Smokey Nagata Top Speed in the UK

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Who is Smokey Nagata? An Early Life on the Fast Lane

With his reputation as both a speed demon and an a

With his reputation as both a speed demon and an auto-tuning genius, it’s no surprise that Smokey Nagata’s upbringing was filled with fast cars and tinkering mechanics.

Born in Hokkaido in 1964, Smokey Nagata grew up in a provincial part of Japan, with idyllic farmland and rolling hills framing his small town. Despite this, Smokey’s father was already tooling around with cars, giving Smokey a life-long obsession with automobiles.

By 15, he had bought his first car, a Mitsubishi Galant GTO. Despite being around a mechanic father, Smokey struggled to fix it up. Luckily, Smokey was noticed by the boss of the local Toyota and the older engineer helped the aspiring autotuner to turn his Galant GTO into a decent racing car.

Emboldened by his newfound skills, Smokey started driving his car to school. Unfortunately, the legal driving age in Japan is 16, and Smokey was quickly expelled.

A blessing in disguise, as it turns out because the local Toyota boss had felt responsible for Smokey’s dismissal from school, so he instead offered him a job at the prestigious car company. At the time, Smokey Nagata had just turned 16, making him the youngest employee Toyota had at the time.

Unfortunately, Smokey Nagata only lasted 4 years in Toyota before being fired. This wasn’t because he wasn’t a hard worker, however; for all intents and purposes, Smokey was a hard-working wunderkind who quickly picked up complex engineering techniques quickly. The problem was that he was getting too good: he was taking the skills he was learning in Toyota and applying it to his second-hand Toyota Celica on the side.

Unbeknownst to his bosses, Smokey had been tuning up his car and honing his driving skills in and around the mountains of Hokkaido. The Toyota bigwigs didn’t like this, however, and he was given the boot.

With no other places for him to work and with a non-existent racing scene, Hokkaido was no longer nurturing Smokey’s need for speed. And so with the skills he learned from Toyota, a road trip checklist, and the clothes on his back, Smokey moved 800 miles south to the capital of both Japan and the auto-tuning world: Tokyo.

Smokey Nagata: Where Is He Now?

More than 20 years later, Smokey Nagata’s legendary almost-200mph run on the A1(M) is still the fastest speed ever accomplished on a British motorway. The record stands not just because it’s illegal but also because, well, no other auto tuner can match Smokey Nagata’s skill.

The whole thing was a PR stunt to promote Top Secret internationally, but when he got arrested, Smokey thought he was done for. It wasn’t until he landed in Japan when he realized that word had already spread about his A1 attempt, and it was getting the kind of attention he wanted. In fact, word got around so fast and so far that an Emirati Prince actually bought the Supra Smokey had used.

After the Emirati Prince bought the Supra back in ’98, Smokey went back and tuned up another Supra by slapping on a 5.0L V-12 he got off a Toyota Century, installed two HKS GT2540 Turbos, and ran cooling through the trunk using his very own Top Secret bodykit. He designed this car to try and break 400kph, or 249mph.

After a failed attempt at the Nardò Ring in Italy, where he was able to push the car to 358kph or 222mph, Smokey brought it home to the Aqua-line. It managed to achieve 370kph, or 229mph, still short of the 400kph/249mph goal. The car was sold in an auction in 2017.

Although the legend of Smokey Nagata’s 200mph run was pretty well-known in the underground racing scene, it only became more widespread in the 2010s, thanks to YouTube and social media. And more than 20 years since his legendary run, Smokey Nagata is still busy with Top Secret: he wants to break the 400kph goal. And quite honestly, that’s a record we can’t wait to see get broken


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