Let's make one thing abundantly clear: This is one man's personal collection and not a tuning shop. Packed with classic JDM gems and sporting floors that are clean enough to eat Pad Prik Pao Moo Grob off of, "Hut Garage" is one of the slickest locations we've encountered in Thailand since, well, since the last time we found an incredible lair packed with classics, exotics, and rooms full of automotive memorabilia.
Commonly referred to as Hut Garage by the locals and named so after its owner's nickname (Thai people absolutely love nicknames), this badass abode is part private residence, part full-blown build shop, and part collection hall. While we were not granted access to the modification side of Hut Garage, we were given free rein to wander around the compound where we encountered one jaw-dropping Japanese discovery after another. Packed with personalized automotive memorabilia and punctuated by bone stock and heavily modified vehicles alike, Hut Garage offers something for anyone with an interest in vintage JDM car culture.
Located in East Bangkok, Hut Garage is a prime example of what a lifetime of researching, collecting, and modifying looks like, and after interviewing Hut himself, some intriguing facts surfaced. By custom building his entire house around his garages, and not the other way around, Hut has given himself 2,800 square-feet of space for all things automotive. This doesn't include a special room built just for Hut's 1972 Mazda Cosmo L10B, which sits right next to the living room - a 270 square-foot homage to retro rotary righteousness.
Hut isn't just some wealthy businessman who likes to collect antique automobilia, either, but a legitimate gearhead who isn't afraid to get his hands dirty, a man who has restored a multitude of vehicles by hand with his mechanic in his studio. While budget constraints may not have been an issue, sourcing and installing said parts in order to make all of these cars what they are today took quite a lot.
That said, let's begin our tour with Hut's immaculately maintained Nissan Skyline R33 V-Spec. Complete with all of the period correct NISMO goods imaginable, along with a '90s livery to match, this is build no. 241 to come out of NISMO Paddock's Omori Factory in Yokohama.
Packing an S1 concept engine that was fully overhauled by NISMO's best, this certified rebuild features a specialized tune for more user-friendly street performance driving and all of the official paperwork and badging to back it up.
Another slab of obscurity found at Hut Garage during our visit was a little white Mazda Cosmo Sport. It may be packing far fewer ponies than the rest of the cars in this paddock, but where it lacks in power, the Cosmo more than makes up for in retro cool points and overall rarity. Rocking a 2-rotor Wankel rotary engine, which in peak form generated 110-horsepower, this miniature Mazda is one of those vehicles that makes it onto almost every Japanese car collector's bucket list but rarely into anyone's collection. When asked for details, Hut tells us that he got his 1972 Cosmo L10B from a Japanese student who shipped it to Thailand during the 1970s. Upon obtaining the car in 2008, Hut immediately purchased "fresh parts" and proceeded to restore the vehicle from the ground up with his mechanic.
Since the original 10A engine found in this model proved to be quite underwhelming after being fully rebuilt, Hut upgraded his Cosmo to a more reliable 12A. Instead of selling-off the maladroit 10A, Hut opted to turn the freshly rebuilt rotary into a high-dollar piece of art, sitting on display in the Cosmo room. Inspired by mankind's obsession with space exploration in the 1960s, and 100 percent Japanese in its design and execution, the Cosmo is arguably the world's greatest Sci-Fi influenced classic car.
Another equally rare serving of vintage performance found within Hut Garage features the GT-R nameplate but is far more obscure than the mighty "Hakosuka" most enthusiasts are quick to recognize. I am referring to the orange and black Isuzu Belett 1600 GT-R you see sitting next to Hut's pristine Skyline C10 GT-R. Although the iconic Hakosuka packs Hut's most prized automotive possessions, an S20 engine with a matching transmission, the little Isuzu residing beside it is just as rare.
Also referred to as the Isuzu Belett 1600 GT "Type-R," this carbureted, twin-cam 1.6-liter classic is one of just 1,400 ever made. Featuring race-built suspension, power brakes, and a side-draft carb setup, seeing this 1-ton micro machine in person is the equivalent of stumbling upon a Honda S600 coupe in the wild.
A couple other notables, which appear to be more of the street-driven type than collector items, are a Nissan Skyline KGC 110, and a Toyota KE70 Wagon. While the Skyline appears a bit rough around the edges, what with its unpainted fender flares, rusted roof, and piles of primer, Hut tells us that he has taken the Skyline's L28 engine and overbored it to displace 3.1 liters. With three Mikuni Solex carburetors and a Kakimoto valve cover already affixed, Hut plans to tweak this classic until it performs precisely the way he wants, and then restore the rest of the car to near-mint condition.
In contrast, Hut's Toyota Wagon takes a far more practical approach to performance but is even more of a rare ride. Built upon the Corolla chassis, but far less recognizable or desirable than its tofu-delivering AE86 sibling, the KE70 is one of those cars you rarely see, even in Japan. Despite its obscurity, Hut says this car remains his preferred grocery-getter, and for damn good reason. Being that the KE70 was built upon the same platform as the Toyota AE86, Hut tells us that swapping in the 4A-GE engine and suspension was a must. A few other additions to this badass wagon include a TRD N1 header, TRD front and rear suspension, an AE86 4-wheel disk brake conversion, a 4.3:1 limited-slip differential, TRD bucket seats, a TRD steering wheel, and a matching TRD shift knob.
Although there were a couple of cars that were not shoot-ready due to being under the knife, Hut and his personal collection provided plenty of material, a JDM wonderland built around personalized pleasure. But this concept has evolved into a way for Hut to take his love for cars and incorporate it into everyday life, making his automotive passion accessible to both family and friends alike. This means that the garage, along with Hut's workshop and his collection of JDM toys (diecast and full-size alike), are all connected to his household via kitchen and living room entrances.
In order to further give his garage a homey feel, Hut hung various vintage Japanese signs alongside family photos, inserted retro wheels within honeycomb walls, and set all of his steering wheels and arcade racing games on display. Hut admits that his family typically spends a fair deal of time in the garage while he works, which in turn motivates the patriarch of the house to strive to improve both himself, his cars, and the house that they all call home.
While an R32 remains on Hut's list of must-have vintage Japanese vehicles, and the recently face-lifted NSX serves as his modern dream machine, he says that the current vehicles in his stable give him plenty of joy.
These cars include:
1. Nissan Skyline KGC10 (GT-R Replica with S20 Engine and matching Transmission)
2. Nissan Skyline KGC 110
3. Nissan Skyline DR30 (Currently under restoration)
4. Nissan Skyline BCNR 33 V-Spec (With Nismo S1 Concept Engine from Omori Factory)
5. Nissan Skyline BNR 34
6. Honda NSX
7. Izuzu Belett 1600 GT Type-R
8. Mazda Cosmo Sport
9. Toyota Supra JZA80
10.Toyota KE70 Wagon
11. Nissan Sivia CSP 311 (Currently under restoration)