When I first got the invite to visit Tetsu Ikuzawa at his warehouse I will admit I had to do a bit of research. Who is this guy? Why is he so important to racing history, Porsche history, and the history of cars in Japan? A cursory search opened my eyes, and made me insanely excited. Ikuzawa has lived a life filled with wins. But far from easy gains, he is, to say the least, a man forged in fire.
When you meet Ikuzawa you are struck with how effortlessly he communicates in the Western style. His English is near perfect, and he commands the nuances of sarcasm and wit better than most native speakers I know. When you greet him he immediately sizes you up as he might a racing rival. Is this the spirit that lead him to race? Could it be that men that risked their lives in the most dangerous cars ever built are by nature ball busting, competitive and egotistical? There had to be more to it.
When Ikuzawa gave me the address to his warehouse he said, ”do not give the address to anyone, not your taxi driver, not your friends, not even your wife." Joking, with an undertone of dead-seriousness, that’s the Ikuzawa way. And I understood the gravity of his statement the moment I arrived.
In a pristine white building surrounded by factories, this warehouse could easily call itself a museum. The collection Ikuzawa has amassed is vast, and expertly curated. I look around and see the 75 Porsches and the F2 racing cars, the zero mile motorcycles as well as untold number of mountain bikes. He has kept every piece of stereo equipment he's ever owned, every camera, every cellular phone, magazines, and what might be nearly 100 pairs of Nikes dating back to the early '80s, still boxed. Everything organized, clean. And this is just one floor.
When it was time for me to leave, I snuck in a prying question: "Why do you collect so many things?" After a long silence, followed by a mischievous laugh that would become accustomed to, he said, "That's a terrible question. You're not a good interviewer."
By Ben Bertucci