Simply mindblowing; that’s the best way to describe this year’s Nagoya Exciting Car Showdown (NECS). After what Japan was put through with the big Tohoku earthquake, the resulting tsunami and nuclear scare, this is just what the tuning scene needed to kick-start the slow recovery back to normality. As you have probably figured out, the huge show held at Nagoya Port Messe exhibition center is unlike any other held in Japan. Forget your Tokyo Auto Salon or Osaka Auto Messe; this is nothing like that, and it’s far more low-key, which makes it so unbelievably great. Now in its fourth itineration the NECS brings together some of the famous names we all know and love, with an even bigger group of names that aren’t as recognized. The idea behind this gathering is to give a chance for smaller shops around the country, particularly the south, to come and show off their creations to enthusiasts. Each year, a tuner is hand picked by Daijiro Inada, who puts together a selection of cars that best represent the various styles that are in vogue at the moment. From drift to time attack, all the way to VIP and drag racing there really is something for everyone at the Port Messe, and if that wasn’t enough, the parking area always fills up with the most incredible variety of cars. Organizers Daijiro Inada and the great Keiichi Tsuchiya decided to turn the show into a big charity event, raising money for the victims of the disaster in the northern part of the country.
With the latest crop of tuned cars, extreme engine tuning has taken a very disappointing second place behind aesthetics—but not in Nagoya. It was literally overwhelming to see the amount of work that had gone into some of the cars, from the Friends 1200 HP drag-spec R34 GT-R to the FIX KE70 Corolla running an individually throttled 1UZ V8 transplant. Styles are born here and the levels of innovation are high. Take the line up of slammed 326 Power S14 and S15s, sporting ground-hugging aero and aggressively cambered Work wheels. We ran across a few new D1 cars like Kazama Auto’s 2JZ-powered, widebody S15 Silvia that Tanaka will drive as well as Tezuka’s new ER34 Bee*R Skyline GT-t running a RB26. Diversity is definitely what makes this show so special; walk down one hall and you’ll pass Top Secret’s 300HP turbocharged Honda CR-Z, the next a curious little drift-spec Toyota KP61 Starlet fitted with an air-cooled Suzuki GSX bike engine! Honda tuner Weisse gave us another unique line up with some of the shop’s best NSXs, proving just how timeless these cars really are. Phoenix’s Power is without a doubt a leader in R35 GT-R tuning, pushing their demo car to 800hp thanks to GReddy turbines and a 4.0L JUN stroked bottom end. Kobayashi-san of MCR also showed up with his unmistakable red R35 GT-R, running “small” 18-inch Yokohama RCIII wheels and slicks, no doubt ready to break some lap times. Talking with Mamina Inada, Daijiro Inada’s daughter and the person responsible for organizing the whole event, she was extremely happy with the turnout over the weekend, considering the show was held only three weeks after the earthquake. A great deal of money was raised by everyone involved, but most importantly, spirits were given a much needed boost thanks to the awesome line up of rides on show and the extremely mellow atmosphere of the whole event. If you are planning on coming to Japan for the Tokyo Auto Salon, you should probably reconsider delaying the trip a few months and checking out the Nagoya Exciting Car Showdown. It’s JDM bliss in every way!