With over two decades of successful events prior, you’d think that the annual Osaka Auto Messe – a show dedicated to customization, tuning and general aftermarket goods – would be the crown jewel of the import performance community. However, ask most enthusiasts about the three-day affair that’s been operating since 1997 and attracts over 200,000 visitors each year and they might not know what it is.
Call it the underdog, as it doesn’t get nearly the same amount of shine as its big brother, the Tokyo Auto Salon, and is even overshadowed by the domestic-heavy SEMA Show in Las Vegas – but we’re trying to change all of that that. Our multi-part coverage last year was a hit with readers and editor-in-chief Sam Du made his return to Japan to see the show first hand and bring you the latest the JDM aftermarket has to offer.
Below you’ll find Du’s gallery full of images he snapped on the first day of the show. Not surprisingly, the overwhelming theme continues to be wide and low, with overfenders and air suspension deemed staples in the Japanese aftermarket. However, in between some of the low slung, ultra-wide display cars you’ll also find flashes of high performance builds, some old-school restomods, and even a group of very well built ‘80s and ‘90s Hondas.
Restomod Hakosuka builds seem to come in all different varieties these days and this one, slathered in a flat gray hue, incorporated very large flares which are filled with classic Chevlon Racing wheels.
No doubt you were expecting something from Pandem, a group that’s been white hot in recent years, and at Osaka Auto Messe’s 22nd annual event they delivered a pair of Porsches that pulled in a crowd throughout the day. The sleek silver Cayman S on air suspension rides on Barramundi Raycod wheels.
The Boxster, also on adjustable air ride, is fitted with Work Meister S1 and takes interior styling cues from a pair of Jordan 12 Bordeaux sneakers.
The LC500 was a hit at SEMA and the Tokyo Auto Salon and a number of newly modded versions made their way to the Auto Messe floor as well, like this pair from Wald.
Five Mart/Osaka JDM has a knack for building very detailed ‘80s and ‘90s Hondas that always seem to incorporate cutting-edge performance with classic styling. They incorporate some of what’s hot in the US Honda market and their builds often spend as much time on the track as they do at large-scale events, like this one.
Euro builds have always had a place in Japan’s aftermarket culture, but in recent years with the increase in flare-enhanced and widebody builds, they’ve seemingly multiplied at events like this. Here, a modern GTI with flared fenders sits next to a ’89 Golf 2 fitted with Voomeran body armor.
It’s not all slammed ride heights and stretched tires at this event – offerings like this Team Toyo R35 drift car in the GReddy booth made sure the performance aspect was still a factor.
GReddy also brought out their 34RX build complete with a highly massaged RB26 and classic bronze TE37s.
Don’t think the American iron crowd is shunned in Japan, either. The Work Wheels booth, for example, featured this flared Challenger Hellcat on 20-inch CR3P Emotion rollers.
The C-HR made a splash in Japan the moment it was unveiled a few years ago. We saw multiple examples at TAS in 2017 and 2018, and plenty showed up to this event.