Call me a nerd, but I really love Star Wars. Besides being badass beyond belief, the original trilogy has always raised a lot of questions. Was Yoda naturally green from birth, and if so, was this a form of camouflage? How hard is it to use the restroom when wearing Storm Trooper armor? Does Chewbacca get really bad dingle berries? These and a million other questions perturbed my prepubescent brain. Some were logical—many were not. But there was one topic that bothered me more than any other, and it all has to do with the Dark Side of the Force.
What if Luke and Leah had never been flung to opposite ends of the Universe to be hidden from their father, Lord Vader? What if they had embraced the Dark Side? And if so, what would their Sith-filled upbringing been like? But I digress. From the moment I saw Takero’s RB3 Odyssey in the back of a JDM mag, the answer to these age-old questions were finally answered. Here was a vehicle that had the theme, the stance, the practicality, the size, and most importantly…the performance. Turbocharged cars are cool, and we all love seeing the gnarly little K24 being pushed to 400hp and beyond, so that is exactly what you see here today under the bonnet of this minivan. I guess now all you have to do is come to grips with the fact that this particular form of propulsion is what thrusts Lord Vader’s daily driver into hyperspace. (Before you start hating, just remember that he will choke you out if you aren’t careful.)
So now you are confused because there is an awesome engine in a grocery getter. Sure, it weighs about 2.5 tons stock, and it certainly would need a lot of pricey carbon and titanium upgrades to shed some of this weight. As luck would have it, Lord Vader has no problem allocating a bit of cash. So ol’ Darth paid (threatened) this Japanese grandpa by the name of Takero-san to mod up a whip for him. All mods were installed and properly tested within a stone’s throw from Mount Fuji, and everything was finished light-years ahead of schedule, because let’s face it, Lord Vader expects nothing less. Years later, the van still sits at its birthplace, directly at Fuji-san’s massive feet. Lord Vader hasn’t been in this quadrant for years now, and I felt that this might be my big chance to sneak a feature into HT. So I grew a pair, and decided to go get the inside scoop on Takero’s Imperial masterpiece, all the while praying that Vader didn’t return while I was conducting the shoot.
Now let’s talk about the RB3’s attributes, and why they are better than its American counterpart. For starters, it looks a smashingly ton better than the bulky beast we see in the States. No sliding soccer mom doors, bubbly styling, or watered-down angles. Everything about this car is the absolute opposite of these things; it is angular, brusque looking, and very aggressively styled from the factory. I have always felt that the boys at the design table drew heavily from the FD2 Type R when they shaped the RB3’s nose. And to be completely honest, their decision to make the Odyssey look and handle more like a car than a van was a stroke of pure genius.
Takero-san decided to expound upon these OEM angles by creating a custom carbon aero kit for Lord Vader. The aero kit’s pronounced pitches conform to the contour of the headlamps, and yet it’s not overly aggressive by any means. It is almost Mugen-ish, if I dare say. From the vented bonnet to the subtle side skirts, you are pulled into the opaquely sharp lines of the ship. But once you get to the rear of the van, you will notice there has been an addition to the chassis in the form of a massive spoiler. Why so big, you say? Apparently this addition was chosen for stability purposes when one is initiating hyperspace jumps.
I peeked inside the tinted-out spacecraft to gain a better view of the cockpit. Aside from the armada of gauge clusters and a wideband setup, everything appears to be stock JDM. As I gingerly stepped inside I was thrilled to see custom Takero’s stitched floor mats, along with signature aluminum doorsills. But it wasn’t until I sat inside that I realized how sporty this van really is to drive. The OEM seats are soft and supportive, and yet, at the same time their bucket configuration grips you much like a modern Si seat does. Even in the back row there is a sense of snug security in the conformity of the seats. No ridiculous captain’s chair or any of that garbage here. This is what a van should be like.
With the push of a button the “mini” van fired up and the turbo began to spool. The Takero-built GT2530 turbo kit from HKS whistled seamlessly alongside the K24 as we sped in harmony through the Japanese countryside. The 100 percent custom titanium exhaust purred faintly as we got closer to Fuji-san until, all of a sudden, Takero-san punched the throttle. As I was thrust back into my seat the tires screeched in anticipation of the corners to come, the car’s wastegate chattered away between gears, the exhaust ripped and snarled at our heels, and we were suddenly moving. Moving very fast.
To combat all of the noise, Takero-san turned the radio on. John Williams’ harmonic started to blast at me from every angle in no time, and I was tempted to ask about the audio upgrades that had been done to the van. I was pleased to hear what Takero-san had to say. This version of the Odyssey came equipped with a “Tech package” from the factory, much like what we see over here in the States when we buy a nice Acura. So to save space for Lord Vader’s golf clubs, Takero-san opted to utilize the stock audio mounting points found within the cabin, and just upgrade all of the components with modern Alpine models. With the beat of the 10-inch Alpine subwoofer blasting the “Imperial Death March” we came to a smooth stop right outside the shop courtesy of the van’s custom Takero’s BBK. Back already? Damn this thing was fast…
I stepped out of the van and looked it over again. The 20-inch Prodrive wheels, the aggressive stance, the sharp lines, and the titanium exhaust all stream together so impeccably. I strolled around the car. A glance from the side shows off the 20-inch rollers, massive purple brakes, and razor-sharp stance. Around back, the spoiler, custom carbon diffuser, and canisters bring the business. And from the front, the HKS intercooler gleams behind the completely custom carbon face. This van really is the last word in intergalactic space travel. Practical, powerful, and pristine, this RB3 is now the ultimate power in the universe. I suggest we use it.
Bolts & Washers
Takero’s original GT2530 HKS turbo kit
Takero’s original turbo-back titanium exhaust system
NISMO 480cc injectors
SARD fuel pump
Gruppe M carbon intake
K&N air filter
HKS F-Con V Pro
Custom lines and fittings
Takero’s custom coilovers
Takero’s 6-pot calipers, front
Takero’s 4-pot calipers, rear
Takero’s 14-inch slotted rotors (front and rear)
Takero’s carbon-fiber front bumper
Takero’s carbon-fiber grille
Takero’s vented carbon-fiber bonnet
Takero’s carbon-fiber vented front fenders
Takero’s carbon-fiber side skirts
Takero’s carbon-fiber front underspoiler
Takero’s carbon-fiber rear underspoiler
Takero’s carbon-fiber rear undertray
Takero’s carbon-fiber rear diffuser
Takero’s carbon-fiber wing
Formula 1–style rear foglamp
Takero’s badges and decals
Pivot oil pressure/temp, water temp, vacuum gauges/pods
PLX Devices M-300 wideband
Takero’s custom embroidered floor mats
Takero’s custom aluminum doorsills
Micah Wright and people in the world who are like him, who believe that even a heavy and unloved chassis deserves some time in the limelight.
Not online ever
The world’s fastest minivan
Inspiration For This Build
To appease Lord Vader
Bigger and faster Odyssey race vans