Back in January, I visited my brother Mike in Hong Kong. As he’s a car enthusiast and curator of the Carsofhongkong Instagram page, he not only knows the locations of lots of cool cars, but he’s got a sixth sense for where to find more of them. It’s uncanny. Just check out this random parking garage he took me to; I expected it to contain a bunch of modern vehicles parked nicely in their designated spots, but what we found was very, very different.
The parking garage is in Tai Wai, not far from the geographic centre of the Special Administrative Region of China, and pretty close to Turn Three, one of the most badass Nissan GT-R shops in all of the land. It looked to me like just a garage; Mike told me he thinks it’s called the “Transportation building.” But as soon as we entered, it was obvious that this parking structure was different than any I’d ever seen before; it was filled with restaurants and warehouses for small businesses and, more interesting to us, mechanics shops on pretty much every floor. I’d never seen a setup like it.
Just outside of those shops were amazing machines that taught me yet again that you really never know where you’ll find fascinating cars in Hong Kong. Mike and I have already explored the countryside, less populated city streets, and rural parking lots, and we’ve spotted lots of amazing abandoned cars there. This was a bit different; I wasn’t expecting to find what we did in this random multi-story parking structure in the middle of the city.
“I just had an idea of ‘Yo, we should check this place out.’ It’s truly unpredictable,” my brother told me about the Hong Kong automotive landscape. Just look at this Lamborgini Diablo on the eighth floor. Scroll through the photos here and you’ll see that there are cardboard boxes sitting on the supercar’s hood—blasphemy!:
Not far from that Lamborghini, a gentleman was jamming to some tunes, rebuilding a four-cylinder engine out of a Toyota Estima minivan, just right there on the garage floor!:
On this same floor were a bunch of bumper covers from some really nice cars, including a 991 Porsche 911 (that’s the black one here):
This pile of bumper covers and car parts extended along a wall of the parking garage for probably 30 feet, before ending in the most buried W124-generation Mercedes Benz E-Class I’ve ever seen:
Just to the left of me in the photo above, Mike pointed out a filthy, once-white Nissan Pulsar GTi-R, a hot-hatchback that was a homologation special for Nissan’s beastly rally car that some called “baby Godzilla.” I’ll quote my coworker Raphael Orlove to fully explain to you why this dirty little Nissan hatchback deserves your respect:
Did you know the Nissan Pulsar GTi-R had individual throttle bodies? It did! So cool.
We never got this “Forgotten Child of Nissan,” as the owner put it, here in the United States. We never got a chance to appreciate the company’s rival to the WRX or the Celica GT-Four. This was the company’s World Rally Championship contender, and Nissan had to make a road-legal homologation special for it to be legal for racing.
All-wheel drive, a manual transmission, and an intercooled, turbocharged SR20DET sideways under the vented hood.
Some people call these things “baby Godzilla,” like they’re mini Skyline GT-Rs. I’m just thrilled that they are now totally legal under America’s 25 Year Import Rule.
What was so great about this random garage was the variety of cars. There was a Lamborghini, a rare Nissan hot-hatch, bumper covers off of modern German sports cars, and there was even this Citroën BX 19 GTi:
My coworker Max described in his story what made the French family hatchback so cool, writing about the “angular spaceship”:
Back in the early ‘80s, Citroën needed a success. Having come under Peugeot control a few years earlier, the CX and GS, developed prior to the merger, were old and sales were down. If the brand was going to survive, the next launch needed to be a winner.
And so the formula came together. A set of lines that were somehow too boxy for Volvo came from famed designer Marcello Gandini and draped over mechanicals shared largely with the Peugeot 405. Modern transverse engines inside a practical shape allowed Citroen to offer a variety of powertrains and configurations, and the car sold over 2 million units over its lifetime.
Mike and also found an abandoned Mini Clubman from the British Leyland-era of Mini brand ownership. There was also a boat leaning up against the wall behind it—No, I have no clue why:
But my favourite vehicle in this magical parking garage in Hong Kong was an absolutely disgusting Mazda Bongo van:
Something tells me this machine hasn’t seen actual, mobile van duty in many, many years, because it was filled to the brim with car parts.
You can see some automatic transmissions just behind it; It’s pretty clear this van is being used as a storage locker by a local mechanic’s shop. Look at all of that oil and grease on the bodywork!
Some call it filth; I call it pure soul.