Tokyo Auto Salon 2016: The Preview

My mind has been blown, and the 2016 Tokyo Auto Salon hasn’t even officially kicked off yet!

You see, I spent the better part of Thursday walking through the halls of the Makuhari Messe, dodging the piles of miscellaneous garbage that each booth generates while setting up their displays. It’s something I’ve been doing for years now; calmly checking out what tuners and parts makers have been up to a day before the masses of JDM-crazy enthusiasts and media pack out the exhibition center’s aisles. It gives me time to reflect on all the years that I’ve been coming to this show, and observe how it’s all changed, evolved and this year – grown!

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As you’ll be seeing through the coverage I have coming up in the next week or so, TAS never really ceases to amaze. But before we get down to details and check out the coolest cars close up, you know you can always expect a little preview of things to come from me. And that’s what Thursday was partly about; a chance to snap away at the cars that stood out the most and put together this small taster before the proper posts come.

To kick it all off, I want to show you a creation that hasn’t been given a wide-body conversion. Crazy, I know! This Huracán is from the guys at The Check Shop, and I like it for the way it emphasises what a set of cool wheels and a proper stance can do to any car – even one as already beautiful as the new-gen baby Lamborghini.

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And the same goes for the Aventador built in collaboration with S & Company, parked next to it.

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If you have a good memory, you might recall this Kinukuni-built and SR20-powered Suzuki Jimny we took a look at last year. Well, the car is back in 2016 and looking very close to completion with tubular fenders, bumpers and side skirts for a minimalistic take on things. It’s impressively unique, so hopefully we’ll get to see it skidding around in the very near future.

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I was expecting to see a lot of Honda S660s at the show this year, and I haven’t been disappointed. There are so many flavours on offer that it makes it really difficult to choose a favourite.

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Sticking with Kei cars for a moment, it’s impossible not to like the race Hakosuka conversion that Hello Special has given this Suzuki Alto! These guys do all sort of crazy stuff with Kei trucks and it’s cool to see them play around with a new-generation model like this.

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Tiny little eco-boxes might be the right way to go if you want to minimise your motoring costs, but if you listen to Toyota it’s hybrids that we should all be driving. So with the release of the new Prius, it was inevitable that there would be a host of upgrade parts on show at TAS this year. While most companies have stopped at simple aero pieces and dress-up goods for the exterior and interior, 326 Power has said screw it, and slammed the awkwardly-styled Prius on its colourful wheels and dialed in as much negative camber as possible. Onikyan Prius? It certainly looks that way!

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From the masters of style at Aimgain, another new JDM machine has been given the full treatment. And I have to say, it’s just so hard not to like over-fendered cars built to this level of quality. I’m not sure what this sort of ride height would do for the handling though, but show car fans will surely love the overall vision.

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When I dropped by the Top Secret display, everyone on hand was busy adding the finishing touches.

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Vans, vans and then some more vans! Japan loves them, and when that happens you know tuning and customisation will follow. New-gen Toyota Alphards and Vellfires are everywhere throughout the four main halls, and presented in many different flavours. I’ll definitely have to touch more on these during my main TAS coverage.

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This year Fuji Speedway has a display to commemorate its long history, and there are some pretty epic race cars from yesteryear to drool over.

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Check this out – a lead sled at TAS! Now, this is something I want to see more of – the type of car, not this actual Mercury, which we of course have already featured in detail.

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TWS always has a high-end selection of cars to showcase its forged wheels, but a Pagani Zonda? I wonder if Horacio would approve? I’m sure this thing will get its fair share of attention from passers-by over the weekend.

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The new Civic Type R has barely been released and Honda offshoots Mugen and Modulo have already come up with their own versions. Don’t expect more power though – visual upgrades are all that’s on offer with these two cars.

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Kazama Auto’s love for one of Toyota’s most revered rear-wheel drive sedan chassis continues, and to celebrate it’s come up with an all-new wide-body aero kit for the JXZ100. You can expect to see the same kit on Andrew Gray’s FD car this year!

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STI – just what are you cooking up for us here?! This hot BRZ wasn’t the only cool concept I spotted on the Subaru Tecnica International display, there was also an STI version of the Levorg, perhaps to celebrate the car’s entry into the BTCC?

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Miura’s Pandem kits for BMW E36s and E46s are just too cool. Damn this over fender fad – you can’t help but love it, no matter what platform it’s applied to.

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Tomei Powered back at TAS – this was a bit of a surprise!  It’s been many years since the engine parts specialist has had a booth at the show, and on its return it’s gone all-out with a cool selection of stroker and turbo kits, as well as Kenji Yamanaka’s FD JZX100.

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Mazda has been doing a lot right lately, and this LM55 Vision Concept is the cherry on the cake.

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I mean, just look at it!

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Then of course there’s this – the RX-Vision. I can’t wait to see how Mazda makes its rotary return with this thing; the proportions are pure sex and I’m not exaggerating in the slightest.

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There was a lot of buzz (pun intended) over at the RE Amemiya booth with this Mazda Chantez.

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A tiny little city car back in the ’70s, Ama-san has spent the last few months working flat-out to transform this example into a wide-body beast powered by a naturally aspirated 13B rotary engine. There’s a full feature coming on this of course!

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I’m now heading off to the Makuhari Messe for the first official day of the show, so consider this a little taster of the 2016 Tokyo Auto Salon. Stay tuned for more!

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino
dino@speedhunters.com

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Comments

61 comments
IRONWOLF RD
IRONWOLF RD

Really excited to see what you have in store for us, Dino!


Definitely salivating at more RX-Vision coverage, it is seriously something divine.

_PEITRUS_
_PEITRUS_

What if factory cars already came with over fender wide body kits with/without rivets?  Will the aftermarket companies put over fenders over the over fenders? I mean based on observation alone, as played out as they may seem, they look pretty darn cool and change the whole dynamic of the vehicle. So why not just have it available straight from from the factory?

Eh
Eh

Money. Too much. Doesn't have broad market appeal. And crappy as it sounds automakers are in the business of selling cars to a broad customer base. Not just the enthusiasts, which make up a small minority.

John Key NZ
John Key NZ

I'm not seeing anything that "wows" me in this years show

SOneThreeCoupe
SOneThreeCoupe

That E36 Pandem kit is hideous.


The E36, while much less angular than the E30 preceding, still requires a kit with sharp edges and defined corners.  The way the wheel arches terminate with the rockers is too rounded.  The fenders themselves are bloated and look like a cartoon version of the ACS CLS kit, which is itself too soft for the car and lends it visual weight rather than brawn.  From the rear, the car looks aggressive, but the moment you transition into the rear 3/4, it becomes disjointed.  From the front, the poor resolution of the turn signals (those hideous angles to bring it in makes it feel more like an afterthought than a completed kit) and the scallop in the front bumper really destroy the flow.


I love E36s, and I love the way a lot of people modify them, even if it's not my style.  The Pandem kit, however, is a strike out overall.


Great pictures and I'm looking forward to the rest of the coverage!

Spaghetti
Spaghetti

@SOneThreeCoupe Agreed. I was also not a fan of the E46 Pandem kit, but after seeing it in plain white, it's actually not too bad. Good on RB for doing a slightly different kit style to their usual cookie cutter kit they stick on everything, but as per that kit, it actually needs to work with the car you're putting it on, and in the E36's case, it doesn't.

D1RGE EXE
D1RGE EXE

@SOneThreeCoupe I disagree. I'm extremely tired of the bellbottom flare everywhere and think the Pandem kit is quite refreshing, and looks more like E30 factory box flares. I.E., a more classic look which nobody else is doing.

SOneThreeCoupe
SOneThreeCoupe

@D1RGE EXE @SOneThreeCoupe


Look at the factory box flares, and the way they're integrated.  They have something the Pandem kit majorly lacks- cohesion.


I also like the classic look, but it has to be integrated well.  The problem with the E36 is that one cannot flare the fenders and integrate them well with the lower body or the door.  The car ends up with long, gentle curves (ACS CLS) or quick, bulbous curves (Pandem).  I've doodled on countless napkins and messed with pictures- one cannot resolve the issue when using box flares; it always looks either obese or "prizefighter with a paunch."

Spaghetti
Spaghetti

Ew, Pandem E36.


Please not too much wide body/over fender coverage....it's so 2014/15. Just my 2c.


Show us some stuff that is truly Japanese and weird like the Hako Alto and Chantez rotary type of stuff, not Lambo's/wide body etc. Looking foward to it!

JustCurious
JustCurious

So Dino, would you trade your GT-R for the new RX?

STJ88
STJ88

Hey Dino any BCNR33's? Don't seem to be getting too much love! :(

Maverick2393
Maverick2393

Man I really hope Subaru drops the brz sti for the public this year! Crossing my fingers 

Anthony959rs
Anthony959rs

As expected, lots of amazing examples coming up! I'm so excited!

That little Mazda Chantez reminds me of the mind-blowing LaSupra Lancia!

Oh, and I never know a new Prius can look THAT BADASS.

The Japanese always, amazes us car culture lovers from all around the world with the TAS.

Thanks to Speedhunters, keep on bringing lots and lots of "WOW" content!

Looking forward to tons of awesome full features from TAS 2016!

Mook Genius
Mook Genius

The fender hack job on the MX-5 is horrid. Took a car with great lines and destroyed it. Fail.

JayHundred
JayHundred

Thanks Dino! I always look forward to your coverage of TAS!

May I please request pics of the Aimgain Aventador, Varis GTR & Z34, Garage G-Force Evo & SVR F12? Thanks!

Tinj
Tinj

I'm proud of you Mazda. Honda, go sit in the corner and think about what you've done.

D1RGE
D1RGE

@Tinj Until Mazda releases any details on that pipe dream, you can keep letting your fantasies go wild. Mazda is still boring hte hell out of me with the exception of the Miata. Honda is at least trying. Mazda? "Here's a design we'll never make, see? We remember making a good engine once! Now buy more of our diesels and CVTs." 


Honda actually produces things still. Mazda is faking it.

speedhunters_dino
speedhunters_dino moderator

@Tinj S660, Civic Type-R, NSX, Acura Precision Concept from Detroit, rumours of an S1000 & S2000 coming? I'd say they are doing more than any other Japanese manufacturer....

Tinj
Tinj

Point taken, maybe I got a little caught up in the idea of a modern rotary powered supercar brapping down the highway...

D1RGE EXE
D1RGE EXE

@Tinj They're spending their money on marketing instead of R & D. Smoke and mirrors, folks. Mazda is in a world of hurt unless they pull their heads out and deliver something.

super jesus
super jesus

feature all the cars! 

do 70's era cars have some influence here? i would to see what they do with lil' datsun toyotas and mazdas. 
the  240z is always popular but what about the cheaper steel?

antonyingram
antonyingram

Some amazing stuff here but I can't get enough of that Jimny. Something hugely satisfying about the way that looks.


On an unrelated note, has anyone else noticed that a lot of old SH features are having trouble loading anything but the lead image? Noticed it on several now, and on a few different computers, but it came to mind when I was looking for previous pics of the Jimny and the 'Turbo Suzuki Pickup' feature came up.

Fernandito kit kat
Fernandito kit kat

@Speedhunters, what about the Toyota sfr? I'm really looking forward to that car

azmedaj
azmedaj

Dayum! Kuhl at it again with that 3D paint; looks awesome!

ernie2492
ernie2492

Waiting for some Super GT contenders..

Dhikaz
Dhikaz

@ernie2492 here's for you new Prius GT300 :D
well I waiting Studie M6 GT3 and GSR AMG GT3 but GSR always unveiled the livery at Wonfes

ar
ar

@Speedhunters little off topic, since a couple of weeks I can't see most of the pictures on your site. In other stories I've seen in the comments that I'm not the only one. Any idea how to fix it? 


Suzuccini
Suzuccini

@ar if youre on a phone try loading the desktop version of the site. Thats what i have to do lately

speedhunters_dino
speedhunters_dino moderator

@FernandoM76 @Speedhunters Yes we are there, how else would we/I be getting you coverage? ;) As for the girls, you can never see them as there is usually a crowd of sweaty, drooling old men with cameras around each and every one of them lol 

JackScharr
JackScharr

Don't let top gear mag near those Mazdas. bits of the Furai are still floating around in the ozone layer. looks like Japan continues to impress as usual. I might just have to get a 3 series BMW

earmenau
earmenau

Mazda is just killing it!… Awesome photography as always. The vision concept looks like it could be another legend in the making.

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