The Five Cars You Must See From TAS 2014
BenSopra is back

There were actually two BenSopra cars at this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon and along with their official flat white demo car, it was this candy red example that I decided to feature. Ryo-san from the famous Hiroshima-based shop has plans for his new project: he wants to take it drifting and do so at a professional level. Needless to say, it will be cool to see this car in D1 – or any other series for that matter! Let’s take a closer look at the aero package that continues to make BenSopra one of the most talked about names of recent years.

TAS-2014-064

With the aim to make his kits more accessible, hence the choice of the affordable Z33 platform, Ueta-san certainly didn’t take the conservative route when it came to styling. The conversion begins up front with the front bumper which alters the face of the 350Z. It’s a good mix of rounded and edgier lines spiced up by the unmistakable Miura front lip. The front overfenders are probably best described as having half a ‘works’ look, the blistering happening only around the top portion before getting tucked in along with the creased fender extension.

TAS-2014-065

The rears are more conventional, integrated along with the flat black side skirts and that rear angular diffuser section. The Gram Lights 57FXX the car was sporting at the RAYS booth were actually a very good choice as the thin and squared off spokes match well with what’s been done on the BenSopra aero.

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The rear is about as aggressive as it gets – a call back to the rear end of their 2012 GT-R conversion that dominated both TAS as well as SEMA that year.

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Ryo-san is keeping tight-lipped on what he’ll be doing on the engine side of things, but if the car is to compete at a pro level and compete with the cars currently participating in championships like D1, it will need something very special under the hood.

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I just had to choose this hot rodded NA8C as part of this spotlight post as it’s such a good example of the kind of crazy stuff you sometimes run across at TAS.

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The project was put together by the guys at the Motor Mechanic Factory of Wiz university, who really showed some outside-the-box sort of thinking. Everything from the firewall forward was cut off, a tube frame built in its place to hold the Roadster’s stock engine and front track in position. If you look at the first picture of the Wiz Concept Rod, you can see how they even developed inboard suspension, small dampers positioned within the old hot rod style grille, there to absorb the road imperfections the front wheels run across.

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The NC’s 1.8L motor has been treated to some nice additions like the OER 4-throttle sports injection kit. The students put a lot of time into attention to detail, taking inspiration from an old Japanese warplane.

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On the exhaust side there are four individual pipes, a sort of open header exhaust system to help give a more authentic hot rod sound and feel.

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The Frankenstein roadster also sports a removable hard top with plenty of rat-rod-like rusty detailing while the interior was retrimmed with a more minimalistic feel to give the ambience of a proper vintage rod.

A CLK like no other
TAS-2014-068

This next car is unlike any Mercedes you’ve seen before. This is not a big brute AMG, limited edition, widebody Mercedes, but a one-off creation by Sarto Racing. Like their BMW E36 convertible that we saw back in November at the Stance Nation show in Fuji, the aero has been designed and produced by… shall I let you guess!

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That’s right, Miura-san of TRA Kyoto is responsible for yet another of the most popular cars at TAS this year, and he couldn’t have executed the widebody conversion on this W209 CLK any better.

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It’s all a fine balance between fender flares, offset and ride height, not to mention how much rear tire should remain visible when looking at the car from the back. The dark Enkei RS05RRs are a great choice for the CLK, the multispoke design giving an almost DTM race car feel while the custom candy red paint does the rest.

TAS-2014-070

The roll cage, the snap-off steering boss, the brake bias adjuster and the hydraulic side brake are probably the last things one would expect to see in a Mercedes CLK. Look closer and you’ll spot the custom switch panel and a curious looking lever which swaps the cogs in the six-speed manual which has been fitted in place of the stock slushbox.

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The engine remains the stock 170hp 2.6L V6, but it’s been made far more sonorous thanks to the very straight and very unsilenced exhaust system. Just look at that rear end!

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It’s going the unconventional way that gets you noticed. Johnny at Weld has forever done things to his liking and the results have always been nothing but spectacular. I recall the first time I shot his D1 JZX100 a few years ago. I couldn’t understand why he had shaved the engine bay, painted the car with a complex custom mixed flake color and finished it off to show car standards. This was a drift car, a car that would inevitably be hit or hit something! But he didn’t care. He’s a guy that does things well, or he doesn’t do them at all. So it’s not a great surprise that his FR-S project may well be the most perfect example of attention to detail.

TAS-2014-078

Every curve you see on the body, every fender flare, every additional line that has been added in has been done so by hand and out of metal. The only non-metal additions in fact are the swan neck wing and the rear diffuser. The front and rear fenders have been made to smoothly drape over the Neova-shod Work XSA 04Cs, and no matter how close you look, there isn’t a flaw in either the metalwork nor the deep metallic red paint. But rear spoiler aside, this is actually a car that we saw back in September at the Slammed Society event in Fuji, so what’s the big deal, right?

TAS-2014-063

This is the big deal! Right here! Screw turbocharging and supercharging, Johnny has wanted to go the NA route on his FA20 and he has done so with proper style. After shaving and tidying up the wiring and piping mess that is the ZN6’s engine bay, he gave some attention to the engine itself.

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There was no way the stock plastic intake was going to cut it in a car like this, so a custom four-throttle set-up was fabricated and finished off with billet velocity stacks and a little Work XSA 04C wheel off an RC drift car as part of the rotating assembly – a little hint as to one of Weld’s current biggest business ventures with the Overdose brand.

TAS-2014-079

The car is still not done yet however – there are more things planned for it still but before that happens, the engine still needs to be wired and set-up properly with an aftermarket ECU. As if wiring an engine up was an easy task, Weld have to make sure that everything is tucked and hidden away in order not to spoil that beautiful, clean engine bay. 

KM4SH
TAS-2014-074

As my final spotlight I just had to pick the KM4SH 86. This is a car that I have seen materialize from a simple idea over a dinner table, to the finished product on display at one of the world’s biggest and most important tuning shows. I was blown away when I first laid eyes on the car, impressed with Miura’s usual flawless work that’s helped transform a lightly tuned street car into something with an impossible amount of presence. Starting at the rear, Miura’s signature duck tail trunk spoiler is the perfect complement to the lines of the fenders.

TAS-2014-076

To emphasize the effect of the KM4SH aero kit, the car has been lowered on a set of KW adjustable suspension and fitted with a prototype set of 6666 mesh two-piece wheels from Enkei. The front fender flares are quite conservative if you compare them to the wilder Rocket Bunny V1 & V2 kits – and here lies the point of this kit. It’s aimed at those who want to make their ZN6 look a little meaner and sit better when mated to wheels with just the right amount of aggressive offset.  Minimal cutting is required at the front to make the wheels fit and the flares sit properly.

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The rear too calls for a bit of cutting, and how much you take off is dependant on the soft of wheel, offset and look you want to go for.

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Setting the tone at the front is this lip spoiler which bolts directly onto the stock bumper. The SH x Takata tow-strap is optional! The kit will be available as a complete package, or if you prefer, to pick your favorite separate components from, all exclusively through the Speedhunters Store.

More from TAS 2014 coming up soon!

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino
dino@speedhunters.com

Tokyo Auto Salon 2014 coverage on Speedhunters
Previous Tokyo Auto Salon coverage on Speedhunters

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88 comments

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1

That swan wing looks good.

2

That swan wing looks good.

3

Those canards on the Z33...love them

4

That Merc... I was starting to become impressed with it till I read the power. 170bhp? Seems bolt on flares are becoming the new rice...

5
Seeking Perfection

Dino, while it would be essential to thank you for offering the TAS coverage, I wonder if these are (unanimously) the most interesting/''must see'' builds of the whole show. In the latter case, I am utterly disappointed. I believe that the last SEMA show had far more impressive builds than TAS. I know there is still more coverage incoming and therefore, I hope to be pleasantly surprised. Kawashima's Celica could be in this list, but these are your choices I guess.

6
Seeking Perfection

Dino, while it would be essential to thank you for offering the TAS coverage, I wonder if these are (unanimously) the most interesting/''must see'' builds of the whole show. In the latter case, I am utterly disappointed. I believe that the last SEMA show had far more impressive builds than TAS. I know there is still more coverage incoming and therefore, I hope to be pleasantly surprised. Kawashima's Celica could be in this list, but these are your choices I guess.

7

Am I the only one stuck on this...
"The kit will be available as a complete package, or if you prefer, to pick your favorite separate components from, all exclusively through the Speedhunters Store."
Speedhunters is going to sell body mods :-O ?! That's big time boys (and girls).

8
Seeking Perfection

*** I meant ''in this case,...''

9

Brett Allen  Guess these days you need a rear diffusor, cut out fenders and huge DTM-wings to match your already undrivably lowered ZN6 (obviously without serious engine modification) on stretched tires to be someone. Oh..and don't forget that the parts have to be off Mr. Miura/..(insert any SH sponsor from below). 
I don't want to offend or criticise your excellent and committed work here in general. I love your site. It's just that your coverage seemed a bit too biased sometimes for the last months.

10

Brett Allen  Guess these days you need a rear diffusor, cut out fenders and huge DTM-wings to match your already undrivably lowered ZN6 (obviously without serious engine modification) on stretched tires to be someone. Oh..and don't forget that the parts have to be off Mr. Miura/..(insert any SH sponsor from below). 
I don't want to offend or criticise your excellent and committed work here in general. I love your site. It's just that your coverage seemed a bit too biased sometimes for the last months.

11

maxproof True. Having said that the MX5 hotrod is unbelievably cool.
Anyway, I think Speedhunters are showing the cars that are around at the moment and the ones getting the most exposure are all a similar style because that's the current fashion (ZN6, bolt on fenders, stance etc)
The ones who tend to dislike the new trends seem to be those of us who have seen the other silly ones come and go (huge body kits, neon lights, massive stereo installs) and who now prefer functional cars that go like they look (could just be me tho...)

12

Brett Allen maxproof True as well. 
But you have to keep in mind that SH is one of the main players in car scene related journalism and therefore opinion making itself. 
I just cannot ignore my growing suspicions when nearly 100% of the Japanese-derived articles speak of Miura-San and "suddenly" there's a collaboration which "coincidently" is chosen as a top 5 car, of a rather important international car show, without being 'that' special!? 
This bugs me because SH means interesting versatile articles by passionate people for me - not viral marketing.

13

this looks to have been the most boring TAS since ive been paying attention to japanese cars. well at least I can look forward to all the PA photos surely to be posted to facebook soon.

14
spencermaranda79

do i seem to be the only one that loves every car on this list bar the miata hotrod? oh and that clk would be infinitely times better if it had some performance

15

I really like the 350z, I was just thinking of how timeless the design appears. Over 10 years old and holds up even today. Love it.

16
Seeking Perfection

LamesIngram  HAHA. Exactly. Mike's SEMA coverage was superior in terms of content. From what we have seen until now, there is a lack of completely bespoke builds. The majority of cars on display have bolt-on fender flares and a few or minimal engine modifications.

Compare this post with Mike's equivalent from SEMA.

http://www.speedhunters.com/2013/11/now-trending-sema-six-cars-watch/#chapter-a-bunny-and-a-deuce

17

I like the MX5 rod. Not much else. I may be the only one, but I'm really getting over the whole Rocket Rabbit flare thing....it's just too over-done. But leaving the motor stock in the Merc just put the icing on the cake as to what most cars that wear these flare kits are built for, so lame to have a race look with zero power.

I did say WOW at the candy 86's engine bay though, simply stunning!!!

18

"The engine remains the stock 170hp 2.6L V6"
wat

19

Missed the KM4SH during my first pass because I was drawn in by that Miata hot rod!
I do hope there's a 2nd must see list coming....

20
speedhunters_dino

@thefirelizard Well don't mean they don't have other plans for it.  I think they just managed to finish the car for the show

21
speedhunters_dino

tokuku I agree, the Z34 may look more modern but the 33 has stood up the test of time well. Plus, they are so damn cheap these days!

22
speedhunters_dino

spencermaranda79 Twin turbo V12 from a Benz 65 model would suit it well haha

23
speedhunters_dino

Tinj That's right :)

24
speedhunters_dino

@Seeking Perfection No Celica at the show.

25
speedhunters_dino

wheatgod TRD will tell you otherwise

26

speedhunters_dinoDo they? Even starting with CLK240 is weird, unless they plan to swap the engine. I was going to comment on the 6M swap, but the 6M was standard for the car. Are you sure it's a swap? There's also the point that Sarto isn't a performance shop, just a bodykit shop, so there'd need to be another tuner on board for an endeavour like that.

27

speedhunters_dinowheatgodIs that why TRD supercharged it?

28

Miata Hot Rod is awesome...thinking about other cars to do that with.  :)

29

Dino qual è il tuo indirizzo email ?
Ho bisogno del vostro aiuto con pezzi di auto in Giappone

30

You got to feature that Weld GT86!

31

So info on the kit? Are the BRZ bothers (and sister) going to be left out of the widebody lovin?

32

The metal work on the Weld 86 is stunning, much more of an impact than FRP. Dat bay doe.

33

Love that MX5-rod... full feature?

34

Great cars!... In the first photo ( The 350z whell) at bottom i see a Pink audi whit a DUB or Slammed style... Can you please do an aticle about that car? Thank you!

35

Sssh! Stop bringing attention to us, if they see us we have had it.

36

Sssh! Stop bringing attention to us, if they see us we have had it... ;)

37

It's in the car park so no doubt it will show up at some point, it's pretty hard to miss...

38
speedhunters_dino

JoseFickert That's a Toyota Crown and you can see it in the next post :)

39
speedhunters_dino

Max_Ryde It will be but it's not running just yet, still needs lots of wiring

40
speedhunters_dino

@thefirelizard speedhunters_dino It was an auto originally. I plan to check their shop out this year and find out more about these cars they are building. Like I said this needs a monster engine to finish it up properly!

41
speedhunters_dino

Nico Leone É alla fine di ogni mio articolo:) Cmq non vendiamo parti dal Giappone.  Che cosa cercavi?

43
speedhunters_dino

TarmacTerrorist Yeah it was parked up on Friday I heard but I headed out there on Sat so didn't see it.

44
speedhunters_dino

@thefirelizard speedhunters_dino wheatgod Look at their Griffon time attack car

45
speedhunters_dino

@thefirelizard speedhunters_dino wheatgod The supercharger is TOM's BTW not TRD

46

Alexi over at the nori yaro blog got some shots. It's looks a little like a small 350 in one of the shots haha.
Hell of a wild machine.

47

Spaghetti kinda with you. gettin kinda sick of the bolt on stuff. makes the Weld ZN6 that much more appealing to me personally.

48

speedhunters_dino Wow, completely missed the last paragraph of the previous article. Cool stuff, I'm excited to see how SH moves into new markets.

49

speedhunters_dinoNico Leone  
 dove posso trovare pezzi subaru, tutte le persone che parlano con... BRZ jgtc motor ej20 carbon cover..

50
Nick_Suruga_Performance

Right on! I can only agree with this selection!

51

Too Much Rocketbunny stuff. It's totally hyped and overrated in my opinion. what happend to the sleek JDM-style with sporty design approaches?

52

Oh my.. that CLS... daaamn. So much yes.

53
speedhunters_dino

Nick_Suruga_Performance Thanks Nick!

54
speedhunters_dino

@JDMjunkies_Ch Like what? RB is JDM :)

55
speedhunters_dino

Nico Leone speedhunters_dino Motore JGTC? Che roba é? C'e' ne sono molti posti dove puoi chiedere, mandami una mail e te ne passo 2-3

56
speedhunters_dino

TarmacTerrorist Yeah saw the pix, made me smile

57

That CLK needs something like...V8 Judd?

58

Three out of five must-see cars are K Miura designed kits.  Really?!?

Two
would have had me thinking you were now simply advertising. But three?
You can't tell me that in the entire TAS, these are what SH calls the
hottest cars? I for one am highly disappointed in both TAS and
Speedhunters here.

59

That CLK looks so good, car of the show for me this year.

60

Im with most the fenders being cut and the time spent getting the suspension done and its running stock engines? Seems people aren't completing cars before shows just getting the body work done? Maybe its due to the fact that engine building has been done and there isnt a lot of guess work. Cutting 4in off your fender and setting up the suspension with custom parts, and widening the foot print properly seems to be the focus.
That blue and yellow 180sx is in SS and looks a beast with the black wheels and deep fender wells, no one mentions how much work went into making that car have functional stance. It has more steering lock then stock, and sits lower then almost any other s chassis car in Japan, and people just pass by it saying its another bolt on car. Read up boys, the new style is set up suspension that is hella/stance/functional/flush moving the group away from dangerous camber to sick looking race bred radness.
Thanks for the post Dino looks like a rad show.

61

Perfect idea

62

Sorry m8. We like to get involved too and collaborate with builders and drivers who inspire us :)

63

how about that white lifted truck in the background?

64

Just change the URL to rocketbunnyhunters.com and get it over with.

65
turbo BEAMS ae86

OfficialWCP seems like theyre on the miura dudes nuts pretty often but u cant really complain i guess..they put a lot of great content still

66

@turbo BEAMS ae86OfficialWCPIt is a pretty common theme here. They find a style, beat it to death, and move on. Plus, they skew the coverage for their "partners". In this instance, BenSopra and Rocket Bunny are partners, and of course their cars are "must see" pics. Surely there is a wider array of amazing cars?

67

These were cars to pass up

68

speedhunters_dino tokuku You'd think they'd upgrade the brakes so they don't look so puny with all that crazy bodykit and wheel.

Seems to be the theme though. Half finished cars. Look attained, then move on.

Ilike the thought of the Miata, but they could have done it better. Cut off the stock chassis at the firewall and tube it from there. Square chassis to bolt on clip? Are these Japanese guys getting lazy? are we too easy an audience?

69

Kenmericz As much as I am a fan of that v8 rumbling, in my opinion that CLK should be powered by a really really really angry 2JZ or RB26 Engine.
It just should we very very angry and really chattering with its turbos ^^ .... 
absolute Stunning Exterior, that CLK!  
if only it had an engine to prove that looks... since that v6 mill is just well.... a cruise engine... you get more sound and power out of a 4-Pot than these lethargic Mercedes 6-Pot engines ^^

70

speedhunters_dino Agreed Dino, it's a JDM show, and Miura-sensei well he has created a very destinctive kind of aero style, and I think he really has a right to shine like he does atm.

And it isn't like he forced them to slap his ultra-cool-looking kits on their showcars ^^

71

Onecton Right, because the Brabus modified Mercedes engine at 700bhp just isn't enough, lol. THAT is the motor they should put in it.

72

you guys suck at covering the TAS this year. Seriously wtf?! Every TAS before this one seems infinitely more awesome that the coverage that was provided this year around. This new direction the site has also taken... well it blows to be honest. This is just like all the big american import magazine... they eventually screw a good thing up by paraphrasing car coverage... i'm done

73

I have mixed feeling about the mx-5 hotrod. Part of me loves it because it's so weird. But I think it would look better on different wheels? Love those new Enkei wheels on the KM4SH 86, yummy! And that Weld 86 engine bay - wow! I hope I can get to TAS one day… the cold weather puts me off a bit :/

75

No keis...???

76
speedhunters_dino

@Kart Works No keis

77

These seriously can't be the "must see" 5 cars!? The LB Works 458 is better than all 5 and its not on this list?

78

i had to read that 170hp a few time to make sure i wasnt missing a 0 off...!

79

Not really an impressive list to be honest. By the way, congratulations on Speedhunters own bodykit! Cannot believe it. Awesome.

80
speedhunters_dino

Taryn Croucher It's definitely worth a visit once Taryn, bring a jacket or 3 lol

81
speedhunters_dino

drty Care to give a little more constructive comment? You have noticed there are other posts from TAS?

82
speedhunters_dino

oldschoolcat Onecton speedhunters_dino There really was a lot of RB stuff at the show, miss one car and people complain we haven't showed it. Did you see the function over form post, was there too much RB in that one? Believe me, it's hard to keep everyone happy...

83

Agree this year coverage of tas very poor...and also sema. Are you guys burning out?
On general daily posts not tas or sema related.
It's now like one in every five posts in General have good content. As before I would review each post.
Get back on your game speedhunters.
Start covering soap lands or all the illegal shit in japan...
I did like very much the blowdown to japan tunning post

84

I for one really really like the new zn6 kit - although agree with what some people have said that the decision to show it in black seems odd. But Mr http://www.speedhunters.com/author/2281434115/, please could you explain how it's possible to install the rear overfenders, incl lowering the car and widening the track, without cutting anything? Is the up travel on the modded rear suspension like 2cm or something? Also, even if you don't have to cut, you still have to make a bunch of holes for the rivets… so hardly an easy return-to-stock… What am i missing here?

85

Great article and photos Dino!!!

My BRZ won't be arriving until late this year; will parts of this kit be available near the end of 2014 and into 2015? I'm very excited about the effect Miura's sculpting has improved the natural lines, presence and over all look over the stock car. I'm particularly interested in the rear fenders and spoiler, will they be available separately?

Thanks,

Ciao, Luca
lucaap7@yahoo.com

86

That CLK is amazing. The Rocket Bunny look works so well on that car. I love it.

87
RobsheedWallace1

I would love to see a rocket bunny camaro or corvette... actually a ben spora corvette would be crazy! or liberty walk... well you get the idea

88

That CLK is a POS. They spent tons of effort on the looks and nothing on the car's performance? ..fing ricers.

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