The Japanese tuning scene, all under one roof
Tokyo Auto Salon 2016 Consumer Electronics Show 2016
TAS 2016 was a bit of a renaissance for me. It was the 10th consecutive time I’d visited the event since arriving in Japan in 2005. And whilst I wished for things to be totally different, I am glad that much of what I’ve come to know and love hasn’t changed at all, whereas many other things have undergone transformation.
That’s not to suggest the Tokyo Auto Salon is stale in any way, but you do get used to the rhythm and tempo of the event after having visited it so many times. The same faces, the same names — all in familiar locations but crucially, in a constant state of flux.
A drastic evolution is what the Japanese scene is going through right now. Yes, there was a deluge of Rocket Bunny and Liberty Walk over-fendered machines present, but that would be taking away from the headline. The 2016 event was exactly what it needed to be. Potent.
Without needing to recount the entire backend of discussions I held with those inside and on the fringes of the industry during my four days there, I can admit that the event highlighted the fact that things in Japan, despite the naysayers, are very much alive and well.
Naturally, the newly released ND Mazda Roadster was quite popular this year, with GReddy/Trust showcasing an early prototype application of a bolt-on turbo kit that is due to go into production in the second half of 2016. Sources we spoke to within Trust claim the kit is good for up to 250 horsepower at the crank, which comes from the 1.5-liter engine, so we can only wonder what the American 2.0-liter will provide.
The overriding theme, echoed by mutual colleagues, was that the Tokyo Auto Salon has become something of a bolt-on festival where true artisanship has been usurped by off-theshelf approaches taken by the bigger fish in the game.
While I don’t personally aspire to this view, nor did I see it being predominant from my perspective, it is very true that Japan was, is and will continue to be a plug and play paradise for JDM enthusiasts everywhere. If there was one overarching theme to echo my colleague’s sentiments about the show, it would be that ease of use, practicality and