The Nation Of Stance
Form & Function, The JDM Way

Tokyo’s Odaiba neighbourhood had no idea what hit it on Sunday morning when over 1000 cars turned up from all corners of the country. Elvis Skender from StanceNation was totally blown away by the sheer number of rides that signed up for this first-ever Tokyo event – so many in fact that he had to turn hundreds down as there just wasn’t enough space to accommodate them all. It’s a sign of times: this scene is enjoying huge popularity at the moment.

Before I go any further, I have to say that I really do hate generalising and just grouping all the cars that I came across in Odaiba on Sunday under one general group. because in Japan at least, the variety at these events is so vast that it almost spans across the entire automotive landscape. I know why this labelling is done and I’m not saying it’s wrong, but hopefully after you’ve gone through this post and the spotlights I have coming up later this week, you’ll have a better understand of what I’m trying to get at.

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Getting your car seen is important in any type of discipline, and it fills me with awesome positivity seeing just how hard the Japanese continue to push.

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That continuous feel of freshness; people trying to outdo what others have successfully created or achieved before is everywhere you look. You really get the impression that this scene is moving forward at great speed, and this can be anything from a simple drop and a choice of unique wheels all the way to full custom one-off creations.

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You come across everything at an event like this in Japan – even stuff you probably wouldn’t expect. A car-loving friend joined me for the day, and even though he’s someone 100 per cent inclined towards performance and has a more technical and functional approach to tuning and setting up a car, he found plenty of machines at StanceNation to drool over. That only further emphasised the notion that I continue to hold on to strongly – the Japanese do it better. Period.

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Despite the day starting out dark, wet and miserable, the cars kept coming. I arrived about an hour before the actual event kicked off, and by then the whole venue was practically full.

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The line to enter the carpark stretched halfway around the block, with delays in entering due to some of the lower cars being unable to tackle the slight incline at the gate. This sort of thing is pretty comical, but I guess it’s testament to the dedication that some of these owners take in always pushing the boundaries. I couldn’t help but think air suspension might have helped here though…

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The simplest approach always works the best for me. Take X car, choose Y wheel/tyre combo, add Z ride height and the results can at times be rather surprising. What’s that saying again? Ah, yeah – simple is best!

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Did you know that Mitsubishi makes its own version of the Nissan Fuga? Well now you do. It’s called the Proudia and it pretty much looks exactly the same as its Nissan counterpart, with the exception of the diamond-badged grille. When slammed to the ground on bags, it looks rather good too.

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I’ve been coming across more Z31s in my travels of late, and it was hard not to notice this particular example painted in what I’m pretty sure is the BNR34’s Midnight Purple III color.

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The GT-R influence didn’t stop there however – there was something rather interesting going on under the bonnet. See what I mean? Japan does form and function rather well, wouldn’t you say?

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That’s why it really annoys me when I hear people bash this ‘scene’, which in fact is nothing more than a collection of other scenes. How could you possible not understand that? I mean, you can find anything and everything, including some cool older custom cars like this Crown wagon which looked nothing short of sensational.

The Over-fender Craze Reloaded
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Miura-san at Rocket Bunny has launched the new Pandem brand which caters specifically to German cars, and to debut it in Japan he brought out this E36 sporting the first kit. If you thought the over-fender craze was big with all the cars that we saw recently at SEMA, all I can say is that you ain’t seen nothing yet! Miura-san, along with Kato-san from Liberty Walk, are planning to takeover the Essen Motor Show next year with an even wider range of widened cars.

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Remember Ikeda-san, the owner of the black FeatureThis AE86 I shot at Fuji Speedway a few months back? Well, this is his new project – a recently-completed ‘Hakotora’ sporting all the right touches.

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That includes a built A15 motor sitting in a shaved and tucked engine bay.

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I really want to visit 326Power in Hiroshima as I love its approach to tuning. This is a company that isn’t shy about going crazy, but still manages to build cars that are both unique and easily identifiable. It might not be for everyone, but it sure gets the looks.

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Disappearing against the gloomy sky, this metallic silver Mercedes-Benz C-Class wagon was almost the opposite. On closer inspection though, there was a ton of custom work put into it, from custom-blistered front and rear fenders to the naughty little side-exit pipes at the back.

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Black is by far the best colour for a car. I’ve learned this having spent the last few months with Project Drop Top, but on the flip-side it’s also the hardest colour to live with. If used daily, 99 per cent of the time a black exterior will be dirty or water-spotted to death, but if you put time and effort into it and buff it properly, there’s just no comparison. The proof is in this T-Demand Lexus RC.

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Once the skies cleared the show kicked into a higher gear as more and more people turned up to check out the interesting selection of cars.

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And in case you are wondering, the Evasive Honda S2000 pictured above definitely isn’t only about show.

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Mazda is one of only a few Japanese car manufacturers that have a concrete and well thought out product line-up. Not only does its cars boast some of the best designs we have seen from Japan over the last few years, but there is a recognisable family DNA spanning the entire range. To look the part, all the Atenza Wagon needs is a nice drop and a set of dope wheels.

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I was really appreciating the Speedhunters love at this event; our booth was constantly packed with people and I came across plenty of cars sporting our stickers and window banners. Arigatou minnasan!

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An old Toyota Estima with air jacks? Well, why the hell not?!

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Rocket Bunny here, Rocket Bunny there – we just can’t get away from Miura’s creations. Sure, there are a ton of them around, but can you honestly tell me they don’t look hot as hell? I’ve seen dozens of FDs wearing this kit over the last year, but the look just never seems to get old.

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And it doesn’t end there – check out this Z33. It’s all pretty simple if you ask me; if you are out to impress, you build your car for maximum reaction, and for that there is not much that can come close to a widened car modified in such a raw fashion.

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Even the harder to digest stuff? Absolutely!

Car Guys Unite
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Now that the older generations of the Lexus IS have become more affordable, these luxury sedans are appearing more heavily in the scene.

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But if you ask me, nothing will ever come close to a slammed Toyota Century. Regardless of the generation, this is the epitome of the whole VIP look, done the right way. With the wheels tucked into the fenders and the chassis most likely on air, there’s some forward-thinking going on here, but nothing can come close.

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And while I did expect to see a ton of ’80s, built-like-a-tank Toyotas like this GX81 Cresta on SSRs…

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I was surprised at the number of new-gen Crowns and Crown Majestas that people are doing full body conversions on. The amount of time and money owners and companies throw at these cars is constantly rising, as that need to outdo one another never fades.

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As an example, check this heavily customized Celsior.

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On top of the 1000-plus cars to look at, the StanceNation crew had a lot happening on stage, including rather scantily-dressed women dancing energetically. When this happened, it almost seemed as though the entire male population of Odaiba and its surrounding neighbourhoods turned up; fighting for a spot close enough to do some video recording on their phones. Some even came prepared.

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This gave me more opportunity to hunt out cool cars to share with you guys, like this AE86 Levin sporting a transparent bonnet.

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Think of this post as the entrée that gets you salivating for the spotlights I have selected; cars that are as varied as I could find, just to illustrate the overall feel of the Japanese ‘stance’ movement. Check back soon for more!

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino
dino@speedhunters.com

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70 comments

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2

Love the air jacks on the Estima. I had thought about doing that to a car less than a week ago.

3

anyone here remember euro-hoods? they were all plastic clear hoods that you could get in a bunch of different colors.

4

love that AE with the viewing screen in the bonnet. project time for my ke70's spare bonnet... Thanks Dino!

5

Yeah but.... you know you were there taking a quick video too before you shot more pics of the cars lol.

6

I can dig stance...to a degree. 
When your car looks like a squashed bug or takes ramps or careful driving to get into a lot...no thanks. 
And don't get me started on the stretched tires...

7
speedhunters_dino

Of course lol

8

Transparent hoods should be more popular.

9

Wow, shaved and tucked engine bay + clear hood, really looks good!
The quality of these cars though, very clean. I think because people in Japan can be so meticulous, the results speak for themselves.

10

Simple is best, OF COURSE YES!
Those old Mercs stood out proudly, and that Toyota Century... Gosh, that's the cherry!
(Wondering will there be a full feature on that one?)

Really envy you guys in Japan, having loads of awesomeness of your car culture.
(I'm from Taiwan, and speaking of car culture, it's just quite miserable back here...*sigh)

11

Air jacks best mod of the show.
I was hoping to see bonus images of the Z31.

12

I agree with you on a few points....simple is best and the Japanese do it better. Even in the rain they still do it better where most people with cars like these would be scared off, they come out in full swing.

However...."we just can’t get away from Miura’s creations. Sure, there are a ton of
them around, but can you honestly tell me they don’t look hot as hell?
I’ve seen dozens of FDs wearing this kit over the last year, but the
look just never seems to get old." I don't agree here, although I do agree that we can't get away from them, but this goes against your simple is best mantra. They don't look hot, they do get old an did many many months ago(they're all the same, it's so old it's not funny) and the Pandem stuff is just ugly and will potentially ruin the beautiful lines of so many Euro's, as has been seen on the E36 and E46 so far. 

Otherwise great coverage and some great pics, the opening RX7 is a beauty.

13

how do you find out when there are events like this in the tokyo area?

14

I'm conflicted about that W126; on one hand, it's wonderful to see it living on and actually being driven and shown but on the other hand I feel very sorry for it being cut up and 'stanced' like that.
As an aside, how did the owner/builder get that much camber out of the semi trailing arm rear suspension? whatever tricks they used may be useful to me and the other 126 builders out there

15

That poor Scirocco looks like something Beetlejuice would drive

16

Ahh that Hakotora is amazing!

17

Great shots and great story sir Dino! The images are detailed very well. I hope to meet you and Mr. Larry Chen someday. I am a huge fan! :D

18

@Kenny lol i just thought that if some giant hand just smooshed a golf, thats how it would look.

19

That E36 wears the Pandem kit far better than the other examples I've seen. It looks great. 

Also, serious want for a Hakotora lately.

20

Paddy McGrath it wore the Sarto Racing version before the Pandem kit too - not sure which look I like better to be honest! The pink cage was so cool! -http://www.speedhunters.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Kobe-Meet-10.jpg

21

That W126 is just the bee's knees. My late father owned a few, I came to know the sounds and feel of those cars so well. 

SO good to see one getting some stance love. 

Something that would have my dad turn in his grave!

Restecp.

22

Taryn Croucher Paddy McGrath In this case, I much prefer the overall look with the Pandem kit. I'm off to trawl the classifieds for cheap E36s...

23

More pics of that 190 Evo please!

24

Wide angle shots are dope. Good job.

25

Dino,
Please share a few pics with the w203 wagon or tell me where can i find more pics with it?
Kind regards

26

got me drooling, thanks dino!

27

speedhunters_dino  Do you have any more pictures of that Orange and silver skyline #210? That thing is simply amazing looking and im dying to see more.

28

Love the Estima and FC3S cover photo. Awesome stuff Dino!

29

@tom Hahaha. Holy crap I totally forgot about those! I remember seeing the ads in the tuner mags back in the day. I cant recall ever seeing one in person. Would actually be a cool find now a days

30

kphillips9936 I completely agree. Its neat to a point, but when the build loses all functionality as a mode of transportation, im over it. Might as well be a trailer queen at that point.

31

That GX81 Cresta... Always wanted an 80's, built-like-a-tank Toyota, on SSR wheels-- WITH AIR JACKS!

32

Of all those great cars, the one that caught my eye was the Copen in the background of the Crown wagon image...

33

Paddy McGrath Taryn Croucher Sarto kit IMO was a bit better and the car overall looked a bit cleaner in that guise, but still not a good look on an E36 regardless IMO. Those Pandem kits are just woeful.

34
Masahide kawauchi

This my z

35

VintageDrGonzo His Instagram name is souki_rpz

36
Gianluca FairladyZ

Paddy McGrath Taryn Croucher   +1 for the Pandem kit

37

Masahide kawauchi Awesome :)

38
Masahide kawauchi

Thank you

39

i23sonny Apparently, you have not visited the great country of SoCal.
Where a few hundred thousand hommies, esse's, bikers, hot rodders, and rice burners will contend with your opinion. And not so gently suggest that Japan is just learning the meaning of "meticulous" when referring to cars.

40

@SAINT i23sonny Agreed. I used to live in Japan, and although I absolutely LOVE their flavor of car culture, I can't recall seeing cars as meticulous or as detailed as what is run of the mill in a SoCal event or even a decent organized and sanctioned car show anywhere else in the States.

Even the cars in theses pics - although great - aren't "better" than anything I've seen here in little ole Tampa - execution wise.

I believe because Japan is so small a country the car culture there is just hyper-concentrated. Also, the Japanese have a unique knack for distilling anything down to it's essence and magnifying it and refining it to near perfection. This gives the impression that every Japanese custom or tuned car is awesome, when in reality it's just that everyone has been exposed to well done examples of a particular style or scene. And as such, tend to not stray far from what works.

41
speedhunters_dino

Masahide kawauchi Very cool!

42
speedhunters_dino

Option86 Gotta have the air jacks!

43
speedhunters_dino

MrTanuki Thank you Tanuki-san

44
speedhunters_dino

jdmRob That is always my intention as strange as that may sound lol

45
speedhunters_dino

OBEEWON Thanks!

46
speedhunters_dino

Paddy McGrath Yep it's far better than what I saw come out of SEMA

47
speedhunters_dino

LukeitsMarty Thanks man! Come out to Japan sometime!

48
speedhunters_dino

SoccerConner Facebook lol

49
speedhunters_dino

Spaghetti Scared of getting wet? It's only water...

50
speedhunters_dino

i23sonny It's taken a while though. The Japanese have always been into function more than form and that resulted in some fast cars, but with shoddy work and terrible presentation. They are learning from the West on that side of things. You'll see what I mean when I post the Evo 6 spotlight...

51
speedhunters_dino

johnbezt This it is. Different wheels now

52

i reckon speedhunters should do a "detailing 101" series of posts...would be interesting...!

53
speedhunters_dino

Nikhil_P I'd love to do something like that! Would take 3 days of shooting, as that's how long it takes me to properly details my cars....or at least it did back in the day when I has spare time lol

54

Masahide kawauchi  Very nice car.

55

Masahide kawauchi Wait, which Z? >.<

56

The FC and Z31 win.

57

The FC and Z31 win.

Just give me the FC now.

58

Hi, JDMLegends? Yes uh, I'd like to order one JZX81 Mark II, extra stance, add single turbo 1JZ,

59

speedhunters_dino Nikhil_P i would say 3 days well spent! i wouldn't mind coming to japan to give you a hand!! lol

60

If Miura-san or Kato-san want to widebody a 1 Series. I'll be happy to lend my vehicle as a test bed ;).

61

Masahide kawauchi i love the flair of the pink against the black body definatly(probably spelled wrong, apologies) a cool build!!! :)

62
Masahide kawauchi

Thank you

63
Masahide kawauchi

Truant you

64
jbfromsiliconvalley

I've always had a liking for old 190 Benzes...especially the evo1. Never thought I'd see a 190 here. Any word on the specs?

Call me unoriginal, but it begs for an LS swap. Dream one would be German chassis, Japanese electrics/accessories, v8 motor.

65

Can the Speedhunters website guys please add an option to 'like' pictures in articles? I would really appreciate that.

Great photos Dino. I always enjoy reading your articles.

66
Masahide kawauchi
67

Wow !!! it is amazing, all cars are very prettier

68
Masahide kawauchi

Thank you

69

rx7 fc and e36 got me here :D

70

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