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Tokyo Auto Salon 2019 - Old School Cars

What once was old is new again - our favorite old-school restomod builds from TAS '19

Rodrez
Jan 14, 2019
Photographer: David Ishikawa

The wave of old school chassis restoration and restomods that have been flowing throughout the U.S. in recent years has dramatically increased, and with that comes new levels of creativity, best practices, and even more reach as those outside the circle take notice of the possibilities. Often times it's a matter of locking eyes with "the one that got away" or even a bit of deja vu as a quick glance at an old Z car stirs up some old memories and the process of obtaining and building begins.

Tokyo auto salon 2019 old school cars orange speed forme z Photo 2/29   |   Tokyo Auto Salon 2019 Old School Cars Orange Speed Forme Z

In Japan, however, the art of restoring and often times modifying during and after restoration has always held great value. A sense of pride packed into a once neglected chassis, somewhat modernized and served up with a healthy helping of style and functionality, without getting too far away from its roots, is commonplace overseas.

Tokyo auto salon 2019 old school cars hpi skyline Photo 3/29   |   Tokyo Auto Salon 2019 Old School Cars Hpi Skyline

Like the long-running domestic-centric shops of the United States that carry a certain level of respect due to the sheer number of builds, in varying degrees of modification, Japanese shops dedicated to cars like '70s-era Skylines and multiple generations of Z-cars are often heralded and the cars they churn out set the tempo for home builders and up and comers.

At this year's Tokyo Auto Salon, some of the heavy hitters of the Japanese restomod world brought out their flagships and, as expected, did not disappoint in the slightest. Here's a look at some of our favorite ol-school build standouts that pulled plenty of crowd attention during TAS '19.

Tokyo auto salon 2019 old school cars speed forme gtr Photo 4/29   |   Tokyo Auto Salon 2019 Old School Cars Speed Forme Gtr
Tokyo auto salon 2019 old school cars kenmeri gtr Photo 5/29   |   Tokyo Auto Salon 2019 Old School Cars Kenmeri Gtr

If you were lucky enough to own a '70s-era Skyline and wanted an authentic Japanese restomod touch, you'd be hard pressed to find a better pair of shops than Rocky Auto and Speed Forme, of Japan. For this year's show, both camps brought out their versions of the Skyline "Kenmeri" and both looked strikingly similar.

From the front, both carry the requisite fender mirrors and both rely on bronze TE37s, but the front lower air dams used are different and the Speed Forme fender flares, slightly larger with a more rounded appearance that makes them just a tad more aggressive—the result of which is a lower offset wheel setup.

Tokyo auto salon 2019 old school cars kenmeri skyline gtr Photo 6/29   |   Tokyo Auto Salon 2019 Old School Cars Kenmeri Skyline Gtr
Tokyo auto salon 2019 old school cars kenmeri skyline Photo 7/29   |   Tokyo Auto Salon 2019 Old School Cars Kenmeri Skyline

The most noticeable differences in the rear are the single and dual exhaust exits and the trunk lip each camp chose. Both are incredible examples of a piece of Nissan history.

Tokyo auto salon 2019 old school cars rocky auto r300gt Photo 8/29   |   Tokyo Auto Salon 2019 Old School Cars Rocky Auto R300gt
Tokyo auto salon 2019 old school cars rocky auto r300gt Photo 9/29   |   Tokyo Auto Salon 2019 Old School Cars Rocky Auto R300gt

This signature Toyota R300GT was also from Rocky Auto—essentially an ode to the iconic 2000GT but fitted with far more modern amenities like power rack and pinion and powered by Toyota's 2JZ. The concoction is masterfully done and this gold version is testament.

Tokyo auto salon 2019 old school cars pandem datsun truck Photo 10/29   |   Tokyo Auto Salon 2019 Old School Cars Pandem Datsun Truck
Tokyo auto salon 2019 old school cars pandem datsun truck Photo 11/29   |   Tokyo Auto Salon 2019 Old School Cars Pandem Datsun Truck
Tokyo auto salon 2019 old school cars sidedraft carbs Photo 12/29   |   Tokyo Auto Salon 2019 Old School Cars Sidedraft Carbs

The "Bunny Truck" made an appearance on the show floor in its raw form. This left-hand drive Datsun 521 has been fitted with a Rocket Bunny front air damn, side skirts, rear spats and fender flares, and still in place is its original paint, unabashedly faded and interrupted by sizeable gashes in its bed.

Tokyo auto salon 2019 old school cars nissan cherry Photo 13/29   |   Tokyo Auto Salon 2019 Old School Cars Nissan Cherry
Tokyo auto salon 2019 old school cars nissan cherry engine Photo 14/29   |   Tokyo Auto Salon 2019 Old School Cars Nissan Cherry Engine

We've yet to run into a first gen. Nissan Cherry X1R and doubt we'll ever see one as clean as this restomod version. Serving as Nissan's first front engine, front wheel drive vehicle, the Cherry made its way through Japan and the European market under the Datsun banner in the early '70s.

Tokyo auto salon 2019 old school cars star road gtr Photo 15/29   |   Tokyo Auto Salon 2019 Old School Cars Star Road Gtr
Tokyo auto salon 2019 old school cars external oil cooler Photo 16/29   |   Tokyo Auto Salon 2019 Old School Cars External Oil Cooler

You can't really put together a story about old-school builds in Japan without mentioning Star Road. The group has a knack for bringing out the very best in classic chassis like this green and black Hako with unique touches like the modern, carbon fiber mirrors and the external oil cooler, a long-standing tradition with classic chassis in Japan, uses precision brackets to clean up the look.

Tokyo auto salon 2019 old school cars star road fairlady z Photo 17/29   |   Tokyo Auto Salon 2019 Old School Cars Star Road Fairlady Z

Star Road has never shied away from Z-car builds and this one, armed with custom painted fender flares that play off of the low offset wheels, carries stunning paintwork, a cleaned up rear end and is oozing with unmistakable Star Road style.

By Rodrez
689 Articles

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