TAS

UNIQUE­NESS IS AL­WAYS ON THE AGENDA, BUT THIS YEAR WAS A BIT DIF­FER­ENT

Fast Car - - Con­tents -

These three magic let­ters stand for Tokyo Auto Salon – roll the pic­tures.

If there is one thing you can be sure that the Tokyo Auto Salon de­liv­ers, it’s unique­ness. The show is as unique as the mar­ket it at­tempts to pro­mote. Var­ied, ec­cen­tric, at times sur­pris­ing and con­fus­ing, but al­ways with an un­der­ly­ing pur­pose of fun. Ev­ery year it presents a dif­fer­ent feel, de­pen­dent on the cars and styles that are most promi­nently ex­hib­ited. But 2017 didn’t re­ally have that. There was no one big thing, no one new style that ev­ery­one jumped on. But rather an evo­lu­tion of the whole tun­ing and af­ter­mar­ket scene as a gen­eral, with a va­ri­ety of shops and brands do­ing a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent things. And that’s good be­cause it keeps the in­dus­try we love so much alive and mov­ing for­ward.

From a tun­ing per­spec­tive, peo­ple out there still crave power and since do­mes­tic man­u­fac­tur­ers have failed mis­er­ably over the last few years, tuners have made sure to de­liver. My favourite this year was see­ing pretty much ev­ery Honda S660 run­ning an HKS turbo up­grades, boost­ing power to 110 bhp for a big boost in fun and with var­i­ous shops pre­sent­ing the car in their own flavour. (Mu­gen had a cu­ri­ous S660 based con­cept that made no sense what­so­ever, so I didn’t pay too much at­ten­tion to that.)

Tun­ing wins & fails

Blitz turned their at­ten­tion to the newly re­leased hard­top ver­sion of the MX-5, the RF. Aside from a baby Fer­rari 599-like pro­file, the more coupe-look­ing ver­sion of the af­ford­able sportscar fi­nally gets the 2L en­gine the rest of the world has been en­joy­ing. Which of course is still low on power and re­fine­ment, but that’s where Blitz gave the car at­ten­tion. It strapped a tiny lit­tle turbo next to the mo­tor and with a mag­i­cal dose of boost it has raised power to 285 bhp. Now that, my friends, is a proper recipe for fun! STI have com­pletely lost the plot with the BRZ STI Sport Con­cept, seem­ingly an­other base car with a few pink bits out of their cat­a­logue, but no turbo to be seen. Ob­vi­ously they are un­able to un­der­stand what real en­thu­si­asts crave! An­other big fail is on the ride height of the car and the overly con­ser­va­tive off­set. Let’s leave this stuff to the tuners, shall we?

R31 House – do­ing things right

One shop that did get things so right is R31 House. The R31 Sky­line spe­cial­ist pre­pared a wagon with a shaved en­gine bay and a fully tuned, nat­u­rally as­pi­rated ver­sion of the RB20, run­ning Motec en­gine man­age­ment. This is a style that should serve as an ex­am­ple to all tuners in Ja­pan. Show car pre­sen­ta­tion mated to style and lots of me­chan­i­cal at­ten­tion. It’s these sort of com­plete builds that not only tickle our senses, but also make a shop stand out.

GCG and bil­let en­gine blocks

Let’s talk about some good old-fash­ioned en­gine tun­ing, some­thing we are al­ways ex­cited to see! GCG, who im­ports Gar­rett and Borg Warner tur­bos into Ja­pan, is now bring­ing in bil­let en­gine blocks over from Aus­tralia. If you want big power and in­tend to run huge lev­els of boost there is noth­ing quite as bul­let­proof as one of these blocks sculpted out of a chunk of al­loy and mated to Dar­ton-coated iron sleeves. Ja­pan’s Time At­tack hero, Un­der Suzuki, has been run­ning one in his S15 Sil­via for al­most a year and has since mirac­u­lously stopped putting con-rods through his block.

Wheels – RAYS & Work Wheels

Do­mes­tic wheel man­u­fac­tur­ers had a few sur­prises up their sleeves too, start­ing with RAYS, who came up with their most ad­vanced wheel to date, the TE037 Dura. Made out of Du­ra­lu­min, an ex­tra tough and rigid alu­minium al­loy with traces of cop­per, they were able to cast empty spokes that are so tough they can be fur­ther ma­chined out to re­duce weight with­out im­pact­ing struc­tural rigid­ity. 300g per wheel is what they can save. Im­pres­sive. Work wheels went back to the his­tory books to res­ur­rect an old de­sign from the 1970s, re­fined and re-en­gi­neered to cel­e­brate the com­pany’s 40th an­niver­sary. Sim­ply called Equip 40 the four-spoke wheel was show­cased against a Tri­umph TR3, which was mod­i­fied with the help of Kei Miura, with wider and more ag­gres­sive fend­ers.

Lib­erty Walk Fer­rari 488

New Civic Type R gets an ag­gres­sive makeover T880 Truck is a fu­tur­is­tic in­ter­pre­ta­tion of a Kei Truck Kuhl Rac­ing’s Vell­fire is all paint, no vinyl

STI Con­cept rock­ing the off road look

Pass the tis­sues Resto­mod­ded Volvos from Volts were a bit crazy

Suzuki Cap­puc­cino trans­formed into a se­ries 1 Mazda RX-7 Er… Top Se­cret’s R32 GT-R run­ning a VR38DETT en­gine and transaxle twin clutch swap from an R35 GTR… … and it’s got the dash to match Drift-spec Suzuki Jimny run­ning a tubu­lar frame chas­sis and SR20DET Obayashi Fac­tory Nis­san Cube with Works style fend­ers and a retro Sky­line look front end The coolest Dai­hatsu Copen in the world?

Down­force isn’t a prob­lem

2-door, 13B swapped RX-8 built by leg­endary ro­tary shop RE-Amemiya is… … good for over 500bhp!

Tri­umph TR3 mod­i­fied with Pan­dem over­fend­ers and run­ning the new Equip 40 vintage in­spired wheels

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