TAS is THE aftermarket show. Even for a market so mature and so enormous, the OEMs want in on a piece of the action. From Daihatsu on up to the pinnacle of engineering at Honda Motor Co., the OE manufacturers are chasing tuners from the showroom floor and out the door for years afterward. The leading example of this is the Nissan Skyline GT-R Z-Tune available at the dealer for the first time in years.
Nissan scoured Japan to find used R34s and swapped in built motors and totally (and we mean totally) vamped these rigs up with NISMO gear. With a 500 horse 2.7L, dry carbon parts and RAYS GT500-style alloys this heavyweight came out of retirement to claim the title back that other JDM offerings just kept warm. But of course at $160,000 USD the car is not for everyone but there was much more on parade from the OEMs such as Toyota.
On some projects they had partnered up with legendary tuner TOM's to extract some more power from their lineup including a supercharged 4.5L V8. To extract some more looks from their array of commuters, the KenStyle package offered from Toyota puts them up a class. Honda Mugen also pulled out some hardware the most significant of which was the Legend Max, which sported a naturally aspirated V-6 complete with velocity stacks and a widebody kit. For their efforts, TAS judges awarded them the prize for the Best Sedan for 2005. Picking up best of show overall though was last year's winner, VeilSide for their Fortune RX-7 FD widebody sporting a split window and '38 offset wheels in the back.
This year as with every year, journalists try to pin down what will be dropping soon in the US. Beyond the parts, we are all about trying to define the Japanese market trends by trying to identify what the platform of choice each year is. Well, we hope you're ready for this but it was actually the new Legacy sedan and wagon with the RX-8 a distant second.
The EJ20 twin turbo-powered missile has a whole new look and a whole new lineup of aftermarket manufacturers onboard to make it outgun sports coupes. From Zero Sports to Wangan to Corazon, the Legacy is smoking and Team AutoBACS will agree that the parts are flying off the shelf. "The number one seller this year is the Legacy by a huge margin," says Paul Hansen, Marketing Associate for AutoBACS. Again, the US-inspired Spo-Com movement continues to flourish with chromies, reflective vinyl and scissor doors finding their way into many tuner platforms.
When it comes to new releases, there were plenty and all we can say is you're not ready for them. From turbos, to wheels to electronics and unreal kits, even we were impressed and we don't impress easy. The show, the jetlag, the parties, the girls and all of the JDM madness isn't something we anticipate every year but rather spend the whole year trying to take it all in. For now, feast on these digi-treats from our camera to see just exactly what JDM will mean in the future.