Tokyo Auto Salon Details:
5,500 air miles, two trains from Akihabara and abused shoe soles brought us to Makuhari Messe Convention Center for Tokyo Auto Salon 2014 (TAS) – an annual three-day JDM-certified aftermarket show. As the parking lot filled with Silvias, GT-Rs, Hachi-Rokus, Vellfires, 86/BRZs, RX7s and Supras, journalists inside uploaded show floor gems to keep social media streams updated. A cold January breeze from Tokyo Bay rolled over the flow of tuner enthusiasts entering the convention center halls. The event buzzed with business and camera clicks.
See what local tuners drove to the show: Tokyo Auto Salon 2014 - Parking Lot Car Sightings
TAS is sort of like a smaller-scale SEMA in the states but with a much sharper focus on the parts and platforms tailored to our demographic. Domestics like Corvettes and even a mock police Charger complimented by dancing models dressed in blue were peppered into the show but as a vast minority in a sea of Toyota 86 and BRZs, GT-Rs, wild vans and slammed high-dollar Euros. Even though chatter from some annual attendees marked the 2014 showing as more of the same items seen the year prior, for a foreigner the experience is like landing in modified heaven.
Crowds gravitated towards the wide-fender big money offerings from the Liberty Walk camp, GT-class race monsters, mouthwatering GT-Rs and Fairlady Zs from the GReddy/Trust, Endless, Varis and TopSecret/Blitz booths, OE displays and of course the 86/BRZ World display. Hands down the most popular new cars featured at TAS 2014 were 86/BRZ and R35 builds. Option Magazine also hosted a standout section that showcased a variety of everything from a pink VW Beetle with SR20, 4-rotor RX-7 and EV-powered 70'sToyota Celica.
A curious amount of photogs wielded long lens cameras, which was at first hard to figure out being that a smaller lens adequately got the job done for show coverage. Then the hordes of guys surrounding a costume or scantily clad model(s) shed light on the long lens question. Adhering to some unsaid rule to leave models a personal space bubble of five or so feet, massive groups of guys formed at various locations across the show floor. Each quietly fought for a better vantage point before taking their sweet time filming and shooting each smiling babe on display. For more on that see the link below.
Check out the women of TAS: Models of Tokyo Auto Salon 2014
Brand new aftermarket parts - some of which will not make American shores - have always been the lifeblood behind the annual TAS. This year saw a range of new parts focused on improved styling, performance or comfort. A plethora of new wheel releases such as the Work MCO Racing Type CS, Enkei PF07, BBS S RS and Volk Racing ZE40 grabbed attention. Brands like Cusco, Tein and Blitz hit us with aggressive street suspension components that offer electronic damping control and track day potential.
Many bucket seat options such as the Bride Digo II, Recaro Hans-ready Ultima 1.0 and Sparco baby booster seat saw the backsides of passersby interested in a feel test. Endless, Top Secret, Varis and Exedy showcased beautifully crafted race-ready parts designed to drastically increase stopping power, cornering and putting power to the ground. The famous Kei Miura of TRA Kyoto even hinted at the next Rocket Bunny V3 widebody kit being ready by summer.
A full recap of the hottest new parts of Tokyo Auto Salon 2014 can be found within the Events tab.
Sunday wrapped up a three-day event that highlighted the latest tuner trends, parts and builds of Japan. For those interested in getting the best taste of local flavor be sure to hit the parking lot on the final Sunday. This year the final day saw the largest amount of non-media attendees because of the coming of age no-work celebration loosely known as, “20 Year Old People Holiday” that fell on the following Monday.
Surmising TAS 2014 in a couple of sentences is tough because the show holds such variety. 600cc Kei cars all the way up to GT500 champions are shown off. This year though it was clear that widebody kits, aggressive street parts for weekend warriors and focus on 86/BRZ and R35 platforms were the most popular brand trends. See you next year!
See our adventure to Fuji Speedway after TAS: HKS Premium Day 2014