The Weird & The Wonderful At</br> Tokyo Auto Salon 2015
Miniatures

Every January I look forward to seeing Dino’s posts from the Tokyo Auto Salon – and yes, there are a few on the way this week. However, seeing as this year I am the foreigner from Speedhunters covering the iconic Japanese tuning convention, we figured it would be appropriate for me to talk about the weird and wonderful cars on the show floor.

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-2

Let’s start off with one of the cars from NATS (Nihon Automobile College). Every year they have a booth where student-built project cars are proudly displayed.

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-4

The last time I attended TAS was back in 2006, but I can remember being very impressed with the interesting builds at the NATS booth. But this year they just blew me away.

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-3

For starters, the students had changed a Suzuki Mighty Boy into what resembled a miniature BMW E30 racecar.

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-5

The ‘MBW550′ even had a scale model of its inspiration on top of the dashboard. It was so cool.

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-6

I actually really liked the way it looked too. I just hope these builds don’t end up on the scrapyard after the show.

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-7

Dino already gave you a little taste of the Kuhl Racing R35 GT-R in his TAS preview post, but I just have to share more photos of this ridiculous machine.

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-8

The attention to detail is absolutely astounding, and I can only imagine how long it took for them to create this look using ARTIS 3D Ultimate Engraving Metal Paint.

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-9

What is hard to tell from the pictures is how raised the texture really is. I can honestly say that I’ve never seen a finish like it – let alone on a GT-R.

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-10

The only shame is that the Nissan probably won’t see any street use now. Although, we have seen crazier things happen in the Land of the Rising Sun…

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-11

While we can all agree it’s completely over the top, from this angle I think it actually looks quite nice. I am curious to see what else they can come up with using this paint and technique.

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-12

While this was not the prettiest-looking Mustang, you can’t knock the guys who created it for trying.

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-13

Because at the end of the day, trends only come about by one shop or individual wanting to be different. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-14

In this case, the car definitely has a ‘wow’ factor that stopped people in their tracks – whether it be from shock or awe.

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-15

While I don’t agree with taking performance cars and turning them into showpieces, I can appreciate that there’s a place for it in the world of car culture.

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-16

Either way, if builds like this generate interest in modifying and customizing cars, then I’m all for it. Yes, even if that means getting rid of the GT-R’s signature four taillights that we all love.

Wild & Crazy
Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-17

Just like the SEMA Show, TAS turned up its fair share of those out-of-this-world builds that really push the show car envelope.

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-18

We’ve seen this crazy, concrete-coated Toyota bB before, and now after seeing it in person I really can’t knock the execution. The wheel fitment was on-point too.

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-19

I could not have said it better myself, I think ‘stupid’ should most definitely hurt.

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-20

Just when you think you’ve seen everything – this. I get that it’s hard to attract people into your booth if everyone has a similar build, but this was just overkill! Or was it the perfect plan? It did make it onto Speedhunters after all…

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-21

I for one would love to take this out to Fuji Speedway just to see how fast it would go and how many decorations would last a few hot laps.

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-22

The best part? The decorations were scented. I welcomed this, as sweaty car enthusiasts were packed in like sardines in a can on the show floor.

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-23

While the Suzuki Mighty Boy turned BMW E30 was my favorite car at the NATS booth, they had a few other offerings that were just as impressive in terms of the transformation.

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-24

I would love to see this ‘Rolls-Royce’ drive down the street in the middle of Tokyo.

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-25

And how about this miniature Mercedes E-Class. I guess the challenge would be to make enlargements, because they seem to have this shrinking thing down. I want to see a Hummer turned into a giant Mazda Miata. Until then, I am only half impressed.

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-26

To round off the NATS student cars, we have this Toyota 86 with a Lamborghini-inspired front bumper. Extreme indeed.

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-27

Although it’s been a while, I can tell you that I did not see many large trucks at TAS back in 2006. While there was nothing modified to the extreme of what we see at SEMA, these guys definitely get an ‘A’ for effort.

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-28

I’m sure our resident minitruck expert, Keith Charvonia, has something to say about this interpretation of a lowrider truck/boathouse?

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-29

In terms of the craziest-looking booth with the most number of insane cars, that honor has to go to Boom Craft.

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-30

And if it’s not crazy enough to have so many wild creations in one booth, they were parked so close to each other that you could barely slide a business card in between them.

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-32

It almost looked like an exotic car pile-up!

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-31

Italian supercars do a pretty good job of grabbing attention in standard form, but these guys just take things to a whole new level.

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-33

When I followed Speedhunters driver Charles Ng racing in the WTCC in Russia a few years ago, I saw a whole lot of Ladas. Since then I have not seen a single Russian Lada – till now. Surprisingly, it was quite popular.

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-34

It’s easy for you guys to hate on some of the various styles that Japanese tuners and aftermarket styling houses bring to the table, but how boring would it be if everyone did the same thing?

Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_TAS_weird_and_wonderful-35

That is the whole point of shows like SEMA and TAS. You want to bring that wow factor, and sometimes it’s hit or miss. Just a few years ago RWB, Rocket Bunny and Liberty Walk were viewed in this same light, but now look at them! And who knows what’s next…

Larry Chen
Instagram: larry_chen_foto
larry@speedhunters.com

ADVERTISEMENT

Comments

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.

52 comments

by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest
1

Speedhunters has been lacking lately...finding myself visiting a lot less :(

2

tas is a bit ehhh ugh meh painfully sad... or maybe its just me.

3

Love the E30 Mighty Boy, reminds me of the little Hako Mighty Boy I saw at Nos2Days 2 years ago, so cool. I also love what the Boom Craft people are doing, must sh!t the purists to tears, but I do wonder how they get away with the 458 treatment when deadmau5 didn't, or do they?
You mention that RWB, LB Walk and RBunny were in a position of being way out there at one point and look where they are now. You also say it'd be boring if everyone did the same thing, yet those people are doing just that, the same, boring thing, car after car within their own companies. They should try something a little new.....just my opinion of course.

4

That artis engraved paint impresses me every time I see it. Last yr it was on the 86; this time around an even more intricate design. Two thumbs up!

5

LOL that's probably your weirdest post ever! Here's one of the funniest I have seen. :)

6

Whatever that blue car is set up as a lowrider is amazing. Please say it'll show up in another post, even just one photo. I mean, it would look better with a full bed, but I'd take it in a heart beat.

7

The last picture of the R35 with engraved style paint - oddly enough, I liked it very much in that angle. It actually looked very good to me. I have this weird, lingering thought that this R35 would look good on the streets of Dubai. That's just me though. LOL!

8

azmedaj I don't understand how it's paint(no wrap or underlay as such).....need a step by step video of how it's done. Is it super thick chrome paint that is then engraved by hand? I'm lost.

9

I was more excited to see the Suzuki Alto RS concept than a room full of GT-R's and GT86's.  I'll skip the next few TAS trips.

10
11

Indeed, the Boom Craft stand looks like a multiple supercar pile up because it is one big car crash.

12

Great post Larry! I like how auto shows like this are similar to fashion shows in that what might seem outrageous on these cars will become widespread in a more subtle form (or perhaps not). The rear of that R35 reminds me of the way oldschool cars have shaved and smoothed rear ends, super cool!

13
Gianluca FairladyZ

The last car looks like a convertible version of Mercedes' AMG Vision Concept for Gran Turismo, lol.....

14

Is that a bamboo roll cage in the Roadster parked next to the Mustang? Real bamboo or just creative airbrushing?

15

Certainly more weird than wonderful!
Can't help but like the E30 and the mini E-Class, you'd get some looks in them anywhere!

16

That miniature E-class was absolutely gorgeous.

17

might boy everything! lol

18

Weird but cool post - I'd love to see more of that low rider, mini-truck...
Can't wait to see what else is at TAS!!

19

More TAS please!!!

20

Love this kind of post.
Love those Lamborghinis! Only in Japan does that kind of styling work, and damn it works.

Don't love glossy fiberglass interiors.... that mustang.... oh boy.

21

that mini..... POP POP! and don't tell ANYONE....I kinda dig the blinged out GTR....SSSSSHhhhhh.

22

OH and WTF is that last red thing with the bass mouth...?

23

Frankly, The Japanese production car design of the last 10 years sucks in my opinion. And unfortunately the GTR is no exception.
That's why it's always cool to see how bold and talented car tuner can do great. That blue lowrider is a perfect example. I'd like to see more images of it.

25

I don't know why, but I get a real kick out of kei pickups like the one in the headline picture.

26

ehh... What the ' Aero Monster --Love Lark ' is ...

27

So. Much. Weird.
The Lada is pretty rad though. And the pinion angle on that blue truck thing is intriguing.

28

Can we have more pictures of the blue R35? Looks amazing!

29

@wanker It's not Speedhunters fault you don't like the cars. Their coverage is excellent, no denying it. Just because you don't like the style of Japanese tuners, doesn't mean the site is lacking.

30

Great stuff guys. I love that you showcase every bit of events like this! I can't wait to see the rest of your TAS15 coverage.

31

Larry Chen - You mentioned: RWB, Liberty Walk, and Rocket Bunny being seen in the same light as these cars, and I'm going to have disagree.  Those aforementioned companies built something appealing, relevant, and dynamic.  Many of these cars posted here are gaudy and were created in attempt to turn heads. 
While I can appreciate the weirdness and individuality of these builds, it's the obliteration of such iconic cars (read: R35 and Lamborghinis) and the eyesore atrocity they create out of them, that has me shaking my head. 
End rant, and onward with more TAS, please!

32

cgpexcoupe Look at the current front page...

33

The Zonda looks from the rear really nice!
Only the front looks wreid, because of the head lamps. If they get them overworked it will be nice.

34

Spaghetti Pretty much. Layers of paint, some pretty elaborate masking and then hand engraved. Tremendous amount of work involved. Was able to dig up this video - http://youtu.be/uccek6dXpdg
Here's a shot of their 86 from last time aroundhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/adithya_anand/12906325435/in/photostream/lightbox/

35

SRT FTW  And Liberty Walk hasn't obliterated your much loved R35 and Lamborghini's? Same same, and mostly done to simply turn heads too. Ugh.

36

This is quite possibly the most hideous post I have ever seen on Speedhunters. There's the argument that it would be boring if everyone did the same thing, etc etc, but conversely just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

37

omg soooo much tackiness. so many things pushed WAY too far. well, japanese culture hasn't really been one of subtleties

38
researchisyourfriend

this years TAS was AWFUL.. holy shit
I understand this isn't all of it, but from what I've seen (and that's a lot) it was bad.

39

Strange enough, I actually like the crazy wacky Boom Craft cars. Maybe it has something to do with the Maiham video with the lamborghinis. I'm starting to grow accepting of such crazy things. Boso style lambos.

40

Sooo good! This is what I love about the Japanese car scene. They just don't give a shit about the naysayers and build the cars they want to build. Thanks for sharing!

41

DonHoonigan haters gonn hate

42

Spaghetti SRT FTW Liberty Walk saw the Lamborghini as a canvas, just like the tuners above have, sans making them look like anime on wheels.  You and I both know Japanese tuners/tuning houses have a fascination with making 'out of this world' looking automobiles. 
I agree with your comment to "turn heads too", but at the same time, they've opened a new realm to tuning supercars... kind of like what Underground Racing did when they started adding twin-turbo setups to Lamborghinis.

43

Love that mini Benz, and are we gonna see any more of that Lada?

44

I'm loving the leopard print dish... definitely something different there! I also love the metallic vinyls, but it's application is difficult to master. The Zonda is quite cool, with the "oversized stock replacement" wing being very cool (think R33, CP9A wings that had aftermarket centres), and also the deleted "four pipe" exhaust that I never really loved.

45

SRT FTW True. But that anime is far more easily removed than a bolt on flare kit.

46

A little bit excentric

47

Good to see both of you there. Thanks for the stickers!

48

honey i shrunk the E30, Rolls and the E-Class!

49

MikeYee DonHoonigan

50

DonHoonigan MikeYee these guys put a quite a bit of effort into getting their cars together.  now you're just going to shit on them with some shitty old memes because their styling doesn't match yours?

51

Larry, if you like the mitjet cars you should come to australia and check out what we call the 'aussie racing cars'. similar concept with large fields and extremely tight racing right to the line

52

NathanPaine He's right Larry Chen, so much fun! Tiny silhouette racers! Can't wait for the season(s) to start again.

OFFICIAL SPEEDHUNTERS SUPPLIERS