Hagerty Video: America has it EASY: The INSANE struggle of owning a car in Singapore | Capturing Car Culture

Posted: 2023-08-12 12:00:00
Author: Hagerty
In Singapore, you have to pay $80,000 if you want to have the privilege of owning a car… Not to buy it, just to owning one and driving it… Let that sink in a minute. But that’s not what we are here for. We are here for the Car Culture. Larry Chen takes you on an exclusive behind the scenes look into Singaporean car culture and it does not disappoint. Tune in to find out why Singapore has such a unique car culture.

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Hagerty Video Transcript

Foreign That was all of them I think we did it We walk out of the baggage area and then uh I saw it I saw this tiny phone from all the way over there there you go what a welcome welcome to Singapore huh foreign For this episode of capturing car culture I went to Singapore I wanted to revisit a story that I wrote about 10 years ago the first time I was in Singapore I was completely blown away by the car culture but mostly because of the Hoops the Locos had to jump through just to enjoy

Cars as a hobby we haven’t been in Singapore for 30 minutes and now we’re in a gas station with a third of the R34 GTRs on this island we have two Bayside blues and we have one silver one these things are just getting more and more rare because from what I’ve heard

These cars right now condition are selling for a million Singapore dollars which roughly translates to between 750 to 800 000 US dollars for R34 GTR The general consensus among enthusiasts is that the Singapore government would much rather you not have a car at all this is very evident because in order to own a vehicle and operate it on the public roads there is something called a Coe short for certificate of entitlement

Whether you drive a Toyota Corolla or you drive a Lamborghini you have to pay the same price the certificate only lasts 10 years and if you don’t pay then the car either gets crushed or you have to sell it out of country on top of that the cars themselves are

So expensive everything is about 8 to 10 times the price of what it should normally be What is he saying he’s super excited he loves your car yeah I met Ben when I first came to Singapore and I kept touch ever since then he’s gotten heavily into drifting and he’s actually become a D1 Grand Prix and Formula Drift driver Ben surprised me with our very own toku underground meat just like what we experienced at Auto Salon but this time

With the Singaporean Flair this took place at a yacht club s [Applause] Yeah yeah friends friends wow everybody’s so excited oh my goodness what is this so this is actually like a marina Club a lot of cool cars kind of gathered here just to hang out today if it’s expensive to own an R34 here I I don’t even want to know how much it is

To own an exotic car but oh all of these and I just want to drive that Because of these Draconian laws regarding automobiles in Singapore so many incredible cars are now in the single digits in terms of how many are left in the country of 5 million people how many a86s are left five it makes me wonder how many were there were back then

Way more like really like everyone’s parents had them as like daily cars they were cheap yeah now only five and now they’re worth a lot of money yeah you feel stupid for paying for them so how much are they worth now the last one probably close to three hundred thousand three hundred thousand

U.S Singapore so that’s like 275 yeah us 275 thousand dollars for a Toyota Corolla a86 you you guys have it hard and on top of that the worst part is that every 10 years if you owned a 86 you have to pay what 80 000 to drive in another 10 years that’s

The current price which I have to pay in a few months for mine I’m sorry Sometimes when your certificate Runs Out Gearheads in Singapore take it to the extreme I’ve heard of instances where they purposely get them quote unquote stolen by driving to Malaysia which means it has to live the rest of its life outside of the country but at least you still get to enjoy your car

It really surprised me with all this stuff so I legitimately told him that I was coming to Singapore after shooting in Indonesia and I told them look we’re gonna be on the ground for pretty much like three full days and I told them you know what you do you

Just if you want to plan stuff for us to do I’m here to hang out with you I’m here to check out some car culture like we did 10 years ago and uh now he’s arranged all this stuff for us which is uh pretty cool So we did some shooting up here went well got some shots got some atmosphere and some of the supercars left now we’re gonna check out Ben’s other surprise for me which I kind of have a feeling I know what it is but maybe I don’t we’ll see Hello hello I don’t know anything yeah Thank you The funny thing to me is that most of the enthusiasts know exactly how many of each car is left because it’s such big news in the car Community when one gets sold crashed or leaves the country We come to this private club and it’s just like so many really important cars in Singapore from what you’ve told me only 9 R34 GTRs five of them showed up one r33 GTR and that one showed up only two R32s and one of the two showed up to this meet

It really is honor it is kind of crazy that the car Community is that small yeah and it’s that supportive yep way back when when I first came here in 2014 your Bayside blue R34 GTR is the first one I’ve ever ridden in you still have it you probably haven’t even put

That many kilometers on it since then since I bought the car less than ten thousand and a lot of these people maybe they don’t bring out the cars that often no one really drives them I myself I just warm it up just to keep it alive and then you drive it on special

Occasions some Meats sometimes like just round to the airport and back So what are we looking at here this is definitely not Mitsubishi this is a Mitsubishi yeah how do you get away with something like this in Singapore I thought you’re not allowed to modify your car some mods have to be approved you could get a Jasma approved fujitsubo exhaust

You have to bring it through testing so if you do have the papers to back you up it’s it’s fine you can’t really cut a random exhaust and put it on your car this is a top secret R35 GTR yeah oh there you go top secret yeah smokey

That’s the only rwb in Singapore as well only one rwb in the entire country yeah it’s owned by Jensen town he used to drive in Formula D Asia Jansen Tan’s rwb was my favorite car at the show and I wanted to go to his place because he actually told me he built a house just to be able to enjoy cars in Singapore Sir there’s an elevator here we’re right there this is something that I’m gonna bring over to the us all right because I’ve been to two shops now yeah where I had to take my shoes off yeah we got to spend so much time at our shop to clean

The floor yeah this is this is how we’re gonna keep it clean look look at everyone’s shoes this is the joke like you know it’s an Asian household when there’s like this boundary where everybody’s shoes are just outside but I could see why you want everyone to take off your shoes because

This is so clean amazing all right so we got uh Ben’s S14 here you got your G wagon yeah that’s a OG this is my e-bike um parking space outside for the daily what people don’t realize is this is pretty incredible it being in Singapore I have a great wife

Very understandable life yeah other garages are like this in the on the island I’m not sure maybe Ben’s house yeah okay so I’ve been to two of them and then you have the only rwb yes flew here nine years ago to get it done I do have to say this was my favorite

Car uh at last night’s game really I mean I I love rwbs and you know they have a special place in my heart yeah me too yeah it was a 964 C2 and uh we did the conversion after Nakai did the car if you did a cage idbs the usual stuff

The aesthetic stuff he’ll cut it he’ll name it he’ll put all this stuff on there and then you kind of have to go in and refinish a lot of this stuff yep and then you have a nice Hachi here yes what’s going on with this I’m trying to refresh the interior

Electronics so I just did a my own Loom a custom Loom so now I’m measuring up all the injector coils and stuff then it goes off for the engine and then comes back for more wiring stuff so this one’s gonna be a classic yeah it’s already registered right and during covid I made

A mistake of attempting two projects at once what I’m trying to do is to trace the original pin outs so that I can get it to talk to the PDM so using original switches to to trigger the the pop-up lights and stuff trying to find which which wire goes to where right

Good luck yeah so this is what you do at night before you go to bed come back from work yes work on your cars some people drink some people gamble I just wire cars that’s nice and then you have uh URS yeah it’s my GRS I love those I wish I

Wish those were available in the US and then uh that’s my Volkswagen Thing yeah what do you use that for just cruising around yeah I used to drive these in Australia and I thought it’d be quite funny to to drive it here and this used to be my uh rally car in Australia

Then the values went up so I thought maybe it’s better off as a road car so I brought it back and did some restoration I built the car at K-Tech or the house in Australia so I stripped the car apart prep all the stuff and they’re gonna come and uh help

Me put it back together amazing so traditionally being a car Enthusiast in Singapore this is so out of the ordinary it’s very not typical for you to be able to work on your own car in your own space yeah what do your neighbors think do you think you’re

Crazy yeah I think so crazy guy with all his cars yeah tinkering on his cars you think I’m running a workshop oh illegal Workshop Chop Shop yeah what a beautiful home I love it and this is your office up here with like all your FD like race suits yes come thank you So this is uh where I hide away what a view yeah are you serious so you just look at out your office and then you just see your whole Workshop yeah and for friends whoa are those all parts for it you’re 86 right there yes just sitting on top of your lift we

Start and waiting to go back in so these are all your old race suits yeah from this is the current ones these are from back then when I was driving for for falcon yeah all the old stuff oh you’re the RC car nerd like me yeah these are all yd2s what

You have so many RC cars these are all your tools got your lexan scissors yep hoodie I remember they always made the best RC tools yeah so where do you play with them here in Singapore uh before I had all the cars India I was playing

Here it doesn’t scratch up it does but yeah it’s fine like what about the fast stuff off-road you go to like some parts yeah go to Parks um Open Spaces yeah jeez what a clean setup this is just so cool like look how organized this is if you saw how I was

Throwing all my controllers you would laugh I’m a beta what do they say OCD look at this these are the most comfortable seats ever ever what are they out of they are the original 911 seats they are way comfortable and you took them out of that car yeah

And I turn into office chair it’s it’s very nice let me try this it’s good huh yeah how long have you had this house uh I designed it for a year it took two years I’ve been living here for four or five months oh that’s it yeah it’s

Pretty new still yeah pretty new have you showed this to anybody else uh no not yet you’re the first Singaporeans love their JDM Cars in fact they have a little slice of what it’s like to enjoy cars in Japan there is one 7-Eleven on the entire Island that just has two spaces where you can park in front of it to take pictures of the sign

The island is so tiny it’s just 31 miles in width and 17 miles from north to south so the question is where do the locals actually go cruising well they drive to the airport and back because it’s the longest road and that’s what we did all

Those years ago and that’s what we did this time as well Thank you Somehow it all worked out good job guys We’re done we’re done we’re done we’re done check it out After we drove to the airport and back Jansen actually wanted to check out Ben’s house Ben’s place is pretty much our car guys dream house it’s mostly garage with a tiny little living space No it’s all it’s all prepared for future builds like this is for my future yeah this is actually art one for my for my 34. oh this was my old drip Wheels but they don’t they don’t fit anymore because I put the other phone break from my AE there you can see

Works really well you have a problem because that sounds running nitrous quite quick oh yeah oh you really have a problem then these uh are you better I’m not alone so the typical Car Guy garage is just garage that’s where he lives my bit is like upstairs here’s the problem man this guy

You have problem too for my future is 15. does I ask you whether you want to sell your S15 the shower I don’t know like I I still wanna I don’t know I already have to do it I’m speechless this guy’s crazy yeah everything’s everywhere We were in the country just for a few days but I wanted to check out as many places as possible that showcases the local car culture we actually went to a storage facility that stores a bunch of cars that are just waiting to get aged out

In Singapore you have to wait for these cars to age out to 35 years old but on top of that you get a special plate and they actually give you a punch card and you punch out the days that you actually drive the vehicle that way if you get pulled over the cops

Will actually ask to see your punch card to see if you’re driving over the a lot of days you’re allowed to drive your classic vehicle they even take it a step further they actually weld the plate to the chassis and they have to inspect to make sure it’s there permanently

Before we left the island a lot of the locals gathered at a go-kart place and held a little night meet this gave us an opportunity to check out some of the local builds are reached by JDM classic SG and this is your brainchild yeah this is me and

William we are the founders for the Facebook page so we posted on online so everybody is here today just to see you just to see you yeah no they actually came here to enjoy each other’s cars yeah I mean yeah everybody’s a car Enthusiast so yeah seeing you is a

Different thing you give them a reason to come you know even if it’s a bad weather they’ll still come I do have to say I’m very appreciative of the reception to my understanding a lot of these people don’t drive their prized cars if they’re bringing it out it’s like for

Whatever reason it’s a special occasion yes we do a special event like you arriving here you know it’s a special event I just wanted to come check out the car culture again you know because since I came here last time all those years ago I always wanted to come back

And shoot some video because that’s the one thing that I kind of regret I wasn’t able to do last time is to capture the struggles that all of you guys have to go through to enjoy these cars but look at it’s so many people here it’s amazing the community is so strong Visiting Singapore really opens my eyes to how tough some countries actually have it to enjoy cars we honestly thought we had it pretty bad in California but it doesn’t hold a candle to Singapore I hope you guys really enjoyed part one I really wanted to touch on the everyday

Car culture in part two we’ll get into the real crazy Rich Asians