Tokyo Underground: Germany vs. Japan

Germany vs. Japan: In case you watched the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 just lately, you’ll know who got here out on high of that exact battle. However with regards to constructing sports activities vehicles, who does it finest – Nippon or Deutschland?

On the Tokyo Underground Meet final weekend, I set myself the duty to seek out out.


The same old battle is European vs. Japanese, however that appears a bit unfair to me. As a result of evaluating a Ferrari to a Mitsubishi is like evaluating a lion with a  – they each have fabulous hair, however one will finally eat the opposite for breakfast. So, fixing Japanese vehicles towards German vehicles – that are arguably extra snug within the tuner world than say, a McLaren – appears extra of a good struggle.


Within the black, pink and yellow nook we have now Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi and Porsche. All 4 marques have some unbelievable machines of their again catalogue, however Mercedes was the perfect represented German producer on the meet, with BMW a really shut second.


Talking of which, the wonderful thing about bringing a wagon to a global car-off is that there’s loads of house within the boot for cleansing provides, spare wheels and bins of Little Timber air fresheners. Ron featured this E34 BMW 540i in 2016, however since then it’s developed even additional, so I’ll be taking one other have a look at it very quickly.


However again to Mercedes-Benz, which was named after Karl Benz and Mercedes Jellinek. Benz was, in fact, one of many creators of the very first inner combustion engine; Mercedes was the daughter of the bloke with the financial institution roll.

If you wish to begin holding rating, I feel we can provide factors to the Germans for ingenuity and fervour, as a result of if it wasn’t for the innovations of Karl Benz and his workforce, we might not be hanging round in carparks lusting over lovely lumps of iron and choking on exhaust fumes.


So the Germans have the heft of historical past behind them, and with that weight comes a way of energy.

There’s an air of outdated cash round German vehicles. The plush leather-based interiors, the somber color pallets and the power-hungry, gas-guzzling engines all stink of opulence, status and luxurious.

The final word objective for the German automobile is to get from A to B as luxuriously and with as a lot velocity as attainable. Even when it means being stranded on the onerous shoulder of an Autobahn each from time to time.


You see, the issue with excessive energy, excessive velocity and the excessive cheekbones of the automotive monarchy is that they are typically excessive upkeep, when in comparison with the bulletproof nature of their Jap counterparts. They could be precision engineered, however these tanks are somewhat on the needy facet.


What the Germans excel at nevertheless is – regardless of the frequent pit stops – going quick for lengthy distances for lengthy durations of time. The Porsche 911 GT1 is proof that German vehicles have the heart to tackle the cream of European engineering. Then in fact there’s circuit racing, the place BMW and Mercedes-Benz turned poster vehicles of touring automobile competitions. Factors.


The cool issue of seeing these vehicles in Japan deserves a number of factors, too. After three years of dwelling right here, recognizing a Nissan Skyline GT-R within the wild has undoubtedly misplaced its wow issue. I nonetheless get excited for the JDM halo vehicles, however after I see an 190 E 2.5-16 Evo I out on the streets, it’s extra of a working throughout double lanes of visitors to snap an image stage of pleasure.

RWB – Impartial Territory


I’ve now misplaced observe of what number of factors workforce Germany have gained, however it doesn’t actually matter anyway as a result of I’m about to award all out there factors to the RWB Porsches. They’re the proper mix of German engineering and refinement, embellished with Japanese insanity and enjoyable.


RWB vehicles sit comfortably between the 2 cultures, not fairly one or the opposite. Nakai-san has made such an influence on the tuning world together with his creations that the road is blurred between East and West, and that could be a superb factor.

Many cherished to hate the brand new Supra for having a German coronary heart, however quickly realised that the A90 as a complete was extra vital than who designed what.


I feel we will all agree that the child-like pleasure and sense of humour that the Japanese have riveted onto the facet of those brutal German vehicles is one thing properly deserving of the celebration RWB vehicles obtain. The world simply wouldn’t be the identical with out Tough, and we have now each nations to thank for that.



Within the white and pink nook we have now Japan, the gracious host of this specific gathering. The Japanese could have arrived comparatively late to the automobile manufacturing recreation, however their influence on the trade has been monumental. The start of the Japanese automotive trade was rather less impressed than that of the Germans. Nonetheless, the Japanese have vehicles just like the Supra, NSX and Skyline GT-R of their nook, which is hard competitors, even for the almighty Porsche.


They started by manufacturing American and European vehicles for home use, however quickly sufficient developed their very own variations primarily based on what that they had learnt. This appears to be a trait of the Japanese; they’ve by no means actually invented the wheel, however once they reinterpret the wheel, they usually outshine the unique.


Except for the automobile, there are quite a few different examples the place the Japanese improvement of a overseas concept modified the world we dwell in. Listed below are three however there are lots of extra: The quartz watch. Excessive velocity rail (shinkansen). The Sony Walkman.

The Nissan Skyline GT-R is arguably Japan’s biggest reinvention of the wheel. It’s a automobile that may simply adapt to simply about any circuit and look good whereas doing it. Its AWD system, all-wheel steering, insane efficiency and sharp appears to be like catapulted it to alien god standing instantly.


Whereas the Audi Quattro could have been the primary correct AWD efficiency automobile, it was vehicles just like the Subaru Impreza WRX, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and aforementioned GT-R which took the platform into the stratosphere.

Let’s not overlook the rotary both, one other gem invented by the Germans, presumably as some form of very dry joke, that was developed right into a mass-produced, utterly severe engine by the Japanese. On the rotary observe, keep tuned for a function on the RX-7 above…

In addition to the other-worldly efficiency of Japanese sports activities vehicles, Japanese design most likely deserves a nod too. ‘Futuristic’, ‘on the market’ and ‘enjoyable’ are all phrases I might use to explain a few of the JDM icons we all know and love.


Then there’s automobile tradition in Japan. Recognised the world over as being eclectic, in some way relaxed and loopy on the identical time, well mannered, thoughtful and simply plain cool. The proud but humble Japanese lovers feed off one another to create a automobile tradition in contrast to wherever else on the earth. That should be value a number of factors.


It’s a automobile tradition which, regardless of English being a comparatively alien language right here, accepts and embraces all manufacturers, marques and folks with real hospitality.


So on the finish of the day, it actually doesn’t matter which nation builds the perfect vehicles, as a result of there actually isn’t something higher than automobile tradition itself. That’s the actual winner.

I’ll depart you right here, with a ultimate gallery chapter under, as a result of it’s about having fun with all of the totally different flavours for their very own distinctive quirks. Automobile tradition is a canine park on Sunday; every beast is as wonderful as the remainder so let’s embrace their brilliance with out bias or judgment.

Toby Thyer
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