My list of things to do when I eventually pull the trigger on a vacation to Japan is extending into comically impractical territory these days. In addition to hitting up multiple racetracks across the island nation; spending an entire day, maybe two days, maybe a week thrifting for import video games and Tomica diecasts; and sampling as many chicken katsu curries as my stomach will allow (let's be honest, it'll be way beyond that), I have to ensure I also check out the Fuji Motorsports Museum, which is conveniently situated right next to the speedway. That's efficient travel planning!
I didn't know this museum existed, but I do now thanks to a tweet I came across of one of its cars on display. Technically that statement is accurate yet missing some context because this particular car on display was a 1/64 scale model of Juha Kankkunen's World Rally Championship-winning Toyota Celica ST185 rally car from 1993. Either that, or somebody had Mermaid Man's belt switched to "M" for "mini."
At any rate, the photo wasn't snapped on April Fools' Day, far as I'm aware. Rather, there's a perfectly acceptable and delightful reason for the real car's disappearance: it left the museum for an event. Apparently—and we don't have this on official word from the Fuji museum though we've reached out to confirm—this is something the gallery typically does when its vehicles are out and about, or have to leave the floor for maintenance or restoration.
It's a brilliant trick, because typically I'd be crestfallen not to see a Castrol-liveried Celica Group A rally car where I expected to see one. But thanks to the scale-model switcharoo, that disappointment is massively reduced immediately, by way of giggling. Then, before I know it, my concentration has already shifted to the Lancer Evo beside it, or something. I'd be happy because the whole scene is adorable; the museum would be happy because no docents or fellow patrons get to hear me whine like a four-year-old. Everybody wins!
Another tweet shows yet more cars with their makeshift out-of-office statuses active, including one area with a trio of racing legends out together. Maybe they went to lunch. I should add that our very own Caleb Jacobs happened to swing by the Fuji Motorsports Museum just a couple of months ago when he was in Japan for business, and I'm totally not jealous at all. That's where the images of the actual ST185 and HKS Group A R32 Skyline GT-R touring car in this post come from. If I may speak for The Drive, we hope these titans of Japanese motorsport had a restful break or much-deserved bit of tender love and care before returning to the old grind.
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