Sorry. We did not find anything.


    Channeling Curiosity into Practical Purpose


Boomboxes, Colts and a Rosa bus—retro restorations driven by passion, curiosity, and a respect for classic design

With a rumble of the engine and crunch of gravel, Kei Ogura maneuvers his six-meter classic FUSO Rosa bus from one corner of the small parking lot to the other. He winds down the window before stating, “I can’t take it onto the road because it’s not fully licensed yet. But we’re getting there.”

A parking lot in the sprawling Tokyo suburbs is not a typical location to realize a dream. However, for Ogura-san—a customer relations manager at Mitsubishi Fuso—the 1984 Rosa embodies just that. He dedicates time every weekend to restoring the classic model BE211D bus, bringing it back to full working order after retirement from 37 years of service, ferrying diners to and from a traditional Japanese restaurant.

The desire to breathe new life into classic objects can be traced back to Ogura-san’s junior high school days. Walking home from school, he spotted a 1980s Sony boombox that had been tossed in the trash. He stared wide-eyed at the huge speakers and big chrome buttons as if this machine was from another planet and was intrigued to see if he could make it work again. At that time, his curiosity outweighed his skills—the boombox ended up in a worse state than he found it. However, through years of trial and error and a seemingly endless powerpack of curiosity and tenacity, he honed his skills until it eventually led to a successful side-job in boombox maintenance.

“I want to know what it was like to live in that era, to have the same experiences as people of the time.”


RESTORATIVE PROPERTIES  The Rosa bus restoration is the largest project he has taken on. However, his motivation remains the same as when he picked up the boombox. “My aim is to restore items back to their original condition, like something you’d find in the vehicle or product catalog.”

“I want to know what it was like to live in that era, to have the same experiences as people of the time.” The size and scope of his projects are only defined by his life circumstances, as he states with a smile, “no high school student can afford to restore a bus!”

ALL IN THE FAMILY  One of his mid-sized projects was the restoration of a classic 1970’s Mitsubishi Galant Colt GT0. The striking vehicle, which shares characteristics with classic American muscle cars, not only ticks the box for Ogura-san’s Showa-tsunagari obsession—there is a personal connection, too, as his family had the same car when he was a child.

After a five-year quest, he found the identical model and began restoring it back to catalog condition. Sinking into the low-rise seats, clicking in the classic seat belts and choosing a cassette tape, you’re immediately transported back to 1970’s Japan.

ALL ABOUT THE DETAILS  Though a larger undertaking than the Colt, the Rosa is being restored with the same dedication and attention to detail. The smell of the restored seat coverings, the spring of the restrung luggage racks, and the full-body shake as the bus grinds through the gears add up to a fully immersive experience. Ogura-san’s been helped in this process by FUSO, who was able to provide many of the necessary parts, despite the model being out of production.

Ogura-san joins other restoration enthusiasts who are using their skills and passion to get classic Fuso workhorses back to their former glory. However, with many older vehicles, registration problems or hard-to-find components mean the pristine classics become essentially museum pieces—albeit important examples of the company’s heritage. Ogura-san’s motivation to restore his bus is more practical than historical. “My goal is to get the bus roadworthy so I can use it for family camping trips or company events.”

PUTTING NEW SKILLS TO THE TEST  His passion for vehicles extends beyond restoration—he received a heavy-duty license just before entering the company. He did so, “not for commercial use in the company, but because I love trucks and buses. I got the license myself on my own time and budget.”

Two years after joining FUSO, seeing the shocking images of the earthquake and resulting tsunami that ripped through the Tohoku region on March 11, 2011, he saw an opportunity to use his skills to support those most affected. Ogura-san connected with a volunteer group who were in desperate need of a bus driver—coincidentally, to drive an Aero Ace coach bus—to transport teams hundreds of kilometers to and from Iwate, one of the northeastern prefectures hit hardest by the disaster. He made countless trips over seven years, providing practical and emotional support to those in need.

Ogura-san’s projects have taken him on a fascinating journey, building up practical skills and making connections along the way. His commitment to restoration offers others shared experiences while also providing him personal and professional growth. Kei’s adventure from boombox to bus won’t end once the Rosa is ready for the road, as he says with a smile, “I wonder what’s next?”