If you gathered together some of the most iconic and recognisable supercar shapes, chances are there’d be things like Ferrari’s Testarossa and 355, and a Lamborghini Diablo.
For most of us, just being surrounded by these cars on a daily basis would be a dream. But what about if you grew up obsessed with stance, and also had the opportunity to own that sort of car? That’d be crazy, right? Well, in the countryside of Japan this is a reality. Some of these images may look like renders, but this is the life of Kazuki Ohashi.
Before we begin digging around into the type of environment that spawns such beautiful creations, let me start with some background on the man himself. For anyone over on Instagram, chances are you’ll have seen Kazuki‘s latest Diablo project absolutely popping off. But if this is your first contact with the madman, let me fill you in.
Kazuki has carved out a style unlike any other, now synonymous with bagged ’90s and early ’00s exotics. But what looks so simple in execution has been percolating on the design board (and in Kazuki’s brain) for much longer. None of these cars are a hit-and-hope one off; each is carefully considered and produced with the minute attention of a sculpture artist. As with most things in Japan, this is a unique story built on passion and vision. It’s one we had to go and check out for ourselves.
We were already in Japan for Tokyo Auto Salon but Kazuki’s location is a long way from Tokyo. This would have meant a separate trip in itself. Luckily we were able to catch an in-and-out flight making the day trip to Kazuki’s shop possible. Fresh off the plane, a young friendly face greets us in a minivan. Dressed in a thick hoodie and cotton-drill trousers, Kazuki could be any type of car enthusiast, Honda, BMW or otherwise. He doesn’t strike me as the average supercar guy. He’s not taking selfies or screaming at the front-facing camera on his phone for a start. I’m not sure what I was expecting as I’m certainly not one to judge anyone on appearance, but we were in the middle of the Japanese countryside, and I’d barely seen a car of note let alone a supercar.
Is this some elaborate ruse? Maybe he’s just really good with CGI? It just didn’t seem like the place you’d find any exotics, especially not those with such a specific disposition. Kazuki is truly the Bruce Wayne of tuning, and we were about to enter his top secret bat cave.
Stepping inside, one thing is instantly clear – this guy has style. It’s no accident that the cars Kazuki produces are executed with such finesse. This sort of thing isn’t potluck, it’s born out of a lifestyle; you have to really live it. Forgive me for talking like a bit of a fanboy for a second, flick through some of the workshop photos and imagine being in there. It’s a total treasure trove of cool car stuff.
Every wall is covered with inspiration, from pop-culture memorabilia to artwork and aftermarket parts. You can’t help but want to build cars while being in here.
That might be the secret to Kazuki’s prolific output from Madlane HQ, or maybe it’s the way he’s surrounded himself with likeminded nutters, all eager to out-do one another in their club, Crossglow. By the way, Crossglow and Madlane might just be two of the coolest names for a club and company, or perhaps I’m fanboying again…
The cars in the shop are a mixture of Crossglow members’ cars, plus Kazuki’s own projects. Despite being from diverse marques they all share a clean style and a signature wheel fitment. You can almost tell straight away where each car originates from.
Kazuki explained that this ethos originated in the custom car and hot rod world. As a kid, he’d admire the swooping lines and shapes created by builders in that scene; they had a way of making things appear very simple on the surface but requiring considerable effort to achieve. It also goes some way to explain the Americana present in the shop.
Nestled behind the 964 is a big clue to Kazuki’s roots. I know exactly what it’s like to have a lumbering unfinished project waiting in the wings, but it looks like it’s been there for some time. If you know what car this is, let me know in the comments.
What I do know is this has received a hell of a lot of work before becoming a shop ornament. There’s another clue in that image though, an EG Civic front bumper and a white Buddy Club P1 wheel. Yes, Kazuki has also dipped his toe into the Honda world. The two spheres couldn’t be further apart, but I think this might be part of the reason why Kazuki’s builds hit the nail on the head so often. It’s a complex and well-rounded résumé.
Like so many people emerging on social media platforms it might look like instant success, as though Kazuki has obtained the ability to stance just about everything overnight. But that’s just not true; it’s taken a lifetime to get to this point.
Kazuki has put in the time and cut his teeth on dead-end projects that may never have seen the light of day, experimenting to learn. It’s part of the process. You really don’t just wake up and bag a Testarossa.
What we’re seeing here are the fruits of a lifetime of car modification, which is exciting, because Kazuki also possesses the irritating superpower of not looking a day over 21. If the last few years are anything to go by, there’s a lot more to come from Kazuki Ohashi.
Since leaving Kazuki’s shop, my mind has been whirring with low-slung, high-revving stance possibility. I’ve got my ideas, but given the chance, what would be your #1 must-build stanced supercar? Let’s see if we agree in the comments…
Photos by Mark Riccioni