Featured: From Volvo 240s To Ferrari F50s, These Are The Cars That Showed Up To The Hanyu End Of Year Meet In Japan

From Volvo 240s To Ferrari F50s, These Are The Cars That Showed Up To The Hanyu End Of Year Meet In Japan

By Ken Saito
February 20, 2019

Photography by Ken Saito

When someone says “car meet in Japan,” the first thing that comes to mind is probably something like the Daikoku parking area, if not a scene straight out of Tokyo Drift. Cars with too many decals, high-rise spoilers with questionable functionality, and generous amounts of neon underglow. While there’s a time and place for that sort of stuff, there are really all sorts of niches and corners to explore in the Japanese car scene, and earlier this winter I joined a group of supercar owners for a special get-together that ranged from R34 to XJ220, 240 to F50.

The Hanyu End of Year Meet is organized by the aptly-named Dream Fantasy Junction (DFJ) group of supercar owners. This club counts its members from all over Japan, not just from the Tokyo region, and the goal is to bring all these guys together in one place to catch up at the end of the year. It’s a laid back affair, a time to catch up with old friends and meet new ones among an impressive turnout of automobiles.

The meeting area this year was once again at the Hanyu Parking Area, just one hour north of Tokyo proper. It’s a pretty random motorway service area on any other day of the year, but this location marks the midway point between Tokyo and where DFJ is located, so it makes for a convenient place to gather. Having the meet here also means owners from neighboring areas such as Gunma, Saitama, Ibaraki, and Tochigi can join in, which means cars that wouldn’t normally be seen in Tokyo show up here.

It’s no understatement when I say this was one of the craziest meets I’ve seen during my time in Japan, which is saying something. It’s not uncommon to see rarities like a Maserati MC12, Jaguar XJ220, and Ferrari 288 GTO show up here, but if that’s too run of the mill for you there’s always a few modded exotics in the mix to provide something wholly new to look at, like the yellow F50 pictured below. There are of course “the regulars” who come every year, and cars like the yellow Ferrari Enzo, Ford GT, and the Anija crew with their heavily modified supercars are a welcome presence. A pink Countach on magenta wheels may not be to everyone’s taste, but I’ll be damned if you’re attention isn’t grabbed.

That’s the great thing about this meet—while the automotive contingent is mostly supercars, there’s still great diversity here as opposed to a row of cars that share everything in common apart from paint codes. You can get pristine concours-condition cars such as the 288 GTO, slightly used and abused cars like the XJ220, and completely bonkers modifications as seen on the Anija’s custom Zonda.

Everyone is very welcoming and friendly, and most people here are already friends or know each other from other events at least tangentially, so the meet is really just a big excuse to hang out and catch up and see what’s new with each other’s cars. What you’ll notice quickly when you go to a meet like this in Japan, is that most of the owners of these flashy cars are actually slightly older than you might expect. For many of them, they’ve had their Countach or F40 since they were new when Japan’s economy was quite strong, and they’ve simply held on to them over the years, maybe personalizing them a little (or a lot) along the way.

After hanging around in the parking area for a couple of hours, everyone then moves to the lunch spot. As this was an optional drive 90 minutes further north, a few cars decided to bail and head back to Tokyo. Still, with around 80 cars to convoy with, it wasn’t a bad drive up towards Nasu, in Tochigi Prefecture.

The lunch spot changes every year, but it’s usually in the same area in the popular tourist spots in Nasu. It’s a gorgeous part of Japan, and one of my favorite places to visit, and it’s always better with a whole bunch of supercars to add to the views. As they parked up at the Sapporo Nasu Mori-no Beer Garden, taking up the entire front lot, it was a great chance to see all the cars concentrated (and I mean concentrated) in one area. It was a sea of crazy colors and wedge shapes accompanied by a constant soundtrack of V12. Lamborghinis were definitely the flavor of choice here, but if you want to come next year expect to see a lot more than just scissor doors.

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Bryan Dickerson
Bryan Dickerson
4 years ago

What, not a single picture of a Bluebird 510!?
It’s interesting that after many decades of being a car nut, the ones that interest me the most are the more affordable cars. Love the Volvo! BTW most 240/245 wagons say 240 on them.

Alec Ruston
Alec Ruston
4 years ago

Coolest there is the Volvo….just kidding. But for your info, that’s a 245, not a 240.

Saloon = 240
Estate = 245

Same with most of the old Volvos.

XX0 = saloon
XX5 = Estate

4 years ago
Reply to  Alec Ruston

I love you, man.

Anthony Dumville
Anthony Dumville
4 years ago
Reply to  Alec Ruston

So close, yet so far.

Coupe – 242
Sedan – 244
Wagon – 245

All were badged 240s after 1986.

4 years ago

The answer is an ancient Japanese culture of highest level of dedication to an act of anything. In this instance a car culture. These car enthusiast are being simply themselves without even a second thought. For the others this scene is an inspiration and let it be so because I personally consider Japanese car culture is the inspiring force for the world.