Welcome To Miami, Liberty Walk Style

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Welcome To Miami, Liberty Walk Style

Cheap repaints, silicone spray, questionable histories, wound-back odometers, gold-toothed salesmen. This is the image in my mind when I think: ‘used car dealer’.

Yes, that is a massive stereotype, but there is a good reason why I think this way. As a twenty-something-year-old, I purchased a Toyota Camry (I know, I know…) from one such used car reseller, and it promptly ate its timing belt after one week of ownership. I was well and truly had by this sheisty car dealer.

The truth is, there are many reputable used car dealerships out there. But of all these, there aren’t many that can hold a candle to Liberty Walk. And its newest location in the company’s hometown of Owariasahi, Aichi just reinforces the fact.

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Now open to the public, Liberty Walk’s ‘Miami Showroom’ has a real clubhouse vibe. The American influence is undeniable, with palm trees, street art, a basketball hoop, and even a vintage Flxible mini bus – customised, of course.

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Miami is a little less customer-focused than Liberty Walk’s main shop just down the road, which has air-conditioned meeting rooms and a full-blown American-style diner. Here, most of the cars inside are from Mr. Liberty Walk, Wataru Kato‘s, personal collection. Those outside are either ex-demo machines, for sale, staff-owned or customer builds.

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If you’d like to appreciate rolling works of contemporary automotive art in an eclectic setting, you’ve come to the right place.

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Fattened-up Ferraris, Lamborghinis and R35 Nissan GT-Rs make up the majority of those on display outside, but step inside the showroom and Kato-san’s diverse tastes become quickly apparent.

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From kaido racers and bosozoku bikes to kyusha and wide-bodied supercars – it seems like every one of Japan’s car culture tribes is represented.

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It’s quite an intimate space, and I felt like I was looking through all the stuff in a private home garage. But there is magic in that. It makes you feel like you have been personally asked to come over and play.

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Aside from the mega stash of cars, Kato-san also has many collectibles on display. Numerous signs line the walls, and they are all the real deal, not reproductions. And how cool are the LBWK Bearbricks!

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Stepping into the bathroom, you will find a secret gallery of vintage bosozoku photos and memorabilia, Betty Boop and a couple of scooters.

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Walking up the open modernist stairs takes you to the second floor office space. It is casual and airy, making it about as far removed from a typical Japanese office as you can get. But if you do decide to buy something, the team will sort out the paperwork while you check out Kato-san’s sneaker collection.

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Now that you have been around the showroom, shot a few hoops and admired the toys on display, has anything caught your eye? Perhaps I can interest you in an FD3S Mazda RX-7, one careful owner, always garaged.

A test drive? I thought you would never ask…

Toby Thyer
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