“We the Tomei Full Throttle Family…” Summer of 1983, the Tomei Expressway at midnight becomes a lawless stretch of spectators overflowing into its center median【Play Back The OPTION】

Published : 2019/09/09 21:17 Modified : 2019/10/11 16:12

An Extraordinarily Exciting Event: The Tomei Expressway Race (August 1983)

Maximum speed on a huge stretch of 30km!

“Saturday Night Rhapsody: The 1AM Tomei Expressway Full Throttle Family Fantasia”

–a radically appropriate, Optionesque title.

This article was a report focusing on the “Tomei Full Throttle Family,” which was considered a problem at the time. During its prime, their gallery overflowed into the roadside and median strips, which was quite dangerous. However, it’s indisputable that this moment was the starting point for tuning cars to attempt fast attacks.

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Let’s throw it back to August 1983, highlighting the max speed, close competition on this massive stretch of 30km with tuners in the hundreds.

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Saturday Night Rhapsody: The 1AM Tomei Expressway Full Throttle Family Fantasia

Raging souls call upon the passionate, truest street racers across the country…

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Prologue of the Max Speed Era

No one seems to really know when it all started; out of the blue, the rumors of Tomei’s max speed attackers began to spread amongst some racers. At midnight on Saturdays, it was rumored that these specific racers would speed about 30km on the Tomei Upward Line from Ebina SA to the Seta Tokyo Tollgate. For Kanto racers/tuners, it was a rare, open stretch where they could challenge at max speed in secret. It was during this specific time slot where even the late-night trucks and big rigs ceased to be present.

However, there has been an increase in negativity recently concerning this sacred stretch; some commented, “Too many spectators, can’t race;” and “That stretch is dead. What a shame, now we really can’t race.” The serene nights were coming to an end, as some pointed out that cop cars were always posted at the SA’s. It seemed as though the weekends on the Tomei open stretch had completely changed.

In order to investigate the actual situation, OPT went on-site to obtain full coverage of the Tomei Full Throttle Family. Cue curtain rising of the raging 1AM Full Throttle Fantasia.

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In this max speed stretch, no one cared about “however many 100ps output from a specific setup.” It didn’t matter how much one wanted to gush about his tuning, all that mattered was the run–a genuine show-don’t-tell. This required not only power, but also a reliable suspension and true aerodynamic refinement…

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Main characters: Pantera, Porsche, Z, RX-7 … the familiar faces and fastest machines in the Kanto region. Though, their speed had a guaranteed support; most of them were polished on the Tomei Test Course.

TIME NOW! – Summer of 1983-

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The show began at midnight. Racers rushed into the SA one after another, accompanied by a chorus of cop cars; their flashing cherry lights ignited the curtain rising. With each second, the parking space filled up before one’s eyes.

The cars were far from stock. This SA had now become the venue for a midnight street car show. As for foreign vehicles, in addition to tuned Panthera’s, dressed up AMG Benz, Corvette, Porsche, Lotus, etc. appeared. Domestic cars including the Z, RX-7, old and new SukaG, Celica, Mark II, and such sedans also stepped on-stage. From the parking space, one could clearly see that there were easily more than 200 vehicles.

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12:30AM, six to seven cops began to circulate the area with their records clipboard in hand. Their objective: check the numbers of all non-stock vehicles on-site. The situation was a true spectacle. Despite being firmly aware of each other, the cops and the show attendees ignored the other party’s existence. Amidst the odd atmosphere, the cops remained quiet even when coming across the flamboyantly modified.

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1AM. As the vehicle number checks were completed, the area became suddenly ablaze with the busy sounds of many engines. The gallery cars that somewhat abide passenger capacity compete to leave as well to obtain their best seat in the house for the show’s climax. The protagonists rolled out in groups shortly after.

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OPT tried setting a speed gun in the middle of the stretch, but because they rode in groups, obtaining measurement was obviously impossible. Without focus, the speed gun confusedly displayed a mere 156km/h (roughly 97mph). This was a full throttle show that was far different from any previous max speed try. The gallery overflowed from the bus stops, and spectators occupied even the highway median!

2AM. At the abandoned Ebina SA, a lonesome cop car that was seemingly left behind sadly flashes the same cherry lights that once illuminated the curtain rising… June 1983.

“You have only one life…” The ever so symbolic letters on the overpass emerged with the approaching headlights.

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The show came to an end after leaving the Seta Tokyo Tollgate. 10 minutes in time, the closing curtain. Show charge, 2000 yen round trip from Tokyo.

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In their prime, the course side and the median were overflowing with spectators. This lawless situation did not continue indefinitely, as a large-scale accident involving the gallery resulting in deaths had occurred in the mid-1980s–this led to further strict police enforcement. Thus, the gradual decline of an infamous era.

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【From OPTION 1983 Volume 8】