Little is more important in the tuning game than getting noticed. Some shops like to go about this in their own way – some build excessively powerful cars, others choose to get their name out there via curious looking body parts or paint jobs. But the guys at Takero’s have chosen to reach this goal by picking a very curious base as their newest and latest demo car. We first spotted this particular ride among the stands of this year's Tokyo Auto Salon (TAS) and we just knew we had to take a closer look. After all it’s not ever day you see a turbo-charged, nitrous oxide breathing, Honda Odyssey minivan!
The man behind this crazy Odyssey is Takero-san, and no there are no prizes to be won for guessing where the company name comes from. His idea was simple – try to do something nobody has ever tried with a minivan. Over the years he has built numerous projects with station wagons, stepping to bigger, boxier things was a natural progression for his company. Specializing primarily in the design, development and creation of body kits Takero went full out on his new demonstration vehicle. To get noticed at TAS means one has to think long and hard to create something worthy of recognition which must be earned in both quality of work as well as looks. Nothing gets crowds more excited than wide body-kits and this is precisely what was done to the Odysseys flanks.
Carrying over from the aggressively styled front bumper are the fenders, which have been pushed out a few centimeters and feature an almost Super-GT looking air outlet thanks to the cut-out section where the fender meets the door. A deeply contoured set of side skirts have the job of carrying the Takero’s design to the rear portion of the Odyssey where the over-fenders begin flaring out the rear arches. This starts halfway across the rear doors and meets with the rest of the flaring on the actual fender part to create a new, low-set hip line. The Takero’s rear bumper blends into the new body proportions and features a carbon diffuser which has the job of adding rear end stability, together with the roof-mounted spoiler, when traveling at high speeds. Carbon is also used in the front splitter and hood, all done in-house at Takero’s to an incredible quality of finish. In fact Takero’s is responsible for building the carbon body-kit for the infamous Garage Saurus twin turbo Ferrari 550 Maranello, which takes us to the next aspect of this Honda minivan.
Once the body was taken care of it was on to the engine, which is why Takero-san called in the help of Hayashi-san at Garage Saurus. The two shops have been collaborating for many years and together make a killer partnership building some very special machinery. Garage Saurus had the job of adding some more spice to the rather asthmatic Honda KL24A 4-cylinder engine. In standard spec the i-VTEC unit develops an acceptable 200 hp giving average performance through its automatic transmission. But this wasn’t going to drum up any attention, so an HKS GT2530 turbine was thrown in for good measure. Mounted on a Takero’s exhaust manifold the GT2530’s 7 psi, cooled by a front-mounted intercooler, adds 50 more horses into the equation making things more interesting. But for the real boost in acceleration a nitrous oxide system was fitted and once activated pushes power to 330 PS!
The stock automatic transmission seems to take all of these modifications in stride and has performed very well even on the Odyssey’s frequent outings on tracks like Tsukuba. To make it more suited to circuit work the suspension has been swapped for a special Takero’s damper kit featuring hard springs front and rear. The resulting low ride height also helps keep the center of gravity closer to the ground. Brakes are once again from Takero’s, and are made up of huge 6-pot front calipers biting down on two-piece slotted rotors.
Open the driver’s door and you are greeted with an interior more akin to a racecar than a family wagon! Taking center stage are the red Momo bucket seats mounted, for obvious reasons, on very tall custom rails. The alcantara clad Sparco steering wheel has the option of being removed thanks to the quick release boss, helping ease entry and exit. Pivot was chosen for the additional instrumentation which is made up of a large tachometer mounted in front of the main dash area, and a set of smaller dials fitted to Takero’s own universal carbon fiber instrument cluster. This houses the water and oil temperature gauges as well as the oil pressure and of course boost instruments. Set between the bucket seats is the large nitrous oxide canister, which feeds the engine its cold gas when needed as well as serving as a somewhat uncomfortable armrest! And the uncomfortable side of the Takero’s Odyssey doesn’t end there, as there are no other seats for occupants, which have all been trashed in the pursuit of weight savings.
We met up with Takero-san at Tsukuba circuit where we snapped the white van around the twisty corners of Japan’s better-known track. With Takero-san behind the wheel the Odyssey was putting down consistent laps around the 1:10 sec mark but will be running much better once Garage Saurus program a more extreme map into its HKS F Con iS ECU. Takero seems to have well eclipsed simply being ‘noticed’ and are well on their way to full blown notoriety. Most incredibly we discovered that Takero’s have just built an even more extreme track-only Odyssey, with fully stripped interior, roll-cage, semi-slick tires and an engine producing in the region of 400 hp!