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