With the Super GT Championships kicking off each year around April, Tokyo Auto Salon is scheduled at the perfect time off-season for competitors to showcase their 2019 season winning cars, as well as their new 2020 builds. One of the main reasons I attended the Salon this year was to get a closer look.
Let me preface this post by saying that the amount of travel to spend a single day in Japan is surprisingly achievable. It’s not like I would recommend it, there are definitely more efficient ways to go about it, but to say it wasn’t a fun experience wouldn’t be wholly true; at the very least it’s a conversation starter.
This week has flown by and I really haven’t gotten a chance to just sit down uninterrupted to edit and write. All last week I was in Tucson for work, and have been using this week to kind of catch up. I took the little free time I did have to spend at the shop working on the new motor and to start fabricating my dashboard. I don’t quite have all the parts collected to finish the head yet, so I should be concentrating on other areas of the car, time permitting. I have some work scheduled for it mid-February, and hoping to have a few open items finished by the end of the month. I’ve also been working to restock the site store by, and wrap up the new shirt design – mostly by way of email correspondence! We should have a few announcements coming within the next week or so. In the meantime, I managed to finish the edits from Tokyo Auto Salon and have one final post for you – check it out below.
I don’t want my last post on TAS to be misconstrued in any way. I started thinking about it after someone had commented on the Facebook page about it. I’m not trying to downplay TAS in anyway, it’s a great event. In fact, many people from all over the world plan their trip to Japan around that show. I am not in Japan as often as I used to be, and that means choosing dates wisely. It’s come to the point where the amount of opportunities I have outweigh the time I have to take advantage of them; and that’s something I am very grateful for. I’ve worked hard over the past years to put myself in that position, and am thankful for the friends that helped along the way. It would be different if I could devote 100% of my time to the site, but I’m just not in a place where I can make that a reality right now. I have a self-defined prerogative to share with you up to date information and coverage of what’s happening in Japanese Time Attack events, so naturally those are the events I align myself with. I’m glad this time I was able to do both, as there was a lot of neat stuff at TAS this year. I was especially excited about the handful of Super GT unveilings. If you have the opportunity to go I would highly encourage you to do so, and not to get discouraged by any of my opinions I throw up on the site. I’d never want to unintentionally discourage anyone from doing what they’ve always wanted to do. With that said, let’s jump into the second round of my selective coverage from the halls of Makuhari Messe.
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.
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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. […]
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I know you’re thinking right now, “Two back to back featured car posts?! I don’t believe it.” Well, believe it. That’s just how awesome we are. All jokes aside, I’m not sure why it took me so long to post this car up, as it has massive popularity among drift fans. D1-GP reverse-entry guru Masato Kawabata is the man responsible for piloting this ridiculously hot, 600 horsepower 180sx sideways through all the corners. I spotted the S all alone, basking in the light at the Toyo Tires booth as we were getting ready to take off from the Auto Salon in search of another UP Garage. So I decided to get up close and personal with it. Sit back and enjoy the shots!
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.
Alright, I honestly thought that this would be the last post from TAS I would put out, but it looks like that’s not the case. I’ll be making it a series of 5 for full coverage; one more to go. Anyway, runner up for best model would be from Gontaya. I really don’t have anything to say about this one…click past the break for more TAS goodness.
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.
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.
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.
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.
. I’m excited to say that we’ll be headed for Japan next weekend to attend the Tokyo Auto Salon. Stay tuned for coverage of the greatest Japanese automotive event of the year! -Sean