Event>>tas 2009 First Impressions

When it comes to covering the Japanese auto scene on the internet, you generally have a bit more "exclusivity" compared to US or European content. This is of course due the fact that Japan is located quite far from those areas, and that Japanese online auto media is pretty limited. Tokyo Auto Salon is a whole different ballgame though. Media from all over the world diverge on the Makuhari Messe to cover the show every year, and people who can't be there in person anxiously await for coverage to pop up online. Looking around the net a bit, there was Auto Salon coverage popping up before the event officially opened its doors!

I just got back from spending two full days at the show, and instead of trying to rush in and post up every "newsworthy" item from the show, I figured I'd start with some of my general impressions and some other random bits from this year's. I have about 2000 photos to sort through, and you can expect tons of depth coverage here on Speedhunters over the next few days. In fact, TAS coverage will likely dominate my posts for most of the next week.

Anyways, there is a LOT to cover so I'll jump right into it.

There were several highly anticipated cars that made their debut at TAS 2009. An early version of Nobushige Kumakubo's Evolution X drift car appeared at last year's show, but this year the completed car made its debut. The new car wasn't found under the lights inside the Makuhari Messe, but outside where Kumakubo drove it in the "D1GP Kickoff Demo Run". The car looked great for still being in shakedown mode.

Their couldn't be a better example of the "simple Is best" train of thought than this nana maru Corolla that was part of the G-Works Magazine display. I found myself coming back to this car over and over to admire its immaculate finish, perfect stance, and of course its RS Watanabe wheels that write the book on fitment. This is "Works" style at its best. More on this car later.

For better or for worse, there are a lot of people that come to Tokyo Auto Salon JUST for this. A little strange, but I guess sometimes you can't blame them…

I should have a couple posts worth of just girls from TAS. Just hope that the wife doesn't read them…

If you want to take photos of the campaign girls on Saturday and Sunday, you'd better be prepared to stand REALLY close to a bunch of other guys who are trying to do the same. You'll see them using everything from cheap cell phones to SLR cameras that have full studio lighting attached to them. It's a bit ridiculous when you think about it.

Speaking of campaign gals, my award for "best outfits" goes to G-Fine. More on the girls, and the matching Y33 Cima soon.

The look on people's faces was pretty funny when they saw what looked to be a Toyota 2000GT powered by a Nissan RB26. Turns out the car is not a real 2000GT, but a conversion kit built on an S30 Nissan Z chassis. While on the subject of conversions, this year's show seemed to have a larger number of them than normal.

I consider my personal automotive tastes to be rather traditional and simple, but sometimes I can't help but like the over-the-top, extravagant stuff. For example, this airbagged Lamborghini Murcielago in the Liberty Walk booth. One of the new additions to this year's Auto Salon was a separate hall just from import car displays like this one.

Tokyo Auto Salon wouldn't be complete without  VIP sedans like this F50 Nissan Cima in the AME booth. I'll be highlighting this year's VIP offerings in a separate post.

I wasn't expecting much from Toyota's booth at the show, but I was pleased to find this 2009 Super GT-spec Corolla Axio on display. It seems that as each year passes, Super GT cars become even more separated from their street-going counterparts. Actually, to even call the normal Axio a "counterpart" to this race car is a pretty big stretch.

One of the big parts of Tokyo Auto Salon is seeing the tuned versions of all the new model cars. 2009 wasn't this first TAS with new Imprezas on display, but this JUN-tuned version really caught my eye. There were tons of tuned Z34 Fairlady's, GT-R's, Evo X's, IS-F's and other recent models at this year's show.

And lastly, the obligatory aggressive wheel fitment shot. Yep, that's the front wheel in the foreground.

Alright, time to start going through the rest of my TAS '09 photos. Stay tuned for LOTS more very soon.

-Mike Garrett



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You have no idea how long i've been waiting to see Kumakubo's Evo X, and OMG was it worth it lol
could we possibly get some more pix + info of it dude??
awesome post & pix by the way


Where is Daigo Saito's Mustang??


w00t! the posts have begun, great shots mike, looking forward to more coverage. And all of a sudden I find myself wanting to buy a hoodie that looks like a frog...


goddamn that tire is stretched !!

Axio vs Furai (sp?), angular, aerodynamic, canard-wielding battle to the death!


thanks alot MIKE


it's the party


Hey, hope you could post more photos of the new Impreza WRXs'....Hope to see some more tuning factories tuning their Imprezas' as their demo cars.....


Which company makes the 2000gt conversion?


Dude, I've been waiting all day! I've been desperately looking everywhere for the TAS coverage on the internet, but this by far has the best coverage! Looking at Kuma's Evo X really amazes me what the guys at JUN to build that car from the ground up. Also noticed some posts on Nomuken's GT-R and Daigo Saito's Mustang which appeared at the show. Was also interested to know that RB26 2000GT was actually based of the S30.

Well hope to see more photos from the show then. =D


That Z faked me out... I saw the photo and my jaw dropped as I thought what a pretty 2000GT Id say thats a well done conversion... only question is why ohh why

That new Corolla JGTC car... 1nsane! ... I think it looks awsome... but yea.. when you look at the standerd version in comparason.........

I am indeed down with the colourd wheels!


Man that green corolla pretty much sums up what I consider to be my dream car!!!

I'm 31 and my first car was a 81 Corolla. I've owned SIX of those cars in my life, 3 2dr and 3 4dr.

My last one I swapped in a 4ag. I currently own a 86 sr-5 (project car) with a half way done gts swap and a 88 crx with a b20 swap (daily driver) I don't know what it is about those old box corollas but if I ever come across a clean one I 'm buying it. I remember being young and seeing all these old corollas driving around here in PA with their little 13" rims and super low pro tires slammed to the ground I would just stare in amazement as they rolled by bumping their systems. I guess those images got burned into my head and I know that I will someday own another one. I think I would give by ae86 and crx for a clean example of my dream car!!!

thanks for this incredible blog which I consider way better than any import magazine i've evry seen!!!

Great work and please keep them coming, I will be waiting patiently for a feature on that green corolla

please ... post lots of pictures AND one of your awesome articles to accompany it, thanks!


Wicked pics. Love the Super GT Corolla. Can you show and tell me more about that car? Also do they have any RX-7's to show?


Sorry, just saw it in another part. Awesome shots as always Mike


Thanks guys! I'm gonna be sooo busy posting TAS coverage over the next few days. Haha.


I'll be sure to post more on Kuma's new car. I'll be doing a separate post on the D1 demo runs.




Dude, you know there is a requirement for some car park pictures of the parade and all that jazz ;)

Great shots so far :)


That corolla looks pretty good for something nearly forty years old!


Its a ver nice event so awesome so many cars i wish i could have been there ^^


Its a ver nice event so awesome so many cars i wish i could have been there ^^


Nice post mike,always expect the best angles from you...from all the pics i have seen online,the quality of yours are better....


That Corolla Axio is most likely to go to GT300, look at the number plate: its yellow. If its going to GT500, the number plate will be white.

They have 2 IS300s over there in Super GT, and Orido is driving one.


I'm getting out my checkbook now...I must have that 2000GT! Mike, please tell me who makes this thing!