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Tokyo Auto Salon - The Land Of The Odd

Horse power, suspension, engine swaps, bikini clad girls; believe me, when you spend a few hours around this, it can get a bit repetitive, maybe even boring.  Everywhere you go there is either a GTR with 1000 horse power, A 86 with wide body, or a slammed Audi.

But Tokyo Auto Salon always brings this extra something, something that adds substantially to the variety and quality of the whole show.  To me it's an analogy of comic relief in Hollywood blockbusters. 

Exhibits like this just show that Japanese mechanics can take their incredible skill and limitless imagination and direct them towards creating something completely different.

And they will go all the way to create it out of anything, such as making a drift car out of a Beetle by doing a full RWD conversion,

and fitting an SR20DETT from Nissan Silvia, tuned to push over 300 horses, perpendicular to original position of the engine.

In true JDM fashion an air filter popping out of an eye socket is a must.

Challenge accepted!  Who says that the Japanese cannot push the all American approach of bigger is better to the limits?  We witness this being done by smashing a Lexus GS on a set of 37 inch chrome rims.

As usual the center stage was taken by Japan Automobile College where young minds create some of the most outrageous rides usually swapping body panels or engines.  In the past their most memorable creations were a pickup truck made from Toyota Century and Nissan GTR made out of Suzuki Cappuccino. 

Outrageous they may be, but not as bizarre as the ultimate J-gangsta wagon. 

From big to small, since land is a scarce resource in Japan little k-trucks with 660 cc engines are to Japanese farmlands what pickup trucks are to American countryside.  They are absolutely everywhere running around transporting crops and goods.  Now, however, they can do it in style.

Little box cars are dominating sales in Japan, so now they can be cool too! 

And who says that going to school ain't cool?

Or how about some insane positive camber?

Sometimes however, credit has to be given to not just "how did they do it",

but also to how did they get it, as natural oddities like Reliant Robin never been sold at this part of the world before.

But when it comes to utmost international bizarre competition, nothing beats the Lada 2101, also known as Kopeika to common Russian folk.

The most remarkable part is that guys at Auto Garage Red K did not stop at importing this car, but went as far as dropping it on set of Rays wheels, gave it a Ferrari Red wrap and are planning to through process of adjusting emissions and passing Japanese registration so it can run around on the the streets of Japan.

As you can see there is a lot more to Tokyo Auto Salon that the usual gimmicks of after-market world.  I hope that the insanity behind these projects will be more visible and that the Lada will get that Japanese license plate!

Thank you for reading everyone, please don't forget to share, comment and follow.

Special thanks to Andrei Kolochine for supplying some of the shots for this post.
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Tokyo Auto Salon 2014: The Western Invasion

Until just a few years ago Tokyo Auto Salon was all about JDM; it was as local as it could possibly get, but as after-market trends have spread across Western Hemisphere, foreign cars started to appear at the event. 2009 featured a separate area called Import Auto Salon,

but soon after it merged and Tokyo Auto Salon expanded to its current size and layout, occupying entire Makuhari Messe floor space and providing an awesome blend of Western exotics and JDM hotness.

Naturally, the styles have blended and thus we see stuff being done to Lamborghini's that would make any purist shiver.

But Japan has no rules and no limits when it comes to imagination, creativity and craftsmanship. 

Regardless how obscene some of these cars may look, every part represents passion and perfection.

But as we saw at SEMA, Japanese are not the only ones with passion for after-market customizations, and during this show American cars, such as this Dodge Challenger, which actually was never officially sold in Japan, were present in numbers.

It was almost nostalgic to see this SEMA sensation in form of Ford SVT Raptor make it all the way to Tokyo Auto Salon.  Video of this monster being thrashed and catching air at SEMA 2013 can be found here.

Chevrolet Corvette, on the contrary has very large following in Japan and despite being replaced with the brilliant Stingray, this C6 still looks modern and aggressive.

The brand new Stingray made its way to Japan too and was far from the last word from the Americans at the show,.. Hennessey Performance Engineering presented their Chevrolet Corvette C7 Stingray and Ford GT40 at Tokyo Auto Salon for the first time 

Of course Goodyear had a very large booth as they are co-sponsoring D1 and enjoying great sales in Japan.  However, their approach to marketing and appeal to street racers or spirited drivers may be a bit unusual....

When it comes to size and performance, it may seem that Americans would be the ultimate leader in the segment, however when you throw in luxury, nothing beats the Rolls Royce Phantom, especially if it is customized by Wald International, which equipped it with large 24 inch 2 piece wheels, lowered suspension and full body kit. 

Engineers at Carlsson, however had a different opinion, and although they didn't get their hands on a Rolls Royce they had a brand new W222 Mercedes Benz S class, which they equipped with aggressive looking 21 inch wheels, body kit, and tuned it to 610 horse power for good measure.

Carlsson may have had the ultimate S Class, if it wasn't for Mercedes Benz Japan who hosted their own booth at Tokyo Auto Salon for the first time, and could there be a better way to use that massive space than to unveil the S65 AMG for Japan! 

Walking around the MB booth however I was not particularity excited as most of the models were previously seen at Mercedes Benz Connection.  That is until I saw this A 45 AMG 4MATIC PETRONAS Green Edition.  This car is actually on sale with only 30 units available in Japan and priced and whooping 9.7 million yen.

Plenty of Stuttgart vehicles were spread around entire show, which is a reminder of these cars popularity in Japan.  I am sure we will cover a few of them in greater detail as we go along.

Where there is one, there is the other; that is the never ending story of German Automotive rivalry.  BMW did not have their booth but extend of their popularity needs no introduction.  Many after market wheel and parts manufacturers chose latest BMW's such as this aggressive looking Active Hybrid 3 in Rays booth as their show cars .

It was also great to see the new 4 series getting a bit of after market treatment from 3D design, who just launched series of products for this car.

But not many cars can compare to the brilliant M5.

There were plenty of Audi's too, most of which we will cover in upcoming updates.

Porsche, however has a special place in all car enthusiasts hearts and this is clearly seen at this year's Tokyo Auto Salon. 

Porsche has managed to amaze and surprise us with their unique design and mind boggling performance, while tuning and custom shops are trying to keep up with the trends and look for room for improvement.  Many would probably agree that in Panamera's case, there is plenty.

Such great variety, from old to new, executed in so many styles can only mean one thing: passion.

But nothing screams passion as loud as a Ferrari, especially the F40 in Roberuta booth.  The car was on airbags and as I saw it being slowly lifted and lowered, obviously adding to the practicality, I can only hope that the air suspension does not compromise exceptional handling capabilities of this car.

The story of Italian rivalry is not too different from German: where there is a prancing horse, there is always a raging bull.  As SEMA, Tokyo Auto Salon had its share of Aventadors. 

There were some for every taste, but I always thought they they look best in white, as this LP700  with Lamborghini 50 anniversary lively displayed by Liberty Walk. 

It is an accepted fact that Lamborghini has been enjoying ever increasing sales in recession struck Japan, and for that reason some owners seem concerned that they no longer stand out.  "My Lambo looks like everybody's else" concern is louder than ever, but thanks to Boomcraft, the owners seeking individuality can put their worries to rest.  Specializing in  vehicle wrapping they also ventured into after market body kits.  Believe me when I say that this, the pink Murcielago is a subtle version as we will look into the "crazy overload" in next update.

Japanese love Italian cars as we saw recently in Daikoku and 500 Abarth is enjoying good sales here, thanks its good size/performance balance.  Of course, size on this one has been altered by this massive wide body kit and deep concave rims. Let's just hope it has the performance to match.

Maserati's will always have a special place in my heart.  Their cars are nothing short of spectacular, and while may not be the best performing they can undoubtedly be refereed to as automotive work of art.  S & Company took it even further by applying matte wrap to this Maserati Gran Turismo MC Stradale, as well as dropping it on these HRE wheels.

For 2014 Pirelli has chosen the F12 Berlinetta as their flagship show car.  I can't stop looking at this amazing car and I am simply lost for words as I seem to have ran out of synonyms to "perfection".

We finish again with Liberty Walk, with a shot of the Ferrari 458 that took the prize of "Best Custom Import of Tokyo Auto Salon 2014"  Congratulations to Kato-san and entire LB-Walk crew.

Thank you for reading everyone, please don't forget to share, comment and follow.  Please come back soon for more Tokyo Auto Salon coverage.  Special thanks to Andrei Kolochine for taking some of the shots featured in this entry.
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Tokyo Auto Salon 2014 - Home of the JDM

I've been visiting Tokyo Auto Salon for a few years and not a single time it failed to surprise me. The event can be described as SEMA of Japan, but as it is being open to general public it has a completely different atmosphere. Much more attention is being paid to presentation as it takes a degree in marketing to lure average Joe to your booth.

Race queens play a role and are largely responsible for such incredible attendance numbers, as over 200000 tickets are sold each year.

But for us, genuine petrol-heads this is a chance to witness some of the most amazing rides the Japan's after-market world has ever produced.

And believe me, there are quite a lot,

and they are quite insane.

Every car enthusiast knows how good Japanese are at tuning and customizing, as their craftsmanship and attention to detail are unmatchable.

But here it's been taken to next level.

The theme of wide-body performance machines seems to have been carried over from SEMA.

It is therefore expected that we would see a number of Toyota 86's with Rocket Bunny kits,..

..and TRA Kyoto did not disappoint, but as always, a body kit is just a part of the story.

Hachiroku tuning is nothing new, but it never gets old, as this compact monster is running a V8 engine with individual throttle body setup, I can only imagine how this linear power delivery would transform this machine into a perfect drift car.

On the inside it has been converted to full race layout featuring Nardi steering wheel, Bride bucket seats as well as race pedals and sequential transmission.

With such low stance on Work Emotion wheels and massive negative camber subtlety is not an option.

Same could be said about this USDM LHD Scion FRS sporing same Rocket Bunny kit, beautifully welded onto the body to make it look almost seamless.  The 19 inch Work wheels and unique cherry red paint job complete the visual awesomeness of this car.

But as clean and smooth this car is on the inside, it is just an appetizer for what's under the hood.  Same principles found on the outside were followed in the engine bay, and despite not producing the most power it was one of the most crowd pleasing of the show.

This is undoubtedly the nirvana of NA tuning.  Although may seem like something else at first glance, this is the original Subaru's Flat-four.  With Individual throttle body setup it should sound as good as it looks.

The boys at Kuhl had a different vision, however and created something out of the ordinary.  The fish-skin theme is actually a carefully laid out paint  The design may be too much for some, but it does tick many boxes with choice of body kit and use of LED lights.

More LED's followed in the rear with these unique tail lights.  Massive quad exhaust suggests that this car has plenty to say about performance.  We'll be watching the development of this vehicle as we go along.

There were more subtle and down-to-earth versions of the Hachiroku, such as this FRS, making its return to Japan after display at SEMA.  Of course we had a look at this luxury coupe at Hachiroku Style event back in August.

It was also a pleasant surprise to see the convertible Hachiroku make an appearance as "Racing Concept" in Toyota's booth.  Of course the original 86 convertible concept was revealed just a month and a half ago at Tokyo Motor Show

Right next to it was this Japan-only MarkX tuned by Gazoo racing. The FR four-door shares its base and engine with Lexus IS and enjoys its share of popularity in domestic market as affordable sports sedan.

The MarkX has been a popular base for tuners as well, as its sleek shape and common design provide plenty of room for different possibilities.

Apart from the Hachiroku's and X's however, other Toyota models came in limited numbers.  This
Fast and Furious themed Supra, however was very hard to walk by. 

Lexus IS's popularity among tuners is growing very rapidly.  Most updates are primarily visual, but  many wheel manufactures are now using the IS as their show car due to its extremely modern design and sporty appeal.

At Lexus's own booth the only presentation was for their RCF GT car that will be featured in this year's Super GT.

With revised rules and brand new cars from all manufacturers this year's Super GT will be interesting to follow.

Back on the exhibition floor, tuners were showing their passion for the out of production RX-7 as different versions were present in numbers, but the most astounding was the one driven by Mad Mike Whiddet.

The twin turbo engine made its way to quad rotor NA high compression power plant producing 500 horse power and earth shattering race-car noise. 

A few RX-8's were also present representing various styles and tuning options. 

Subaru also has been silent in terms of performance vehicles, but are hoping to lure their fans back with the new Levorg.  There were several versions of the new station wagon on display, but I am yet to see how Subaru fans will react to the 300 horse power CVT machine.

More attention was given to the new WRX Sti being premiered in Japan for the first time in its racing colors.

Majority of the JDM machines present at this year's Auto Salon were made by Nissan, which has put on quite a performance at Tokyo Motor Show.  Their incredible success with GTR, 370Z and the Infiniti brand vehicles also ensured that they would be present in numbers.

Yet it is their older models that are responsible for most jaws hitting the floor, such as this used to be 180SX.  Sporing a Ben Sopra wide body kit, it is now is known as 380SX,.. the it is fit with VR38DETT from the R35 GTR.

Additional couple of TD06-25G turbo chargers, a 4.0 Stroke kit, and other enhancements bring  power output to excess of 1000 horses.  This car is one of the highlights of Japanese tuning world and was named car of the year by Speedhunters magazine.  I am sure we will come across it in the near future, but now we have to move on.

For more dark-side 180SX this pearl brown colored Nissan had a very unique tarmac looking bonnet. 

Ben Sopra Body kits were present on even more cars such as this 350Z at Trust booth.  A very unique design making the Z look very aggressive and modern.

The show had plenty of the R34 GTR's this year as well.  With limited production numbers, brutal performance, phenomenal tuning potential, and even Hollywood fame it is one of the most sought after cars.

And speaking of tuning, Top Secret went all in to tune to customize this R34.  With Engine stroked to 2.8L, with addition of HKS turbo and fuel management system it produces 850 horse power.  Completely redone custom pearl Bayside blue completes the setup.

Right next to it - another Bayside blue GTR, but this time - R35.  Sitting on blacked out stock wheels, sporting aggressive stance and a body kit it looks very clean and aggressive

The engine here received plenty of tuning touches in usual Top Secret manner.

Some may even remember it from my last post as it showed up with another Top Secret project car to Daikoku PA for New Year car meet.  Sometimes I forget how awesome the car culture here is; where else tuner demo cars just show up to unsanctioned meets?

Across the hall from Top Secret was Trust, which is how Japanese know GReddy and they have presented this no holds barred rear wheel drive GTR drift car.  With Kei Miura designed wide body kit, a 1000 HP engine, sequential gear box, and re-worked suspension should make this a very capable drift car and add quite a bit of spice to 2014 D1GP.

This project however, is a road legal version of the R35, but as already introduced at Nismo Festival last December, it is a full dry carbon conversion.  It should definitely help the GTR to shed a few pounds off, while Amuse Power exhaust and remapped ECU should gain those precious horse powers.  With Overtake Garage gaining popularity, I will try to feature more of this car as we go along.

While Varis was showing off their unique aerodynamic parts...

..this GTR, however was totally different from anything I've ever seen.  With deleted rear wing, 20 inch Work wheels and pearl black finish this Godzilla had luxury grand tourer written all over it.  A very interesting direction for a 500 horse power super-car...

But as with anything, Ueta-san from Ben Sopra had a different view, and his creations are anything but subtle.  Naturally, most of his customers would share the same thought, as would the owner of this R35 with bizarre artwork.

It is when we arrive to Liberty Walk, probably the most flamboyant of the Japanese tuners.  Having dominated SEMA with a collection of his cars Kato-san had similar plans for Tokyo Auto Salon.  This GTR is just a small glimpse of what he has in store,..

..and the beautiful Kenmeri GTR probably tells a whole lot more more, as although known for his work with Lamborghini's and and more lately Ferrari's, this is LB-Walk going back to their roots - the ultimate JDM classics.

Thank you for reading, everyone.  We will be back with more Tokyo Autosalon features later.
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