YouTube is a wonderful thing. A one-stop-shop full of videos of kittens frolicking, people falling off tables, and teenagers watching other teenagers play video games. It's also the scene of a thriving motoring prosumer landscape — a landscape that's exploded over the last few years. Channels like Mighty Car Mods and Regular Car Reviews command larger, more dedicated audiences than comparable shows broadcast on TV. Hell, two of the new hosts of BBC's Top Gear are established names on YouTube — Chris Harris having come from Drive, and Rory Reid having come from Recombu Cars.
One of my favourites I check regularly is the WasabiCars YouTube channel. The premise is very simple; Australian Daniel O'Grady posts brief car-spotting clips from his exploits in Japan, where he now lives.
The videos expose both the good and the bad side of Japanese automotive culture, with images of their wildly imaginative modified and historic scene balanced out with videos of some incredibly rare and interesting cars left to rot in fields, sheds, and junkyards.
While bobbing along on the train this morning, I couldn't help but watch his latest video.
A pair of oldschool Nissan Fairladys, a trio of Nissan Skyline R33 GT-Rs, a pair of Nissan Silvias, and what appears to be an old Rolls Royce all feature. All are in varying states of repair; the chopped Fairlady dragster at the front of the property functioning as a makeshift planter for weeds — some growing out of its sad little headlights. At the other end of the scale is the red R33 GT-R V-Spec, which looks ready to drive off the lot.
If you scroll through the WasabiCars library, you'll find plenty of these tales of sad decay. While some of this could be tenuously linked to a society of disposal, most of it comes down to the high price of maintaining cars in Japan, which prices plenty of people out of car ownership.
So many wrecks, so many incredible project cars just waiting for homes ...