January 17, 2012

Tokyo Auto Salon 2012

Tokyo Auto Salon (TAS) is dubbed the "world's largest car show" for a reason. Imagine three aircraft hanger sized rooms, one half sized room with stadium seating, and a large outside parking lot with more cars and a drift show, all dedicated to this amazing event. It literally took me two days to see everything they had to offer, and I found out later that I still managed to miss some cars!

Each tuner shop or car manufacturer was creative in how they displayed their products and cars, so each booth was its own little experience. From amazing titanium exhaust systems, to all sorts of fixed back seats, to fancy coilover sets, everything on display would be sure to lighten your wallet. Various booths had their own models on display with the cars as well, which became annoying at times when you just wanted a clean picture of the car. Most of the booths were giving away full catalogs for free! Talk about some great gifts for my friends back home.

There was some rotary presence at the show, but I guess I had expected to see a lot more rotary tuner booths other than only RE-Amemiya and AutoCraft. Mazda had their new "Spirit R RX-8" on display, which didn't look so bad in person. In the "Option Tuning" room, there was a few one-off rotaries that definitely do not disappoint. Scoot showed off their 4-Rotor RX-7 monster, and right next to it was my favorite Touge Monster RX-7 by Fujita Engineering (FEED). FEED even brought out an NC Miata that had a Renesis 13B engine in it, and it looked stock! Too bad Miata's never came with a rotary like that from the factory.

KnightSports had their amazing RX-8 car on display in the Mazda Racing section. Talk about jaw dropping. They redid a lot on their 2009 Macau GP Challenge RX-8 car, such as all of the aerodynamics by starting with the newer Series II bodystyle, changing the wheel size to a 18x11, and then also some fine tuning to the engine to milk out every bit of power while staying reliable. They came 2nd place in their class this time around, but I know they can take 1st place again like they did back in 2009. Be sure to check out some of their videos of the 2011 Macau GP Challenge on their YouTube page.

There was a small drift demonstration going on in the parking lot outside. Unfortunately, I was unable to see it as there were so many people, and all of them were taller than me (Japan's height stereotype is clearly wrong). In the end, it was a show that I wish I could go see every year. From all of the neat cars, to the new products on display, there is something for everyone at Tokyo Auto Salon. All of the pictures I took of the Auto Salon are on the first album I have of Japan, here. Kaizen Tuning's Jason Lee took some great pictures as well. Hopefully next time I go, I'll be early enough to the drift show that I can actually get a spot to be able to watch it!

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