8.5 Standouts At Tokyo Auto Salon

Much like one would walk around the Tokyo Auto Salon – i.e. in no particular order – I want to show you an initial selection of vehicles (and other items) that stood out to me over the course of last weekend.

Like most years, TAS 2022 was a mix of the expected sprinkled with just as much surprise. And that’s not even taking into account the giant Makuhari Messe car parks, which are pretty much events in themselves. Toby will be taking us on a tour of the outdoor parking lots in the coming days, but for now, let’s take a look at some of the interesting things I found inside the venue. For ease, I’ve split these into 8.5 mini-chapters.

1. GRMN Yaris

Let’s begin with the GRMN Yaris, one of the most talked about cars at this year’s show.


The GRMN (Gazoo Racing tuned by “Meister of Nürburgring”) version was shown in two of the three different guises – base, Circuit and Rally – it will be available for purchase, limited to 500 cars in total. Big props to the Toyota group for going down the old school road of factory-tuned cars to make this higher-spec GR Yaris a reality.


The flat gray version seen here, of which only 50 complete cars will be sold, defines the Circuit package version which adds the equivalent of around US$10,000 on top of the base GRMN Yaris price tag, which converts to approximately US$63,750. For the extra money you get a number of upgrades, including 18-inch BBS wheels shod in Yokohama Advan A050 semi-slicks, Bilstein coilovers, GR mechanical LSDs, a beefy clutch setup, and a shorter final drive and closer gear ratios.


Outside, there’s carbon fiber for the hood, roof and swan-neck wing. You’ll find Recaro seats inside, and all three GRMN versions come with a redesigned instrument cluster.


The Rally package trades the big wheels and GR brakes for gravel-spec alternatives, and also adds rally-ready dampers and stabilizers, rally flaps, underbody protection, and a half cage with side bars. To this package, you can also add individual parts from the Circuit package as dealer options.

2. Garage G-Force/Varis Time Attack GR Yaris

Sticking with the Yaris, Garage G-Force’s time attack car, as displayed on the Varis booth, deserves special mention.

Nobuteru Taniguchi worked closely with G-Force to develop the base car and push it to an impressive 58-second lap around Tsukuba Circuit last year.


What you see here is the second evolution of that car. Varis sculpted significantly wider fenders to help house a fatter wheel and tire combo, and along with that, carbon fiber front and rear diffusers to tie the whole package together.


Varis plans to sell this aero kit to the public, but only five full kits will feature the wider-gauge carbon fiber.


Now that the car’s outward appearance has been finalized, it’s up to Garage G-Force and Taniguchi to push the performance envelope even further. Will a 57-second Tsukuba lap be on the cards this year? I hope so!

3. GReddy A60 Toyota Celica Supra

As Toby will show you in one of his forthcoming stories, there was a rather large kyusha component to TAS this year. In fact, I think it was bigger than ever, and with that there were some really impressive builds. This A60 Celica Supra perhaps doesn’t fall squarely into the kyusha category; it’s somewhere in between the new and the old. Regardless, it looked so cool in its rebuilt state.


Trust built this Celica Supra for one of its customers, and looking under the hood reveals a refresh of the car’s original 2.0L 1G-FE engine.


It’s simple and well executed, and the restoration goes right down to the car’s period-correct Hiro V1-R wheels.

4. HKS RB26 Tuning

One booth over was HKS, who are taking their RB26 R&D very seriously.


It was really good to see that their ‘Advanced Heritage’ RB project that began last year is progressing along nicely.


Visually, the first thing that catches your eye are the ‘vertically-mounted’ turbos. Of course, they aren’t in an actual vertical layout, they’re just named as such to emphasize the fact that the exhaust manifold design has the GT-Pros sitting on a steeper inclination. This was done to create a more efficient flow of exhaust gasses from the hot side and then a pressurized intake charge flowing out towards the intercooler.


With this engine, HKS are throwing every technological advancement at the setup, so we have electronic control of the integrated wastegates and a pair of electric recirculating valves.


You will also notice each turbo has a compressor wheel speed sensor, and that the outlet pipes have an all-new design, again linked to the ‘vertical’ turbo layout. So aside from variable-vane turbos or electric turbo lag support, this is probably the most modern RB26 hot side around.


HKS are even working on a V-Cam for the exhaust in order to help achieve the goals they’ve set for this complete engine package.


That is, an RB28 capable of developing 600hp; massively strong and flat mid-range torque with instant throttle response; and – possibly the hardest ask – achieving 20km/L. The latter equates to about 47mpg, which is around two to three times better fuel consumption than most modified RBs get, and probably 10 times better than seriously-tuned setups.


A big part in achieving this will be the billet and carbon fiber twin-chamber intake manifold that optimizes charge distribution to each of the six cylinders. The mechanical 6-throttle intake that has always characterised RB26s is ditched in favor of a single electric Bosch throttle body.


The intake runners are all redesigned and machined out of billet, and feature twin 400cc/min injectors per cylinder. That is all then matched to a redesigned V-Cam system which, as we saw above, alters timing on the exhaust side now too, and everything will be managed by the brand new HKS F-Con V PRO engine management system.

It’s exciting stuff for sure, but there is still no official word from HKS on when all this might be ready for production.


It wasn’t the only RB26-oriented surprise from HKS. We might see this brand new piping kit hit the market within the year, and it’s so cool and innovative that they had to share it in its 3D-printed prototype state. Eventually, the piping, integrated AFMs and air box will all be made in HKS’s top-grade dry carbon.


Along with this intake side refresh there’s a new exhaust manifold design coming too, which will favor more efficient spool. I can’t even imagine how cool this will look in the engine bay.

5. Toyota GT3 Concept

Back to Toyota we go, simply because I couldn’t keep my eyes off their GT3 Concept.


There wasn’t much information about it, aside from the fact that it bears the GT3 label and is very much a race car.


This may well be a ready-to-race package that race teams and wealthy private individuals could buy and compete in GT3 events with, but I’m more interested to know if it could be the beginning of an all-new road-going Toyota supercar…

6. Nissan Fairlady Z Customized Proto

Due to Covid restrictions, the OEMs at Tokyo Auto Salon were asked to rope-off their displays and create one-way flows of traffic, complete with entry points where people could sanitise their hands and have their temperatures taken. Needless to say, with three new Zs on display, Nissan had one of the busiest booths. The half-hour wait to get in was definitely worth it too.


I guess the Z ‘Customized Proto’ is a concept car of a concept car, seeing that after 18 months of teasing it’s still not yet available to purchase.


But don’t worry, that time is coming soon – the first cars will be on sale in Japan this summer. Perhaps this 432-themed orange show car is hinting at what a Nismo version will end up looking like…

The front bumper redesign does a lot for the car, and I really like it. Strangely though, it reminds me of what Star Road does with the front bumper on their S30Z complete cars.

The rest is just black-on-orange highlights, topped off with fender flares and half-moon split tail pipes.


This was also the first time that three new Zs in three different colors have been positioned together. The yellow car is the ‘Proto Spec’ (referring to the color of the original prototype) production model that you will be able to buy in Japan this June for the equivalent of US$60,700.

Let me know in the comments what you think of it all, as well as the pricing, which of course will be lower for the other versions and different to what Nissan USA will MSRP the car for Stateside.

7. Veilside A90 Toyota Supra

After a few years of silence, with a lot of people probably thinking that Veilside was no more, Yokomaku-san started showing pictures of his new A90-based project on social media late in 2021.


I was actually ready to shoot the car prior to the show, but Veilside only ended up finishing the paint the day before it was due at TAS.


I’m still planning to have a chat with the man behind some of the wildest designs to ever come out of Japan, and hopefully we can discuss his thinking behind this crazy A90 conversion, which measures a whopping 2.2m wide at the back. That number should give you some idea of just how much the guards have been pumped.

Let me know below what you’d like to ask Yokomaku…

8. Anniversary Racing Factory 6-Rotor JC Mazda Cosmo

I walked past the Anniversary Racing Factory JC Mazda Cosmo a few times, wrongly assuming that it was simply an engine-less work in progress. That was simply due to the fact that its hood was closed and it rocked an off-road-like stance – especially at the front.


But later on in the day, I noticed a crowd around it.


And rightly so. The 6-rotor beast that sits in the vast engine bay has been completed but is not yet running. Anniversary Racing Factory are hoping to have it all done by May to coincide with a rotary event, so we’ll definitely need to catch up with them for a full feature around that time.

8.5. Automotive University Yaris Jr.

Finally, we get to the ‘0.5’ portion of this post, the pint-sized Yaris Jr. Which actually isn’t a GR Yaris at all. This Toyota iQ (Japan’s answer to the Smart Fortwo) that has been converted to look like the 3-cylinder turbo hot hatch that everyone loves.


But it actually possesses one extra cylinder (and does away with forced induction), while rethinking weight distribution. Sitting in the back is a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R 1.4L 4-cylinder engine pumping out close to 200hp and able to rev to 11,000rpm. And check out the exhaust layout with the silencers poking straight through the sides of the car!


This crazy little car was built by students at the Saitama Institute of Automotive Technology, which goes some way to explain its quirky nature. Inside you’ll find the Kawasaki bike dash and custom shifter linkage that actuates the sequential transmission (1st up, then pull back for N, 2nd, 3rd etc.). The clutch lever meanwhile is now actuated by the third pedal.

That’s it for this post, but stay tuned for more TAS 2022 awesomeness.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: dino_dalle_carbonare



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Has HKS just saved the ICE? 600HP and 47mpg, just add Fuel made from carbon pulled from the atmosphere. If you added instant on off on a 3 cylinder making say 300hp and weighing 200lb or less. Hmm what can be shaved from all rolling resistance without giving up too much grip. Lots of fun stuff Thanks


Holy shit that’s better figures than a Prius lmaooo
Tesla can’t even come close to this

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Well I don't know if they've saved anything but they have certainly had a go at evolving the RB26 in a way nobody else has. All we need now in Japan is E85 and we'd be sweet to run these engines for many years to come.


Studies are showing that E85 is actually worse for the environment than normal gasoline. Ethanol is not the way forward for internal combustion.


Loving all the goodness coming out of Toyota. Am I the only one that sees a lot of Mercedes-AMG GTR influence in the Toyota GT3? The front looks slightly stretched, but very similar proportions and almost identical roof line, but with much more aggressive/racer and Z influenced styling cues.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

You aren't the only one, lots of AMG GT vibes but different enough to be its own thing. With Toyota's move to engineer street cars from race cars (rather than the other way round) this has a pretty good chance of being turned into a cool street car


I think I see more than a little hint of Mazda's RX-Vision GT3 as well...


That was my first thought as well.
Other websites have pointed out that it's another version of Mazda's RX-Vision concept, the door line is about identical, possibly pointing to a Mazda-Toyota collaboration.


I have seen those reports all over the web as well, but Akio Toyota revealed on one of their press conferences during TAS 2022 (available on youtube), that the GR GT3 Condept is not based on any existing or future production platform. Toyoda made it very clear that is a ground up brand new vehicle and it´s not shared with any other car companies. The president of toyota gazoo racing, Koji Sato, revealed on the same press conference that they plan on racing it and then come up with a commercialized verson of it down the road, like they did with the GR Yaris


Great work Dino as always. I just feel that we should see a bit more of Subaru in this page, especially with the STI E-RA concept they brang which looks crazy damn good!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Thanks man! And yeah keep an eye on the EV STI spotlight Toby will have coming


Stay tuned ;)


Questions for Yokomaku: Veilside is known for transforming the looks of cars, but they're lineup doesn't follow and rinse and repeat styling method or similar base platforms like many body kit companies. How do you decide what vehicles to work on and what direction you're going to take them?


I expect a dramatic body style from VeilSide, but still, it's overkill. For me, the car is lost in all that bodykit.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

The instant I saw it I though he has to come up with a toned down version of it to be more realistic about it all


Is that a wrench shifter in the Yaris Jr? Hahaha!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yep! Pretty cool right?


Please ask him to consider a 2007 Volvo S80 VIP body kit for my car. I love his work at Veilside I have just about every model kit version I could get my hands on.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

That's very specific lol


I’m wishing pretty big, it was worth a try. Lol


I am surprised you didn't show the AE86 from Daddy Motor Works with the Yaris engine in it. I remember you had an article about it before it was finished!
Great coverage otherwise, I want to buy everything HKS makes even if I don't own half the cars they make parts for ha!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I did in my very first preview post. I actually plan to go see Oto-san shake down the car at a track so I think that is a better way of diving deeper into it


Thanks for this, for us whom cannot go.

GT3 is basically a batmobile that will gauge interest on an ICE LFA renewal but with their current LC tooling and development. With the chevy C8 now gone the next level (and the C7R's were def competitive even so), the FR envelopes are at maxxed ceiling unless the new Astron Omega 1 is viable or Koenigsegg's digital valvetrain becomes available. Why would Toyota throw so much of their capital at a foregone conclusion, just to embarrass themselves in a circuit that they haven't even shown up at since betamax tapes were still used?
It wont even matter if they make it completely out of carbon... The GT3 must either be Toyota losing it ala Peugeot with nice concepts that have nothing to do with their actual cars (doubt this), or there shouldn't be a shadow of a doubt a new LFA is coming to fight c8's, 911's, and such tax bracket droppers.

The iQ made yaris is 100% grade A genius, along with custom street fashion, anime, and v-max race clubs, that put Japanese antics on the map. Can't wait for a car chase scene with nothing but all the bike transplant heroes (abarth, smart, mini, mg, datsun, autozam/cappuchos, and lotus) buzzing through dead malls/Paris crypts/mines/WW2 bases! You saw this here first.

G wagen-ized Jimny's will never die, and that's good news. Same with freshened oldies.

HKS is a pretty thing, but change the game it won't, and not transform GTR's much either. Bet it will cost lots - for rich fans only, then.

The rest is okay. Little meh, little nice, mostly expected... But this coverage is always a highlight of late January. Every time!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Thanks, glad you enjoyed the coverage.


The more I see Toyota do with the GR Yaris, the more I see the lack of effort with the A90. Hate to put it that way, but that is how I am feeling. The New Z looks amazing, but $60K for it?! That is too expensive. I love the technology HKS in introducing to the RB. That Cosmo looks like it anyone could easily beat it in a race. That is, until you hear those rotors sing and then realize you're royally screwed. Great work Dino!!!! Looking forward to seeing more from TAS. Once again human malware kept me from going again this year.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

So spot on about the GR Yaris vs A90 comment. They showed how they could do it soooo well in house with the Yaris but then you do wonder, wait, why did they approach the whole new Supra thing with BMW?


I think like BMW did with the M1 & E30 M3: they cut 2 cylinders and made one of the best 4 cylinders engines. Same with Toyota: 1.5L turbo is 1/2 3.0 twin turbo. Reverse engineering at its best.


Thanks for the pictures Dino!

Would a closer look at the Toyota iQ/Yaris mashup be possible? Really interested to see how they would have modified the panels to fit a much smaller car.
Also want to hear that screamer in the back.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yeah that's the plan! The student that built it told me it will take some more time to get it all set up and running properly though

Marcello Spineda

i guess the Veilside A90 is ready for F&F 10 :D

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yeah they needed to widen it to fit Toretto's ever expanding head in there lol


Motorbikes engine swaps are always win for me. And those exhaust pipes.....Daaaaam.
Please plan for a full feature.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

On the list!


Been waiting for this one and man this is top tier as usual!
An awesome show as always! So many great builds but my personal favorites has to be the Yaris GRMN, GReddy Celica Supra, GT3 Concept, Fairlady Z Custom Proto, 6-Rotor Cosmo, and of course the Kawasaki swapped Yaris that thing is MAD!
Looking forward to seeing more of this content

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Thanks man!


Love the Toyota GT3 concept - it's like a futuristic Japanese take on a Mercedes-AMG GT Coupe.

I've seen photos of the GR-iQ elsewhere but good to see the back story, I find it very impressive that a team of university students can get something looking so impressive as well as the engineering aspects of it. It must have been some feat to scale down the styling to the iQ size.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

The GR rear end swap is what impressed me the most, going from FF to RR configuration with chain drive.


I had no idea a GR Yaris Rally would be my next car until I read this article. I must have one Dino!!!!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I need the silver one next to it!


Race cars without liveries > everything else