The Chronicles in Japan 2020 Part 6: Impact Magic and TRA Kyoto…

The next morning after an epic visit to Car Make ACROSS, Yasu and I hopped into his FK7 Civic so we could head out to Kyoto. We were set to meet up with Kei Miura from TRA Kyoto to discuss some future plans but when we arrived, he was nowhere to be found. If you guys watched the Vlog, you’ll see exactly what happened; we literally walked around his shop looking for him and could hear music in the distance, but it didn’t seem like anyone was there. Maybe someone had stepped-out for lunch or something but it was odd that the door was unlocked…

Eventually we walked around long enough for someone to notice we were there and one of Miura’s workers came to greet us. He informed us that Miura had a pretty unique sleep schedule and wouldn’t be at TRA Kyoto until about 4 PM. Being someone with a weird schedule myself, I understood. Hell, most of the time I don’t even sleep until 6 AM and Miura is probably the same way. We didn’t want to bother the worker and wait around for two hours so we decided to visit another shop in the area, Impact Magic. It’s been a while since I had visited Impact LTD. I think the last time was back in 2016 when I had DPK David and the guys with me on their first trip to Japan. Tsuneo Sonoda is a busy man but he’s been in integral part of my Japan experience since the very beginning. We’ve done some, well…”interesting” automotive adventures, to say the least, on Osaka highways in the past but neither of us really partake in said-adventures these days. I do appreciate him always being so welcoming whenever I do come to Japan and always opening-up his shop for me to explore. Like I said, it’s been quite some time since I’ve been back but we just don’t go to Kyoto very often unless its for some touristy things that I don’t really want to do with my brief time in Japan so I just haven’t been back to see him…

He had no idea we were coming and we had no plans to visit. Yasu just gave him a call and he just happened to be on his way back to Impact Magic. Sonoda said we were welcome to come so we headed his way. Impact is relatively close to TRA Kyoto, just a few minutes away actually, and if you’re in the area, you’ll also pass another legendary tuning shop, Phoenix’s Power, on the way. I know TRA Kyoto gets a shit ton of visitors—probably more than Miura wants, to be honest, but I can’t say that you can just walk right into Impact Magic. There isn’t a huge sign or anything outside either so it’d probably be difficult to find. I’m not saying you can’t go there, but I wouldn’t try to because it’s not that type of place. Phoenix’s Power I am not sure of. I wanted to go there but we just didn’t have enough time. By the time we wrapped-up at Impact, we already had to go to meet Miura…

Before we begin, I just wanted to remind everyone that this is the sixth-installment of the ongoing Japan Photo Series. I thought it’d be great to compile everything into one big collection instead of spreading them out without any timeline or context. If you missed any of the previous parts, I’ve attached them below…

The Chronicles in Japan 2020 Part 1: Arrival and Tokyo Auto Salon…

The Chronicles in Japan 2020 Part 2: More From TAS…

The Chronicles in Japan 2020 Part 3: Spoon Collection Event…

The Chronicles in Japan 2020 Part 4: Tokyo Nights, Hong Kong Meet, and Factor Racing Service…

The Chronicles in Japan 2020 Part 5: Car Make ACROSS, Trial Tuning Spirit, and Speedforme…

If you guys are waiting for another Vlog episode, there won’t be another one until I return to Japan to film next week. I didn’t film in Hawaii this time around because I wanted to focus more on photography. There are still more photos coming from Japan though, two more parts I think, so stick around for that…

If you’re looking for Wekfest Hawaii coverage, I might try to wedge that in-between the posts from the Japan Photo Series because it’s something I think people in Hawaii are waiting to see as well as some of the people back here in the States. I haven’t decided yet so I guess you’ll just have to wait and see…

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Yasu’s FK7 Civic on Desmond Regamaster EVO II in bronze parked outside of Impact Magic when we first pulled-up…

Initially I didn’t know if he had any secret projects inside the shop and whether or not there was anything inside that he didn’t want me to capture so I just chilled outside…

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I usually like to go around back to see what he has stored in the back of Impact. There’s always some old race cars back there or old project cars that have been abandoned. I thought there’d be something new but it was definitely the same cars that we had seen left there back when we visited in 2016. The one car that I was always keen on was this second-generation Isuzu Gemini…

The car is actually pretty interesting and was designed by renowned automotive designer Giorgetto Giugiaro. You probably know him more for his work with the DeLorean DMC-12, Maserati Ghibli, Ferrari 250GT, Lotus Esprit, and many, many more. Giugiaro not only designed sports cars, but also was tasked with creating cars like this Gemini, the Isuzu Piazza (Impulse in the U.S.), and more common vehicles like the 1st generation Lexus GS. He denied designing this car for years because it was initially planned as a “world car” or a production vehicle for all markets, distributed to the world by General Motors under the Isuzu label. When the designs from Giugiaro were submitted, GM actually went and changed all kinds of shit on it and made the car very different than how it was originally designed. Giugiaro was so offended by the changes and the fact that they didn’t consult with him about said-changes that he cut off all relationships with Isuzu and GM after…

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This Gemini in particular was a pretty cool one. It featured a set of fender flares, RS Watanabe wheels, and also had a full roll cage inside. These things featured a 1.6L turbocharged DOHC engine so it probably was manufactured to compete with the Lancer EVOs of that time. This one just sits here now and probably hasn’t moved in some time. It shows a lot of wear from the cold winters but it would still catch your eye if you were passing by and spotted it hidden away in the back of Impact. In this shot you’ll also see an old EG race car in the back as well as a 930 Porsche, both residing untouched in this graveyard of sorts alongside the Gemini…

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The only thing that has seemed to have changed since my visit in 2016 are the wheels on this EG6. Back then it had some TE37 wheels on it but they have probably since been re-purposed. This Civic got into a collision many years ago and never saw the light of day where it would be repaired. It’s almost zombie-like in appearance now, rotting in some areas but still retaining much of its aesthetics when it was a proper race car in its hay day…

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These Mugen RNR wheels have definitely seen better days, completely worn down and rotting as the days go by…

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The white vinyl graphics on the hood have dry-rotted and cracked, hardening onto the equally weathered blue paint of the EG6…

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Sonoda told me it was okay to shoot whatever I wanted so I walked-in to see what was new inside his workspace. He actually has a worker now for the first time ever and the gentleman was doing some work on a customer’s EG6 race car…

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Yasu told me that this Civic is actually from the Osaka area and the owner didn’t live too far away from him. It definitely shows its Osaka-roots in its appearance. Interesting to see an EG using just the TRA Kyoto Pandem front end with the wide fenders and all, but retaining a stock body from the firewall back…

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I didn’t want to disturb the worker while he was tinkering with the B-series set-up so I don’t know too much about it. From the looks of it, it appeared to be a B18C with a header, intake, and other bolt-ons. It utilizes Crux dampers, which was super popular back in the day. Also check out that strut bar. Interesting design and a piece I don’t recall seeing before. Could be custom-fabricated from the looks of it…

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Carbon fiber doors on both sides with the net attached to the driver’s side…

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Inside the cockpit was a gutted interior floor with just a single driver’s Bride seat, front door panels, and the top-half of the dashboard…

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Custom instrument display with some gauges and a tachometer at the center. Two indicators for the turn signals and a “CHEK” engine light mounted to a carbon sheet…

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Aluminum floor plate, dead pedal, and pedal set…

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Custom switch panel where the radio and climate control would be, replaced with a Defi control unit, battery cut-off, and more…

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Carbon fiber rear hatch with Lexan rear glass, a small wing, and custom rear bumper cut-outs…

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One can never have too many sets of spare wheels, especially TEs and Advan RGs. I don’t believe this rack of spare wheels/tires have changed much either since 2016…

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While I was exploring and shooting, Sonoda was catching-up with Yasu. I’m pretty sure these guys can just sit and talk for hours…

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I noticed in the back of the shop was a pretty pristine Lotus Exige. I thought that maybe it was just in for some routine maintenance or something but Sonoda propped the hatch up and there was a pretty cool surprise beneath…

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The factory Toyota 2ZZ-GE engine was swapped-out in favor of a buit high-compression Honda K-series powerplant…

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Custom dashboard inside the Exige operating with a Defi instrument display…

After he fired-up the motor and we got to hear the healthy high-comp K-motor, we parted ways and headed back to TRA Kyoto…

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When we pulled-up, Kei Miura had just arrived in his daily Pandem Mercedes 190E. This is the original Pandem W201 that debuted at Tokyo Auto Salon a year ago and I had no idea it was actually a personal car of his that he drove around everywhere. How cool is that?…

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The Pandem EG6 was also parked outside his shop but nothing has changed on it since. It was actually stolen a few months ago but luckily was found completely untouched. Perhaps someone had called in a favor when they found out whose car it was and then it was left alone to be returned to Miura. I know it is common knowledge that Japan is pretty safe and doesn’t operate that other countries where theft is prevalent but cars definitely get stolen in Japan. I’d say it is either not spoken of or generally not made public. It actually happens more than you think…

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I thought this shot of Yasu’s Regamaster EVO II wheels looked pretty cool next to this vending machine…

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I didn’t snap that many photos inside TRA Kyoto since there was an actual meeting that was had inside with Miura. His shop is super interesting though and there are just trinkets and collectibles everywhere. You can definitely tell that he has a lot of unique interests and its not always simply related to cars…

We talked for a while and Miura asked if we were hungry, because he definitely was. Yasu and I already had dinner plans but since Miura wanted to eat, it’d be rude of us to say “no” so we obliged and went to grab some food with him…

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We all got into Yasu’s Civic and headed down the street to a local “Korean-style” Yakiniku spot which Kei Miura often frequented…

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He said this was one of his go-to spots because sometimes he just wants to eat BBQ and they open late, so he’ll just go eat by himself since his schedule is so unique…

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Overall, it was a pretty cool experience. Kei Miura is a very nice guy who is actually pretty brilliant, if you haven’t already noticed from his work and general demeanor. Everyone that I’ve spoken to that knows him just raves about him and how dedicated he is to his craft. I won’t elaborate on more of the important stuff he told us about in regards to his future and what he wants to do with TRA Kyoto, but I’m sure you guys are going to be in for a few surprises in the coming years…

On that note, we wrap-up this portion of the Japan Photo Series. Next-up is the Central Time Attack Challenge photos and then we wrap-up before I return to Japan with the Autofashion Festival photos. Thanks for looking and I hope you enjoyed it…

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