When I first visited the Tokyo Auto Salon, Dino gave me a piece of advice that was crucial to covering it on Speedhunters: “Go to the last hall first. We Japanese feel the need to do them in the correct order as the show expects. The last hall will be empty for the first hour.”

It’s a perfect example of why Japanese culture can be both hugely entertaining and frustrating, depending on which side of the fence you sit on. It’s not just a dinosaur joke, either; it really remains the most effective way to cover TAS on any given day.

In England we are conditioned to believe that rules are for guidance and not guidelines for life. Look where that has taken us; Brexit, 3 Prime Ministers in a matter of months and a country that believes in summer tires even when it snows. ‘Siri, tell me about cars stranded on the M25.


I think with all the Speedhunters stories I’ve rambled about Japan at some point, simply because I love the place. Japan has been the driving force behind my car culture obsession for decades, and each visit only seems to intensify it further.


It’s a strange phenomenon when something you’ve been following for so long becomes popular among the masses. It’s like when your favorite unknown artist starts playing on the radio. You should be happy for them, but a part of you resents success. Not to them personally, but to an army of new fans, like they’ve just discovered real fire.


It’s easy to feel that way about Tokyo Auto Salon. 2023 promises to be one of the show’s busiest years yet, especially with so many Western media and social media personalities in attendance. So if your interest in Japanese car culture is minimal at best, you’re in for a long January.


But this mentality above is also complete nonsense. No one — no matter how many followers they have — is discovering Japan’s car culture for the first time. TAS existed long before Speedhunters, and before most of us were even born.Anyone acting as a gatekeeper here needs to put down Japanese animation go for a walk.


In fact, all we’re witnessing is a genuine, almost uncontrollable excitement about car culture.that is a Very Good news for everyone locked in this industry. Few places in the world present it at such an authentic level as Japan. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to visit this country, no matter what year it is, you know exactly what it’s like.


Tokyo Auto Salon, like everything else in Japan, has the odd feeling of being a 2005 and decided “Yes, this is our best year yet. Let’s not go any further. The only giveaway we have now in 2023 is some cars on display.


Journalists can still get news information on CD. Metallic stickers boasting a 720p resolution are all over the handheld camera.promo girl adoption less is more The deeper you go into the Tokyo Auto Salon, the more you get to know the clothing. looks #me too doesn’t translate well into man, However.


TAS is also one of the few places you’ll see a major automaker rub shoulders with a batsh*t LED demo car from a tuner who thinks giant dinosaurs are promoting their line of cupholders The perfect mascot. If you wanted to be positive, you could say that this is Tokyo Auto Salon treating everyone equally. In fact, no one is prepared to speak out or suggest otherwise for fear of offending the other person.


Now that I’ve wasted 600+ words and taking you to a place of memory that no one really asked for, let’s get to the real reason you’re here – cars. I’ll keep it as short as possible, partly because we’ve already scheduled a TAS-centric story for each day of the next week, and mostly because it’s Friday night in Japan and the story was supposed to go live half an hour ago.


Let’s start with the new car. Unsurprisingly, Nissan’s Fairlady Z and the Toyota GR86 are the two big winners here. It’s definitely cause for celebration, because in a world where internal combustion engines and manual transmissions are being phased out, these two are proof that there’s life in (new) dogs.


Especially with the Z being so new, most of the tweaks on display revolved around bolt-on parts and exterior components. But there are also some that push things further and further, like in the Toyota Saloons of the ’90s and ’00s, you can always count on VeilSide to deliver the goods.


Then there’s Rocket Bunny. As one of the first companies to produce a “complete” package for the new Z, it’s no surprise to see Pandem-packed cars taking center stage at several booths, including RAYS, GReddy and Cusco.


Speaking of familiar tuners…they’re back. Well, they never left.But those grainy tuners we grew up watching video options Full DVD launch at TAS 2023. Even better, they also seem to be embracing past histories.


On the HKS booth celebrating their 50th anniversary conversion, their brutal Drag 70 Supra – the 7-second beast of the early 90s – took over the rear, the iconic HKS Gr.A R32 Skyline GT-R. Top Secret’s booth was filled with screens showing Smoky Nagata’s past speed-based shenanigans, while RE Amemiya showed off some of their classic builds.


But if we’re talking about blurring history with modern technology, no one has done it better this year than Toyota. Head over to the Gazoo Racing booth and you’ll see two AE86s on the main stage with all the latest mechanics. Weird but cool, right?


But all is not as it seems under the hood. That Levin’s sprouted bright orange wire was on display, and there was a large open space. Yes, it’s electric. Yes, it’s inevitable someday, isn’t it? Before you dismiss it, two things might change your mind…


First, there’s a gearbox inside. Not a token shifter or a push/pull sequence, but a proper H-mode manual. And it’s not electrically triggered either; it runs a stock clutch with the actual feel and ability of the clutch to kick and run the gears. Mess up the shift and it’ll kangaroo and quiver like an ICE powered one.


Then, next to it is Trueno. Under the hood looks like a super clean 4A-GE. It’s not powered by electricity…but it’s not powered by gasoline either. This is hydrogen. Not only did Toyota make the hydrogen-powered AE86, but it also kept its signature 1.6-liter twin-cam 16-valve four-cylinder engine.


Apart from the rear tank, there are no other giveaways. And – Koji Sato of Gazoo Racing assures us – it sounds and feels like the original 4A-GE. As GR’s operations officer and a proper oil head, we’ll take him at his word.


If you’ve ever wondered how we can ensure that classic cars are preserved in a future without fossil fuels, this might be it. Same noise, same experience, no emissions. We’ll be rolling out full features for both cars soon.


The final car we’ll highlight now is the obvious one – Liberty Walk’s Ferrari F40. It’s been mocked for months, and the internet has been a hive of admiration and loathing.


For the 2023 Tokyo Auto Salon, Kato-san decided to blur the line between performance art and car tuning by cutting the F40’s rear arch before unveiling it. You may cry in pain, but the ability to make it happen is admirable.


Over the past decade in particular, Mr. Kato and his team have proven that no car can — or should — stay put. The F40 has always been a car we consider sacred, but that also makes it the perfect statement piece for 2023.


do you know? It looks incredible. We were all expecting it to go a more extreme route, similar to the 458 and Aventador LBW kit, and while it’s not subtle, you can tell Kato-san is both bold and sympathetic to the styling cues. Arched cut? That’s pure drama. But as an executed build? That’s exactly what we know and love about Liberty Walk.


No matter what you think of this car—the Liberty Walk, in fact—you can’t ignore the impact these boys and girls have had on the tuning world. This is a brand that pushes boundaries; they’re stylish, approachable and know how to make a statement.


While other brands may fail or run out of ideas at this point, Kato-san is just getting started. Lord help us all.


Diversity is always the biggest selling point of Tokyo Auto Salon. Whether intentional or not, the show never forgets its past and continues to feature every decade’s iconic JDM car as its hero, regardless of value or current need.


Talk to the owners and you’ll see that most of these cars have been owned for years and built only on passion. Yes, these newer models represent a marketing opportunity for the big brands, but for the smaller tuners TAS is still the annual show, showcasing all the ideas they’ve put together over the past 12 months.


This attitude is why I believe whoever documents Japanese car culture will never be spoiled or mainstream. It’s not trying to be something it’s not; it still moves like it’s 2005, and no amount of exposure seems likely to change that.


Don’t get me wrong, this is not without frustration for many. And I can say that as someone who puts himself into it multiple times a year instead of being surrounded by it 24/7.but it always circles back to hugs all Its features, whether you are a builder, major tuner or user abnormal artwork.


At Tokyo Auto Salon, everything is included and there is no judgement.at least we speed hunter All I can do is pass this thought on to anyone weighing their own travels. Book your tickets, get ready for an eye-opener, and see you next year in the last hall.

Mark Riccione
Instagram: mark_scenemedia
Twitter: Mark Riccione
[email protected]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *