Tas 2013: Mike’s Picks

With it’s vast scale and the sheer amount of mouth-watering cars present, Tokyo Auto Salon is one of those events that we could literally dedicate an entire month to covering. Unfortunately we don’t have the time to actually do that, but I thought I’d go ahead and contribute one more selection of car spotlights from the show floor.

Let’s begin with a car that quite a few of you have asked about – the “Hakotora” from 09Racing. From this rear angle it looks like a very nicely done Nissan Sunny Truck…

…but what really sets it apart is the custom Hakosuka Skyline front end conversion. Note the “GB-R” badge, which comes from the truck’s GB122 chassis code.

Almost all the body parts on the conversion are made from dry carbon fiber and are vented to give the pickup a race-ready look. Under the hood is an A12 motor with FCR carbs.

The interior has also been Hakosuka-ized with a custom dashboard kit and center console while the low-back Datsun racing buckets add to the race vibe.

Of course the whole thing would be a useless exercise without the right set of wheels, and the combo of 14×8.5 (front) and 14×10 (rear) RS Watanabes are the perfect choice to sit under the works style flares. Don’t forget the custom side exit exhaust as well.

On of the wildest Toyota 86s at the show, and one of the most extreme builds of TAS 2013 in general was this car shown by air suspension maker Bold World.

If I were building an 86 for myself it wouldn’t be in this particular style, but I like this car because it shows just how far Japanese customizers have gone with Toyota’s darling new sports car. Its most defining aspect is the dramatically wide Masquerade body kit which makes the humble little 86 look like some sort of exotic.

Naturally, the car is dumped low with one of Bold World’s air suspension kits. The big Club Linea wheels are sized 20×9 in the front and 20×11 in the rear with negative offsets all around.

In contrast to the exterior, the cockpit of the 86 is almost completely stock with the exception of the Blitz gauges mounted on the passenger side.

Again, this won’t be everyone’s preferred style for this model, but it certainly stood out in the sea of custom 86s on display this year.

Part of me wants to think that the S13 is experiencing a revival in Japan, but it’s not. It never went away in the first place. This 180SX from Central SPL exemplifies that great Japanese street drift style.

“Boss” is an adjective I’d use to describe the way this 180 looks, but in this case it’s also the brand name of the car’s wide and mean aero kit. Totally boss indeed.

Volk Racing TE37Vs might be favored by classic car owners, but they also look great here on this drift car. Sizes are 17×9 up front and 17×11 out back.

I also like how the interior is both clean and fully intact. You almost don’t notice the 8-point roll bar. Perfect stuff for a street car I’d say.

Just seeing this car gives me the itch to shoot some Japanese grassroots drifting, and I guess that means it’s doing its job.

One car that caught the eye not just of myself but of Sean and Dino as well was the Lexus IS-C from Aimgain and Weds Wheels. Typically the convertible version of the IS brings to mind images of housewives and golf courses, but this thing couldn’t be more different from that.

The wide and aggressive Aimgain GT style kit gives the car an entirely different attitude from the stock IS-C…

…as do the 20″ Weds Kranze Verae wheels which are filled almost entirely by a set of Aimgain GT brakes. The slammed ride height is thanks to an Aimgain air damper system.

While the car is built more for style more than anything else, the 2.5 liter V6 under the hood has been equipped with an HKS supercharger kit for good measure.

Being able to completely alter the perception of car is a sign that its builders have succeeded, and that’s certainly the case with this drop top Lexus.

Whenever I’m at a show like TAS I always find myself attracted to the more unusual cars, like the Honda N360 on display in the Endless booth.

As it turns out, this N was originally purchased decades ago by the shacho of Endless and has recently been totally modernized inside and out.

No surprises here. The vintage Honda is running both Endless brakes and Function coilovers.

Not only did the contemporary upgrades make the N360 stand out, but the overall cleanliness and detail car of the car was extremely impressive.

The trick center exit exhaust was just one of these tiny details. Classic Hondas never quite seem to get the love they deserve, so this car makes me very happy.

Lastly, we have the JZS100 Toyota Chaser from T-Garege (that’s how they spell it…). Now the Chaser is typically a car you associate with the drift scene, but this example is done with much more of a VIP taste.

For starters, the car is on airbags rather than coilovers, and that rear camber is pure bippu.

The body parts are originals from T-Garege and the style very much falls in line with modern VIP trends, as does the quad tip exhaust.

The all red interior and ICE is a very flashy, but in the case of this car – it just works.

All that is rounded out by a set of 19″ Work Meisters and giant 6 pot brakes to match. VIP? Drift? Whatever it is, I dig it.

Plenty more to come from Tokyo Auto Salon!




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Really love that truck.


@AlexG I as well.


Is there a jargon buster available at all for these Japanese words your using?


Words can't express just how cool that Nissan Sunny Truck/Hakosuka is.


Engine in the truck?? WE NEED DETAILS


"hakotora" ute had to have been one of my favourites at the show.


@roeby shacho = compeny president, i don't know about bippu = vip? i've never heard someone say bippu before


"hakotora" ute was one of my favourites at the show.


@K's @roeby Yeah "bippu" is how "VIP" is pronounced in Japan.


@BlackJacket As far as we could tell the motor was pretty stock. I have a feeling this thing was just finished in time for TAS. Would be awesome to see an SR under the hood though.


Nissan Sunny Truck and little Honda N360...feature please!  :D


Really not impressed with TAS this year.  I was expecting to see something C R A Z Y ! ! !  Just really not that impressed.  Almost disapointed.  Really??? that IS-C was worthy of being on SH.


@Mike Garrett  @roeby Im from Japan and i've never heard anyone say bippu before


@Mike Garrett  @roeby ah okay im from japan but i only ever heard "bipp" and never seen or heard someone write bippu before but i think if you said that people might look at you weird though. lol or it maybe its im just pronounceng bippu wrong lol


Honda N360 looks just like the original Mini! Pretty impresive!


The Hakotora was only just completed before the TAS, Ogura san did not even have any carbs on the engine, it was just the A12 with a set of extractors hanging off the side. Ogura san will be at my house on the weekend so if you want to know anything I can ask him for you leave a message on here or email me at tokyo2u@hotmail.co.jp
Bippu is pronounced Bip for VIP


LOVE the Nissan Sunny truck.  Hate the vents all over the front.


The Sunny truck and the little N360 are absolutely sick, would love to see features on those!


Yeah there are a few people saying that, I am going to talk to him on Saturday about just making a normal flat bonnet also.


@Tokyo2u awesome pickup!