The Japanese Invasion: Japfest 2012

With the 2012 show season in full swing, next up on the calendar was the UK celebration of everything Japanese: Japfest 2012.

Now in its tenth year, Japfest is by far the biggest single-day Japanese car show in Europe. Every year, thousands of people make the trip down to the rural Castle Combe race circuit in Wiltshire to see the best the UK has to offer in Japanese cars.

This EJ9 Civic looked just right…

…as did this third-generation EF model. Simple, sensible modifications completely transform the look of Honda’s grocery-getter.

Considering the DC5 Integra was never officially sold in the UK, there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of them.

I think the Integra is my personal favourite from the Honda stable.

I’ve always liked the look of the Mazda Mx5, especially sitting low on BBS rims.

This one had nice little arch extensions covering its wider tyres…

…and a tidy turbo installation under the bonnet.

I really like the interior of the MX5. I’ve always thought it might be what the MGB would have evolved into if British Leyland hadn’t imploded and started producing rubbish.

There was also a nice touch in the replacement fresh air-vents.

A MkII MX5 caged-up and ready for some track action.

This Ken Block-inspired ‘bug-eyed’ Impreza was one of the hundreds of Subarus at the show.

I was very impressed with the turn-out of Impreza P1s, the ultimate incarnation of the official UK Imprezas bar the ultra-rare 22B. Jointly developed by STI and Rally gurus Prodrive to head off the grey import, high-performance JDM Subarus, power was hiked from 218hp to 280hp with the suspension and drive-train tuned for UK roads.

A number of options were offered in trim and spec but the P1 only came as a two-door chassis. The colour options were straight from the Henry Ford rule book: you could have it in any color you wanted, as long as it was Sonic Blue.

In my recent BHP Show report, I spoke about my own and my friends’ belief that Cosworth was the ultimate in attainable performance. But even in the most hardened cases of Blue Oval love, three letters were always uttered in hushed tones. G-T-R. Before the internet made everything instantly available, stories of the Skyline GT-Rs destroying Cosworth at Bathhurst and 1,000bhp road-cars were getting back to us through the printed press. Nobody had ever seen one in the flesh – they were true beasts of legend.

A local tuner had started importing Japanese cars, and his personal transport was a bay-side blue R34 GT-R with an alleged 700bhp. That was the first GT-R that I had ever seen, and when I heard he was going to be running it at Santa Pod race way at a ‘run what ya brung’ day, I went with a group of friends to see exactly what the legend was capable of. To this day I will never forget the noise as it launched off the line and performed a sub-10 second run. An incredible piece of engineering.

Honda was definitely the best-represented marque at the event.

I had almost forgotten about the Honda CR-X. It was great to see some nicely turned-out examples…

…especially this tough-looking example finished with carbon arches and bonnet.

I don’t remember the last time I saw a Series One CR-X on UK roads.

This black FD looked nice and sinister in black with anthracite rims.

It be witchcraft I tell thee. Witchcraft.

Imprezas were not the only Subarus on display, as there were a few cool Foresters…

..and as always the Impreza-engined Brat ready to take to the track.

Nissan’s Cube would not be the first choice for many as a car to modify. Nonetheless, this smooth, slammed model looked awesome.

An RX8 on air suspension and Bentley rims is not a combination I have ever seen before.

It is a tough-looking combination through.

Errm, you’re not fooling anyone there, mate.

Civics weren’t the only Hondas that look good slammed on BBS. The Accord looked just as good.

The slammed-on-steel-rims look was every popular, with this Civic one of the best examples.

A seriously-wide Nissan 350Z. Not to everybody’s taste but it certainly had presence.

We were well represented throughout the show, with many cars proudly wearing the official sticker.

Though some had just made their own!

Smooth yet aggressive lines on this Honda S2000.

One of the many immaculately-presented engine bays on display. I couldn’t quite believe how clean this 2JZ was and how much work had gone into it.

An RB26 shoe-horned under the bonnet of a Nissan S14 is always an impressive sight.

That will be the end of my first report from Japfest 2012. Next up I’ll take a closer look at the retro cars on offer and the action on track.


More Japanese shows on Speedhunters



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Japfest was good but there was lots of "nice wheels and low" tuning on show. I'm getting pretty bored of it tbh. There were some awesome cars around however, I just wish we could get away from this 'fast car' culture.


thats a bit naive to call lowered cars with nice wheels "fast car" culture. Everyone has different tastes and clearly its a popular look at the moment and if done well looks good


Boom my boys mx5 there!, his track session destroyed 2 skylines and a supra in one corner haha!


Everyone has different tastes agreed but the difference between those yellow mx5s for example is huge. One has off the shelf mods (and does look nice), but the other has had 2 years of work and is more like the kind of car I am interesting in seeing and reading about. Just my opinion anyway.


I'm usually very open to all the different car scenes presented on Speedhunters, but is it just me or does the UK-Japanese car scene seem a little outta touch with their styles... Some of these cars look  real dated.


I've got to say, you're right, my car [White 4g [not 3g!] civic up the top] looks like all I've done is chucked some wheels on and dropped it a bit, but myself and my boyfriend have a ridiculous amount of time in my ef. Everything has been done by either me, or him. Sometimes I'd like to stick a complete list of what I've done to it, on it, so people aren't just like 'ahh.. just another old civic decked on wheels'. *sigh*


Bry i understand what you mean, I personally hate cars that have just been dropped off at a bodyshop and all the work has been paid for. I've done everything on my yellow mx5, from painting it, to 'modifying' the suspension for the right height, all on my driveway.
My car and the other yellow mx5 that your commented on, are completely different cars! As you say, that has had 2 years of hard work put into it, whereas i've owned mine for a matter of months. With my car being my only car and not owning a garage or workshop, the work that i can carry out is fairly limited, i cant for example do much to the engine at a time, because i need to use it pretty much everyday so i cant afford for it to be off the road! Not to mention the money!
I understand your point, but there is a lot more behind a car than just what you can see in the pictures.


Can't believe my rubbishy MX5 made it onto here (the interior shots)....properly chuffed. 
Incase you're wondering, the air vents were done by myself using a set of R/C wheels I got from japan, stupidly easy and cheap mod that makes such a difference!
Seeing this when I woke up this morning has left me grinning ear to ear all morning :D


No Pics of the Epracing skyline? Full carbon frontend 600bhp thought that would have made it?


@MarcAins Props on the vents, they looks good. Nice touch :)


Great show report, completely gutted I couldn't get to this :(


The Japanese car scene in Europe seems miles behind the scene here in New Zealand? Are we just ahead or they just slow? 


A Severe amount of work went into my mugen crx pictured above,the vast majority by the guys at HondaR,
I read the comments about our cars not seeming contemporary in the scene.
Please could you guys expand on what you mean in relation to my car if needed,


The yellow Eunos that was in Fast Car would look nice on the road but isn't magazine worthy. Same off the shelf mods that most mx5s have, stock lump and the finish isn't very good. There's much better examples around, even at the show. No offence to the kid that owns it. And what do people mean the Europe scene seems behind?


That will be me with the made up logo lol ^_^


VIP style tuning!!


@eunosthetruth He's not a kid, and to get an engine to be that compact in a bay is skill.




 @Tom46 Yes, there is indeed alot more going on with any car than what can be seen in pictures, or even viewing them at a show.
Yep, mine (the other yellow one mentioned) has had 2 years of spare time pumped into her. and you cannot draw direct comparisons between 2 cars based solely on the make, model and identical colours. the backgrounds between them, and the owners are very different.
I too have no other car, and no garage or even off road parking. I do however have some great mates which let me use their body shop and Garage on weekends, a very understanding girlfriend who hasn't seen me for half the weekends or taken a holiday in the last 2 years, and a job i can get to on public transport.
Over the last 2 years i have slept in mates industrial units while working on her through the small hours, built her out of  several different cars and second hand parts, made my own fibreglass body panels (Front wings, Rear quarters, headlight covers) and gone through 3 ECUs, and 3 wiring looms to get the engine bay as empty as it is. Not everyone can justify this level of stupidity to make a car
Tom46s MX5 is at the very start of its journey, and has already gone through a few different styles in his search to find the direction he wants to head in. It is beautifully styled, and he has covered a lot of ground in an amazingly short amount of time :D and it shows in his car, and the fact he was invited to attend the show on a magazine stand in the paddock :D
Good work that man!


WOW! 2 pics of my MX5 :D really made my day :D
(its the yellow one with the Fibreglass front and rear quarters and the wire tucked turbo install)
Amazing day out, a shame about the traffic queues, which have unfortunately spoilt the event for so many people.
Will be back again next year with more Mods :D


Oh and if anyone wants to see more of her, she hides away at Http:// a little behind on updates at the mo, but there are a few more pics, some of her history and spec list etc.


Why feature soo many cars on replica wheels and cheesy after market parts?


 @eunosthetruth Because half of these cars look like they just filmed Fast and Furious 2


Thanks for the comments and photo of my cube.  
Interesting feedback, particularly in comparison to the NZ scene. How can you decide what is more advanced? Maybe we've just gone right round full circle in the UK and things are now retro here but just outdated in your opinion. :)
In terms of comparing cars, all you can do when modifying your car is do what you want to do to improve the look in your opinion, the media sites like this just photograph things that stand out to the photographer at the time on that particular day.


 @Yetidragon i give you major props.. your living my dream! ha nice MX5!


Nice to see that my turbo'd Subaru Brat pickup truck is still good enough to get mentioned in event write ups on the net!
Like others have said i too have spent 100's of hours doing all the conversion work to my truck and after nearly 3 years it's still not quite finished in my opinion.
I was pleased with all the nice comments people made about it too at the show & when that happens it makes all the hard work seem worthwhile plus getting mentioned on this site is a pleasent suprise tooo!


wow. what an event outside japan! :)


lol, damn Rx8 tail light. I own one and that condensation happens to all Rx8's. 


 @EJ204 How is the europe scene behind NZ? What are you guys doing over there? Post some links up.


What is the new trend nowadays? Post some links up.