Osaka Auto Messe: When Things Get Crazy
Crazy in Kansai

Osaka is a place where you’ll find that a lot of Japanese stereotypes are thrown out the window. You might have an image of Japanese being people being quiet, conservative and keeping to themselves – not in Osaka though. This is the place that’s known as the birthplace of Japanese comedy, the place where ladies love their leopard print clothing and the place where strangers are quick to strike up conversation with each other.

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It’s not surprising then, to find that a lot of this carries over to Osaka Auto Messe. Sure, Tokyo Auto Salon has its fair share of crazy builds and over the top show cars, but Auto Messe is really on another level when it comes to the wild stuff. So for this post, I thought I’d focus on some of the crazier aspects of this year’s event – from slammed VIP cars to jacked-up kei trucks and more.

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The pink Crown – which can be ordered directly from Toyota in Japan – seems like a car that was designed specifically for Osaka. There were a handful of pink Crowns on display at Auto Messe this year, including this example for J-Unit. In stock form this color might be a little outlandish, but with some wheel and suspension work, it all comes together.

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Here’s another view of the T-Demand Mark X as seen in the opening post. Amazingly, this car is sitting not on air suspension but on a set of T-Demand Pro Dampers with matching T-Demand arms to achieve that maniacal camber. The wheels are SSRs measuring 19″x9.5 in the front and 19″x11 in the rear.

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When talking about the crazy state of today’s VIP sedans, it’s hard to get crazier than this new GRS21 Crown Athlete equipped with Black Pearl’s Jewelry Line aero.

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The Crown has a look that was clearly inspired by modern supercars, achieved not just through its body parts but by its matching LED lighting and custom exhaust system.

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If there was one car crazier than the aforementioned Crown, it would be Black Pearl’s Super LS, which thanks to its aggressive widebody conversion, bears almost no resemblance to the mild Lexus LS that it was built from.

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Wanofu (one-off) is a word you’ll hear often around the halls of Osaka Auto Messe – especially when it comes to the VIP cars. This is Garage Excellent’s UCF30 Celsior with a ton of one-off bodywork and a set of 22″ Work Equip E05 wheels.

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The G50 Nissan President is an old school VIP platform, but as this example from Auto Styling shows, this car has plenty of life left in it. It was definitley nice to see to this classic long wheel-base sled injected with some modern VIP styling.

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Party in the front, business in the back. That’s basically how I’d describe the Pit1 Toyota Crown Estate.

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The Toyota Crown is of course one of the essential VIP platforms, so it’s always cool to see a builder have some fun with the long roof version of Toyota’s popular luxury machine.

High or low
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Speaking of people-haulers, I also quite liked this Honda Odyssey displayed by Kaz-Sus. Now if only we had this sleeker, more compact version of the Odyssey in the United States…

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In the US, the car you see here is known as the second generation Scion xB, but in Japan it’s called the Toyota Corolla Rumion and it’s not a vehicle you see too often. That’s why it was cool to see this customized Rumion from SHORIN, an aero parts maker which made the trip all the way from Tochigi, northeast of Tokyo.

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In Japan, the kei truck is about the simplest and most utilitarian vehicle one can buy, yet for some reason this year’s Auto Messe was filled with customized kei trucks of all types. That’s one of the things I love about Japan – there’s really no vehicle that’s off limits when it comes to modification.

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While the traditional route may be to lower these kei trucks for a more VIP or performance-inspired look, Japan’s off-road scene includes companies like Zeal, who displayed this all-terrain capable Suzuki Carry.

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Even kei vans were getting in on the fun, like this Suzuki Every built by an outfit called B17.

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There were actually a few moments when I thought I was at the SEMA Show. Only rather than lifted Silverados and F150s, these were Suzukis and Daihatsus.

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Check out this enormous Toyota Land Cruiser displayed by a shop from Nara called Super Low. Just a little bit of irony there, eh?

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Adult Toy - that’s the name given to this kyusha-influenced Toyota bB Open Deck from Ideal. Up front you can see the custom long nose conversion and wild LED set-up in the front bumper.

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In stock form, the bB Open Deck was designed to provide some additional utility, but in this case the rear bed and tailgate area have been completely filled with audio equipment.

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Likewise, the interior was also packed full of audio bits along with a couple of lowback bucket seats to keep the vintage theme going.

Next level custom
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While on the subject of interiors, this year’s show featured some rather extreme cockpits. We are talking things like custom upholstery and speaker housings, pulsating light set-ups, and more LCD screens than you can imagine.

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Running out of space for screens? How about filling up the gauge cluster and steering wheel with them?

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While I’m personally not a huge car audio guy, it’s really impossible not to appreciate the work and creativity that’s gone into these set-ups. It’s all part of keeping an open mind and enjoying cars on a broader level.

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One thing I love about visiting Osaka Auto Messe is seeing all the little custom touches people have done on their cars. LED hearts in headlights for example.

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These days it’s not just the interiors where you’ll find custom upholstery and stitching. This year’s show featured bodywork covered in all sorts of different materials.

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The builder of this Toyota bB from Hiroshima took the creativity one step further by coating the entire body of his car in cement. Yes, cement.

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While it might not be the best choice for those looking to save weight, it’s certainly one of the most unique exterior treatments I’ve ever seen.

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This isn’t paint, nor a vinyl wrap – it’s actual traditional Japanese fabric that’s been glassed over onto various body parts like gas lids and trim pieces.

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While covering an entire car like this would probably be too much, it works perfectly for highlighting a single panel as seen here on this van.

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Glowing brake calipers? Sure, why not?

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There you have it. Just a little bit of the stuff that makes Osaka Auto Messe one of the craziest car shows on earth. Next time we’ll step outside and take a break from the madness with a look through the Auto Messe parking lot.

Mike Garrett
Instagram: speedhunters_mike



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Sweet :D


this does look crazy, a cement Bb?? This definitely looks like an entertaining show to attend.


Yeah, if you guys could just stop taking pictures of riced-out garbage, that'd be great.


Some of this stuff makes you stop and think wtf!


@Jake Laird  One man's garbage is another man's treasure. There is no harm in trying and while I agree some of these cars being unnecessarily modified or just ridiculous you must at least commend the efforts. This is what makes the Japanese car culture so awesome, there is room for everything you can think of and in some cases for people not on Japanese shores things that we would never think up.


@Jake Laird  Nah man. We need to see the breadth of modified car scene, not just a narrow view of a certain preference for modification. Otherwise I would never have discovered my love of "kyusha kai" modification. Keep it up Speedhunters.


I cannot stop laughing at the cement covered xB.


@project_aw11  I'm sorry, but I'm not going to commend the effort of somebody who coated his Xb in cement. I know that's weird.


@Jake Laird Yeah, if people like you would just not click on subjects like this and bother commenting negatively, that'd be great.


black pearl seem like nutters...awesome. also that gb is so gangster. love it


Spaghetti  Well a lot of people come here for, well, you know, speedhunters.  These cars don't exactly invoke thoughts of speed.  Fatlace or Illest is a better site for these sorts of features.

To be honest, the site seems to be slowing down in productive and informative content.  For every 1 fantastic article, there's 5 crap ones, such as the wheelie car.  The reason I visit is for the speed articles and the Japanese track features.


crazy stuff haha!


Crazy... That bB interior! Omg haha


Cement! Saw that bB at the Hellaflush event last year and couldn't figure out what it was. Thanks for the info Mike.
Awesome coverage as usual!


@Beany Spaghetti  I agree 100%. If I want coverage of what amounts to a Japanese DUB show, I'll go to one of the millions of stancetard websites out there.


Where's M&L Party coverage?


Cement? Are you kidding? LOL! Crazy stuff indeed!


Mike Garrett what is the name of the company glassing the traditional Japanese fabric?
I would love this on my drift car.


roido11 "Body Line" was the name of the company that had the booth. I told them they should come to SEMA!


apex_DNA Coming up shortly :)


meal stub Crazy Japan right?


azmedaj Thanks bud!


Taryn Croucher The interiors alone are mind blowing lol


spencermaranda79 You can never have too many vents or angles!


@zz Yeah, the guy that built it had a really good sense of humor about it. All in good fun :)


LukeEVOLUTIONVIII That's pretty much the point haha


Mike Garrett i 200% agree


@Jake Laird SpaghettiAgain, we must be looking at different sites. I see plenty of "literal" speed on the front page right now. Crazy off roaders, a new McLaren, Ferrari, time attack, motorsport coverage etc.


2xthefun Entertaining to say the least!


Mike Garrett meal stub  Yah. Crazy in a good way. I wouldn't mind driving one of those kei trucks. I think they're very cool.


@Jake Laird  I think you need to get off your high horse and realise that people are free to do whatever they want to their cars. 
Freedom of opinion is fine, but don't tell others what they can and can't do.


the grs21 has got to be my favorite car out of the mix... n the fact he put the hybrid badge on the trunk door.. japanese sense of humor?? i'd love to see the VIP scene get that wild in the US.


Mongolia land 80


Cement a car...pure WTF effect. Not fancy of this but I have a lot of respect for the owner.


@Jake Laird  You're a funny guy, Jake. You give the big talk about performance and function, yet you only ever seem to post in stories relating to stance or the more extreme end of aesthetic modifications. It's almost like you want to be offended, just so you can jump on your soapbox. Honestly, it's boring and predictable.

We're definitely not going to stop posting stories like this or seeking out all facets of modern car culture. We're about all things car culture and that's not going to change. 

So, instead of whinging about things you don't like, here are some links to recent stories that you might:


PaddyMcGrath  I've checked out all of those, enjoyed them thoroughly, and added numerous pictures from them to my various folders. I'm very thankful to you guys that you still publish fantastic articles like those. 

But, you need to understand where I'm coming from. Let's say I'm into rock music, and I discover a blog about that claims to focus on rock music. Interspersed between the articles that deal with the promised topic, there's a bunch of articles that are about NYC hipsters banging on trash cans with metal spoons in rhythm. Is that still music? Technically, perhaps it is. But, you could forgive me for being confused as to why those articles are there in the first place, as I was promised rock music, but got artsy hipster nonsense in equal amounts. 

Car modification is an extremely subjective art. It's not like you guys are posting a vintage Bugatti, which is something that anybody who's into cars can appreciate. You're posting cars with extremely controversial mods that in many cases appeal only to the owner, so you need to be prepared for people who don't "get" what you're posting, and others who simply hate it. To expect somebody who's into a totally different style of modification to like or even appreciate a cement-covered, stanced Xb is asking quite a lot. 

I love this website, I really do, and my concern is that it's going to turn into yet another whiney, self-congratulatory stance blog instead of a beautifully photographed and written blog about motorsports. Over the years, I've seen the over-the-top stuff creep in more and more, until it's now being posted with the same frequency as the good stuff. 

That's really all I'm saying. I can go to Stance works/nation or any of the other numerous stance places for stuff like this. There really aren't that many motorsports-dedicated blogs out there, and I don't want to lose this one.


So uh... could Osaka be called the South Florida of Japan?


@Jake Laird PaddyMcGrath  Your mistake is pretty much in the first line. We don't focus on one specific area. It's everything. This means that, yes, we're going to show you things that you wouldn't look at normally. We would never expect for anyone to like everything we post, far from it. We just want to push the boundaries and to get people to re-evaluate their tastes and likes. We want to challenge your thoughts and pre-conceptions. 

Look around the comments and you'll see plenty of people who're enjoying this post. Personally, whilst it's not something I could ever see myself doing to my own car or in the future, I get why someone would do something like coat their car in cement. It's simply poking fun at people who take things too seriously. It gives the owner and creator joy. He's not looking for scene points or following a recipe to build a car, he's doing it for himself and that should be applauded. 

We are our own harshest critics. We're constantly debating things behind the scenes and always striving to keep things different. We don't want to become the sort of guys who just visit the same things, year in and year out and tell the same stories again, and again. I think this year in particular is going to be huge for Speedhunters as we take things in a slightly different direction and with our new editor in chief on board. 

If you don't like something, by all means, tell us why it doesn't appeal to you. You can articulate yourself when you want, so don't become that guy who just posts one-liners as nobody will listen to you. And that honestly would be a huge shame. 

Speedhunters isn't about speed. It's about Global Car Culture. And it always will be.


Asainaa Amazing!


d_rav I believe it actually was a Crown Hybrid. :)


Well, the idea of this post was to show some of the crazy custom stuff, so there you have it! Haha.


FunctionFirst  I think Osaka is more like LA of Japan...


That T-Demand Mark X is just awsome. Too bad we dont get these models in Europe though. Great coverage as usual!


BeDFORD RASCAL . That's all I think of when I see kei vans. I always got told the endo if you can brake hard enough :-)


Which is a suzuki super carry,


I want the paint code for this car.


Mike Garrett Can you tell me which company did the traditional fabric with the dragons? Or if you know where i can read more about the technique? Thanks


I'd say they just paint the backside of the material with clear fiberglass resin, lay the material over the panel and then smooth it over with a hard foam roller or just by hand. Then they would let it set, before painting over the front of the material with a couple more coats of clear fiberglass resin, let those dry, sand it all back smooth with various grades of wet and dry sandpaper from 180-2000 grit, finishing up with a polish.