Best Honda: Osaka JDM EF9 Civic
In '12, we had the pleasure of meeting Kazuhiro Furukawa, founder of Osaka JDM. Furukawa-san has become one of the most popular Honda icons over the last several years, most noted for his knack for building dope, old-school Hondas that stem from Kanjo racing (illegal night runs on the Osaka Expressway). While we can't confirm or deny he or his customers still race, he's continued to create rad projects and is also a regular at the track. This EF9 Civic was featured in our July '12 issue. It's received a makeover with new Bride seats, 15-inch TE37s, and more power with a K20A that's estimated to make 235hp. There's also Osaka JDM's latest widened fenders up front and a one-off carbon fiber hatch and roof.
Best Mitsubishi: Pit Road M GTO
Here's a car you definitely don't see everyday, a GTO - Mitsubishi's answer to compete with the likes of the NSX, Supra, and RX-7 back in the '90s. Underneath the hood is a twin-turbo six-cylinder (6G72TT). The GTO was a bit of an overweight pig and didn't sell as well as Mitsubishi had hoped, but there were some believers. For example, Pit Road M. This particular GTO features a fully built 3.1-liter bottom-end with a single turbo conversion using a Trust T88-38K, and makes roughly 900hp and 720 lb.-ft. of torque. With an understated exterior, quality parts, no stickers, and incredible power under the hood, it's the type of performance car we can dig!
Best Aero: Garage G Force EVO
The Garage G-Force EVO IX isn't anything new, and has been proven on the track at places like Tsukuba with NOB Taniguchi behind the wheel. Since last year, the guys at G-Force have been busy squeezing more power out of the 4G63 turbo-4 - an expected 730whp. They've also teamed up with Voltex to create a ridiculous new aero package to help its chances at more competitive time attack series. The team plans to further develop the car this year with an end goal of shipping the car to World Time Attack Challenge.
Best Out-of-the-Box: Wiz Gastom Builder Caravan
This ambulance-themed '88 Nissan Caravan is built not by a shop but by Wiz Gastom Builder, an automotive college. Two teachers and a class put together this unusual project, which is the 10th concept vehicle the school has completed. The work is simply amazing, starting with the roof that's been chopped 10-inches! An SR20DET out of a Silvia was swapped just behind the front seats, then mated to an automatic tranny. Other cool features include AirREX suspension; the management is located on the passenger side, similar to the compartments of a standard ambulance. There's also a custom stretcher made to complement the ambulance theme. The wheels are 18-inch Work Seeker NXs and we like how the floors were cut in order to fit the front wheels to get the van's stance so low. Mad respect goes to Wiz Gastom Builder for allowing their students to have wild imaginations to build something so incredible!
Best Old School: Rocky Auto Fairlady Z
Junya Watanabe of Rocky Auto is the benchmark when it comes to classic Japanese car builds. His resume numbers reach well into the hundreds and this wicked S30 is just another one of his masterpieces to add to that list. On the outside, the Z features carbon-fiber bumpers, fenders, rear wing and hood. What stopped us in our tracks lies in the engine bay - Nissan's 3.5-liter, 300hp V6 known as the VQ35, a common motor we typically see in the 350Z and Infiniti G35 here in the U.S. The interior from a 350Z has also been retrofitted into the old school S30. Beefier powertrain, matched with modern comfort and technology in a classic body? It's a formula Watanabe-san at Rocky Auto has followed with all of his builds and it works every time.
Best Kei Car: RE Amemiya Chantez
Have no idea what that is? It's a '70s Mazda Chantez kei car. It weighs less than 1,100 lbs. and only lasted in Mazda's lineup for four years. As you can imagine, it was a slow, economical little car, but RE-Amemiya was able to grab a hold of one and restore it in crazy fashion. Stuffed under the hood is a 13B rotary that produces about 280hp. They redid the entire interior and also fabricated a custom widebody. It has about the same power-to-weight ratio of a Bugtatti Veyron, so we can't wait to see when they finally start testing this thing!
Best Time Attack: Garage Rise Up RX-7
We absolutely fell in love with Garage Rise Up's FD3S Mazda RX-7. We're told they assembled the car in only a week's time, which is simply crazy considering all of the custom aero and fabrication it has. Our favorite feature is the modern Mazda front grille that has been grafted on. Under the hood is a 450hp rotary that's ready for a beating. Garage Rise Up is based in Sapporo, which is the northernmost region in Japan, about 10 hours by train from Tokyo. We're hoping to get out there in the future to see this FD in action.
Best Z: Mercury Auto 350Z
In the late '80s, Tokyo-based tuner, Ken Satou of Mercury Auto, designed a body kit for the AE86 and a few other models. Ken went on to build cars for D1GP, including Tetsuya Hibino's AE86. When the Z33 began gaining popularity in the drift world, he decided to make his own widebody kit, which he unveiled at the '15 Auto Salon with a 2JZ-powered Z33 drift car. For this year, he decided to make a street car using the same kit. This street version retains the VQ motor, but gets a boost of power with a FNATZ twin-turbo system.
Best SUV: Kinokuni Jimny
Don't feel bad if you don't recognize the make and model of this car. This off road crossover is called a Jimny and is made by Suzuki. What makes this one special though is the Silvia engine and chassis swap, as well as the tubular fenders and side skirts. Great job, Kinokuni!
Best Street Sweeper: Car Modify Wonder Silvia
Our homie Takashi Haruyama of Car Modify Wonder came out strong with new parts for the S chassis. We are particularly digging this S14 Silvia, which has new GT fenders and a new Glare wing design. Not just a show car, we've seen this particular Silvia come out to tons of local meets and weekend drift events.
GReddy Composite Meter Series
As of press time, these rad new gauges are still in the development stages. The holographic screen looks like something straight out of the future and once finalized, will be capable of displaying multiple engine parameters. greddy.com
Nardi x Vertex Steering Wheel
This wheel features a 340mm diameter ring with special gold stitching. It also has a dented Vertex plate at the bottom of the wheel and will include its own specific serial number. t-and-e.co.jp
Cusco Racing Harness
You thought Cusco only produced top-notch suspension parts? No, no, my friends, you're sadly mistaken. These new 6-point harnesses for example, are badass in their own right, with their lightweight construction and FIA approval. cuscousainc.com
Volk Racing TE37V Mark II
Meet the evolution model of the TE37V that now hits the market in an 18-inch version. Now if only Mackin can hook us up! mackin-ind.com
Advan Racing RCIII
This wheel is for you rally fanatics. The one-piece, forge cast wheel uses a flow forming process to create a high quality aluminum roller. mackin-ind.com
Carbing Battery Box
When you've relocated your battery to the trunk or inside the cabin, this battery box will help secure it properly while offering a cleaner look. carbing.co.jp
Tomei M8280 for 4B11 motor
Tomei's popular turbo is now available for your Evo X! tomeiusa.com
Tein Street Sport shock absorbers
You can use OE springs or match these shocks with TEIN's lowering springs for increased ride comfort. Available in 16-way adjustable or fixed damping options tein.com
Project Mu Side-B Hand Lever
Probably the coolest hand lever we've ever seen! Right now it's just a prototype, but if you want this product to be made, make sure you tell Project Mu! mackin-ind.com
DBA Kangaroo Paw Disc Brakes
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi, oi! Our friends from Australia showed off these cool rotors that use a unique ventilation system as a more efficient method of keeping the rotors cool. dbausa.com