With SEMA 2023 in your rearview mirror and many of the U.S.-based cars shows on hold until things warm up, the annual Tokyo Auto Salon is the always highly anticipated, must-see January event that produces plenty of debut builds.
Sure, SEMA has a good amount of Japanese cars strewn across the miles of carpeting but nothing like TAS, where tuning shops large and small put their best foot forward and show off their demo cars, performance parts, and aesthetic goods. Rather than having to sift through row after row of Fords, Chevys, and Dodges in search of Nissan Skylines, Mazda RX-7s, and Toyota GR86s, for example, Makuhari Messe Convention Center is filled with them.
Having experienced a slight lull after its forced cancellation a few years ago during uncertain times related to the pandemic, this year’s show seemed to be the busiest ever, with foot traffic at an all-time high throughout the entire three-day event.
Here are a handful of display vehicles that pulled us in for a closer look.
There were dozens of R34 on display at TAS but the Mine’s V-Spec N1 demo car sits in the upper echelon of iconic Skyline builds.
A twin turbo four-rotor capable of over 1,400hp but dialed down to “just 1,000” packed into a Mazda 3 is always crowd pleaser, regardless of what soil it’s on.
TRA Kyoto and Hardcore Japan brought a trio of trucks to the show starting with this old school Datsun that uses Pandem’s familiar flare treatment, a relatively low key engine inside of a spotless bay, and a fully custom rear suspension set up to help tuck the tops of the Watanabes.
Miura’s new Hilux drift truck is a step away from his expected fender treatment. While the fronts get wider additions that feel much tamer and streamlined, leading to bold sideskirts with familiar circular cuts, it’s the rear that surprised everyone. Rather than huge over fenders, there are no body panels at all. Instead, a tubular frame was created, which mimics the width and length of the factory panels, even incorporating an up-kick to the rear-most portion.
The exposed rear shows off the detailed fabrication and has many wondering if the wildly popular designer will be heading this same direction with future creations.
Get beyond the intricate rear end and inside the engine room is an absolutely immaculate single-turbo 2JZ swap.
This Nissan D22 chassis truck from Hardcore Japan uses Rocket Bunny attire, some very unique wheels with ridges carved into the inner lip, and a naturally aspirated KA engine with a custom header that places the collector inside the bay possibly for better ground clearance.
If Car Modify Wonder gets its hands on an S-chassis, it’s guaranteed to be a showstopper. The long-running Japanese tuning shop simply can’t miss.
We had a chance to visit Takashi Haruyama, the shop’s founder back in 2017 to get a closer look at his red 180SX, which you can see here.
This slammed, USDM-spec Integra was parked next to the UP Garage booth.
Powered by a supercharged K-swap, its supporting goods come from American brands like Checkerd Sports, TracTuff, and Hasport.
Here’s a seldom-seen Mazda Chantez kei car from the early 1970s given the RE Amemiya treatment. The gargantuan flares and Star Road mesh wheels essentially double the car’s original width.
Of the kits available for the modern-day Z, Varis’ RZ34 Arising-1 aero set up is our favorite. The red touches along the edges of the carbon fiber lip, skirts, and rear diffuser work perfectly against the white body.
There was much more to see from this year’s show and you can view them for yourself in our packed photo gallery above.