Standing Out At Tokyo Auto Salon
Kyusha Love

It’s been one hell of a week here in Japan, first with the Tokyo Auto Salon and then following on with one of the most intensive periods of feature-car-hunting that Larry and I have ever embarked on. We’ve been travelling since the doors closed at the Makuhari Messe, trying to scope out cool cars to share with you all. You’ll get to see the fruits of our 18-hour days soon enough, but there is still a hell of a lot more we have to show from TAS 2015, starting with this selection of five cars that stood out for me. While Larry – being a visitor to Japan – was instantly attracted to the weird and wonderful creations that you’re always guaranteed to see at this show, I looked for the cars that made the biggest impact.

I’ll start this Spotlight off with this rather stunning orange Datsun S30 – a long-time collaboration between Star Road and the kyusha magazine G-Works. In the past we’ve seen it as a stripped-down chassis gradually being restored and built up, but this year we really got to see the direction they’re heading in with this project.


This has to be one of the most extensive builds that Inoue-san at Star Road has ever sunk his teeth into. I’ve been seeing sketches of it for some time, and while they’ve looked almost a little too exaggerated for an S30, in reality the car has turned out great.


They’ve gone for the ever-so-popular widebody look, but have blended it in with the vintage lines of the old Z. Think of it as modern day works treatment – a contemporary take on a car that was well ahead of its time to begin with. The choice of color is spot-on too if you ask me.


The clean and tucked in bumper-less rear end is topped off with a ducktail spoiler that adds just the right accent of aggression.


The interior – and of course the engine – will be next, and you can bet we will be there to take a closer look when the S30 is completed later on in the year.


One of the biggest surprises of this year’s show started off sat underneath a cover in the Lotus booth. There were angular edges poking out at every corner and nobody really knew what on earth was hiding below. But as the show doors opened the cover was whipped off and all was revealed.


This is an all-new Lotus Evora based project created by Mooncraft for Cars Tokai 28 and LCI Ltd, which up until this year was running a McLaren MP4 GT3 in the Super GT championship. LCI is the official Lotus importer in Japan and has been campaigning cars in GT300 for years now.


The car will be entered in the GT300 class, which due to the sheer variety of cars that participate in it has quickly become far more interesting that GT500.


The Evora seems like a pretty strange car to base the build on when the Exige is such an obvious choice, but that makes this one of the most interesting GT300 cars of recent times. Plus, consider the fact that pretty much only the A-pillars and the roof line are the things that are still stock – this is a bespoke racecar in every sense of the word.


The carbon fiber exterior has been sculpted to create copious amounts of downforce, and while every angle is aggressive, nothing really beats that rear end. The long diffuser will not only keep the car stable and glued to the ground at speed, but it will also create a vortex on its top part to help suck gases away from the exhaust, lowering back pressure and therefore boosting power. Power comes from a GTA 4.5L V8 running 39.45 mm restrictors and is reputably good for over 450hp.

Baller Drift

Another surprise, another racecar, but this time it’s all about drifting. Sitting outside the Messe, ready to go sideways at the D1 Grand Prix exhibition round was the OTG Lexus LFA.


Yes, a prohibitively-expensive, no-longer-in-production, super-rare Lexus LFA running bolt-on overfenders and a fine looking set of TWS wheels.


What has the world come to I hear you ask? Well, if this is what it takes to be different in D1, this is what some will have to do! The car was built by Osaka Toyopet Group, which owns a large number of Toyota dealerships in the Kansai region, and it’s being driven by Youichi Imamura, who I’m sure must be over the moon to have the most expensive D1 car ever!


While it’s definitely still V10 powered, there are rumours that a NASCAR TRD V8 similar to the unit fitted in Fredric Aasbø’s RS-R ZN6 might soon be finding its way into the chassis.


Check that rear wing out!


Ever since seeing sketches of the Do-Luck R35 I have been wanting to see the final product. It’s not often that a tuner will take their time making sure that each part they sculpt will actually generate true downforce and cut down on drag, but that is exactly what Ito-san has done with this kit.


From the bumper lip that helps stick the front end to the ground and feed more air towards the brakes, the design flows into widened front vented fenders. These open up extra room to run more offset and bump the front track, but the coolest part in my eyes is the Nismo R34 Z-tune inspired pointy outlets that help channel hot air away from the engine bay.


A more angular approach has been taken with the widening of the rear fenders and it works well with Do-Luck’s signature low-mounted wing. This kit is definitely for those who want to stand out and give their GT-R a totally different style to everything else out there.


The Nissan was sitting on a custom-designed set of Work wheels machined from a forged billet of aluminium. This is new service that Work has started offering from this year, and it’s sure to open up many opportunities for the production of low-volume and bespoke wheels like this.


Finishing things off were a couple of massive exhaust outlets. The next step in the build is to give the car a hike in performance, so I’ll definitely be keeping a close eye on how this project progresses.


For the final car in this Spotlight I just had to choose something a little quirky – this is the Tokyo Auto Salon after all. The Tonino Lamborghini Miura is built on the NB Mazda Roadster platform, just like the other cars this company produces – including those Toyota 2000GTs parked alongside it.


It’s a way to own a beautiful timeless design, in an affordable a slightly scaled down package. It might not be for everyone, but hey, that’s the beauty of it, right?


While the real Miura has a transversely-mounted V12 under its one-piece rear cowl, there’s only a replica of that engine in this car and it’s made out of what looked like polystyrene.


Power actually comes from the motor mounted up front, which in this case is a 5.0L V8 borrowed from a Ford Mustang. So there is definitely some power to play around with, but the sound definitely won’t be the same!


A ton of work went into making the interior resemble the Miura’s cabin, which I thought was pretty cool. Check out the center console and transmission tunnel, as well as the piping on the seats. I’d be interested to hear what you think about this car in the comments section below!

I’ve got a big post coming next and it’ll be overflowing with lots of cool stuff: cars, parts and girls in no particular order – the same way it’s delivered to you when you walk through the halls of TAS. So check back soon for more!

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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I really like the Lotus, distinctly Japanese in execution but very right. That Muira replica has me thinking good thoughts too, jacked up, KC daylighters on the roof and some knobblies?


That LFA.  I seriously had to take a moment, I was so excited to keep scrolling down to learn more.  I really hope they find a way to keep the V10.  That would be absolutely magical to hear in competition.


You have got to be kidding. A front engine Miura replica? With a fake engine block? Worst "replica" ever.


The Do-Luck R35 is the most astonishing iteration I've seen yet. I love every detail of it!


The question is what are they going to do with the V10 in case the rumours are true about the NASCAR TRD V8? While simple maintanance might cost a fortune for the factory engine making it a hard to justify drift project, why bother and use a rare supercar (and possibly a future classic) if you are going to remove from the equation its greatest distinction which is the engine?


So we can say the falken v8 86 that imamura ride this year is a failure project and OTG getting crazier by converting LF-A into a drift car 
Imamura must adaptating with new car again and chance to retake d1 champ look little this year.. really hope he bring back his winning silvia s15


those replica bodies look really good! I wouldn't hesitate to rock a rep'd 2000gt


That Z is nice.


While I usually have something good to say about everything Japanese, this has got me a bit stumped......I'm neither here nor there with these 5 cars(4 cars and 1 rep).


@TROLLS ROYCE Probably just needs more torque lower down, and of course power, hence the V8


AndrewTaylor They had me at the fenders lol


zap1 This... What was the point of showing it

Omer (beercoozie)

Did they use the Tangerine Scream that's on the Focus ST on that Z?



Tune the LFA's V10!  Replacing it with an American V8 is just wrong.


zziro Its a Toyota v8.


zziro Using the V10 would be useless because its a peak HP motor. For drifting they need to torque hence the replacement.


Speedhunters_Bryn  I am loving those thoughts


Like that Evora on steroids! The miura Replica seems interesting it's one of my favourite cars ever, the dashbord and center console seem like done in a hurry though, it's full of ripples and the pieces don't fit.


love that new zeto from star road..


It wasn't a rumour , :P


@brapbrap He doesn't own that s15, and it's being used by shinji minowa this season


RDS  Doesnt say much for Toyotas v10.


Oh good. Now the LFA has the same engine as everyone else... I no longer care to see it compete


xrockonx  Well not exactly. It is, I think, at least Toyotas own v8 which is a lot rarer than an LS.


True. Just seems like so many drift cars swapped a factory motor with a ton of potential out with a V8. I like the V8s, don't get me wrong, but different is sometimes better


I know that is an expected response, but that ruined LFA just makes me so damn sad. And the loss of that beautiful V10. Who honestly thinks it looks better with those bolt on fenders? :(
There's more to being different than copying everyone else's style on a different platform.


THE LFA already has a NASCASR V8 in it, sequential box and Winters quick change rear end. They didn't open the bonnet but you could see it through the vents and front bar and by simply looking inside it and under it.


V10 is a bespoke motor that would cost a LOT to fix or modify all while making less power and torque than the NASCAR engine. V10 is great, but good luck fixing it if it did break.


actually, tuning the V10 is just wrong./
Its a bespoke motor with no off the shelf parts available to mofiy it, or repair it. 
High compression and design for high RPM so terrible for drift. Would need turbos, but once again, too hard and expensive and too much risk.
TRD NASCAR engine is the most logical thing to fit.


any links to the replica builder's website or SNS Page?


Am I the only one that's uneasy about the LFA being converted into a drift car...and worse yet to fit it with a V8 instead???
I understand "being different" and all...but with that kind of money what was stopping them from taking a Supra and making it look like a LFA with a V8? 
Beats dissecting this beauty IMO.


I hope to see more on the brown Z next to the orange one. Star Road Z looks very nice... thanks Dino


Sad to see that awesome v10 evicted, but all the means is there an unwanted LFA v10 out there somewhere waiting for a home U0001f60e


ummm.... Lotus? good that Z needs to be smoothed and blended...the rest is meh...


Loving the Evora! Form following function and looking awesome! Loving the D1 LFA! Form following form and to heck with everything sacred!!! Can't wait to see all the supercars and classics drifted and hard parked!! Japan and Dino Rule!!!


I don't usually care, but that Lexus is just a joke. I'm getting that "let someone else enjoy that car" feeling that others always complain about...


kphillips9936 there's something aggressively NOT DIFFERENT about taking an expensive car, gutting it, and V8 vroom vroom!-ing it.

Not really different. It reminds me of those gold painted lambos/bugattis rich idiots flaunt on social media. 



Motive DVD Right, and I suppose using the LFA was a logical, affordable choice?

The whole car is highly specialized, rare, and expensive...  That's the whole point of them using it, because it will most definitely be the only one and the most expensive car in FD.  ANY motor can be tuned if you are willing to pay for the work and parts development.  Apparently this team can afford to do everything BUT the motor... which sucks because the motor is a huge part of what makes the LFA so special.  Keeping and tuning the V10 would have made their car that much more outlandish, unique, special.


Smiggins zziro Ah, thanks.  Did not pay attention to that part.  That makes it a tiny bit better I suppose.


@zz zziro Change the tune and force feed it.  Done.


johnbezt whats exactly wrong with it? its clean and will most likely preform well.


Speedhunters_Bryn  I feel like it would look like a Lancia Stratos in a way.


While the V10 in the LFA might be a bit rev happy for the drift scene, i really, really, really dont want to see a NASCAR V8 shoved in there, to me it just wont be an LFA anymore.....On anouther not i love how bastardized that miata is! I've seen the 'italia' kits for NA miatas but a muira kit?! AND they turned it into a monster miata?! thats something i've only heard of in America!


GTA 4.5L V8 ... never heard of an engine like that before. Is it a Formula based engine?


I'm actually impressed by the Miura replica. It looks proportional. It looks like a Miura. The plastic engine in the back doesn't do anything for me, but I wouldn't mind seeing one of those parked in my garage everyday.


Amazing Dino

Pete the perfect pilot

What, no mazda rxs?


Darn Nice, More of this Please !!


Wait are you telling me they're actually going to run the lfa in d1 ?


Alright so am I the only one that is curious about the honeycomb looking exhaust on the lotus evora. Any idea why it is like that Dino or anyone else that knows.


I was about to say the Tonino Lamborghini Miura was pretty cool looking until i seen that horrific looking thing in the rear that`s supposed to resemble the engine.


Project 350ZTT i noticed that too, i was thinking maybe it`s just a fancy looking silencer piece.


Motive DVD
5.8-litre V8 , probably making 750hp+
I just notice the engine is only placed in the LFA , just the bare engine , it have no header , no intake manifold , no radiator piping connection ... we don't know yet , if this car going to made into D1 GP ... time will tell .


What next a V8-swapped Bugatti Veyron in FD lol


Take a rare mid engined V10 supercar and turn it into front engined V8 drift machine. Dont say they are serious. Please.


I love the scaled down Miura and the Toyota 2000gt reproduction. The detail on Miura is pretty good.


Project 350ZTT Propably catalytic converters


The Z is the WRONG color. The Lotus is AWESOME. Drifting an LFA is nothing but wrong. The wheels on the GTR gag me. A kit car should at least have the engine in the same configuration as what it's trying to copy. It would be nice to see more of the 2000gt to see if it's more accurate.


bananos the LFA IS front engined...just front, mid-engined, like the C4-C7 Vette, Nissan 350/370 Z and just about any other true modern sports car worth having.


xrockonx in competition; "different" is only better when it wins. And V8 swaps are yet another necessary ingredient in that formula.


dadecode bananos you are right, just recognized that I always assumed its mid-engined due to the great handling.. embarrasing lack of knowledge .. ;-( nevetheless the only good thing on this: there will be a lucky one swapping a delicious 9000rpm-V10..


Definitely picked the wrong car to focus on the 2000gt should have been up front the lambo replica i wouldn't touch with your hands lol. The r35 wheels are terrible and the kit well its do luck .. sometimes they do good sometimes they do bad, guess that's where the luck part comes in.


Dino, stop being a nerd.


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