We head to Ja­pan to check out Garage Ill’s wide-arched, X Gecko One-O Pro­duc­tion R8

Fast Car - - Contents -

Like your su­per­cars wild? Well they don’t come much more wild (or wide) than this!

It seems nowa­days that a lot of tuners are throw­ing the phrase ‘one off’ around at any chance they get. One off cus­tom ex­haust. One off head­ers. One off sus­pen­sion kit. One off in­sert a part name. Let’s face it, it’s a buzz word that we as cus­tomers and en­thu­si­ast look for in a build. It adds that spe­cial some­thing we are con­stantly look­ing for. That rar­ity. Know­ing the fact that we have the only one in the whole world! If we’re hon­est, it’s prob­a­bly a one off as a re­sult of try­ing to in­stall some­thing that was never de­signed to fit the car in the first place. No, the one off we are truly seek­ing is some­thing that’s ac­tu­ally de­signed for its in­tended pur­pose and then, you have the only one of it. That is the ex­clu­siv­ity we are on the hunt for.

It is also the hunt that Akira Mat­suura, head de­signer and owner of Garage Ill, and Ohara Hiro­masa had in mind when they be­gan this build in prepa­ra­tions for Tokyo Auto Salon 2016. Akira-San and Ohara-San first met a lit­tle over three years ago when Ohara-San asked Akira-San to help him cus­tomise a Toy­ota HiAce for his con­struc­tion com­pany. Their love for cus­tomis­ing cars, in par­tic­u­lar lowrid­ers, ce­mented their re­la­tion­ship and be­gan work­ing on a va­ri­ety of projects to­gether. As time passed and Auto Salon loomed closer and closer, the duo sat down and dis­cussed what project they could build.

They knew it had to be some­thing crazy. Some­thing that no one would ever ex­pect. Some­thing that would truly be one of a kind. Some­thing the world has never seen be­fore. But what could it pos­si­bly be? With the wide­body craze in full swing, Ohara-San wanted to build some­thing with a wide­body aero kit. Akira-San loves Audi and wanted the next plat­form to be from the Ger­man car man­u­fac­turer. So it made sense to make a truly one off bodykit for the Audi R8. With the car sorted out, it was time to get to work cre­at­ing the one-off aerokit that Akira-San calls the Garage Ill X Gecko One-Off Pro­duc­tion. If the boot fits…

De­signed en­tirely by Akira-San and made in house by him and two other staff mem­bers, the aerokit in­cludes the fol­low­ing: front and rear bumpers, car­bon fi­bre side pan­els and rear dif­fuser, over­fend­ers, and that massive, Bu­gatti Gran Turismo Con­cept-in­spired rear spoiler which let’s face it, dom­i­nates the con­ver­sa­tion. Af­ter pur­chas­ing the R8, Akira-San got to work right away de­ter­min­ing how much wider he was go­ing to make the R8, and cre­at­ing a skele­ton he would use to widen the front and rear fen­ders. The aerokit took three months to com­plete and has dra­mat­i­cally al­tered the styling of the R8. The

“The aerokit took three months to com­plete and has dra­mat­i­cally al­tered the styling of the R8”

aerokit also makes the R8 al­most too wide for the streets of Ja­pan. Fol­low­ing from be­hind, you can truly grasp how wide it is as it takes up as much of the road as com­mer­cial trucks. Driv­ing the R8 around re­quires pre­de­ter­mined routes at all times due to the fact it re­ally can’t fit on a lot of the side roads that the nav­i­ga­tional sys­tem might send you to avoid traf­fic or an ac­ci­dent. It’s that wide!

The matt pur­ple paint you see is not a wrap but in fact a cus­tom paint job by Akira-San. Akira-San’s pas­sion for cars started with lowrid­ers and cre­at­ing vis­ually stun­ning art­work on the large sur­face ar­eas those clas­sics cars pro­vide. Air­brush is Akira-San’s spe­cial­ity and the level of de­tail that he puts into his craft can only be matched by some­one who has spent their en­tire ca­reer per­fect­ing their craft. It truly is oth­er­worldly. The car­bon fi­bre panel sur­round­ing the gas cap re­ceived a spe­cial paint job that re­flects the en­tire at­ti­tude of the car. Writ­ten in Ja­panese, the panel reads “Only One. Noth­ing Else Can Re­place It.”

To help cre­ate the per­fect stance look, the R8 is equipped with KW HLS Hy­draulic sys­tem and 19-inch Work M1 Meis­ter Wheels wrapped in Con­ti­nen­tal Conti Force Con­tact tyres. Keep­ing the trend of truly one off pro­duc­tion, the ex­haust sys­tem has been com­pletely re­designed and hand built by Akira-San. The R8 now sports a one-off ex­haust sys­tem that not only looks sexy as hell, not only does it in­clude six-ti­ta­nium tip ex­hausts, and helps the orig­i­nal 4.2 L V8 breath bet­ter for slight per­for­mance gains, but dra­mat­i­cally al­ters the sound note scream­ing out of those ti­ta­nium tips, which can only be de­scribed as a vol­cano ar­gu­ing with it­self. The ex­haust sys­tem is in­cred­i­bly loud above 4,000 RPM and ut­terly in­tox­i­cat­ing!

The in­te­rior of the R8 is a se­ri­ously de­cent place when stock and truth be told, Akira-San could have stopped the build af­ter cre­at­ing such a vis­ually pleas­ing ex­te­rior. How­ever he didn’t. In the quest of cre­at­ing some­thing truly one off, leav­ing the in­te­rior in stock form would sim­ply not do. Thus, in want­ing to keep the spirit of truly cre­at­ing some­thing one off the in­te­rior also re­ceived the Garage Ill treat­ment. All the trim on the cen­tre con­sole was re­placed with cus­tom car­bon fi­bre pieces. Even the steer­ing wheel! Match­ing the pur­ple colour scheme of the ex­te­rior, the seats were re­uphol­stered in a cus­tom pat­terned and colour also de­signed by Akira-San. Match­ing the cus­tom seats, the steer­ing wheel and

“Driv­ing the R8 re­quires pre­de­ter­mined routes at all times as it can’t fit down a lot of side roads”

gauge clus­ter cover was also re­uphol­stered in the same plush ma­te­rial. With ev­ery­thing com­pleted, the splash of pink con­trasts the cabin full of car­bon fi­bre beau­ti­fully.

The goal be­hind this project was to bring some­thing to the world that we could truly call a one off cre­ation. I think it’s safe to say that Akira-San and the team at Garage Ill ac­com­plished this goal. By cre­at­ing a com­pletely new and rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent wide­body kit for the R8, they not only made some­thing that will al­ways turn heads no mat­ter which coun­try it’s in, but noth­ing else can ever re­place it. This is a truly unique ma­chine and no mat­ter how much you beg Akira-San to repli­cate the kit, no amount of money will change his mind. “If I cre­ate an­other,” he says, “the value be­hind the slo­gan ‘Only One. Noth­ing Else Can Re­place It’ will be­come mean­ing­less.”

The ex­haust is a work of art

“Only One. Noth­ing Else Can Re­place It”

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