S15

Top Secret Revisited

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I’ve been doing ACLASS since 2008 and it’s pretty crazy to think that this December will be the blog’s 7th anniversary. I often look over the site’s stats and analytics and it comes as little surprise that my Top Secret features from 2010 remain some of the most popular. Considering those were written 5 years ago, I figured the photos could use a little updating and resizing to take advantage of the blog’s wider layout. I encourage new and regular readers alike to check out each feature, see how much Japan’s tuning industry has changed and revisit some of Smokey Nagata’s most famous creations.

Visit the links below for Parts 1, 2 and 3!

Top Secret: Part I

Top Secret: Part II

Top Secret: Part III

 

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D1GP Still Happens

D1GP still happens in Japan and I am as surprised as you are. A lot of people in and out of the sport predicted the series would die with the departure of judges Daijiro Inada and Keiichi Tsuchiya. At the end of the day earning a living was more important and most of the drivers stayed.

I remember the days when D1 was up there with Super GT as a hallmark of Japanese motor sports. Maybe it still is, but people sure aren’t talking about it like they used to.

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In the foreground, Takahiro Ueno’s 2JZ-powered BMW 335i sporting a crazy new livery. I wish he was still competing in the Toyota Soarer. That in red with the Vertex Ridge kit is one of the all time great looking Japanese tuner cars.

Photo courtesy of Vertex.

Tokyo Auto Salon 2013

It’s early Monday morning in Japan and this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon has officially come to an end. Here’s a sampling of all the rest of the cars present at Makuhari Messe.

As always Nissan had a very big presence at this year’s show. While the GT-R remains the king, Silvas and Skylines have not been forgotten.

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TAS needs more builds like this fantastic 180SX from SPIRIT Rei.

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It’s hard to go wrong with a white R32 on Advans. Funny enough it’s the simple builds that stand out most at TAS.

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Phoenix’s Power had the GT-R well represented at the show including this lime green example on BBS LMs.

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Next door to Phoenix’s Power was Top Secret. They also showed up with a few different GT-Rs as well as their Rocket Bunny kitted 86.

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This year could be the biggest ever turnout for imports, both European and American at TAS. Ferrari had a large presence as did Porsche and BMW amongst others.

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The Ferrari F40 was given a very nice display this year. The Japanese have always been obsessed with European cars and as exotics get older and become cheaper, we’re going to see a lot more tuners working with them.

Despite strong showings from Nissan and Toyota, Mitsubishi didn’t fare as well in 2013. The Evo X is now 5 years old and it’s beginning to show. It’s disappointing to see a car which once littered the show floor at TAS, suffer the same fate as its Subaru rival. With Mitsuibshi moving towards EV production, the CZ4A may be the last of the great tuner cars from the brand.

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Varis continues to dominate the market. I’m disappointed that Voltex never created their own Evo X wide body kit to compete.

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Unsurprisingly, Toyotas dominated the show in 2013. The 86 is the new darling of the Japanese tuning industry, massively overshadowing its sibling the BRZ.

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A JZX100 with strange lights inside of the wheels. This was a trend seen on a number of cars at TAS.

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Original Runduce was present with their 86 demo car kitted in Varis aero. This car just looks so good and is probably my favorite 86.

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After all these years, the Mazda RX-7 continues to be one of the very best looking Japanese cars.

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Last but not least there’s Subaru. As with every year, I was disappointed in the turnout for Imprezas. While the STi fights to remain relevant, the tuning industry seems to be moving on. I blame Subaru for not giving the car the AYC and extra 30-50 horsepower it so deserves.

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D Language came out with a very large booth featuring their STi, Evo and 86 demo cars.

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Blitz was also on hand with a GVB STi showing off some of their latest electronics and performance parts, including this 6-pot brake kit.

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Despite filing for bankruptcy in 2012, Zero/Sports was on hand with a GVB STi. They’re hardly the dominant force they once were at TAS.

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I’ll end with this truly awesome looking wide body GVB STi from Varis. This kit has kind of gone under the radar with all the attention on the 86.

That about does it for TAS coverage on A Class. If anything else exciting comes my way, I’ll be sure to post it. Overall I’m disappointed by this year’s show. There’s a real lack of variety right now in the Japanese tuning industry. I suppose it’s been a long time coming. With major players like Honda, Mitsubishi and Mazda failing to produce exciting cars like they once did, the industry has been forced to rely on Nissan and Toyota. Subaru can be happy with their role in the 86 and their own BRZ but as the Impreza continues to get heavier and slower, we may see another great fall by the wayside. On the bright side, the amazing reception the 86 has gotten has shown other manufacturers what’s possible. Hopefully in the next few years we’ll see more of the affordable, fun cars the Japanese automotive industry so desperately needs.

Photos courtesy of GTNET.

The Privateer

It’s Time Attack season in Japan and things just wrapped up at Tsukuba Super Battle. One of the participants was the Scorch S15, which many of you are familiar with. XCAR provides a look into the car and its driver Suzuki-Under.

Luke Huxham of Maiham Media is really setting a new bar in terms of video editing and cinematography with his work. This piece is no exception and a must watch.

Video courtesy of XCAR.

Food For Thought

It seems like everyone has a blog these days. I’m shocked at how many car blogs have popped up around the internet in the last year alone. I started blogging about cars in 2007 and at times it can be really hard work. I’m sure everyone with a blog will agree with me that sometimes there’s just nothing new to report. All the cool pictures have been posted and all the new topics have been discussed. Sometimes I scour the internet for an hour just to find a picture to write a single sentence about. The last week or so has been one of those times where I’m really out of ideas. I feel like the trends of the industry have settled a bit. I’m waiting for the next big thing to pop. HellaFlush was so 2009, if you know what I mean. I think the fuel crisis and the government’s crackdown on emissions and cleaner forms of energy have effected the automotive and aftermarket industries forever. In many ways it was a positive transition because so many people focused less on big power builds and more on looks and handling. Aggressive wheel fitment really gained it’s popularity because it’s something anyone can do legally. There’s no stressing over emissions testing or extra attention from the police. It’s purely looks and I think that’s great. Car blogs have also fueled the trend in ways that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. With that said, it’s time for a change. The industry never likes to stay in the same spot for too long and I’ve been waiting for what’s next. In the meantime, there hasn’t been a whole lot to report on and that’s the reason why A Class has been so cheese ball lately. I can’t wait for the 2011 STi to go on sale and get into the hands of the right people, who will for sure build some great examples of the car. One thing I have really started to believe lately is that the Americans are giving the Japanese a run for their money. I have come across so many impressive builds over the last couple years. We are definitely finding our own swag in this country and it’s very apparent in our cars. So many people are doing it right and in their own unique ways. Even tuning in the United States has surpassed Japan to a degree. Not too long ago, the only way to truly get that perfect tune was to call in the gurus from Japan. These days almost every major city in the country has a reputable shop that’s just as capable of providing excellent tuning and services for our cars. I think the popularity and the level of skill will only continue to grow. It’s a very exciting time and that’s why I have a good feeling we’re on the verge of another big industry transition. New trends are definitely on the horizon. Until that comes along, here’s another picture of an S15 from my external LOL!

-Chris

NISMO Style

When I have nothing better to do, I go to Global Auto and drool over cars. While browsing tonight I came across this pretty standard Silvia S15.

I’m not the biggest fan of NISMO LMGT4s but they look great on this S15 with GTR offset.

Bronze and grey as a great color combination. I’d lower the car a tad more, but otherwise nice wheel fitment.

I’m really digging the interior too. Very simple additions, nice and clean. There are plenty of gems on Global Auto, this Silvia just stood out to me.

SunLine Racing S15

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I’m sure many of you are familiar with the SunLine Racing 370Z. I think Sunline makes the best looking kit for the 370Z . They’ve been building cars for quite awhile now and I’ve always been a big fan of their Silvia S15. This car is serious business with a full carbon body and a Tomei 2.2L motor. It’s always nice to see Silvias being used for something other than drifting.

Gulf By Yashio Factory

I was looking at Silvia parts on the Yashio Factory website and I saw their Gulf aero for the S15. I’ve seen the Gulf aero in the past and it’s definitely one of my favorite kits for the S15.

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Reminds me a lot of Vertex aero but I think that’s what Mr. Okamura was going for when he designed it.

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The rear bumper looks especially good to me. I was never a fan of the Yashio LED taillights, too ricer for my tastes.

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Mr. Okamura’s street tuned S15 rocking a nice pair of staggered Advan RS. This S15’s setup is pretty tame, with a very responsive HKS GT-RS turbo. If you’ve been keeping up with the Fatlace Japan trip, then you’ll know that Oka-chan is also daily driving a new STi which I found really surprising and cool.

No One Better

Aside from driving cars for just about every performance shop that matters in Japan, Nobuteru Taniguchi owns not 1, not 2, but 3 Nissan Silvias. Here’s some pictures of his S15 fitted with a Vertex LANG kit.

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All of Taniguchi’s personal Silvias are fitted with the latest in Vertex aero. His good friend and next-door neighbor is Takahiro Ueno, D1 driver and president of T&E. I dig this car, it’s really clean and street-minded. It does have Lamborghini doors which I’m not really crazy about though. The pictures are courtesy of Dino Dalle Carbonare.