Too Kuhl For School

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The main mission during our trip to Japan was to make connections with some product manufacturers overseas.  There was no better place to accomplish this than at Tokyo Auto Salon.  The halls of the Makuhari Messe were filled with hundreds of different product manufacturers and tuners.  One booth in particular caught our attention, Kuhl Racing and Verz Wheels.

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Kuhl Racing is responsible for producing some of the most detailed and premium quality body parts for GT-R, GT86 (BRZ/FRS), Prius, and more.  The fit and finish are top-notch and the style is truly unique, which is why Kuhl Racing has been awarded Overall Custom Car for the past 3 years at Tokyo Auto Salon.

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Their body kits feature large open vents and sharp lines to maintain a racecar look, but are also stylish enough fit well on a show car.  Each kit is offered in two types of construction, strong grade (SG) and high grade (HG).  Both the SG and HG types are made from FRP material.  We’ve been in contact with Kuhl Racing since our return from Japan, and we are excited to announce that Royal Speed Shop will be the U.S. dealer for Kuhl Racing body kits and Verz wheels.  Please email sales@royalspeedshop.com for any inquiries.

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Royal Speed Shop Goes to Tokyo Auto Salon!

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It’s been a lifetime goal for me to go to Japan and since I’ve now opened Royal Speed Shop, there is no better excuse to go than to see the Tokyo Auto Salon.  For those who are not familiar with Tokyo Auto Salon (TAS), it is an annual car show that takes place in Japan.  It is most comparable to SEMA, which happens once a year in Las Vegas. This event is for manufacturers and tuners to come and show off their new builds and products for the upcoming year.  Although TAS is smaller than SEMA, it still took me a few days to get through the whole show.  If I could only use one word to sum up TAS, it would be… Unique.  If you love cars as I do, I highly recommend putting TAS on your bucket list, it was an unbelievable experience.  This blog post is going to give you a closer look at the JDM car culture as seen through my eyes.

The Day Before The Show | 01/12/17

Since TAS is one of Japan’s largest car shows, you can imagine the car scene is buzzing with car meets and events the entire week of the show.  While some meets are publicly announced, others remain more secretive and underground.  Super Street, a U.S. tuner magazine publisher, has hosted a car meet the Thursday before TAS for the past couple years.  They call it The Fresh Tokyo Car Meet and from what I’ve seen on the internet, it is THE car meet to make sure to visit if you’re in Tokyo for TAS.  My friend Agustin and I wondered around Tokyo all day, anxiously waiting for night to come.  Once the sun went down, we hopped on the train to start heading towards Odaiba where the Fresh Tokyo Meet was going to be.  On the way, we caught wind that there was a Rauh Welt Porsche gathering in Roppongi Hills which wasn’t too far from where we were at the time, so we decided to try to find it.  We got off the train and what did we see as we exited the station?

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This beautiful white RWB Cabriolet!  My excitement was uncontrollable, I felt like a little kid again.  I was lucky enough to get my camera out in time for me get a couple of pictures as it was passing through the busy intersection.  Agustin and I chased him down, hoping he would lead us to the RWB meet and when he turned the corner, sure enough…

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I was in heaven… I was still a kid and this was my candy store.  There was over a dozen of these amazing Porsche’s tucked away in this parking lot behind a Hard Rock Cafe.  Luckily I had some tissues in my jacket pocket to wipe away the drool from my mouth.  Nakai-San, the owner of Rauh Welt Begriff and the man responsible for building these gorgeous machines was wondering about, talking to all the car owners.  I tried to build the courage to speak with him, but I was too shy and distracted by all the fender flares and deep dish wheels.

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After losing track of time, we decided to continue onto to our original destination… The Fresh Tokyo Car Meet.  I was excited to get a peak at Japan’s car scene.  Although TAS was going to be filled with nice cars, they are all professionally built by big name tuners.  The Fresh Tokyo Meet opens to the public, so it was filled with individuals who built their own car with their own style.

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I was mesmerized as soon as I walked into the parking structure at DECKS Tokyo Beach.  You could tell the cars here were built with passion and attention to detail, and of course it is always cool to see the cars that we don’t get in the states.

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Lions and tigers and Godzillas, oh my.  This meet was a GTR fanboy’s wet dream… Every where you look, GTR.

SparkleR33HoodlessR33WhiteR33CalsonicThe livery on this R32 above is spot on…

S15This red Silvia S15 above was definitely my favorite car at this meet, it may be my favorite car of the whole trip…

WideZT72PI spotted a couple widebody Z’s too… Check out the lip on the full black Work T7R 2-Piece wheels!

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On To The Show! | 01/13/17 – 01/15/17

Thursday night was incredible to say the least.  We woke up Friday morning anxious to see what else Japan’s car culture has in store for us.  This was now the moment I’ve been waiting for.  After getting on the wrong train a couple of times, we finally made it to the Makuhari Messe, the convention center that TAS was being hosted.  The line was HUGE, there was so many people waiting to get inside.  It took us almost an hour just to get through the doors… But it was well worth the wait.

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I was overwhelmed to say the least.  All the builds were incredible… the style, the parts chosen, the overall finish, there wasn’t a single part of the car that was overlooked.  Although every car was amazing, it was Liberty Walk that stole the show.

LW488The car above is the new Ferrari 488.  It had literally just been released, but Liberty Walk was able to get their hands on one and fit it with a wide body kit and air ride to be the center piece at their booth.LWF430LWMclarenLWRedLamboLBLambosLBGNose

Widebody over everything…  The common trend at TAS, and even in the U.S., is widebody fenders.  I remember when I first started getting into the car scene, about 15 years ago, widebody was pretty rare.  These days, it is more rare to see a car with stock  fenders at a show like this.  Below is Rocket Bunny’s newest widebody kit for the R32 GTR.  This was my favorite car of TAS.

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Some more of the awesome builds of TAS.

S13WideS13I’m still a sucker for the S13.  This was my first car, except it didn’t look nearly as good as the two cars above.

S30GTS15WideITRThis Integra Type-R above also caught my eye.  The carbon fiber weave on the hood and front lip was much thicker than the traditional style carbon weave.  It almost had a checkered style pattern to it.

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Attention to detail… The WRX below was engraved by hand.

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The new NSX and it’s GT Racecar counterpart.

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The widebody Porsche Cayman below is another one of my show favorites.

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Something different… Below is van called the Vellfire.  Japan has its own scene of modified vans like this.  It would be cool to see something like this in the states, but our vans look no where nearly as aggressive as this one.

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More Godzilla sightings…

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These Mercedes are another perfect example of the unique car scene in Japan.  I see tons of these Benz’s in Orange County, but they never look like this.

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The wagon game is strong with this one…  Below is the Nissan Stagea, obviously transformed from its normal traditional station wagon look.  Some of these wagons came with a RB26DETT engine, the same engine you can find in a Skyline GTR… Imagine that.  Some people have even modified their Stagea to fit the R34 Skyline front end to essentially make their own GTR Wagon.

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Below is a R31 Skyline Wagon… Check out the RB20 with Individual Throttle Bodies and Custom Header.

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This little car was popular at TAS.  It’s the Honda S660.  In Japan, they have a classification of cars called K-Cars.  To my understanding, to be classified as a K-Car, there are certain size, weight, and engine requirements.  Of course, like every other type of car in Japan, there is an entire market dedicated to modifying K-Cars.

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These are just some of my favorite photos that I took.  There are still hundreds, maybe even a thousand, photos that I haven’t posted.  Japan left me blown away… the culture, the cars, the food, everything was incredible.  The people are very nice, friendly, and very respectful.  I now have friends overseas and memories I will never forget.  If you have ever wanted to visit Japan, just do it.  You won’t regret it, I promise.

-Anthony, Owner – Royal Speed Shop

To Air Out, Or Not To Air Out

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It’s no doubt that air ride has taken over the tuner scene and with good reason.  You no longer have to worry about speed bumps and driveways with your lowered car.  I like to take friends and customers to local car meets, so they can see what is new or maybe get some ideas for what they want for their car.  They often see a car slammed on the ground and ask, “How do they even drive that car?”.  My reply is, more often than not, air ride.

Well now you may be asking, “If air ride is so nice, why doesn’t everyone use it?”

There are a couple reasons why you don’t see air ride on every car… first being the cost.  An entry level air ride setup can cost around $2,000.  That’s a lot of money to spend on just lowering the car, especially compared to a set of mid-level coilovers that cost half as much.  Another reason why some people prefer not use air ride is performance.  The people that fall into this category still want to achieve the maximum performance out of their car, that’s why they spent a lot money to make it faster and perform better.  There are people who say tests have been done for air ride vs. coilovers and that air ride performs the same or better…

I’ll believe it when race cars start using air bags for their suspension.

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Now there are companies developing products to give you the best of both worlds, the Air Piston Cup Kits.  It is a small piston assembly that mounts to the top of the coilover.  In it’s normal state, the piston cup acts only as a spring perch.  When inflated, the air pushes the piston down which will raise the car approximately 1-2 inches.  Aragosta was one of the first companies I remember using this type of suspension, but their kits cost $5,000+.  ISC has just recently released their version of the Air Piston Cup Kit to mount to their N1 series coilovers.  The best part, they retail for only $805 per pair of Air Piston Cup Kits!  These kits do not include any air management, but at this price, it’s still a huge savings.  This setup is perfect for those who want to lower their car and not have to worry about speed bumps, while still maintaining maximum handling performance.

Shedding Weight On The S2000

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We all know the importance of Honda’s power to weight ratio.  Compared to most of the cars on the market, Honda is not known to produce high horsepower numbers.  However, their ability to keep their cars light and nimble allows them to maintain competitiveness in the industry.

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Tomei has developed an exhaust to give the Honda S2000 even more of an edge.  The new Tomei Expreme Ti Catback Exhaust weighs an incredible 9.15 lbs!  That is over 42 lbs of weight savings in just the catback exhaust.  Combine the exhaust with Tomei’s Titanium Test Pipe to save 52 lbs total.

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The large diameter piping and the more straight through design allows the exhaust to flow better.  This will yield more horsepower, especially at higher RPMs where the S2000 shines the most.  Overall, this is the perfect exhaust for someone who wants to reach the full potential of their S2000.

 

Aodhan DS01 – New Size, New Finish!

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Aodhan has released the very popular DS01 wheel in 19″.  The twisted mesh spoke design has become a top seller, especially since the directional wheel style has become a hot trend lately.  They are only available in 9.5″ and 10.5″ widths, which will still fit nicely in the fenders of most stock body tuner cars.

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Along with the new addition to sizes, they have also released a new finish… Black Chrome w/ Gold Hardware.  The gold rivets accent the black chrome finish very well and really makes the wheel stand out.  The first shipment is scheduled to arrive mid October.  Pre-Order is available for those who don’t want to miss out.

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GrimmSpeed Releases TMIC for 2015+ WRX!

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Since the WRX came to the states in the early 2000’s, it has become one of the top contenders in the tuner market.  It’s turbocharged boxer engine combined with Subaru’s All-Wheel Drive makes it a force to be reckoned with on the street and the track.  I personally have owned a WRX and have nothing but good things to say about that car.  In 2015, Subaru released the new generation of WRX.  The 2015 WRX ditched the previous EJ series engines for the new FA20 series engine, while the 2015 STI kept the tried and true EJ25 power plant.

The new FA20 engine has some flaws, one of them being the small intercooler sitting on top of the motor.  One of the first mods that most owners buy, is a tune.  Whether you choose to run an Accessport or a ProTune, you will most likely raise the boost on your WRX.  The higher boost levels will increase the intake air temperature and the stock intercooler doesn’t have the capacity to cool down that charged air.

Enter GrimmSpeed…

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The new GrimmSpeed Top Mount Intercooler helps keep intake air temperatures down to avoid pre-detonation and loss of power.  Testing also shows that the OEM Intercooler has a tendencies to fluctuate dramatically which can cause inconsistent power delivery.  The GrimmSpeed Intercooler has proven to maintain a more steady outlet air temperature.  This is a must have upgrade for those who are looking to take full advantage of their tuned cars.

You can order your GrimmSpeed Top Mount Intercooler for the 2015+ WRX by CLICKING HERE

The New Ace Alloy Flow Form Series

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There’s no doubt the new Flow Form technology is changing the wheel industry.  It’s allowing wheel company to manufacturer stronger, lighter wheels, while maintaining reasonable prices.  Let’s face it, not everyone can afford to throw a set of $3,000 WORK Wheels on their car.

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Ace Alloy has unveiled their new Flow Form series with 2 new styles, the AFF01 & AFF02.  The AFF01 is a thin, split 5-Spoke design with big windows.  The big, open windows are perfect for those looking to show of their big brake kit.

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The AFF02 is my favorite of the new Flow Form line.  The 10-Spoke design keeps things simple and clean.  There is a slight concave to the face, which is all the craze right now.  The AFF02 also features large windows to show off any fancy brake parts.

Both of these wheels are available in range of width from 8.5″ to 12″ and the wheel diameter of 19″ and 20″.  Overall, we’re very impressed at the new Flow Form Series from Ace Alloy.  Hopefully we’ll be seeing more styles to expand this wheel line.