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,..

..as 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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