Event: The Return to Makuhari – Tokyo Auto Salon 2016 V.1

I certainly didn’t plan to attend TAS this year.  In fact, It’s been 5 years since I’ve purposefully started avoiding it.  If you asked me why I’d honestly have trouble explaining; it’s a massive undertaking that showcases some of Japan’s best builds…so what’s the deal?  Even as I type that out I’m squinting at the screen, eyebrows furrowed, questioning myself.  Ahhh…that’s right, it’s literally just a giant car show and frankly, car shows are just not my thing anymore.  The first TAS I went to was in 2009 – I went in 2010 too.  2011 was the first year I not only attended, but I covered it for the website as well; and it actually turned out to be my last.  In 2014 my good friend Sekinei was well on-board with NDF and helped source some coverage of the show as he was attending anyway, and in 2015 I basically just didn’t post anything despite having coverage.  I really just wanted to focus on our niche and at the time felt that anything else just contributed to a deviation of that (despite increasing traffic dramatically).  Or maybe I just got jaded that it wasn’t a unique experience anymore; I’m not sure.  So, you could say this year was sort of a fluke.  I was going to be in Japan anyway to attend Evome on the 16th, and I had media passes for TAS on Friday so I wouldn’t really have to deal with hordes of testosterone crazed Japanese men in search of booth girls, and I literally had no plans on my calendar.  Sounds good right? So why not return?

And who’d have guessed it – I had a really good time.

It goes without saying my coverage will be rather selective.  TAS consumes four large halls at Makuhari Messe with thousands of cars, there is no way I’d attempt to shoot all of them – even if I did have an interest in them!  Long term followers of the site won’t be surprised with the coverage as this is standard ‘me’ at every show I attend; TAS is no different.  But hey, it makes me happy to be consistent.  I’ve worked hard to define where this site’s compass points and intend to keep it true.

We arrived fairly early on Friday morning and shuffled our way into the parking lot.  Our mutual friend Ikegaya-san, of Utilitas JP fame, was holding our passes but in his rush to leave his shop forgot them sitting on his desk.  Tokyo’s weekday traffic having no sympathy for him, we were stuck in the parking area for a bit.  Rather than try to catch up on some meaningless passenger seat sleep, I decided to make some rounds of the parking lot.

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Right away I spotted Kawashima’s Celica.  The build that’s been going on for almost 4 years now looks to have finally reached a good stopping point.  I don’t know if it’s complete, but it looks a lot more put together than it did since I last saw it.  Not my thing, but man, how can you not acknowledge this.

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I wasn’t the only one that stopped to admire it – and I’m sure as more TAS coverage reaches the world via the internet you’ll see what I mean.

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Neat little S15 on TE37SL’s sporting some Ganadors and mild front aero.  Not bad.

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Veilside FD3S parked next to a Car’s ‘Lightning McQueen’ themed GTR.

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A few spots down was a FD that was made on the other spectrum of tuning.  A good mix of aero parts, and mag blue CE’s made the yellow car stand out to me in a good way.

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By the time I made my way around to the back of the lot, Ikegaya had called and was waiting by the stairs to the entrance.  After a quick trip to the bathroom, and a stop at the vending machine to grab a hot coffee and we were making our way inside the hall.

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Kazama Auto Service was our first stop, and the corner from which I’d weave my way through all four halls, stopping only to talk to old friends and new faces.  I had given myself a timed goal and I was determined to meet it.  I did stop at a few cars longer than I inteded to though – this JZX was one of them.  The new aero from Kazama looks pretty wild.  I’m not sure if this is going to be available under the ProMode line or something new entirely.

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This S15 was also at Kazama’s booth.

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Vertex had two cars on display as well; this 180SX with a S15 front conversion…

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…and Ueno’s JZ powered D1 BMW-GTE E92.  This car had a much different livery last year when I saw it at T&E – still looks great though.

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FNATZ had two cars on display – the GTR they built for Robbie Nishida to compete in FD Japan that has a stroked 3.8 liter motor, and a Z33…I messed up the order of the pictures and I’ve become too apathetic to fix so we’re going to jump over to URAS real quick…

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Have I mentioned that I love URAS?  When I buy a car in Japan, perhaps this year, it’s going to be an ER34 – as I’ve always had a want for an URAS GT kitted 34 sedan.  I was in the market two years ago, but my ability to purchase fell through, and last year I was too busy to even think about buying a car in another country.  The one they had on display this year wasn’t necessarily the look I’d be going for but I’ll tell ya, Ken Nomura can do no wrong in my book.  It was nice to see another Skyline there; last year they had a good looking Chaser.

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NDF_7402-EditWhat was that about skipping a booth? Oh right, the フナッツ x Mercury Racing Z33 project.  Pretty wild look right?

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Black Pearl had a handful of Crown’s done up in typical TAS fashion.

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The Gainer TANAX GT300 GTR was sittin’ pretty at the Dunlop booth.

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NDF_7413-EditIt was definitely cool to see a lot of the SF-14’s on display for the new upcoming Super Formula series (previously known as Formula Nippon).  The chassis bases are all from the Italian manufacturer Dallara, while the car’s power comes by way of a 2 liter turbo-charged 4 cylinder engine either from Honda (HR414E) or Toyota (RI4A).  I’ll let you guess which variant this one has…

It’s no doubt the highest form of racing in the country and is used as a stepping stone to bigger Formula series.

NDF_7417-EditSpeaking of higher Formula series – you can’t get much higher than 1.  The McClaren/Honda MP4-30 was on display as well.  Amazing to get a close look at it with Honda’s RA615H poking out the back.

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NDF_7422-EditAnd oh my goodness, the Honda livery NSX-GT Concept was front and center at the Honda Racing booth.  I gave this car a solid amount of my time and it was worth every second.  They really nailed it with this one – what a beautiful work of art (and functional!).

Kudos to Honda for having one of the most diverse and meaningful showcases.

NDF_7423-EditThe Impul booth was flexing their motor sport prowess with the Calsonic GT500 GTR and their new SF-14.

NDF_7425-EditOld lady HSV was posted up at the Raybrig booth.  The production car that was never produced…ahh, she gave us some good racing though.

NDF_7428-EditTein had this really neat booth with a female Danpachi!  They guy was saying if you took a picture and posted it with the #Danpachi you’d get a free tote bag.  I like, Tein, I use them on my Civic and couldn’t be happier with the performance…so I took a picture and posted it on my Twitter.  I also tried to convince the worker that this wasn’t Danpachi, but his girlfriend as suggested in the backdrop.  He wasn’t having it though.  Whatever, new grocery bag for me.

NDF_7429-EditGood Year D1 competitor at the WedsSport booth.

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NDF_7433-EditMSY Garage has always produced some solid builds.  Of the three cars that had in attendance, this URAS ER34 stood out to me the most.  Probably because of the awesome Maziora paint…but actually probably because it’s a URAS ER34.

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NDF_7440-EditARTA Project CRZ GT300 at the Autobacs booth.  Really cool box they built to display it in.

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NDF_7442-EditSo check this out.  Last year Takuya Yura, of Mooncraft Japan (partially known for the controversial MC/RT-16 Shiden that was ultimately banned from Super GT), announced that they were buying a GTA M101 chassis to compete in Super GT and with it ushering in Lotus’ return to the series.  The car unveiled itself in the testing phase at last year’s TAS, and had it’s first shakedown at Okuyama Circuit at Round 7 of last year’s season.  Well here it is in it’s final form!~

The GTA V8 engine mounted behind the driver had plagued the engineering team with balance issues and Takuya was actually quoted as sympathizing with Honda and the troubles they had developing the NSX.  Super excited to see how they fair.  I’m assuming they will have a start similar to when Honda debuted the CRZ…rocky at first, success shortly thereafter.

I was actually so excited to see the Evora that I sent a picture of it to my girlfriend – she thinks it’s pretty too.

NDF_7447-EditRando kitted S2000 at Tracy Sports showing.

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One more SF-14 from the Nakajima Racing Team.  660kg’s of racing.

I’ll leave you with that, as I have to tend to some catching up due to my absence.  I’ll continue editing/writing when I can, and try to keep a somewhat consistent flow of new material coming your way.  Cheers and as always, thanks for visiting.