It’s always safe to assume that weekends are reserved for spending time to unwind and relax from a whole week’s work. Be it going out for a drink or partying at a club, more often than not people seek a getaway from the stresses of the past week on a Saturday night. It seems cliché though, that the only thing to do on a night out is to get drunk and be deafened by loud music in a club. And while your average Juan is out wasting the night away, Jeiven Perez and the guys from Sushi Factory have something else in mind.
Since June 2013, Sushi Factory has began organizing their monthly ‘Meet and Runs’ every first Saturday of the month. They made this event to give an opportunity for Japanese nostalgic car owners and enthusiasts to share their appreciation for the various retro machines that grace their presence during the evening. What started as a small gathering of a few friends with a dozen cars became a regular event to look forward to at the start of the month, with the latest meet gathering 50+ cars spanning various makes and models.
The night starts out right in front of the Sushi Factory carwash and garage in Pasong Tamo, Makati. From 9PM onwards people begin to gather as the streets in front of the shop get filled with properly built and restored cars from decades of old. With coffee and light snacks being served all around this provides a quaint atmosphere and an opportunity to get to know the people behind the cars.
This is the type of meet where you can just walk up to a car, perhaps find the owner sitting nearby, and just introduce yourself and talk about the car that drew your curiosity. Chances are the car’s owner will elaborate on his pride and joy in great detail, showing you all the quirks and nifty things that his car has to offer.
Everyone at the meet is friendly and entertaining so long as you find an appreciation for cars in general.This lighthearted environment surrounding the meet is probably one of the things about it that keeps drawing regular attendees as well as newcomers every month!
You can easily tell from the people here that they appreciate talking about their cars as much as they’ve put effort into building and maintaining them. Take this 1970’s Toyota Celica for example, whose debut at the last meet drew the crowds with the deep rumble from the engine that lies underneath the bonnet.
That’s because this particular Celica was packing a Toyota 1UZ-FE 4.0L V8 that – albeit being squeezed in there – appears right at home in the engine bay. While a swap like this is not unheard of, this is the first time everyone witnessed a Celica running this beast of a motor at the meet!
While this meet is mainly for Japanese nostalgic cars from the seventies and eighties, vehicles of the more modern persuasion are very much welcome to join the event as well. They are humbly requested to leave the spaces in front of the shop open for the older cars though, so everyone can appreciate the stars of the meet!
Once the clock strikes midnight, the second part of the event commences. The cue to start the midnight drive towards Alabang is when Jeiven fires up Natsuki, the Sushi Factory Toyota Celica, to warm up for the run.
The smell of fuel fills the air as carburetors breathe the other aged motors from the surrounding cars into life. Soon enough all the cars line up and fill the streets and begin proceeding to the Skyway Arnaiz on-ramp.
Upon merging onto the Skyway all the cars can get a good stretching, just because these cars are old it doesn’t mean they’re frail at all! Note however that this run is not your typical late night street race. All participants are encouraged to obey all rules and regulations as well as to drive within their limits to enjoy the cruise towards Alabang on the Skyway’s open blacktop.
Eventually all the cars find themselves squeezing into this 4-lane road-turned-carpark beside Petron Westgate in Alabang. Here we find more people and cars from the south anticipating the arrival of the pack from Makati.
Normally this venue is big enough for all the attendees but during the last meet cars were literally spilling over onto the intersection at the end!
Once the cars have been parked, pretty much the meet continues on till the wee hours of the morning with more chatter about the cars and stories from the drive.
Eventually as the clock strikes a couple hours past twelve cars begin to disperse and people make their ways back home.
Overall the Sushi Factory Meet and Run makes for a well-rounded manner of experiencing all that is good about cars in general and the local car community. It brings people closer to the cars from the good old days not only through seeing them parked, but also by witnessing them being driven as they should be. Best of all, the event brings together all like-minded individuals together for an evening shared appreciating the very machines they’ve preciously built. So, still planning to hit the bar on the first Saturday night of every month? I know I won’t.
The Sushi Factory Meet and Run Gallery
Photos by: Nickoy Bautista, Pierce Loyola