Yokosuka: Classic Cars Available for Rent

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Classic cars are sold as used cars.

Vintage cars are lined up along a prefectural road near the coastline on the Miura Peninsula in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture.

Auto Shop Cat is a shop that rents classic cars which were popular in the Showa (1926-1989) and Heisei (1989-2019) eras.

In front of the shop, you can see cars that symbolize those times. Among them, three are available for rent: two Nissan Sunny Trucks, small bonnet trucks that were launched in 1967, and a Mazda Eunos Roadster convertible. These vehicles remain popular to this day.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Three classic cars are available for rent at Auto Shop Cat in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture. The car on the left is a popular custom-made Nissan Sunny Truck.
The Yomiuri Shimbun
The interior of one of the Nissan Sunny Trucks

The company has sold and repaired used cars for about 30 years, including classic cars. It started the car rental service last year as Kazuki Sato, 57, the president of the company, wanted to make it easier for people to get to know the appeal of classic cars.

He tries to make the cars look cool and stylish even though they are for rent. One of the Sunny Trucks has a part that looks like a third-generation Nissan Skyline on the front, which is the kind of customization that enthusiasts once coveted. The other truck mostly maintains the state of its initial shipping conditions while having carefully selected wheels and adjustments to its interior. Sato also modifies the cars so that beginners can drive them more easily. “Making adjustments to these cars to make them easier to drive is one of the required skills,” Sato said. The Roadster for rent is an automatic car.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Kazuki Sato, the president of Auto Shop Cat, checks the engine of a car for rent.

Not only do generations reminiscing about the good old days get behind the wheel of these cars but an expectedly large number of people in their 20s also rent them, according to Sato. Some young people drive along the nearby beaches and post photos of these cars on Instagram and other social media. For young people, classic cars not only offer them an extraordinary experience but they also look great on social media. The shop also contributes to the revitalization of the local community by distributing a driving map of the Miura Peninsula to customers.

Sato plans to increase the types of cars for rent. “Driving a stylish classic car along the beautiful coast is a simple but fun experience. I would like to offer such an experience going forward.” Sato said.


Auto Shop Cat

Address: 1-1-5, Nobi, Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture

Access: About a 20-minute walk from Keikyu YRP Nobi Station

Hours: Open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed on Wednesdays. The car rental rates start from ¥7,500 per six hours. The shop also sells used classic cars.