Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Osaka Auto Messe: The Standout Selection

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When I was a wee lad, I remember being quizzed by my mother as to who I loved more, her or my father. Probable psychological scaring aside, this torment helped me become who I am today. But I still think it’s unfair to choose a favourite.

So here I present to you the cars I spent most time photographing at the 2022 Osaka Auto Messe.

We’ll start in the same place as my first post, because it’s what everyone first saw walking through the main gates of Intex Osaka, and because it looks absolutely killer.

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I’m sure the Super GT-spec GT-R, NSX and 86 also on display all have carbon fiber components throughout, but this GR Supra from the GT500 class is the one that really stood out to me. Fully-exposed dry carbon chequered weave everywhere will have that effect.

With a massive single turbo, Hewland 6-speed sequential transmission and AP Racing 6-pot and 4-pot brakes also in the spec, I can feel my kidneys shrinking just at the thought of driving this on a circuit.

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I really think it’s only a matter of time before we see some maniac building a street version of this. Who’s game?

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Sticking with the race car vibes, next up we have a track-prepped GR Yaris from Kobe Toyopet Motor Sports. The car has been developed to compete in Japan’s Super Taikyu series, which I honestly didn’t know much about until doing a little research. It sounds like a really interesting competition with a great range of vehicle categories and the added thrill of entries from both professional and amateur drivers.

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The series includes an FIA GT3 class, GT4 class, STO-approved vehicles of 3,501cc and above, as well as two- and four-wheel drive classes, and 1.5L and lower classes too. As you can see from the interior shots, this thing is pretty serious.

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During the 2021 season, the KTMS Yaris placed on the podium for three out of five ST-2 (2,001cc  to 3,500cc, 4WD and front-wheel drive vehicles) class races entered, which is pretty impressive given the competition of FK8 Civic Type Rs, Imprezas and Evos.

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This Z31 Nissan Fairlady had me smitten. While not the most lavish of show car builds, it ticks all the boxes: beauty, style and perfect execution. It also had a nice surprise up front.

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The owner could have slapped any engine in there, but the choice of a naturally aspirated RB26DE from a rare Nissan Skyline R32 Autech Version makes the whole package come together as if it was intended to be like this from the factory. It’s OEM+ done just right.

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It’s sitting on 18-inch OZ Racing wheels, 10-inch wide up front and 11-inch at the rear, and also features R32 GT-R brakes.

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There’s also something very right about an ’80s car in bright pearlescent white with brilliant red leather seats.

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This bosozoku-inspired creation is the sort of build that sets the Osaka Auto Messe apart from the Tokyo Auto Salon. These cars are a real reflection of the colourful, anti-normal mindset that people in the south have. It’s a mindset that is echoed in fashion, music and even food.

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Just look at the cathedral organ pipes on the back of this thing – it’s a real work of art.

Speaking of which…

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There’s definitely a fine line between lame and absolute flame, and I sometimes find that ‘wild’ builds are either too much so, or they fall short of the mark and in many people’s eyes, fail. Builds that are too wild often break the generally accepted rules of aesthetics too. Yes, these are arguably subjective, but in reality, art critics, designers and artists themselves know what’s good and what’s not. Maybe that’s just called taste.

But I digress, just take a moment to soak this thing up…

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Remember how I was just talking about perfect execution? Well, this is another prime example where multiple extremes have come together to produce a single, coherent masterpiece of mayhem. 32-inch wheels, a flame paint job and a lush interior have transformed this Dodge Magnum into the show queen it was always meant to be.

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The new Nissan Fairlady Z ‘Customised Proto’ requires no introduction, but I didn’t really get a chance to spend much time with it at TAS because of the constant swarm of people it attracted.

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It was nice to be able to enjoy it at my leisure and take in every body line, detail and reference to the model’s lineage. I’m not usually a fan of brand new cars, but I found that after spending some time with the Z, I changed my tune about this one.

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Around the corner, I thought for a moment I was seeing double. Yes, this is indeed a Z34 Fairlady Z with an S30-style front end. The ‘340Z’ was built by students from two Nissan automotive colleges, and personally I think it’s a huge improvement over the base car from the front.

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The rear end kind of works too, but maybe needs some refinement?

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What was parked next to it however, was the show stopper. They call this one the ‘Hakosheen’.

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It’s a 1998 Nissan Rasheen 4WD with a C10 Hakosuka Skyline front end – an authentic one at that – and added FRP door lines. Just like the RB26DE-powered Z31 Fairlady, it’s pretty cool to see mash-ups using a single manufacturer source.

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Honourable mention must go to this Trust/GReddy-themed FD3S RX-7 slammed on air over Work Emotion wheels.

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Last but not least, the battalion of blue from Kuhl Racing.

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They’re not entirely my cup of tea, but in terms of presence I’ve got to give credit where credit is due.

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Kuhl’s GT-R body kits are pretty extreme, but kind of beautiful too. Beauty comes with a price though, and in the case of the ‘GT-R Wide Type1 Aero Kit’ – the equivalent of US$22,000.

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They do have some more subtle body kits available with slightly less noisy price tags, but I can’t help but feel that this stuff is aimed at the ‘more money than sense’ demographic. I could be wrong, though.

I really hope you’ve enjoyed this selection of favourites from the 2022 Osaka Auto Messe. Perhaps some of these builds will inspire you, because shooting them definitely made me want to get home and fix all the broken bits of my own project car.

Stay tuned for one final post from the show.

Toby Thyer
Instagram _tobinsta_
tobythyer.co.uk





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