– Words: Jason Hanif. Photos: Rob Shaw.
Generally, we’ll start off coverage from any given event with an overview containing attributes of what it’s all about. This one needs no introduction. One of the largest tuner car shows, Tokyo Auto Salon took place in Japan last month showcasing some of the newest cars, performance parts and technology available to the tuner market.
PART ONE: THE ANNUAL AUTO SALON
Held annually, 2014 proved that the show is still in growth. At a time of doubt within the automotive market led by the financial crisis, Tokyo Auto Salon (TAS) 2014 saw a record high of 296,714 visitors through the gates (in comparison to 282,695 in 2013 and 255,709 in 2012).
There’s said to be just over 800 cars along with trade stands assembled edge to edge within the exhibition centre located in Chiba City, land of the rising sun. With plenty to cover, our photographer Rob Shaw was equipped to bring you these snapshots from this years event.
TAS provides the opportunity for Japan’s largest wheel companies to display their new lines and limited edition wheels. Some classic JDM cars were on display at the Work Wheels stand including this mint Datsun 240sx.
You can expect to see some of the best builds there too, including this infamous Bensopra Nissan ‘380sx’. The engine and drivetrain was custom mounted from the ex-Blitz R35 GT-R with the Australian-made Holinger sequential gearbox fitted to control the power transfer through the gears.
Japanese culture always results in some striking and rather odd creations.
Without a doubt, Toyota’s 86 dominated in numbers. We’re seeing so many different variations in performance parts and cosmetic products available for the baby platform, including this Lexus inspired front.
The complete kit was created by Aimgain which is dubbed as the LF-Sport (resembling Lexus’ ‘F’ range).
It’s no car show without bright lights and promo models, lots of them. Dannie Riel kept things busy at the Trust/GReddy booth throughout the show.
When things were too hot to handle inside, the D1GP was frying tyres at the 2014 opening season just outside the TAS venue.
PART TWO: SHOW ME WHAT YOU’VE GOT!
One of the largest drawcards for TAS is for car manufacturers, racing teams, individual workshops and the aftermarket industry to show off the latest products they’ve been working on.
First up, the STI BRZ team and their BRZ GT300 set to compete in Japan’s Super GT series. Testing for this began in March last year at the Okayama International Circuit in Japan.
From what we’ve seen, Lexus had one of the most appealing displays and we love the minimalist form of this RC F race car which currently has simple livery. This will also be competing in the Super GT series, positioned in the GT500 class.
Check out all that carbon! This is the 2014 GT-R Nismo GT500, which will go up against the RF C and NSX pictured below in the GT500 class.
Honda not only displayed the latest generation NSX but also had this one here engineered for use in the Super GT500 class of the series.
The all new WRX STI, the front of the new platform has been largely criticised for looking alot like the Evo X.
We’ve had our eyes on Varis’ kits for the latest generation of JDM models such as the Evo, WRX, and GT-R for quite some time now, with each creation evolving into more aggressive and aerodynamic kits. This R35 Circuit Version has a new diffuser, lip, bumpers, fenders, side skirts and rear under skirt. Most of the components are made of carbon fibre or FRP.
Bulletproof Automotive is another name that we’ve been watching lately. This is their latest widebody FR-S, which travelled from the US to the show.
PART THREE: THE EXHIBITION
One of the greatest view-points for the audience at any car show is to see the latest products on offers. TAS’ aftermarket avenue is massive, with traders displaying the latest parts and technology available. Lets take a look at some.
Another 86! This time by Top Secret, each car is still sporting the famous colours.
Even with quite a number of limited edition TE37’s already on the market, there’s no excuse not to have more, especially with the demand RAYS receives for them. This is the new ‘Ultra’ series which is available in new colours.
So many Bride’s, so many options. The closest we have to a display like this in Sydney is the Garage 88 showroom. Seeing these trade displays actually makes us appreciate the effort our local workshop has gone through in order to directly showcase these to the public.
Cusco had parts and braces spread all along the engine bay and undercarriage of Toyota’s 86, each one carrying tagged descriptions of the part.
Previously, traditional colours were the only offering from all reputable JDM wheel brands, now we’re seeing different variations and colours on offer which can no doubt be linked to the USDM influence.
What we can see from the coverage so far is an increased influence in circuit and track. This is the Trust/GReddy Time Attack 86 with the new second incarnation Rocket Bunny kit.
Traders spare no expense on displays, aiming to grab the attention of almost 300,000 visitors who will potentially past their stand throughout the course of the show.
PART FOUR: RAW, WIDE AND LOW
It seems that the largest styles at the show were track and circuit, alongside the Super GT unveils. For the street however, names such as Rocket Bunny (RB), Liberty Walk (LB) and Rauh-Welt-Begriff (RWB) continue to dominate.
The latest kits are bold and strikingly wide, including this LB M3.
LB also had their infamous Lamborghini’s and GT-R on display within their booth.
The new RB 86 (Type 2) kit speaks for itself!
We love that each RWB car is given its own unique name and theme, but has it been over-done and plagued by the latest LB and RB kits?
There’s something for everyone at these shows, crazy fitment on this 180sx.
Some of the latest parts offered at TAS will indeed be making their way into Australia. For Cusco, Bride, Work, Rays, Enkei and more contact our preferred supplier Garage 88 to see what’s coming and their availability.
There’s no doubt that this is the pinnacle tuner car show for the Japan, and with official affiliation support from the Chiba City Government, we hope to personally make it out there for next years show.