As you’d rightfully assume, I love my cars. They’re all special to me in their own little ways, despite none of them being new, shiny, or expensive. Most of them are old (averaging 26.4 years since new) and all but my FR-S were purchased for no more than $5,000 USD. Despite having little monetary value, I’m still pretty particular about them, and I don’t just trust anyone to work on them.
There’s only a handful of shops in the greater Richmond, VA area that have really earned my trust, and today we’re going to look into my favorite - Nightrun Garage.
In mid-2018 my Scion FR-S (more on this car another day, I promise) needed some work that I wasn’t quite capable of doing. A few friends of mine had work done through Nightrun Garage before, so I decided to give them a shot and I’ve been coming back ever since.
Nightrun Garage is a shop located in Ashland (just north of Richmond) ran by Ben Willis and Chris Larson, and while not exclusively a Toyota shop, most of their work is on Toyota and Lexus cars. They are perhaps most known for their expertise with cars powered by Toyota’s legendary JZ family of engines found in third and fourth generation Toyota Supras.
Speaking of the JZ family of engines - remember that time I wrote about us purchasing a 2JZ-GTE from JSpec Auto for David’s IS300? Well, wouldn’t you know it, the engine is in the car and it’s just getting finished up at Nightrun!
Previously naturally aspirated from the factory, it’s now running Toyota’s higher performance 2JZ-GTE engine with the twin-turbocharged setup replaced with one big ole BorgWarner S363SXE turbo. It’ll make in the mid-400’s as far as wheel horsepower goes.
My personal favorite car inside the garage during the open house (besides David’s, of course) was this beautiful third generation Toyota Supra powered by a 1JZ-GTE and resting on a set of Rays Volk TE-37’s.
In addition to turning wrenches, Nightrun Garage also produces some parts in house. Some, like David’s custom exhaust, are made on demand, while others are produced for sale on their website.
If I’m honest, the machines in this corner of the shop interest me as much as the ones outside on four wheels.
Moving outside was a hodgepodge of all sorts of cool and iconic Japanese cars. Here’s a taste.
Two interesting swaps caught me eye - a cleanly swapped 2JZ-GTE BMW E36 M3 and a Toyota 4Runner with a 3.8L turbo V6 out of a Buick. Whodathunk?
And of course, I couldn’t post this album without including some photos of our Team Reasonable cars, could I?
I drove my 1987 Toyota Corolla FX, while Andrew brought his NB Miata. Nightrun Garage is actually responsible for getting my Corolla running, so bringing it to the meet felt like the obvious choice. When I purchased it, the OEM carburetor was gummed up pretty bad and I opted to replace it with a Weber 32/36. While I threw it on myself, I didn’t understand enough to get that project across the finish line. Nightrun figured it out over no more than two hours of labor.
Andrew’s Miata wears its new hardtop pretty darned well, even if it’s a not the ideal color.
Lastly, one of my favorite vehicles driven to the event was our local Datsun 620 SSS - this time with a paint matched Honda bike in tow. So much style in one package.
Thanks for taking the time out of your day to browse these photos ❤.
Still seeking more, or wanting high resolution downloads? View the whole album on Flickr.