TOKYO AUTO SALON 2015 is one of the biggest and most important custom car shows in Japan, where the world gets to see the latest custom auto trends and crazy wild styles, which can inspire many a car enthusiast. With 879 show cars and 4163 exhibition booths which spans over 11 halls, this year records the largest scale event ever in its history.
For the first time, hayashi86.com will provide coverage of the 33rd instalment of this major car show together with the rest of the automotive media. Join me as I share my experiences being at TAS and the highlights of the fun and exciting show cars there.
To accommodate that massive amount of show cars over a 3-day period (January 9 - 11), there's only one place for that - the Makuhari Messe Convention Complex at Chiba Prefecture.
At 8am on Friday, the doors were opened, and my journey began! Following the number of halls, I started exploring Hall #1 where ...
... immediately, I met with one of the famous classic car restorer, Mr Watanabe of Rocky Auto. His approach towards bringing vintage cars back to life is always different. This Kenmeri, for example, has a complete R32 interior and running on RB26DETT engine on all four-wheels. Power!
I was surprised to see the rare Lamborghini Miura at TAS. But, I was deceived. This Miura was actually a Mazda MX-5 NB (2nd gen) built properly to replicate the classic bull machine. You could find no V12 engine at the back, but instead a Ford Mustang 5L V8 engine at front.
The company also did the same to produce the iconic Toyota 2000GTs that parked beside the Miura. They looked just like the real thing, and you can own one now at a much affordable price. :)
At RE-Amemiya booth, there were the WTAC 20B powered time attack machine known as 'Hurricane7' (center), Mazda 3 MPS (left) and a rotary powered MX-5 with new Amemiya aerokit (right) known as Super Roadster Renesis 13B.
The only two RWBs that present at TAS were Rough Rhythm and Yves Piaget. Rough Rhythm was spotted wearing new Rofiform wheels at Army Girl booth.
A pair of nicely tuned GT-Rs at Kansai Service. If simplicity isn't your style, ...
... then, you would like this wild KUHL GT-R. It was definitely one of the most outstanding GT-R at TAS because of its unique custom paint done by ARTIS, widebody kit by Love Lark and performance parts from Blitz. They call the custom paint "3D Ultimate Engraving Metal Paint" and it got so much attention that people wouldn't miss a chance to touch its detailed engraved body texture.
The new Mazda Skyactiv Prototype, a Le Mans prototype racer shows that Mazda is still very much active in motorsport racing. It runs on a 2.2L SkyActiv-D diesel engine powering 450hp and 786Nm of torque. This prototype debuted at Rolex 24H Daytona last year, but did not finish.
4th gen MX-5 was unveiled at Paris Motor Show last year, but seeing it in flesh for the first time gave me positive impression about it. What's even better was that Mazda also displayed the Cup racer version for upcoming MX-5 Global Cup race championship.
Big companies like Nissan also didn't miss the chance to showcase the best of its racing division can offer. Apart from the tuned up Juke, March and Note, my eyes were locked on at the new GT-R Nismo.
In fact, this is a new GT-R N Attack Package introduced by Nismo. This limited edition matches the exact spec of the car that posted 7:08.679 at Nurburgring track and its available in two different packages, N Attack Package A and B. Package A allows you to enjoy the same performance of the time attack car and Package B is for daily driving with all four seats remained.
The new 2015 Fairlady Z Nismo is also further upgraded with more carbon fiber aethetics and new aero design.
Nissan had their SuperGT cars on display too. On the left is #23 Team Nismo Motul Autech GT-R which won the 2014 GT500 Drivers Championship driven by Tsugio Matsuda and Ronnie Quintarelli. On the right is an upgraded version of the 2015 Nismo GT3 for GT300 class.
Happy Nissan showgirl. :D
There are infinite number of ways to upgrade a car whether it's for visual or hardcore performance upgrades, especially when you come across all the new and latest products showcased by well-known Japanese aftermarket companies at Tokyo Auto Salon.
At Yokohama Advan booth, the famous HKS GT-R time attack machine piloted by non-other than HKS ambassador, Nobuteru Taniguchi was on display. This 1000+ hp rocket recently broke Fuji Speedway's fastest tuned R35 lap record, at 1'37"771. What a beast!
More time attack machines - Blitz Racing Project BRZ at Blitz booth and Kamikaze-R at Varis booth.
Bridgestone introduced RE-71R range to their Potenza tyres lineup. It replaces the popular RE-70 tyres and offers a better grip performance. This cool looking Varis widebody 86 sits proudly in front in the new RE-71R tyres.
Bridgestone is the official tyre sponsor for most of the teams in GT500 class SuperGT, and #8 Team ARTA NSX Concept-GT is one of them. And, that hybrid BMW i8 with both of its butterfly doors up is pretty darn good looking, I'd say.
Things became more interesting at Hall #4. Nihon Automobile College or NATS for short, exhibit an array of custom cars built by the students themselves. Out of the many project cars, I found few very amusing ones.
First was 'MBW550', a Suzuki Mighty Boy built to look just like the BMW E30 M3 race car. The cuteness didn't stop there. The students converted a Suzuki Twin into a luxurious English car known as 'Choro-ru'. The 'Extreme' is heavily inspired by a familiar Italian supercar company. :D
NATS' cute BMW project car scored the 'Best K Car Award' at Tokyo Auto Salon this year. Wow!
And, I couldn't find any cars sweeter than this. :D A diabetic creation by the students of Toyota Technical College Tokyo.
For Miura-san from TRA Kyoto, his Rocket Bunny creation didn't really steal the limelight this year or as much impact as the time when he unveiled his Rocket Bunny 86 & GT-R few years back. Nevertheless, some of his latest creation like the NSX & RX-7, and even his personal FRS were displayed across the hall.
When I was walking around at Hall #1, I stumbled upon Keiichi Tsuchiya's new AE86 at Fujitsubo. It has been rebuilt for a fresh comeback to Hot Version series, and under his signature green bonnet is TEC-ART's 1.8L 7A-GE engine.
I even got the chance to meet with Drift King himself who came for special autograph sessions with the fans.
VIP style is a common car culture in Japan, where they use those big four-door luxury saloon and executive cars from Toyota, Nissan and Honda, and slapped it with really big, deep-dish wheels with extreme negative camber values, lowered down to inches of the floor.
To be honest, I didn't quite approve of this strange impractical culture, 'til I saw how they done it with the new Lexus RC F. Pretty cool, actually.
And, AIMGAIN successfully brought the VIP style out of the Lexus representatives with their complete modification expertise in bodykit, wheels, exhaust, brakes, suspension and etc. The white Lexus NX200t F Sport attained the Best Award for SUV category.
It was no easy task to admire all 879 cars at TAS, but there's always some time for the Japanese showgirls. :D
Honda occupied one of the biggest space in Hall #4 & #5. There were quite a number of cars and bikes dressed in funky colours to prove that production cars can be attractive and fun to drive. Honda's tuning division, Mugen also showcased some of their latest creation.
'Cyber Concept N-Box Slash Code:89' looks like it's from a sci-fi movie. I guess this is how your future will look like, with Honda. The pink Honda Vezel (HR-V in Malaysia) is a special collaboration with Japanese fashion company 'Samantha Thavasa'.
Well, I expect to see the production unit of the modern Honda NSX, but this #17 Team Keihin NSX Concept-GT from SuperGT was as near as it can get. Isn't it time for the world to receive the new Honda NSX? :)
This is Honda S660, a mid-engined roadster designed to be the successor of the popular K car, Honda Beat. Honda said it will be powered by a turbocharged 660cc engine and have a balanced 50:50 weight ratio.
Production is expected to arrive in mid-2015, but the S660 we are looking here is a prototype model. Wheels and interior parts made of carbon fiber? I don't think mass production models will come with it.
While Honda is still mending S660 on the draft board, Daihatsu is already a step ahead releasing a new Copen model last year. A number of tuners already got their hands on the Copen, tuning it and had them on display at Daihatsu booth. Let's see how Honda S660 will go against the equally powered 660cc Daihatsu Copen and Suzuki Alto Turbo RS.
We'll get to see Lotus Evora racing in SuperGT! Never before a Lotus is being used in the race and seeing one fully transformed complying to FIA GT3 specifications, made me believe this lightweight mid-engined machine will be very competitive in its GT300 class this year.
That's it for now in Tokyo Auto Salon Part 1. More wonders to follow in Tokyo Auto Salon Part 2. Stay tune. :D
At the mean time, enjoy more galleries below.