Between the over-stimulation from the Tokyo lights and the sights and sounds of the Tokyo Auto Salon (TAS), my brain was on overload. I think it took a week for my neurons to return to normal firing and for my stomach to go through curry withdrawal. Needless to say, TAS 2006 was as spectacular as ever this year.
Many of our loyal readers joined us on our annual Turbo TAS tour. Some met us at the airport in LA and others hooked up with us in Shinagawa. I must say I always enjoy TAS so much more when I get to go with our readers because they provide such a "real world" view of the show. Many magazine editors go to so many shows every year that they become desensitized to how cool TAS is. Since they see eight million Japanese-tuned cars in a given year they can be snooty and have quite high standards for TAS.
For us regular folk, however, TAS is like being a kid in a candy store. It is such a rare treat to see so many crazy, sick rides all in one place, plus our favorite models that you can't buy in the U.S. It is an even better experience because you also get to visit another country, a country that happens to build all the cars we lust after. It was cool to see our tour attendees' eyes pop when they walked into the exhibition hall. After that it was a nonstop flow of "Check this out." "Come over here, did you see this?" and "Dude, I can't wait to show this picture to my friends."
I could go on and on about how cool TAS was, but in light that you'd rather see the photos than just read my words I'll try to be brief with the highlights. Since no new sport compact model vehicles really came out this year in Japan it was slim pickings for innovation. New parts were few and far between. The 350Z and the WRX STi were still relishing the spotlight. Also absent from TAS were popular companies such as A'PEXi and VeilSide. The word on the convention floor was that it was a tough year in the Japanese economy and TAS had raised their rates so there were fewer exhibitors this year. Nonetheless, other favorite companies of ours were out in full force: GReddy, Blitz, JUN, Power, etc.
My personal favorite vehicle exhibited was the Toyota MR-S with a Celica GT-S 2ZZ engine swap. Can you say "sick mid-ship"?! I want to get my hands on that puppy. Since there was so much to see it was hard to narrow down the pictures to show you, so you simply must just join us next year on our tour and see TAS for yourself. One reader/attendee, John from Philly, took over 800 pictures on the trip. 'Nuff said.