, nostalgia seems to be the only thing that remains.

Harley Riders in Okinawa

Along with the presence of Dr Pepper, A&W and Spam, the military presence in Okinawa has led to the popularity of another American icon – the Harley. On weekends there are often groups of bikers cruising up route 58 towards Cape Hedo, and once a year many of the riders parade along Gate 2 street as part of the local festival. Fantastic bikes, but as a Brit, I’d rather have a Triumph. 🙂

Eco Police

Earlier this year I wrote a post titled Police Performance about the use of high performance Japanese sports cars by police. It turns out however that another Japanese motoring icon, the electric Mitsubishi I-MiEV, will be soon helping the boys in blue.