Car Builder>> A Top Secret Visit

The day after Tokyo Auto Salon ended, John Leigh and I headed to Top Secret. Smoky Nagata told us to come as late as we can, as the shop would be disarray because of their return from the week at Tokyo Auto Salon.

We showed up in the late afternoon. John had a meeting with Smoky to discuss a few things and I had a shop to rummage around with my camera.

This is the sight that welcomes you as you enter the Top Secret complex. If this was what I saw everyday going into work, there would be very little complaint coming from me….

A few of you asked for more pictures of the white R34 that was in the background of my spotlight on the Top Secret tuned Daihatsu Copen, so here it is.

The Top Secret gold R35 and the White CR-Z just came back from its few days at the Tokyo Auto Salon.

Have you ever wondered why some Top Secret cars are gold and others are white? During my stay in Japan, I found out the reason. Top Secret cars start off as white cars when they first start to be built and developed. As the car starts getting more Top Secret parts installed and as it actually achieve notable things (like top speed runs at the Nardo Ring), it gains “tuning points.” When the car has enough tuning points, it can then be painted gold. A gold painted car is the highest level of honor a Top Secret car can have.

This system is similar to the Dinan point system for BMWs. Gather enough points and then your car can be exclusively cool.

When you first enter the Top Secret compound, to your left is the new and shiny Top Secret cars, to the right are customer cars; Toyota Prius, Toyota Supra, Nissan Stagea, Nissan Skyline R32 and a Fairlady Z. Quite a collection of cars no?

Just outside the shop door is a pretty sweet looking Nissan Stagea.

As I headed further back in the Top Secret complex, I kept finding even more cool cars.

You wouldn’t think Top Secret would tune to Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart, but if they tune Daihatsu Copens, this wouldn’t be that far of a cry for them.

Further back behind the shop there was this Mitsubishi Galant GTO that looked like its seen many winters.

And just behind the Mitsubishi was this Nissan Skyline 2000GT. A little rust here and there, but import that thing into the States and I’m sure it’ll be eaten up very quickly.

When you head even further to the back of the compound, you will find the Top Secret parts store and a set of stairs that leads down. What lies downstairs is a treasure trove of old and new cars. Take for example the grey Nissan Bluebird…

…or this very clean looking Subaru 360…

…or this R30 Skyline on Watanabes…

…or Lexus LS460 on a set of Volk Racing GT30 and the Suzuki Wagon RR next to it.

After investigating the deepest recesses around the complex, I headed into the shop.

This is the top secret section at Top Secret. Who can guess what goodies lay under the covers?

There’s a whole lot of R35 GTRs here….

This is the Top Secret’s street tuned version of the R35 GTR.

The car just got back from being on the TAS show floor and already its being taken appart. Here one of the shop hands is taking off the wing.

While another shop hand was working on the white R34 pictured earlier. It was getting brand new coil overs.

The shop hand carefully measured the ride height of the old coil over (the black and silver) and adjusted the new one (silver and red) accordingly.

Adjacent to the R34 was a white JZX100 Toyota Chaser.

This car looks like its ready to burn some tires or kill some lap times.

A view from the back. Looks good.

And just next to the Y33, in the very far and dark corner of the shop was this clean looking Honda Z600 coupe.

Here’s the view of its interior. Loving the Racing Mate sticker on the glove compartment.

A big garage can become a cold place to work so this is how the Top Secret keeps warm during the chilly winter months.

One of the Top Secret GTR test mules.

Next to the GTR test mule is the infamous V12 Supra. The same car which he did high speed runs in New Zealand, the UK, and Germany.

This car will soon be making its journey to the United States in March, Texas to be exact. More info on that later!

If you want a closer look at this tuned car of cars, check out Dino’s feature on it.

Sitting right next to the V12 Supra is the same Nissan V35 GT-R that Dino also featured not too long ago but without the livery and chrome version of the Volk Racing GT-Cs. I must say, it looks rather nice without the livery….

One thing that Dino did not touch upon in his feature was the amazing leather wrap around the roll cage. The top of the roll cage is tan to match the tan roof…

…and the bottom half is black. The roll bar wrap gives the interior of the car an extremely clean and complete look.

And the V35 GT-R’s neighbor is Top Secret’s D1GP Z33. Quite the lineup of famous cars in the back of the garage, no?

In the far corner of the main work area of the garage is the fabrication workshop. This is where all the amazing Top Secret parts are built…

…like this full titanium exhaust.

Here’s one of the many workbenches. Can just imagine which parts were conceived, designed, and built there?

Of course, if there’s a workshop, there’s a workshop sink. This one looks like its seen many long years of tuning….

A conference of the Top Secret powers at hand, Kazuhiko “Smoky” Nagata, and Top Secret’s managing director, Hyobu Shibuki.

By the time I finished digging around inside the shop, I headed outside and the sun was rapidly going down. After three days inside the convention center at Makuhari Messe, this was the first sunset in Japan that I had the chance to experience.

And as the sun set, I couldn’t help but look at these three cars and think about how they were going to spend the evening outside. It was going to be a chilly evening, be it a beautiful one.

With no more than 20 minutes of light remaining, I quickly investigated the parts of the complex I haven’t had the chance to check out yet. Behind the Top Secret R35 GTR and CR-Z was this graveyard of engines…

…and final resting place for this Toyota Supra race prepped chassis.

I can only imagine what this once was or if it was actually ever finished.

From the looks of it, all the chassis prep work looks completed.

And with the sun pretty much gone, I retreated into the parts store where so many droolable titanium parts can be found…

… as well as this built RB26 on display.

This is Top Secret’s fully titanium exhaust for the R35 GTRs. What craftsmenship….

This is a butterfly valve that can be controlled by a remote control to quiet down the exhaust, or to open it up completely. It’s the same system that Ferrari employs in their super cars.

In the back of the store is a wall filled with various nick-nacks.

It seems like Top Secret are fans of Need for Speed….

And we close this visit to Top Secret with a shot of the most secret of all things at the shop: the Top Secret bathroom. Sadly, no titanium piping can be found within….

With the sun saying its goodbyes for the evening, I couldn’t help but think about the shop itself. It’s a magical place filled with so much history and wonder.

I can’t wait to see what Smoky does next.




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You wouldn't think Top Secret would tune to Mitsubishi Evos, but if they tune Daihatsu Copens, this wouldn't be that far of a cry for them."

that isnt an evo btw, just a ralliart lancer..


If I had to do my business in that bathroom, I'd want it to remain top secret


z33 rather


nice set up



who would have thought that there was a love motel behind Top Secret HQ! I wonder how much of a discount they give you if THAT! if you know what I mean... hint... hint... wink... wink.


The bathroom shot went a bit under the skirt for my taste. Other than that awesome!


great job once again!

The toilet pic made me laugh, even the most polite well mannered Japanese man still loves a half naked girl in the can!. really capped off a great set of pics


DR30 and Galant GTO That's just sweet


Full of GTRs. =D


That place is HEAVEN !!


You have put y33 nissan cima for a jzx100 toyota chaser!!!!!!


I was lucky enough to visit Top Secret a few years ago when I was in Japan. Quite a few different cars from when I was there but i do remember a Porsche and Supra and an all white GTO.

I want to go back again. Thanks for the amazing pics!


Minor error - Cima is a Chaser! But awesome article nonetheless


Great article Linhbergh!

After seeing that Top Secret Golden GTR in your articles I love it even more now!

Keep up the great work!


i think i can easily live the rest of my life in that garage


Abit OT, but I noticed one of the guys was wearing a pair of New Balances.

I love those shoes. They're thin enough to feel your pedals nicely, and the design of the sole is not too chunky to bite on your clutch pedal.

Helps that they look casual enough.


Any chance of a feature of the old z32 d1 car? I have yet to find some good pics of it, real shame it doesnt compete anymore.


I love the workbenches in the garage, and the garage itself.. It kinda feels like home or something :D


Great work with all the pics! Now that's the kind of shop tour I like!


Is that Supra Shell the old Top Secret 0-300 Supra? I hope not.... :(


Why is there Signal Auto vinyl on the street tuned R35?


Nice to see "Smokey's" entire shop. I thought he only built Nissan and Toyota cars, nice to see the shop can work on all makes.


What?! the toilet bowl isnt painted gold? im sure it has achieve notable things over the many years of Top Secret tuning.. hahahahaha~


the bathroom is getting more comments than the damn



desktops of everything please! great shots!


Is Smokey taking the Supra to TX2k11?


Awesome pics I would love to visit Japan and Top Secrets shop!!


thats a conversion you dont see everyday.


@Nick: Import Reactor is in March in Houston so I'm pretty sure he's eluding to it being there.


uh, to all you who seem to think smokey is bringing his car to the US for some bullshit car show are out of your minds. there is a top speed race in texas, maybe some of you kids have heard about it?

hmm, maybe the Texas Mile?

car shows and top secret....





Lol, do you squat over that toilet?


i would like to buy the Supra chasis!!! quote me Nagata san!


This is one cool place to be. Nice article! That 3rd to last shot of the UG2 poster reminds me that that was one cool game. NFS needs to make an Underground 3, and cut out the SUVs...


Killer write-up. I think shop tours are my favorite posts on Speedhunters. By the way, what's the deal with Top Secret's website? Gearing up for a relaunch? It's still right?


Should cover up the license plate numbers, unless the owners gave you permission to have them shown. Maybe a weird custom, but media who don't usually aren't welcomed.


look at the state of that R32 next to the EVO :O!!!!! my gosh....


Come on did you see all the stagea's I would love to see a Top Secrets stagea build!!!!!!!!


The toilet is used in a way that if you need to take a dump, you gotta squat over the bowl. ;) heh. Stupid bowls


cant speak for anyone else but ill take that rusted supra frame lol


Dude aaaaaamazing coverage, this is what a full tour of each tuning shop in Japan should be like!!!!!!



More info on the V12 going to Texas!!!!!!?!??!!!?!? (is it JUST a rumor?) Did Smokey say it was so????

Man if it's just a rumor sad day:( But if you are serious I would make a trip to Texas JUST to see it in person, no lie!


When was the Top Secret V12 in Germany? Video link?


It's been a little more than a week since I was in Japan. My head is still trying to process I've


blinding.. Mitsubishi Galant GTO looks ready to sort out.. love the insight to a legendary 'shop' that puts out some fantastic cars..


I would love to know more about that MA61!


I stopped by Michael Essa's shop, Tech Trix , this morning to check out the progress on his Formula


I have opel kadeet model 1966 and i want to restoration it so i hope you can help me