The third and final part of my coverage from the 2017 Tokyo Auto Salon isn’t actually related to the show itself, part 1 and part 2 covers all that. Instead, here we take a look at the car park complex of TAS, which is always a show in itself.
It would be a sin to go to an event as big and as popular as the Tokyo Auto Salon without doing a quick lap around the car park. Of course, that’s easier said than done. An event as large as TAS has an equally large car park facility.
The car park in question isn’t the only available parking space for visitors of the show, there are several other car parks surrounding the venue halls but this is the main one and the most convenient so it’s usually full of interesting cars.
A “quick” lap took around 50 minutes and that included missing some of the space in the farthest parts of the lot. But it was enough to get a wide selection of what makes Japanese car culture one of the best in the world.
Walking around the car park was just like walking around a motor show. The variety of cars was undeniably Japan. From immaculate exotics to mental vans, it was a cesspool of the unique traits of Japan.
One thing all the cars had in common was how much their owners had taken care of them. The cars were spotless, well maintained, and very obviously cared for. Age or cost didn’t matter, the 30 year old Toyota AE86 looked as clean and as fresh as the 10 year old Subaru S203 next to it.
Some of the highlights, or rather more memorable sights, were the crazy vans. This is one side of Japanese car culture I haven’t fully looked into. Sure, there are those crazy sound vans at Daikoku with a boot full of speakers and their exterior littered with LED lights, but it’s these slammed and stanced vans and the ones with the massive fins that take my fancy.
It’s getting rarer to see this side of Japanese car culture (or should that be van culture) these days in Tokyo. There used to be a time where van meets happened all the time. I did spot a few at Daikoku a year or so ago as well. But these days, the dwindling population of fin tail vans remain in the countryside. There weren’t even any extremely crazy vans at the Auto Salon.
What wasn’t in short supply were the slammed, cambered, and widebody cars. Mirroring the trend inside the halls of the Tokyo Auto Salon, it was clear this movement wasn’t going anyway. And if it was, it would be going at a slow and slightly awkward pace. The deep red Toyota Mark X (a rear-wheel drive, V6 Toyota sedan) on its own looked pretty damn nice if I’m being perfectly honest. As did the baby blue NSX, which I know some people would deem blasphemy but I thought looked fantastic.
Liberty Walk fans were clearly and about too. An Austin Yellow M4 doesn’t need any more help grabbing attention but lowering it and slapping on LB overfenders is the way to do it. Sitting low and squat in a car park surrounded by ‘normal’ cars, it really did catch the eye. The Infiniti G37 with the Liberty Walk kit was a good reminder that everyone’s favourite exotic widener also do kits for more affordable cars.
If we’re talking about good, honest JDM tuning, there were several drift-ready machines in the car park too. The black 180SX with the massive wing, many stickers, and cool wheels was a particular favourite. As was the panda AE86 which was actually with us at Nikko, Tochigi during the Pagani Raduno.
Then there was the mysterious R34 Skyline GT-R with many NISMO bits and the S-Tune sticker. I’m not sure if it’s an original one, regardless it was very cool to see. If you look closely, you’ll see what appears to be a blue R34 behind it too. But it was actually a Nissan S15 Silvia with the rear from the R34 and the front resembling a 240Z, wrapped in an anime livery of course. Japan.
If you like ridiculous bodykits, crazy color schemes, and offensively large spoilers on Lexus sedans, this car park is for you. The IS F with the big wing looked alright, but the previous generation IS250 with the crazy taillights and bodykit was a bit odd. Not quite as odd as some of the English phrases written on the purple/green IS300h, such as “It’s not tomorrow behind. Let’s only life without fun and live only once”. Maybe he was trying to say YOLO?
Other noteworthy cars was the new Mazda MX-5 RF in red (I need to test one of these), a blue Autozam AZ-1 with several auxiliary fog lights, a Ruby Star Porsche 964. Have a look through the rest of the gallery to see some other highlights from the car park of the Tokyo Auto Salon 2017.