The Tokyo Auto Salon is one of the premier modified car culture and trade shows on the planet. Here are some of the highlights from the 2024 edition.
If you’re a modified car enthusiast – particularly if you like cars of a Japanese variety – then the Tokyo Auto Salon is an event that you look forward to every year. The biggest OEM and aftermarket names from the Asian automotive scene flock to the show to unveil their latest products and demo cars, some of which inevitably go down in JDM folklore. So let’s get straight into it shall we? Here are some of the headlines from this year’s event.
Tokyo Auto Salon 2024
Mad Mike’s FURSTY by TCP Magic
If you’re a veteran of the modified scene, Mad Mike Whiddett is someone that needs no introduction. The Kiwi drifter has had success from driving sideways all over the planet, exclusively behind the wheel of a Mazda. Each of the cars in Mad Mike’s fleet have a story to tell, but this one in particular will make you go, “aww.”
See, this RX-3 facelifted Mazda 808 wagon was Mad Mike’s first ever competition car, but decades ago, he had to sell it in order to fund the FD RX-7 drift car that would put him on the map. However, the wagon has miraculously stood the test of time, and recently Mike was able to buy it back. Not only that, but it’s had a full overhaul by the folks at TCP-Magic. As the icing on the cake, Mad Mike will compete with it in the 2024 D1 GP drifting championship. Talk about full circle, eh.
Garage Active FULL DRYCARBON-R
You’d be forgiven thinking that the DRYCARBON-R’s exterior shell was its sole party piece, but peak under the hood and you’ll find that this R32 GT-R is a formidable beast inside and out. Equipped with a HKS ‘RB30’ bored-out block, the car’s powertrain is capable of putting out 931 kilowatts (1248hp!) and is hooked up to an ATS triple-clutch system and OS Giken six-speed sequential gearbox. Due to its comprehensive list of mods (which I recommend you seek out in detail), the Salon’s team of judges crowned this car as the winner of the 2024 International Custom Car Contest Tuning Division.
Forte Chevrolet C8 Corvette
A C8 Corvette isn’t exactly what you’d first expect to be featuring so prominently at the Tokyo Auto Salon, however there’s good reason for it. This C8 won the event’s Import Car segment honors, within the International Custom Car Contest. Yes, it does feel quite alien to call a Corvette an import, but the logic tracks. Boasting forged wheels, air suspension, and a valved exhaust system, Forte’s widebody ‘Vette makes for a pretty spectacular show car.
Kuhl Toyota Prius 60R-GTW Widebody
Kuhl’s Prius demo car won the ‘Dress Up Sedan Division’ of the overall awards, giving the much-loved new Prius (imagine saying that phrase a few years ago) a flashy, aesthetic. Colored gold, the Prius has an array of outlandish styling mods. From the six-exit exhaust, to the radically concave alloys and double-decker splitters, the more you look at the car, the more unique details you find.
Kazama Auto Services GR86 Carbon Spec/Drift
The final award winner I’m going to cover is Kazama Auto Service’s fully carbon-bodied GR86. This mad little coupe won the show’s ‘Dress Up Sports Car’ category, probably because this isn’t just any old carbon body. Instead of being made from either wet or dry carbon, this GR86’s bodywork was constructed from an ‘infusion’ method known as VaRTM. Ultimately, I’m not clever enough to get a grip on the science, but the main idea is that it provides a comparable level of rigidity and strength to that of dry carbon, while keeping costs down closer to that of wet carbon.
Aside from the complex body, this GR86 is also packing some serious ponies. Under the hood, the original motor is gone in favor of a 2JZ-GTE, tuned up to 1000 horsepower. Nice.
Hyundai NPX1 Concept
Hyundai is committed to the cause of pushing its N performance division. It’s present in both the FIA World Rally Championship and international TCR touring car racing, and in the latter half of last year the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N enjoyed a prominent PR campaign. The effort hasn’t stopped there though. In fact, it appears as though it’s only just begun.
At this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon, Hyundai has unveiled the NPX1, which is an Ioniq 5 N that’s been kitted out with all of Hyundai’s new factory performance parts. Essentially, these are aftermarket upgrades that you can buy to help personalize your N car. The Ioniq 5 kit includes: a carbon front splitter, side skirts, rear diffuser, rear wing spoiler, lightweight hybrid carbon wheels, high-performance brake pads and lowering springs. The NPX1 also gets Alcantara furnishings and bucket seats on the inside.
Lexus LBX Morizo RR Concept
Toyota and Lexus also had a factory presence at the Tokyo Auto Salon. Amongst the OEM’s show cars was the updated GR Yaris and previously-seen Lexus RZ Sport concept, but the one that intrigued me the most was the Lexus LBX Morizo RR. On face value, you might wonder why. The new Lexus LBX is the marque’s smallest ever car, which in the past would’ve meant that it was a compact hatchback or supermini. In today’s reality though, everything has to have a tall ride height for some reason, so it’s actually a Puma-esque crossover.
Still, underneath the skin, there is promise. The engine and powertrain, for example, are the same as what you’ll find in the updated GR Yaris. That means this LBX is outputting just over 300hp. You also get a torsen LSD and GR Yaris-derived suspension. Overall, there’s some genuine potential there, and dare I say I even quite like the styling. Fortunately, this concept car might not stay a concept for long. Toyota spokespeople suggest that the LBX Morizo RR is “under development for release in the summer of 2024.”
Liberty Walk always puts on a good show at the Tokyo Auto Salon. This year, the company’s headline act was its brand new Lamborghini Countach demo car, but you’ll have to read my individual report on that to learn more about it. The same goes for Liberty Walk’s new Abarth 595 kit.
Mugen FL5 Type R
Pseudo-factory Honda tuning house, Mugen, displayed its Group A and Group B (pictured) FL5 demo cars at the show this year; the names reflecting the level of aero involved, with the Group B being the more extreme of the two. On top of those elements, the Group B also wears a carbon hood, and there’s plenty else going on underneath the skin.
At the back, the stock exhaust has been replaced with a straighter single-exit. Mugen has also developed its own bespoke suspension setup and braking system, which hides behind a set of 19-inch BBS alloys at each corner. Inside, there’s more change, including a fresh steering wheel design, bucket seats, and reworked shift knob, all to aid the driver’s ergonomic experience behind the wheel. That all being said, Mugen will be hard pushed to improve upon what was already an excellent base car. Check out our Civic Type R FL5 review to see what I mean.
Truth be told though, I’m only scratching the surface of what was on show at this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon. So, hop over to Online Auto Salon to browse through the show’s entire range of exhibition cars at your own pace. Or, head over to the Tokyo Auto Salon YouTube channel.