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So I’m guessing this is an “official” version of the time machine in Seattle…

…and THIS is the car at the History Garage…minus the flux capacitor!

OK, so the famous time-jumping car really isn’t in Japan…this is just an ordinary 1981 DeLorean, I guess. But at the History Garage, tucked in a little corner of a much bigger complex in Aomi, Tokyo, I always feel as if I’ve stepped through time. As often as I’ve been, a feeling of nostalgia for a time that I actually never experienced keeps pulling me back.

Back to the swingin’ sixties, baby!

The whole, free gig is sponsored by Toyota, so it makes sense that their cars show most prominently. The photog who took this gorgeous pic says this Toyota’s from 1967, which would have made it the apple of my then teenage parents’ eyes, I guess. Yikes!

It’s red. It’s a Ferrari. Need I say more?

True story: When I was a kid, my filthy-rich Italian uncle sent me two separate Lamborghini posters. One was fiery red, the “regular” type with the doors that opened normally to the sides. The other was bright yellow, the “wing” type where the doors kind of whoosh upward like a plane. When I saw the above Ferrari, I had roughly the same feeling I did when I first laid eyes on those posters a million years ago: I wanted to drive it right out of the museum! That’s just me, though. You may like a different color.

Timeless luxury says it all, I think

I have only one question: Has Mercedes EVER made an ugly car? I think James Bond would still slum around in this today, even if only on his day off with the Jaguar in the shop. Of course, all of the cars in here are in pristine condition, but give me a break.

And then there is…this little engine that could

Difficult to know what to say about this little Daihatsu, except that to me it looks rather like a banana. Kind of hard to believe it was born only a scant few years before me (in 1971, apparently). There are several of these fuel-efficient, smallish-type cars sitting around the museum, lovingly restored. You can take your picture with one and pretend your just about to take the not-so-mean streets!

These streets have no name, but they sure look authentic

Beyond the cars, the garage itself is also filled with details that calmly whisper “yesteryear.” Just take a look at the store to the side of that Cadillac–from my perspective, everything in there looks real. It’s like a window into the past…oh, forgive me for that one, folks. Really, I should know better.

A lonely bastion of cool nostalgia, or just a gas?

Here’s a picture of the (replica?) Texaco gas pump from my very own archive…the pump, if not the photo, is very Edward Hopper-esque. Yes, there is something more innocent, yet also more lonely, about those days of yore. Not sure how my parents would feel about that characterization of their early years, but we just won’t tell them, now will we? Seriously, these little period details alone are worth the trip.

Bonnie’s Bar…but not really

If I have only one disappointment with the History Garage, it’s that the above is not actually a bar. There is, I recall, a kind of “car cafe” somewhere else in the complex, but I’ve never eaten there. Again, I just had to include this personal pic to show how for the museum goes to give a sense that time has stopped, and that we should stop to appreciate the moment.

They knew how to have fun back then

Finally, before things get too philosophical, I present this final grainy photo from my personal archive to remind you of how much fun everybody’s having with this. Ten points if you can guess what the shadow in the middle window is–all I can tell you is, it actually moves!

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