Waiting Game.

Brandon is not a drug dealer.

He doesn’t have a trust fund.

His money isn’t stashed offshore in a Swiss bank account and Bitcoin wallets.

What Brandon is, is a man who has learned the virtue of patience.

Not only has he amassed a very impressive collection of rare cars, he also has an astonishing collection of classic Japanese wheels that he has built up, piece by piece, over the years. 

Brandon has over thirty(30!) cars spread between his house and a property owned by a family member. Some highlights from his collection include his MX32 Cressida, four AE86’s (both coupes and hatches alike), an AE71 Wagon, AW11 MR2, S12 200sx, S13 240sx, S13 Silvia K’s, Z30 Soarer, 147 Aristo, and the two R33 Skylines that he plans on turning into one complete car. 

Brandon explained that he was a ‘boring’ kid in high school – he kept his head down in class and worked as much as he could while his peers blew their cash on frivolities, like fast food and partying. When Brandon turned 17, he had already saved a considerable amount of money and was ready to buy his first car, this marked the beginning of his exciting journey of collecting rare parts and rare cars.

The only issue was, he wasn’t exactly sure what he wanted.

Brandon stumbled across a Toyota Chaser that was being imported on Craigslist and immediately felt drawn to it. Unfortunately, the deal with the Chaser fell through, leaving him back at square one. This time, he knew for sure that he wanted a JDM sedan. He hunted through the hallowed halls of Craigslist until he came across a first-generation Toyota Aristo for almost a quarter of the price of the initial Chaser he originally wanted. According to Brandon, the Aristo owner also had a Mitsubishi Delica, parked surreptitiously outside the house. When he asked the guy if he was an importer or just a JDM car enthusiast, he stared back blankly and blinked his eyes in confusion. “What is JDM?” he asked, looking at Brandon as if he asked the most ridiculous and confusing question known to man.

Brandon ended up buying the Aristo. Here began his story with cars – he still owns his first ride to this day.

Our conversation turned to the topic of his wheel collection and I asked him what motivated him to start collecting wheels. Immediately you can tell that he has developed a mindset that is hell bent on completionism and ambition with his hobby.

“You know those kids that were always obsessed with collecting Pokémon? I’m one of those kids, except wheels are my Pokémon.”, he told us. 

Brandon’s collection of wheels are primarily in 13, 14, and 15-inch diameters with a 4×114.3 bolt pattern. He owns over 100 wheels himself, with some of his highlights including his 14×9 -16 Superstar SS-05 set, the 14×8 -4 Superstar SS-01’s and his very aggressive 13×9 -27 SSR MK3. Imagine seeing the latter on an N2 AE86 race car, one can only dream.

Brandon’s collection of cars includes vehicles of all different styles and generations, but his main interest lies with Toyota’s such as the AE86 Corolla, the AW11 MR2 and other 80’s Toyotas such as TE/KE Corollas and Cressida’s. People see cars like his R33 or his turbo S13 Silvia and imagine him living some sort of secret life as a drug dealer, lottery winner, or underground tech magnate, etc. But Brandon says that all of his cars are bought for extremely lucrative prices as he has never been in the market to buy things desperately. He keeps an eye out for a good deal, and when cars come up for low prices, he snaps them up with enthusiasm. The patience and contacts he’s built up over the years go flawlessly hand-in-hand with his hobby.

I’ve met a lot of people with huge levels of knowledge on specific cars or manufacturers, but Brandon is one of few people I’ve met that has encyclopedic levels of knowledge about every car he owns. I asked him which cars he has a plan for, and without hesitation, he replied with, “all of them…”, as if I was now the person asking the most ridiculous and confusing question known to man.

One thing I really respect Brandon for is the fact that he has a vision for all his cars, which is more than a lot of us can honestly say. He admits one of his biggest fears is having more cars than he has time, but that’s a bridge he says he will only cross when he has no other choice.

Out of the numerous people I have gotten to know and engage with over the years, Brandon has one of the best mindsets I have come across among people involved in the car community. Despite amassing a collection of cars and wheels that would shame most people, Brandon is an incredibly humble and level-headed person that is always willing to share his knowledge and help others. He isn’t looking for recognition or Instagram fame and he builds his cars for his own personal enjoyment and as an escape from the frustrations that life throws at us.

Years ago Brandon unexpectedly lost his father, while going through this challenging time his passion for cars was seriously setback. But as time went by and he recognized the challenges that life had presented, he knew he had to come back to his passion stronger than before and use it to support himself and his family. Through creativity and hard work, Brandon began buying and selling cars and parts. This return to his hobby motivated him to carry on with his car and wheel collection and kept him working towards his goals while also beginning the process of emotional healing at the same time.

The best way to explain his easygoing and humble attitude is to not even try and instead just explain the way Brandon carries himself. When Dylan was shooting the header photo for this article –  Dylan got Brandon to stand between his wheel collection and his Silvia. Brandon looked down at himself and remarked, 

“I’m in an old t-shirt, shorts and crocs surrounded by a bunch of old wheels that most people will never understand my passion for. You guys wanted the real me, this is the real me”.

Keep it up, Brandon.

See you soon.

See our recently updated collection of rare Japanese good goods for sale as well as our Checkpoint branded merchandise by following this link: https://checkpointjapan.bigcartel.com/products


Published by Alexander Turnbull

Automotive photojournalist, traveller, blogger, and meme enthusiast. Enjoy car life.

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