Top Secret: Part III

Any JDM fanatic could easily spend an entire afternoon checking out all the cool things to see at Top Secret. Besides being one of the most famous tuning shops in Japan, Top Secret is also one of the largest. It’s the main reason why I wanted to break my visit into 3 separate posts, because there’s just that much to talk about. I’ve saved what is in my opinion, the best for last. If you’ve ever looked at Japanese car magazines then you’re probably all too familiar with the entrance to Top Secret’s shop. The light blue sliding doors, the black and gold sign and that small driveway packed with some of the fastest domestic cars in Japan. Since we decided to visit Top Secret on a weekday, the shop was buzzing with activity. It being the middle of June, meant the front doors were open to reveal all the cool stuff happening inside the shop. When we pulled into the parking lot, this was the first car that caught my eye.

Top Secret isn’t typically known for working on classics but they should definitely do more of them. The pristine RA25 Celica 2000GT looks and sounds every bit as good as the shop’s more high-profile builds. I had known about the 2000GT build before visiting the shop, but I didn’t expect to see it in person. It was quite a nice surprise as we pulled into the parking lot.

An interesting sight at Japan’s premier Nissan and Toyota tuner, an FC RX7. The midnight purple was similar to the shade typically seen on GT-R’s. However, the color looked right at home on the RX7.

A look into the shop’s primary workspace. Unfortunately we weren’t permitted to walk around inside the actual shop. Due to the fact that they were so busy and all of the liabilities that could result from us being overly excited in the first place. All the famous faces were present including Youichi Imamura’s ORC/Top Secret Z33 D1 car in the foreground. I was amazed at how focused all of the mechanics were. It’s probably not everyday that a couple of Americans show up to have a look around, but typical of Japanese culture, the task at hand is of the upmost importance.

Lurking behind the shop’s door is one of Smokey’s more interesting creations, the VQ35-powered R32 Skyline. Many of you are probably familiar with the car’s bright orange individual throttle bodies, a setup that’s been tuned around 355hp. This has always been one of my favorite Top Secret cars. It’s eye-popping graphics, exquisite attention to detail and unique power plant embody everything that makes Top Secret stand out from the rest.

Out of all the cars that day, this was the most exciting one to see firsthand. It’s Smokey’s final incarnation of the JZA80 Supra with a custom-built V12 twin-turbo. During the time of our visit, this was the shop’s crowning achievement and had just debuted at Tokyo Auto Salon earlier that year. I’ll admit, I was never fond of this cars looks, until I saw it in person. It’s presence is undeniable and parked there, the car looked every bit as fast as it is on the track.

Well that about wraps up my posts on Top Secret. It was a truly amazing and inspirational experience and I still have to reassure myself it wasn’t all a dream. If you’ve got the time and the money, I would highly suggest putting down the magazines, turning off the computer and seeing these places for yourself. Apart from all the car stuff, Japan is an amazing country with so much to offer. If anything, the tuning culture is a bonus to the rest of it all. I hope to get back there very soon because there are many more shop visits on my list. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed.

-Chris

Top Secret: Part I

Top Secret: Part II

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4 comments

  1. Wow. thanks for the awesome post man. I wonder what happened to ORC. Seems like about 5 years ago, everyone was using their clutches. I also agree with what you said about the VQ powered R32. It’s the only demo car I know that has an ITB’d VQ. Man, I wish people would tune VQ’s more.

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