One Shot: URAS JZX100 Chaser – TAS Spotlight

Automotive, Japan, JDM, One Shot

Tokyo Auto Salon has always been hit or miss for me.  I’ve attended for three years starting in 2009, but recently decided to stop going.  For me, my time is better spent fulfilling the niche of covering time attack, rather than a show that consists of about 10% actual motor sport.  There are, however, a few gems that are in attendance year after year.  For 2015, URAS unveiled a a new JZX100 build that is absolutely amazing.  Makes me want to begin my ER34 build even quicker now!



Event: Chiba Overrun – Tokyo Auto Salon 2014 V.2

Automotive, Event, Japan, JDM

We’ll get right back into the TAS coverage, as you can see in this shot there is a lot of ground to cover under the giant ceilings of Makuhari Messe in Chiba, Japan.




One tuning shop, that has been around a while mind you, that I always love seeing and hearing from is Pit Road M.  This year, much like previous years, Bruce-san had his booth in the RH9 section.  A select group of high power tuners that are awarded the right to display the RH9 badge.




It wouldn’t be a PRM booth without one of their iconic GTO builds.  The ‘forgotten’ chassis in most peoples eyes, but not Pit Road.  Always modified aesthetically with their unique style, and the power to match under the hood.




Interior of the GTO was tastefully done.




A nice shot of the engine bay.  Are their any fans familiar with the GTO?





Also on display was one of their R34 builds.




We plan to have an in depth look at Pit Road M coming up this year, so stick around.  Bruce-san is an incredibly nice person, and I can’t wait to profile what PRM is all about.






Art Tech Hanatsuka, another high power tuner, was on hand with the RH9 group.  You can see photos of their drag battles in the back of the booth.




The Weld 86 was garnering quite a bit of attention, and is being hailed as possibly the best build at the show.  Painted in a beautiful flake, merlot color; not quite like their other liverys, but very elegant.  The rear was boasting Voltex’s new swan neck wing.  The engine completely redone with a custom intake manifold.




This GTR was sporting Bensopra rears, with what looks like it could be their next reiteration of the GTR kit up front.




TM Works R35 at the RH9 booths.



The iconic Bomex kitted Supra from the original Fast and Furious movie was on hand to pay tribute.  Also in this picture is a mysterious pair of high heels…what in the world was Sekinei doing?! (笑)




Bensopra/Rocket Bunny/Greddy build that was the focus of attention last year.




This Rocket Bunny RPS13 from Nouvelle Vague racing team was really cool – check out the engine bay!




Really cool Skyline from Star Road on display with a set of their new Glow Star/Work wheels.




Also at the RH9 booth was Garage Itoh’s time attack R34.






An immense amount of custom work in the bay…






…as well as the interior cage work.  I love seeing race cars displayed at TAS amongst the immaculate show cars.  I’ve always been a fan of this build though, and if you look back to our previous years TAS coverage you’ll see a few pictures as well.




A picture of a picture of it in action.




One more shot of the custom built RB26.




S Craft STi – check out the rear wing.




You’ve probably been seeing a lot of the Roberuta F40 that was on hand, but not much of this Porsche GT that was next to it.




The F40.  The Roberuta booth had a privately hired security guard watching over the cars…as if in Japan that was really necessary.




On the opposite spectrum from an F40, there is the Honda Beat; this one built by Spiegel.




Pretty awesome looking!




Our friends over at ELD had a pretty large display that included a variation of cars from a Lexus, a Lambo, and a Z33 that I think was built in collaboration with Star Dast.




At the 326 Power booth, Haraguchi has completely decided to throw out any sport related builds in favor of the ever popular big bodied sedan builds.  This Aristo was looking pretty great.




And next to it they brought out a Odyssey of the same caliber.  Bring back the FC!






URAS had on hand this Z33 with their very subtle aero kit on it.  Really like the look of this as it’s not something you normally see from them.  Hands down their GT kit is still best ever in the universe.




Nismo GTR looking as classy as possible.




Vibrant builds like this littered the grounds of TAS.  These fit into a very niche category, but it’s still nice seeing the tremendous amount of work that goes into customizing them.




Liberty Walk had a very extensive booth with their GTR and few of their Ferrari builds, as well as a handful of good looking girlies too.






Another couple shots of the Bold World R34 because, well, I love this car.  R34 with URAS GT, RYO Graphics, SARD wing, Koyorad system…how can you not love it.  Stay tuned for more from Tokyo Auto Salon!









Encounter: Bad Quality’s Nakagawa-san – TAS 2014

Automotive, Encounter, Event, Japan, JDM



Nakagawa Shuichi’s S13 build is most likely one of the most well known on the internet.  In fact, it was even on the cover of this month’s Super Street magazine.  What amazes me though, is almost every time I see it, it looks completely different.  Here it is at Tokyo Auto Salon, and while the body panels are the same, aesthetically it’s gone through another transformation.


Mainly the color way and livery, but still, there’s an intense amount of work that goes into this car on a daily basis that allows such constant changes.




The Equips that once filled the Rocket Bunny flares have also been traded out for the show.  As well as the addition of a gurney flap of sorts on the rear duck bill.  I look forward to seeing yet another new look, and my guess is we won’t have to wait too long.




Event: Chiba Overrun – Tokyo Auto Salon 2014 V.1

Automotive, Event, Japan, JDM, Motor Sports



It’s usually about this time in January when the internet is flooded with content from Tokyo Auto Salon.  For good reason; it’s one of the most look forward to events of the year for any automotive enthusiast.  Just earlier today, while outside the skies were a bright blue, the inside halls of Makuhari Messe were opened for the media to capture the thousands of cars, new product lineups, and models on display for the weekend.



We’ll have a couple parts to this series, so let’s not waste anymore time and get right to it…starting with this fully carbon GTR from Overtake.




Overtake, a fairly new company, focusing on carbon GTR parts.  It seems like this year they have teamed up with RAYS, as they had a couple of their cars in the large booth.




Both which were sporting RAYS new TE37 Ultra, available in 20″ sizes.




As seen here along side their other new offering, the ZE40 – both great looking wheels.  Just what you’d expect from Volk.




The RE Amemiya booth was overrun by rotary powered machines as usual.  The Hurricane FD being the focal point of the display.






On the other end the Pan Speed RX8 – another time attack favorite.




Mazda, no stranger to road racing, had on display their new entrant to the Grand-Am Rolex series.




Some rather dramatic lighting!


As well as this cute little ST5 classed Taikyu racer.  This thing would be a blast on the touge.



Bulletproof Automotive had their signature FRS shipped out for display with the RAYS group as well.  This build has garned worldwide attention, and was a focal point for many.




Advan had a really nice display on hand featuring many of their popular designs.  I’ve always loved the Advan GT…




Hi Japan.  It’s nice to see you again.





Rocky Auto had on display a good amount of classics, including this Kenmeri on TE37-V’s.




Star Road had on display their signature yellow S30 rebuild on their new Glow Star wheels, produced by WORK.  A new partnership that has generated some interesting designs geared towards older cars.




They also had this immaculate restoration on display next to the yellow S30.




WORK had their original lineup of 15″ offerings next to the new Glow Stars as well.




C-West was showing off their new FRS/BRZ aero with the help of a couple girlies.




We posted this Essex/Kansai Service drift Hiace on Instagram yesterday and it got some good feedback.  They really went all out this year, building a fully drift prepped van.




With the help of BRIDE and Enkei, Essex really knocked this one out.






They had monitors displaying the van actually drifting at an exhibition.  You can also see it at the Essex home page.




Fujio-san brought out his Bold World D1 R34 out for display.  The graphics that R-Y-O did on this car are amazing.




At WORK’s main booth, they had their full lineup on display; including their new Emotion D9R.  Very good looking wheel.




D-Friends URAS kitted 34 sedan.



I’m a sucker for any R34 sedan with the URAS GT kit on it…literally, it’s like the end all for me.  This application is no exception.  I like the little URAS puppy on the dashboard.

Well, I’ll get back to editing some more pictures to post.  I’ll leave off for part 1 here, but check back shortly for more from the halls of Chiba.



Feature: ポンダリさんのワイドボディ Z32

Automotive, Feature, Japan, JDM


As I’m sitting here, looking through the January 2013 issue of Option, page 44 specifically, I can’t help but reminisce on a specific attendee of my Dog Fighter Cafe in February (2 if you count くめさん, he’s in the same issue!).  Actually, the widebody Z32 you see here is not just in the pages of Option, but rather, on the cover.  Although I think I left that issue at work…yes, I have Option mags at work.


I’ve been somewhat slow in putting up pics from the meet I co-hosted with Nao-san and the 90’s Cafe group, but I think I’ll start it off with his Z32.  Pon-san has put in a tremendous amount of work to get the car to where it is now.  All the body work you see is completely one-off, and hand crafted.


Including all the little details; like the LED’s under the door handles…


…attached to what happens to be lambo doors.


Rounding out the 4 corners are matte black Hyper Forged wheels, with an anodized, brushed gold lip – if you know anything about luxury wheels, you’ll know that these are not what you’d consider cheap in price…but really, I can’t think of a better fit for this car.


Craft square mirrors help him see around the wide body of the Z.


I’d like to thank Pon for coming out to the Cafe, and hope to see him next time I’m in Japan.  ありがとうございました!

Close-Up: ヒカルさんのスカイライン32 – Dogfighter Cafe, Umihotaru

Automotive, Close-Up, Japan, JDM



Hikaru-san and his R32 stopped by Umihotaru for my DogFighter Cafe last month.  Looking forward to finally getting to go through the photos of the meet.  The turn out was pretty good!



Hikaru and Yusuke parked next to each other. I’ll have some pics of Yusuke’s hatch up soon; that thing is great too.











Cruising out of the PA through the Aqua Line, on our way to Daikoku to continue the late night fun.





日本を見つけた – Solamachi & Tokyo Sky Tree

Japan, 日本を見つけた

I’ve recently been noticing that many of NDF’s viewers are not only interested in learning about Japanese cars and motor sport culture; they are also interested in learning about Japan itself.  Looking back on my first visit to Japan almost seven years ago, I can definitely say that it wasn’t for automotive photography, but for many other reasons.  So after toying with a few thoughts, I came up with this idea:

For 2013, I’d like to begin a new series named “日本を見つけた” (Nihon wo mitsuketa); which roughly translates into ‘Finding Japan’, or something along those lines.  In these posts I will do my best to highlight and provide information on certain architectural landmarks, famous locations, various activities, cultural exploits, and other points of interest.  I feel that these will be a nice compliment to the motor sport and automotive lifestyle coverage, who’s existence is ultimately due to Japan being the country that it is.  By sharing more than just one aspect of Japan, I hope to broaden the range of people who might be interested in Japanese motor sport and what it has to offer.  Perhaps through these posts, you will be able to see similarities and ties between the two when you take a look at the country outside of the automotive view.

Let’s start it off with a trip to the Tokyo Sky Tree.


Completed in February of 2012, with a public opening date in May, this 634 meter broadcast tower is now the tallest structure in Japan.  It also takes home the prize for tallest tower in the world, and comes second in tallest structure in the world, just behind the Burj Khalifa.  This project was undertaken as a means to replace the aging Tokyo Tower, which is used mainly for broadcasting television and radio signals throughout a good portion of the country.


I took the above picture in 2010 from a park just above Ueno station.  At this point in the construction, the Sky Tree was already the tallest structure in Japan.


Walking up to the base…


Which is literally in the center of a neighborhood in Sumida.  My friend and I had climbed some stairs on the side of a relatively large apartment complex to get an overview.  Very organized don’t you think?


Fast forward two years to today and the pile of ruble, and debris that was once a construction site, has been transformed into the city’s newest hub for dining, shopping and entertainment; with the Sky Tree as the focal point.  This new surrounding area was named ‘ソラマチ’, or Sky Town.


The Sky Town is filled with lots of neat shops and activities; one I particularly enjoyed was the Donguri Garden, where they sold all sorts of Studio Ghibli goods. Although they were sold out of Neko Bus plushes…


While the Sky Town is a great ancillary attraction, as well as a great place to blow wads of cash, the view from the Sky Tree’s observation decks is what people truly come for.  The first of which stands at a modest 350 meters (~1,150 feet) high.  Needless to say, the views are breathtaking…




To be able to see the entire length of the Sumida River as it cuts through the bridges of Nihonbashi, and leads into Daiba was pretty cool to me.  Literally, you could see all of Tokyo; and this wasn’t even the highest of observation decks.




It’s fun to pick out all the architectural design features of all the buildings next door – like the open terraced garden/park thing in the roof of this building.  If you didn’t know any better you’d think this was a computer rendering.




Before getting my second ticket (another $25) and heading up to the second observation deck, I enjoyed a cup of coffee from the Sky Tree Cafe.




I walked out of the second elevator in front of this guy, who was wearing a rather appropriate wind breaker (or very inappropriate if you view it a different way).  The second observation deck is much smaller, with a winding path that spirals the tower’s core.




I took a minute to reach as far as I could to grab a shot like this, in which you could see the roof of the first observation deck.  This is zoomed in obviously, but the very top deck stands at a massive 450 meters tall (almost 1,500 feet).  Little note of interest – the foot bridge at the bottom left of the picture is Oshinarihashi, it is where I took the 5th picture in this post ^^




A look down at Solamachi and the Tobu rail lines.





All around the windows people gathered to take in the views; it makes for a very relaxed, special atmosphere.  Despite living in Tokyo, and seeing it every day, it’s nice to escape to places like this and see it in a different light.




Since I visited in Autumn, the staff had placed nice, minimal decorations throughout the tower; a nice touch that some would overlook.




I was meeting a friend at the base of the tower that night, so I decided I would stay inside until the sun set.  It was nice getting to see the transformation of the city as it transitioned from day to night.  I’ll leave off with this shot towards Daiba at dusk; can you recognize any famous buildings?  I hope you enjoyed the first part of this new series – although I don’t plan on doing these often, depending on the reaction I get, I will try do them more frequently.  Thanks for visiting.