Author: Sean

Auto, photography, and Japan enthusiast

Close-Up: Super GT at TAS 2011


OK so I lied about the whole ‘no more TAS’ thing; but I never got a chance to post up the Super GT Special.  TAS is a trade show, and what better way to market your product than to slap it on a full blown, competition race car?  There isn’t really, so, to my pleasant surprise, the Salon grounds were sprinkled with Super GT cars; like the Nismo built Motul/Autech GT-R.   Super GT is a fairly unique series that puts excitement first.  Only allowing pit stops during certain time frames, mandatory ballast for winning cars, and intake air restrictors all add to competition.  Click past the break for more Super GT.

Event: Tokyo Auto Salon 2011 v.5


I have a feeling this last installment is going to be filled with R35 goodness.  Mine’s, Endless, HKS, Option; they all had GT-R’s on display, and they were all fantastic.  For a closer look at the Mine’s built GT-R pictured above, check out Taka’s video @ JDM Clips.  This thing is pushing out near 800hp.  Although this may be the last ‘walk around’ TAS post, I’ll have a few more specific shots coming soon however.  It’s kind of sad to see it come to an end.  Click past the break to see more of the final coverage post from Tokyo Auto Salon.

One Shot: Model Madness

. Thought I’d post this for a few laughs.  Definitive proof that there were people there for reasons other than cars.  Not one person is looking at the 86 in this shot.  The UP Garage […]

Event: Tokyo Auto Salon 2011 – RH9


Describing RH9 in one word would be easy; Power.  The Record Holder 9 club is exclusive to those cars capable of running 9’s in the quarter mile, the 1320, 0-400m; whatever you wanna call it, these things can do it fast.  Once confined only to GT-R’s, it seems like they’ve expanded to other platforms as well; like the almighty Garage G Force X above.  When you think of Japanese tuning, you’ll probably think of a few companies that take part in this club; and you’ll see some of their creations here.  It’s not uncommon to see RH9 badged parts created by these companies as well.  When I picked through these, I realized a lot were on the CF card that had failed on me.  As a result I’m missing some (unhappy face).  There are a few other sites though that have coverage of the RH9 too, so all is well.  Enjoy.

Close Up: Yellow Factory EG6


I think that this may have been the most overlooked car at the Salon; no exaggeration.  I actually did a double take when I saw this because I couldn’t believe an EG6 was at Auto Salon in the year 2011.  Aside from the actual Honda booth, finding a tuned Honda (other than a CR-Z) at this years Salon was like finding a needle in a haystack; if the hay were made out of Nissans and Toyotas.  After drifting blew up, the market obviously gravitated toward S-Chassis’ and the like.  RWD engulfed Honda’s FWD prior dominance and left them to the devoted few.  After I came to my senses I decided that I needed to spend a few moments with this thing.  Check out more past the break.

Event: Tokyo Auto Salon 2011 v.3


I hope you guys are still with me on this coverage!  I know it’s taking awhile, but I’m busy with work.  I’ll begin this post with a few shots of this slammed R33 clad in an anime livery.  To my surprise, there were a lot of ‘Itasha’ styled cars at the Salon.  For those who are unaware of this movement, Itasha is a term used to describe the otaku fad of modifying cars in an anime or manga theme; mainly with giant decals on the exterior.  I’ve already admitted to my liking it for reasons unknown to me.  It’s become quite popular in Japan recently, and there are regularly held meets throughout Tokyo.  This particular Skyline was wrapped in 萌えコレ!(Moe Colle) vinyl.  三栄書房 (San-Ei Shobo) is a huge Japanese magazine publisher.  If you’re a fan of this car, check out the wallpaper section.  Click past the break for more.

Event: Tokyo Auto Salon 2011 v.2


After an hour or so I seemed to get my bearings around the gigantic convention center, and realized the scope of what laid ahead of me.  To cover a show of this magnitude on my own would take some serious moving around; so I did just that.  Keeping an eye out for certain booths I really wanted to see, I set out on a mission to cover as much as the show as I could.  I found out that the two other halls held more of the stuff I was looking for.  The next two posts will contain some spectacular builds from the tuners we all know and love.  Check it out past the break.

Event: Tokyo Auto Salon 2011 v.1


Tokyo Auto Salon is a sort of misleading name for this event.  If we could modify the title to something like, ‘Tokyo Model Salon’, it would read more accurate.  Seriously, you couldn’t get a mile away from any car if there was a model in front of it.  As soon as a girl appeared, a mob of hormonally charged Japanese men would crowd so close that I couldn’t get anywhere near the booth to shoot the car.  Because of this, my coverage isn’t as organized as I would have wanted, but I’ll try my best to post in the directions in which I walked.  OK, with all that out of the way, I will say that this show was nothing short of epic.  It was my third time attending but my first time shooting for the website, and I gotta say it’s a lot more stressful trying to take it all in – again though, I wasn’t disappointed in the turnout.  Sure, there were 30 billion people there, but it just added to the atmosphere.  In the posts to follow I’ll do my best to cover not just cars, but booth and product displays as well.  Click past the break for more.

Close Up: Streets Nissan March


OK, so I didn’t realize just how many photos that I have to sift through and edit.  I ended up taking close to 20 Gigs this last trip, and I’ve just arrived at my apartment to start sorting them.  I would have had some coverage up sooner, but the last part of my vacation was spent with family.  So while I get some posts of TAS together, I’ll let you munch of this for a little while.  We spotted this March walking back from Autobacs.  It was actually at a Nissan dealership; maybe the owner works there.  It had some tasteful mods, which is fairly common for these kei cars, but since we don’t have these in the states, thought I’d grab some shots.  Click past the break for more.

Feature: Keihin Real Racing HSV-010 GT


When Honda announced the end of the NSX’s participation in the Super GT  due to new regulations only allowing front-engine, rear-driven cars, fans around the world winced a little.  Little did we know what Honda had cooking in their chemistry lab of motorsport awesomeness.  They announced their new GT spec car towards the end of 2009 as a successor to the popular mid-engined NSX, that was to compete in the GT-500 class in 2010.  I believe there were four teams that utilized the HSV; Epson, Weider, Autobacs, and Keihin.  Of these teams, Keihin managed the best performance of the season.  You can watch the race at Sportsland Sugo here; the spectacular ending, and win for the Keihin team, was a highlight of this season.  This win helped them to acheive 3rd place in the championship.  If that’s not enough HSV-ness, click over to JDM Clips to see the Keihin HSV in action in Motegi.  Thanks to JDM Clips for some great shots.

Action: Mugen Circuit Challenge S2000


Ever wonder what it would feel like to fly around Tsukuba, strapped into a Mugen built machine, driven by a former F1 driver and current Super GT driver?  If so, the Mugen Circuit Challenge at Tsukuba Circuit is the place you need to go.  Taka from JDM Clips sent these images over to help us get as close as we can to the action.  He has attended this event multiple times, and really has a feel for what a company like Mugen can achieve.  Perfectly matching power output with chassis limitations, Mugen can take performance to an entirely new level.  Having a reliable car equipped with parts that work in harmony with the chassis is ideal for maintaining control on track; and Mugen does just that.  Most people don’t realize just how much experience Mugen has in building cars and engines.  Click past the break for more on-track shots.

Close Up: Honda-Tuning/Evasive CR-Z


With the CR-Z being fairly new, there isn’t really an extensive catalog of aftermarket parts to choose from; especially in the aero department.  However, the CR-Z that Honda-Tuning put together shows that you don’t need that much to make something that looks great.  The C-West lip kit that adorns the outside of the Honda turns the ordinary CR-Z body, into an overall more aggressive looking car.  Click past the break to see what else is up with this car.

Feature: Anthony’s Downforce NSX


Of all the cars at the Cerritos Honda car show last weekend, I think I liked this NSX the most.  I spotted it early on and got to snap some shots before the crowds came.  It’s ridiculously clean, and although only has a handful of mods, they all flow together perfectly.  As I was wrapping my visit up, I was lucky enough to run into the owner; Anthony.  He’s a nice, laid back guy, and I’m glad I could talk to him for a short while.  I got some more info on the NSX, and he was kind enough to let me post up a little feature here.  Enjoy the shots!

FEATURE: Power House Amuse S2000 GT1


The JDM Clips/NDF collaboration delivers the goods once again with this feature on the legendary Amuse S2000 GT1.  This car is one of the greatest tuning achievements of Mr. Hideki Tanabe’s lifetime, and for good reason.  It’s looks are not only unforgettable, but it’s mechanical prowess has been proven on both street and track.  The insanely wide body kit brings order to chaos and gives the car the aerodynamic performance close to that of a full race car.  Click past the break to check out the car in more detail.

Event: Cerritos Honda Toy Drive & Car Show V.1


Tis’ the season for giving, and what better way to kick off the holidays than with a toy drive & car show?  December 12th marked Norm Reeves Honda’s 5th annual toy drive and car show and, much like last year, it was a great turnout.  I grabbed my toy donations and dropped by pretty early;  luckily, most of the entrants were already setup so I was able to get some good coverage.  There was a bit of everything on display and more S2000s than I think I’ve ever seen in one place before (definitely not a bad thing).  In this first post I’m going to focus on just S2000’s, and I’ll follow up with the rest of the lot.  If I missed your car, my apologies, I was in a rush to get back to work.  Click past the break for more.

Feature: Power House Amuse 370Z Vestito

Japanese mega tuner Power House Amuse was on site at Super Autobacs Yokohama recently to demo their new aero kit for the Z34; the Vestito.  Lucky for us, Taka was there as well to capture it all.  Amuse has long been producing unique and aggressive aero kits for a variety of chassis.  This is their latest offering for the Z platform; preceded by the Superleggera kit for the Z33 chassis.  I believe Amuse took a less domineering approach to this kit, and put more emphasis on flowing lines and function; and flat out on the track the Vestito proves that it does more than just look good.  Click past the break for more display shots.

Desktop: Castrol NSX GT Spec


I apologize for the lack of posts this month.  I’ve been super busy with life (& GT5), and have really been putting off finding content.  I was supposed to head to Irwindale today after work to check out Industry Day, but got tipped off that it wasn’t all that (thanks Addy).  To hold you over I’ll post this desktop that Taka sent over of the Japan GT Castrol NSX.  Click past the break for some desktop links.

Locale: Twin Ring Motegi – Beams Endurance Integra


In this post I’d like to both thank, and welcome Taka to the NDF Blog team.    Taka runs the JDM Clips channel, and is now a contributor to Narita Dog Fight.  He sent these pictures of the Beams Tokachi 24-hour endurance race car from the Twin Ring Motegi Honda collection hall.  In 2003, when Honda became the sole engine provider for the INDY series, Motegi was added to the IRL schedule, and is famous in Japan for being the only oval ring circuit.  When there are no events going on though, the Honda Collection Hall is the place to go.  Many old and current race cars are displayed for the public to view; this Integra being one of them.

Close Up: Type One Type-R


Next up in my Close-Up series is the bright orange Integra Type-R built by Type-One.  Near flawless paint aside, you can recognize this as a possible race car because of the sticky Advans that are wrapped around the track-worn SSR Type-C’s.  A closer look reveals most of the interior still in-tact; pretty common in Japan because of the abundance of open track events at places like Suzuka, Fuji, Twin-Ring, and Ebisu.  Click past the break for more pics.

Encounter: JGTC Xanavi 350Z


A long time ago I was visiting Ginza, and happened upon the Nissan Gallery.  You can tell this was awhile back because the JGTC doesn’t exist anymore.  Replaced by Super GT, the series is no longer overseen by JAF, but solely by the FIA.  Upon the arrival of the 350Z, the R34 GT was retired in the class.  This was Nissan’s 2006 (?) entry car.  The gallery was closed, so I couldn’t get a tour inside.  Maybe next time.

Video: FR-NSX GT

. Honda R&D’s secret gem has been revealed!  A FR, GT-spec NSX with KERS!  Check out this video of testing at Twin Ring.  Read the video info for specs and backstory.  Found @ JDM Clips.

Encounter: Tokyo Estima

. Here is something you won’t see too often in the states; a modified van.  They’re pretty common in Japan though, and the エスティマ (Estima) is one of the more popular platforms.  I think I […]

Encounter: S30 Kannai

We were walking back to our hotel after a decent dinner at a place in 伊勢佐木町 when I saw this old Datsun parked on the street.  Of course the lighting and weather conditions were horrible for pictures, but since I didn’t get much material on this trip I decided to snap a few anyway.  It had some pretty classic styling; such as the exposed rivets on the fender flares and rear wing.  The gold Watanabes were a nice touch against the white and black color scheme.  Click past the break to see a few more shots.

Feature: IL4’s Time Attack EK

Inline Four has been dedicated to Honda and Acura tuning for over a decade now.   I’ve been going to them since I moved to So-Cal in 2005; back when they were in the tiny office off the 22.  They have now moved to a better, larger facility in Garden Grove, but they’ve kept the same attitude about tuning and service.  It’s a great shop that continues to grow in many ways, including a new line of their own performance parts.  This year they have completed the build on their K-powered race car, and it’s already winning events.  I made a trip down to Inline Four last week with a friend to inquire about some cams for his EG, and so I could pick up some wheel spacers for my coupe.  Lucky for me the EK was parked out in front of the shop.  I had only seen the car once at Nisei and since I had my camera with me I asked Brandon if I could snap some pictures.

Video: Zonda R Nurburgring Lap


I was watching Top Gear the other day and on their news segment they mentioned that the Nurburgring ‘production car’ lap record had been broken.  Apparently this happened way back in June.  I must have been in a coma or something because I never heard of the news (*edit – It was on June 29th, my girlfriends birthday. That explains it).  I don’t understand how Pagani gets away with calling this a production car, although it’s what they market it as, but watch this in-car footage of driver Marc Basseng smashing this work of art around the circuit in an amazing 6 minutes 45 seconds.  Be sure to turn your speakers up real loud.  Click past the break for a cool little documentary about Pagani and their relationship with the Nurburgring.