The Chronicles in Japan 2020 Part 8: AF Festival Japan…


After we left Central Circuit at around 11:30 AM, we hopped in Yasu’s Civic and headed back to Osaka. The Autofashion Festival event had started already but we knew we’d have plenty of time to see everything since it didn’t end until 4. I missed last year’s event since it was scheduled later in the month after I had already flown back home but I stayed longer in Japan this year specifically to attend the Autofashion event. I’ve known Freddie and the guys from Autofashion for over a decade now and they’ve always been supportive of anything I did so I always try to make the time to show them that same support back. Being that we all grew-up doing car shit in San Diego, it’s pretty wild to think now we’re doing those same car things in Japan…

Being that Autofashion USA has always been so tightly woven into the fabric of the custom automotive world with their work in Japanese VIP or “Bippu” styling, I think most outsiders would believe that it was all they cared about. In reality, they’ve done a little bit of everything. Correction: they’ve done quite a bit of everything. Year after year they’re busy producing new SEMA projects, building race cars, show cars, Japanese classics, and of course, VIP builds. Along with the growth of their business has come the expansion of their Autofashion Festival event series. What once was just an annual outing at a venue close to their shop in San Diego has now become an annual car show in Osaka, Japan. At these events you’ll find VIP-styled builds as you’d expect, but there is so much more. You get a good dose of everything that Japan has to offer. I, for one, always feel like I don’t get enough VIP car culture for my liking, so that’s what I look forward to seeing at their events. Other people that attend this show in Japan probably view it more as just a car show with a lot of variety. I still wish there was more Bippu-centric content at their events but I understand the want and need to diversify your audience. Many of the cars you’ll find at these events are also the same builds you’d see at Wekfest Japan so it serves as a nice little preview of what is to come…

What’s notable is that the Autofashion Festival in Osaka always seems to be held at a different venue, which is refreshing. This year’s show was held at the Osaka Expo ’70 in Suita, which was created back in 1970 for the Osaka World’s Fair. You’ll see a fairly unusual statue in the background of some of the photos today which is the backside of the “Tower of the Sun”. It served as the official symbol of the Osaka World’s Fair in 1970 and has since been maintained and preserved. There’s also this gigantic metal structure in the middle of the parking lot where the AF Festival is held but I don’t have any information on what it used to be. It just looks kinda cool and makes for good background imagery…

There are two parts to this post, since there are some pretty interesting builds to showcase. I’ve also attached the links to all the previous parts of the Japan Photo Series so you can view them all at your convenience…

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…

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

The Chronicles in Japan 2020 Part 7: Central Time Attack Challenge…

If you’re here looking for Wekfest Hawaii coverage, that will come next after we wrap-up this series. I’m excited to post those shots up for you guys but it doesn’t make sense to just interrupt this series especially since we are set to wrap it up in a few posts. I’ll get those loaded-up on here and posted for you guys while I’m back in Japan this week, so keep an eye out for that. With that said, here’s the first half of the AF Festival Japan photos…

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I always appreciate a good Aristo/GS build so this one caught my eye while we were in the parking lot of the Expo ’70…

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This EK9 has popped-up on my Twitter feed quite a bit in the past year so it was cool to finally see it in-person. It wasn’t even a part of the show or anything as it sat nicely in the parking lot with Volk TEs and a paint-matched Exceed x Mode Parfume front lip…

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Once inside, I found all my attention immediately focused on this beautiful PS13 Silvia coupe built by Daito from E.Prime, a full-service shop based in Hiroshima. I first encountered this build at last year’s Wekfest event in Nagoya when it debuted on Enkei wheels. It’s seen some changes since then and it is looking better than ever…

What should be mentioned is that this car is actually driven and drifted at events. It was even an a minor accident a few months after Wekfest where the front passenger side of the vehicle had to be repaired due to impact but you wouldn’t even notice since the work is so good…

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The shaved and painted engine bay which has also been tubbed for maximum steering angle hosts a naturally-aspirated RB25DE engine swap. Aesthetically, it’s very minimal with most of the focus on the polished valve cover, intake manifold, and radiator…

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On this side, you can see the brake booster-delete and custom brake lines running into the firewall. With the RB-swap the water-filler neck and plumbing to the radiator needed to be custom-fabricated…

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A titanium velocity stack is attached to the throttle body and mass airflow sensor on the polished intake manifold of the RB25…

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Brand new Work Emotion ZR10 wheels with a deep concave face…

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A closer-look reveals the 20th Anniversary Edition Work Emotion center cap for the ZR10…

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Custom suede interior with the door panels and dashboard completely redone with orange stitching. The center console and center section of the door panels have been reupholstered to match the Bride seats which aren’t custom, believe it or not…

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Even the Nardi 3-spoke steering wheel has been re-wrapped in a matching gray suede and orange stitching…

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The denim material of the Bride seats is actually a collaborative effort with famed Japanese jeans-manufacturer Betty Smith. I first spotted these at Tokyo Auto Salon a year or so ago and was so surprised to see a Bride seat done in denim. It’s so oddly Japanese and cool in such a way that you can’t help but appreciate the execution. It actually flows quite well with the S13 and the mix with the gray suede is just fantastic…

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Not only are the door panel inserts and center console wrapped in the Betty Smith denim, but even the rear seats have been completely reupholstered in the matching material with logos and all. Such great detail in a very minimalist build. A huge round of applause on execution and its gotta be one of Japan’s best right now…

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Okada’s EF9 Civic from Shine Motor representing the infamous NO GOOD RACING car club…

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Kei Miura told us that he had planned on coming to AF Fest the night before while we were eating dinner but we had no idea he’d actually show-up. He worked all night, didn’t get any sleep, and then drove his Pandem E30 coupe all the way from Kyoto…

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Racing Paddock Miyoshi from Okayama always produces some really wild, over-the-top, Mazda RX-7 builds. This particular FD is wearing a mix of different aero pieces including Rocket Bunny flares, a swan neck rear wing, and a front end which utilizes a Mazda Atenza face to give it a more modern appeal. The entire package is wrapped in a classic Renown Mazda-inspired livery with the widened FD seated on SSR Formula Aero Mesh wheels…

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Under the hood is a traditional 13B Rotary powerplant with a GReddy v-mount kit…

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This FC RX-7 from Racing Paddock Miyoshi features a TRA Kyoto Pandem widebody kit and Work Emotion CR3P wheels…

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Southsiiiiide Auto Customs brought a line-up of USDM EF/ED Civic builds including this left-hand drive ED sedan on air suspension and Work Equip 03 wheels…

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Two other Civics from Southsiiiiide with the “Tower of the Sun” statue that I mentioned in the background…

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The shaved and resprayed engine bay of the Civic hatchback still running the factory single-cam D-series engine which has been completely refreshed…

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Mao Nakai’s Rocket Bunny Porsche 987 Boxster on display with custom Work Meister S1 wheels. I had no idea the paint color shifted so much even though I had seen it a couple times before. Having be outside in natural light really helps to showcase the paint…

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9010design does some insane interior work and Mao’s Porsche has been completely redone from the interior to this front trunk area. The whole trunk is reupholstered and even the air tank has been wrapped in purple suede. Even the brake lines have been painted to match…

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Here you can see the fully reupholstered interior of the Cayman. The dash has been wrapped in purple suede as well as the seat centers, with the outside done in purple leather…

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If you look closely you’ll notice that Mao has even adapted a painted Battlecraft shift knob into his interior. If you’re wondering where the inspiration for the interior comes from, it’s actually designed based on the Air Jordan 12 Retro “Paris” sneakers. Even the driver’s side wheels are done in the same “Paris” purple finish…

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The passenger’s side Work Meister wheels are executed in a different finish, but also based on an Air Jordan sneaker. Some of you shoe heads will probably recognize that immediately…

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…but for those who aren’t into shoes, these 3-piece S1 wheels are done as an ode to the Air Jordan 1 Retro “Elephant Print” shoes. Nakai even added the Jordan brand logo onto the spoke for that added detail touch…

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Yousuke Tsuji’s Pandem Porsche 987.1 Version 2 with the optional GT wing…

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Unlike Mao’s 987, Tsuji’s Porsche is right-hand drive but also features a completely reupholstered 9010design interior…

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The ever-popular TTE front lip on this imported Lexus GS300 tucking Work Zeast wheels…

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Yama’s Bayside Blue S15 Silvia wearing full Garage Mak Revolution aero and Enkei RS05RR wheels…

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Currently on the front cover of VIP Style, a popular Bippu magazine in Japan, is this beautiful Toyota Celsior on MAE Crown Jewels. Love the two-tone paint and the custom radius work on the front/rear wheel wells…

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AP Garage brought their bagged Mercedes W114 coupe for display at AF Fest…

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Love these custom 3-piece Mercedes Barock wheels on the 250CE coupe…

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BMW F36 420i bagged on Airlift suspension and Hamann Motorsport PG1 wheels…

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This Mercedes CLS 63 AMG was an interesting one. On one hand I appreciate the custom body work to widen and radius the wheel arches, but I do think the car looks just a bit odd on the SSR Formula Aero Mesh wheels. I just don’t know if it suits the car…

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I mean, I’m a big fan of using Japanese wheels/parts on Euro platforms but this just doesn’t flow. I think it has more to do with the wheels themselves than the bodywork because the work honestly looks pretty good…

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Sometimes, you just don’t have to do much to a car to make it look cool, as seen on this 2nd-generation Toyota Century on BBS Super RS wheels…

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Wheels, big Brembo brakes, and air suspension, that’s it. It just works. I mean, just look at it…

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I posted these photos up on my Instagram the other day and I’m glad that it got a similar reaction to how I felt when I first saw it that day at AF Fest. This thing fucks. Further proof that TEs just look fucking great on EVERYTHING. I mean, on paper you wouldn’t think a CLS 63 AMG on Volk TE37 would look good but those wheels are magic. Put them on everything, please…

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This widened and radiused Toyota GRS184 Crown Athlete looked insane in person with the deep-dish step-lipped Work M1 and Mode Parfume aero kit. I think the owner is on Bold World air suspension too with T-Demand components, which means there is some serious money in this build. I miss the days of VIP styling when this was the ideal goal before things got all crazy with the Black Pearl kits and everything looking overdone…

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How do you guys feel about this bagged NA2 NSX on Titan7 T-S5 wheels? It looked pretty cool in person but I am of the opinion where I’d prefer my NSXs to not be on bags…

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Daisuke representing PUREVIP in Japan with his Infiniti Q50 on coilovers and MAE Crown Jewels…

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ER34 Skyline coupe with some a aftermarket body pieces to give it more of a “GTR” look…

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Powering the Skyline on Volk TE37V Mark II wheels is an RB25DE engine with individual throttle bodies…

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FIFTY AUTO Y32 Cima wearing a full Junction Produce kit and Junction Produce Scara wheels…

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VH41DE V8 under the hood of the Cima with individual throttle bodies…

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With the exception of the actual R33 Skyline from Trial that I just saw, I didn’t think I’d encounter another Trial front bumper during my trip as they’ve long been discontinued. This one shows a bit of wear and tear but still cool to see the front in-use. This R33 also has a custom-built set of Blitz Type-01 wheels. Very period correct in style, kudos….

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Soon after I got those shots of the R33, the owner had his kid in the car for some photos and I just couldn’t pass-up the opportunity. How adorable…

Still one more section to come, filled with a variety of different builds to see from AF Festival. Stick around for more! Thanks for looking…

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2 comments

  1. Have I just not been paying attention, or what’s with all the N/A RBs lately? Very cool.

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