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?
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…
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.
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.
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.
Lions and tigers and Godzillas, oh my. This meet was a GTR fanboy’s wet dream… Every where you look, GTR.
The livery on this R32 above is spot on…
This red Silvia S15 above was definitely my favorite car at this meet, it may be my favorite car of the whole trip…
I spotted a couple widebody Z’s too… Check out the lip on the full black Work T7R 2-Piece wheels!
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.
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.
The 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.
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.
Some more of the awesome builds of TAS.
I’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.
This 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.
Attention to detail… The WRX below was engraved by hand.
The new NSX and it’s GT Racecar counterpart.
The widebody Porsche Cayman below is another one of my show favorites.
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.
More Godzilla sightings…
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.
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.
Below is a R31 Skyline Wagon… Check out the RB20 with Individual Throttle Bodies and Custom Header.
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.
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