A-Thummanoon Pornrojanagoon or better known as Mr A, owns a very unique place called @Speed Garage, a special place for his ultimate collection of classic cars. When I was preparing for my trip to Bangkok, I called up Mr A in advance, to check whether he's alright for a meetup and he said, "Okay!"
For those who don't know about Mr A, he is a man with huge passion for cars like most of us. But, judging from what I’ve seen in a video posted by XCARFilms about him and his collections, I have to say that his love for cars is at a different level.
Mr A created a garage where he can keep his cars safely, restore and preserve them, while making it a place for his friends to simply come and relax.
This is Mr A's rarest possession taking up a special spot inside his house. Before having a closer look at this legend, let's admire the ones parked outside first.
Oh my God, what an incredible sight! It was like a dream for me to see a collection of very handsome and valuable cars of different periods, all gathered under one roof. At this garage alone, there were twelve functional cars (excluding the Targa I came with), plus three classics undergoing restoration.
Majority of the cars he collects are Japanese, because he likes their design, the meticulous way the Japanese build their cars, and the heritage the cars have. The Honda NSX is a good example. With the late Ayrton Senna directly involved in its development, the NSX was one of the best sports cars to ever come out of a Japanese factory. Mr A kept his NSX simple and fitted with sporty 17" gold BBS LM wheels.
Rare cars are also in Mr A's collection. This is a '06 Mini Cooper S GP, made by John Cooper Works. The letter 'GP' stands for 'Grand Prix' and that only means that it is a faster, lighter and more powerful version of the standard Mini. This special two-seater Mini (stock Minis are four-seaters) is limited to only 2000 units worldwide and one of them sits in this garage. :)
Next to the GP, was a 1975 Toyota Celica GT (TA27), one my personal favourites at @Speed Garage. This Liftback Celica is the true muscle car of Japan and often recognised as the 'Japanese Mustang' because of its similarities in style with the 1965 Ford Mustang, especially in the rear section. [See the similarities: Celica vs Mustang]
I couldn't resist not taking a picture of the Celica's 1.6L 2TG engine. That has got to be the cleanest engine bay you can ever find in a TA27. Simply beautiful.
More classic wonders from the sixties - '68 Mercedes Benz 200 (W110) aka Fintail (Right) and '70 Mercedes Benz 280SE (W108) (Left).
A rare '74 Mazda RX-4 Station wagon looking absolutely gorgeous here.
This is Kenmeri, the 2nd generation of Skyline GT-R (KPGC110). Yes, Mr A owns both early generation Skylines, Hakosuka & Kenmeri, and they make a great pair in his garage.
The Italian coupe, Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV (Left) is about 40 years of age, but it didn't show any signs of aging at all. Chrome grille still looking shiny as new, just like when it first rolled out from factory in 1973. Leaping from classic to race cars, Mr A has a few race cars which he built himself.
Gran Turismo 5 players would immediately recognise this one, the '87 Mugen Motul Honda Civic Si. It's an incredibly fast & easy-to-drive car to attain 1st position in the challenging 'Japanese 80's Festival' race. In reality, the race car is well known for its success in winning every race of 1600cc class in 1987 All-Japan Touring Car Championships.
The Civic Mr A owns is a replica. The interior remains original like a standard Civic, with the exception of iconic Mugen colour decals on its body and Mugen MR5 wheels.
This Toyota Celica TA22 is a proper race car built with racing regulations and it resembles the Celica from the 1981 SAF Race in Macau. Unfortunately, it won't be around anymore as Mr A is returning the car back to its owner.
When asked why he didn't build an indoor area and have all his cars parked inside, he said that it's better for the cars to breathe fresh air to avoid aging. Furthermore, air conditioned indoor garages require high maintenance costs as well. According to him, car covers are adequate to keep the cars in good condition.
In the living room, were three very special cars. The first one was a 1980 Toyota Starlet KP60 race car, with similar livery as the previous Toyota Celica from 1981 Macau SAF Racing. His fully stripped out single-seater Starlet is ever ready to be brought over to the track for some fun. Mr A has huge passion for motorsport and that explains why he loves building race cars.
Even his 1980 Datsun Sunny KB310 received the same racing treatment. Over fenders, roll cage, single bucket seat, wide tyres and wheels - Clear signs of a track-ready car. :D
Check out the Wall of Wheels! This is a collection of wheels that he had kept over the years, and this was just a fraction of it. :O
And finally, the car that also shared the same room with Starlet and Sunny, is the first Skyline GT-R, 1968 KPGC10 or better known as Hakosuka. This car was the true reason why I visited @Speed Garage.
According to Mr A, there are only a handful of Hakosuka in Thailand and his Hakosuka was the rarest car ever owned. Before it became part of Mr A's precious collection, the classic car was undergoing restoration work by his friend (who was the original owner). Mr A's friend took great effort in restoring it all by himself and even went to the extent of travelling to Japan to personally look for specific parts for his restoration project. The result of his Hakosuka rebuild was breathtaking.
Popping open the driver's door, I found a period-correct interior. I have never seen anything like this before. Is this how the interior of classic cars are supposed to look like? When I took a seat in the car, the smell of classic leather, the feeling of the wooden gear knob and the spectacular view of the interior surely brought me back in time.
The engine was also rebuilt. The original 2L straight-6 L20 engine was stroked to 3.1L and wears that unmistakable Kakimoto cam cover. If you watch the Youtube video I shared above, you could hear the sound carburetor engine makes.
This car was absolutely flawless in every way. I was glad to actually see one in such a perfect condition and I believe the Hakosuka itself, is smiling to be able to come a long way since its birth in Japan, and finally resting in Mr A's exclusive garage.
When I thought that's the end of my @Speed Garage tour, Mr A suggested we should head over to another personal garage of his to checkout somemore of his collections. There's still more?! Well, let's go go go!
Just across the street from @Speed Garage, isolated and hidden away was his private Porsche-only garage. Not more than four Stuttgart machines can be parked inside and all of them are different. Let's check out the Porsches!
The first one, an air-cooled Porsche 930 Turbo.
Then, there was another 930, but a Carrera version. The Targa that Mr A drove earlier today was a 930 as well. Mr A really loves 930s.
A slightly more modern Porsche in his garage was the '99 996 GT3 (Mk1). GT3 represents the high-performance model of Porsches and this 996 GT3 was the first in its GT3 series. Its 3.6L flat-6 engine was packed with 360hp with top speed up to 302km/h.
Interestingly, I was reminded of this beautiful car in a different way; it was one of the fastest cars in the 'Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed' racing game that I was playing in year 2000. :D
And Drum Roll please... The last car in @Speed Garage, the most ultimate Porsche Mr A owns, and the final RWB car I saw that day, the famous @Speed RWB. It is the 8th RWB ever built in Thailand and this 993 Porsche is painted in Riviera Blue.
Even though Mr A is a Porsche purist (judging from the other original Porsches he owns), he still fond of Nakai-san's wide and extreme bodykit design on Porsches. Nakai-san's craftmanship on every RWB he built is something to admire really, and he always gets the fender-tyre gap down to millimeters.
The 'fender wing' is purely Nakai-san's design.
Hmm... The interior in this RWB looks familiar. Oh, I remember! It's the exact same interior as RWB Thai #002. Despite Mr A's RWB being a 993 model and #002 RWB is a 964, both Porsches have almost identical cockpits. The extra feature in this blue RWB is the semi roll cage at its rear.
RWB 993 has the widest rear-end among the other RWBs (964/930), and to match the menacing wide body look, Mr A opted for the 'banana wing' on his RWB. :D For tuning aspect, Mr A upgraded the air intake, titianium exhaust and super lightweight flywheel to achieve better engine response and faster gear change.
After spending some time at @Speed Garage admiring all of Mr A's treasured collections, I now understand the meaning when he said he doesn't have a favourite that he loves more. He loves them all equally, as he poured in a lot of time and effort in each car he built.
Mr A is a humble man who is willing to share. He believes cars can bring friendship and people together, just like how I met Mr A.
Thank you Mr A! See you again!