The Japanese are famous for their love of cars. There is a thriving scene there for every European marque, but Hitoshi Kato likes to do things a little differently. You see, his thing is Alpines and Renaults …
It all came about when he wanted to go historic racing but didn’t feel that the usual Porsches and Ferraris were what he wanted because they were too expensive. ‘It fits me!’ he says as he beams at his Alpine A210, pointing out that its compact dimensions suit his frame; another reason why he found himself besotted by the small blue French cars.
He acquired his A210 in 1991, and save for a trip to Le Mans in 2006 it stayed there until last year. Just seven of these cars were built, and this one competed at Le Mans in 1966, ’67, and ’68. It has a Porsche 901 Five-speed gearbox (as opposed to the Hewland fitted to some), and Kato-san reports that it is very pleasant to drive.
In addition to the A210, he also owns a super-rare M63 (one of two left), a 106, a 110, and a Renault 8 Gordini amongst others.
Last year he took part in the Peking to Paris rally… and his weapon of choice? A Renault 4.