The Alpha Classic Racing V8 Vantage
First published January 2019
That title is actually a bit misleading. There's more than one of them.
Alpha Classics Racing is a company based in Tokyo, Japan. I'd seen pictures of their wild red convertible V8 Vantage on Instagram but knew very little about the company itself prior to last November. At that time, someone had posted a picture of the car in an Aston Martin group on Facebook. The response was overwhelmingly negative.
I didn't think the harsh reactions were warranted for two main reasons.
First is that some people said the car was undrivable because it sat on the ground. Yes, the car sits on the ground in pictures. But that's just for show. It has air suspension that can be raised and lowered. For pictures, it's lowered as much as it can go. When driving, it's raised to a usable ride height.
Second is that many people didn't think it was appropriate to put a bodykit on an Aston Martin. This bothered me the most about the responses because even Aston Martin themselves have done it. If someone had taken a V8 Vantage like this:
And put on a body kit so it looked like this:
People would lose their minds. It's everything people say should not be done. It's got a big front splitter, extra inlets, huge rear wing... it's an affront to everything an Aston Martin should be.
Wait, no. That's a Vantage GT12, and it's how Aston Martin built the car.
Style is entirely subjective and everyone's taste will differ. I'm a fan of car modification in general, so long as it's done well. Even if something doesn't suit my personal taste, I can still appreciate it if it's a well-done build. Getting into Aston Martins and learning the unspoken rules of modifying them was a bit of a challenge for me simply because I had to learn to politically manage the extremely conservative "consensus" of the owner community. I'm not a fan of being PC (politically correct). Not that I like being offensive or try to intentionally be offensive, of course. I just prefer a healthy debate between honest, opposing viewpoints. There's nothing wrong with disagreeing so long as it isn't done in a hostile manner.
Anyway, I digress. Well, the bottle of wine I've gone through digresses. The second bottle that I'm still working on doesn't have much to say. Yet. There's always a "yet" when Bottle Two has joined the game.
So There I Was…
I was going to Tokyo a couple days after that Facebook post went up and I had plenty of flexibility in my schedule for the time I'd be there. I messaged ACR's Instagram account and asked if I could stop by their shop to check out the car. They replied that they'd be at Fuji Speedway while I was going to be in Tokyo but they offered to pick me up at the train station in Gotemba if I could get there. Gotemba is the city at the base of Mount Fuji where the eponymous track is located. I was headed from Tokyo to Osaka on Friday and we arranged for me to stop at Gotemba on my way from one city to the next.
A shinkansen took me to a regional train that took me to a local train, eventually delivering me to the quiet station where someone would hopefully find me. The weather was perfectly beautiful - a stroke of luck that accompanied me through my entire 10-day trip.
I had no idea what to expect. I didn't know who would be coming, if anyone. I was sure they'd spot me first - I was the only white guy around and I was standing on the sidewalk next to an otherwise-vacant passenger pickup zone. I'd just wait and enjoy the sun and scenery.
A black Toyota Alphard with a body kit, big gold wheels, Aston Martin badges on the front, and an Aston Martin Racing sticker on the side rolled up. (Side note: I seriously want an Alphard. Toyota, hook me up.)
This was obviously my host.
I was greeted by Akane Hiroyuki who then introduced his assistant and translator, Luanna. We loaded my bags into the back of the Toyota and a short drive later were at the garage where the ACR Aston Martin was waiting.
No, not the bright red convertible. The other one. This was the bright red coupe.
Go to the next page to read my impressions of Alpha Classic Racing’s V8 Vantage coupe.