The Style and Nuance of Osaka Auto Messe 2020… Part 1…

One of the questions I get asked the most often during my different adventures in Japan is what the difference is between Tokyo Auto Salon and Osaka Auto Messe. To fully understand the differences, I think you really have to experience both Tokyo and Osaka. But…if I were to give you a more simplified answer, I’d tell you that you really can’t compare the two. Sure they are both car shows in Japan with representation from some of the more prominent tuning shops and brands, featuring some of the same cars, but the two cities are so different. Tokyo is a much more clean-cut, more business-like area. Everything is very proper there to the naked eye. There are more rules and more people that follow them. Osaka is….well…a lot more gritty in nature. The people are a little less proper there, but still Japanese ‘proper’, if that makes sense. They tend to be a little more loose when it comes to abiding by conventional rules and their style is much more colorful and exuberant. It’s like New York in comparison to Los Angeles. Style is different, people speak a little different accent, and one is a bit more relaxed than the other…

The other question I get asked quite often is which one I prefer. Well, I like both shows for very different reasons. Tokyo Auto Salon is enjoyable for me because of its sheer size and contents. You see a lot more at TAS in terms of variety because it is a much bigger event. Osaka Auto Messe is more compact in size, the crowd isn’t nearly as large, and many of the cars represent Osaka and the Kansai region’s style. I like Osaka Auto Messe in particular because I have more friends involved with the show and it doesn’t have that overwhelming ‘business’ feel that Auto Salon has. If you’ve never been to TAS, it presents a vibe very reminiscent to SEMA. You know people are there for cars but they are also there to do business. You meet a lot more industry people at TAS. Osaka Auto Messe is not like that. For me, it’s more about hanging out with friends there and supporting their brands and builds…

I like both shows and I enjoy going to both. That’s why I continue to go every year. If I absolutely HAD to choose one or the other, I’d choose Osaka Auto Messe because of its more personable aspects and feel. I’d rather support my friends and what they are doing. If I had more friends building cars for Tokyo Auto Salon and having display booths there, perhaps my choice would change but it would probably take more than just that to change how I feel. Osaka is just more fun. The things we do and see in Osaka are hard to replace, and I think that shows in my experiences with the content I provide here…

Interestingly enough, I didn’t plan to go to Osaka Auto Messe this year. Last year I was invited to go because it was the first time the guys from NO GOOD RACING were having a display at the show. It was a big deal, so I went to support. This year, I thought I’d take a break and stay home for a change but then my good friend Ryan Der informed me that Attack Tsukuba was happening a week after Auto Messe. It’s rare for stars to align in such a way where I could experience two major events back-to-back, and even rarer to convince Der to come to Japan these days, let alone for him to bring it up, so I had to go back. Luckily airline tickets weren’t too bad so it made the decision even easier. Traveling isn’t easy these days, with growing Coronavirus fears and all, but we took the extra precautions to try to be safe. I think the media is making it out to be way worse than it is, just because that type of news sells these days, but it never helps to be more careful when traveling…

The show as a whole didn’t change to much compared to 2019. The cars changed and there were some new shops that displayed, some others that didn’t, but aesthetically, Osaka Auto Messe always ‘looks’ the same. When I say ‘looks’, I mean the ugly green carpet reemerges every year and I can’t understand for the life of me why this is a conscious decision by the organizers of this event. It makes the photos look bad and the cars even worse when that bright green is reflected off the beautiful paint jobs of the display vehicles. But, you know what? That’s Osaka. The carpet clashes in a way that resembles the way that Osaka personalities clash with conventional Japanese norms. It almost makes sense. It’s not pretty, it just…is…

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The guys from NO GOOD RACING aren’t your typical ‘show car people’ but they do enjoy having themes for their display booths. When you do only one car show per year, you gotta make it worth it, right? This year, the guys from NGR decided to go with a ‘highway theme’ and since their infamy comes hand-in-hand with the police on their opposing sides, even down to their noted “BYE BYE POLICE” slogan, Ryuji from NO GOOD came up with the idea to turn his EF9 into a police car…

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The guy responsible for creating the police car replica for Ryuji was none other than our friend Yasu from Exceed. Yasu and his painter at the shop spent a few months stripping the EF9 down and respraying it in the traditional Japanese black/white police colorway. The graphics were then applied after and the guys from NGR slowly added more vinyl before the show to give it that “NO GOOD” look…

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No highway theme with a Japanese police car would be complete without an actual NO GOOD RACING Kanjozoku vehicle so right next to the police car EF9 was Kentarou’s Red Bull-themed silver EK9 Civic Type R. No changes were made to this car specifically for Osaka Auto Messe and it represents what a NO GOOD RACING Civic looks like in the current generation…

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What else do you see normally on a Japanese highway? Well…a Japanese highway maintenance and service vehicle of course. If you’re wondering what this livery is, it’s the actual colorway for a city vehicle which they use for highway service. Yasu explained to me that Ryuji called our friend Tsuyoshi from Shine Motor and asked that he change the NGR “Green Shark” EG6 to look like a highway service vehicle for the booth. I don’t know how much resistance was met with that idea, but as you can see, the Green Shark is now this. It is both hilarious and endearing how detailed and exact he went with this theme. This isn’t vinyl by the way, IT IS PAINTED, lol….

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How do you get people to come to your booth? A strong theme of course and a theme that relates to the general public. Those that don’t know what NO GOOD RACING is will be attracted to it based on the simple but well-executed theme and those who are familiar with NGR will understand just how tongue-in-cheek the theme is and how it relates to their history of insane highway driving. It’s perfect. I absolutely loved it…

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Yayo, who modeled for X-Point, Exceed, Mode Parfume, and NGR a year before, was back once again to work Osaka Auto Messe….

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There’s always an incredible amount of culture shock every year witnessing just how Japanese men view models and how sexuality is presented to a very-much repressed society of men and women when it comes to sex. To us, it seems funny and incredibly awkward but you almost can’t blame them once you understand just how repressed they are when it comes to their sexualization of women…

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After having a period of social commentary inside my own head, I walked over to the Phoenix’s Power display right across from the NGR booth to check out their brand new A90 Supra democar, wearing an aero kit produced by INGS+1 but branded as Phoenix’s Power components…

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I actually enjoy the lines of this kit and how it looks, especially in red with gold-faced BBS LM wheels for contrast. One of the few non-widebody Supras out right now that just looks GOOD…

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Naoki Nakamura from PINK STYLE’s S15 Silvia drift car…

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Powering the Silvia is a Toyota 2JZ-GTE engine swap with a big single Garrett T88 turbo upgrade. From what I read in the past, this 2J is actually stroked to 3.4-liters and makes around 1100-horsepower…

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The hall where the NGR display was featured all kinds of cool stuff. I guess you can say that this was the premier hall at Osaka Auto Messe. Around the corner was this slammed Hakosuka sedan from The Wanderers car club…

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This thing had to have been on air, planted to the ground on Hayashi Racing wheels. You can see from this angle that this is one of the rare Hakosuka builds where they didn’t rework the rear wheel wells to accommodate bolt-on fender flares…

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A clean set of Hayashi Racing wheels is hard to come by in 2020 and look right at home on this Skyline sedan…

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Not too many decals on this build, just a small decal on the rear window to show representation for The Wanderers…

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Old school stationary TS-X11 Pioneer speakers sitting on the rear deck of the Hakosuka…

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Exhaust tips originally meant for motorcycles made by Beet, a famed tuning parts company specializing in motorbikes…

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Beautifully done 240Z Kaido Racer build with a G-Nose, Works front lip spoiler, and Works over fenders…

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The bumper-less rear showing the wide rear over fenders and the streamlined rear spoiler…

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Rarely-seen Speed Star Racing Win Mesh wheels…

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Works-style Kenmeri Skyline…

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Aggressive Works fender flares, passenger-side exit exhaust on the 2000 GT…

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G-Corporation x N-Stage widebody S15 Silvia on Work Zeast ST-1 wheels…

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The engine bay on this Silvia was spectacular with tubbed wheel wells and an naturally-aspirated dry-sump SR20DE engine. Love the long-tube header, intake manifold, and custom intake pipe, along with minor details like the paint-matched brake booster…

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The rear widebody has been molded into place and not riveted which adds to its overall streamlined look that also ties into the engine bay…

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East Ball brought-out their bagged Hakosuka once again for Auto Messe sitting on a beautiful set of re-released Chevlon wheels…

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Later that weekend, we chatted with some of the people from East Ball and found out that they are actually pretty close to Yasu’s shop in Osaka…

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Global Auto displayed this rare Millennium Jade BNR34 Skyline GT-R V-Spec II Nur on black BBS LM…

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Right next to it was this heavily modified Bayside Blue BNR34 GT-R V-Spec II featuring a dry carbon rear wing, Volk TEs, and huge front canards…

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The RB26DET inside the Skyline featured an HKS V-Cam set-up complete with the HKS valve cover which is used to house the solenoid for oil control to the cams…

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Five Mart had their usual display space at Osaka Auto Messe with a collection of Wonder Civics. This red AT being the most aggressively modified of the grouping…

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B18C engine swap inside the tiny engine bay of the Wonder Civic which still retains air conditioning functionality…

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The swap leaves the B-series engine leaning to the front side of the bay but from the back when can see the TODA Racing individual throttle bodies…

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Deep concave faces on this tiny Volk TE37 wheels wearing Advan A050 rubber…

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This AT, or AH rather, is a USDM LHD import from California and once belonged to some of our friends from ATS Garage. The outside remains generally stock other than the car being lowered and sitting on Mugen CF48 wheels which come complete with the rare aero disks…

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The engine bay is also stock but well-kept looking almost factory fresh besides some minor aging of some of the plastic components…

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Interesting seat covers inside complete with rear seat covers as well…

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One of the builds that caught my eye when we visited one of the other halls at Auto Messe was this BMW 2002 built by Ultrabox from Hiroshima…

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The 2002tii featurs a custom kit made by Fujiwara from Ultrabox with wide flares and a large carbon air scoop to drive air to the dual 45mm Weber carbs underneath…

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Huge rear wing on the trunk with a 80mm exhaust mounted sideways to fill-up the entire underside of the rear on the 2002…

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A closer look at the carbon hood scoop and the polished tow hook mounted through the hood…

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Custom front air dam and carbon splitter from Ultrabox…

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A modern-day rendition of a classic BMW in Japan…

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RWB Rough Rhythm owned by Ichiraku from 1048style. I heard that shortly after this event, at another car show in Nagoya, they stripped-off this Martini livery to reveal that the car was still its signature bright green. I’m very happy to hear this as Rough Rhythm was always one of my favorites when it was green…

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The V37 drift car built by Shibata R31house which debuted this year at Tokyo Auto Salon now on display at the Rays booth…

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Rays Gram Lights 57Extreme Rev Limit Edition wheels which introduces a machined “Rays” logo on the spoke and a black and red finish…

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The V37 also wears complete TRA Kyoto widebody kit and a VR38DETT swap…

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The Fuel Safe cell mounted in the trunk with only half glass in the rear for all the driftings…

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Noticeably absent from this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon event was Aimgain, which usually comes with a massive display booth and a collection of debuting builds. This year they skipped TAS and opted to set-up at Osaka Auto Messe…

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The new debut for them this year was their very own A90 Supra kit which consists of a front spoiler, side skirts, and rear wing…

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A build that was present at TAS from Aimgain was their Lexus LS500 which was used at the WEDS Wheels booth at TAS. Here it can be seen back at the Aimgain display for Auto Messe…

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It’s hard to keep up with pro drifting in Japan, living in California and all, so I make it a point to always stop to look at cars from D1 or FD Japan whenever I encounter them. Here is Masato Kawabata’s Pandem A90 Supra which was hosted at the Toyo Tires booth…

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Nifty carbon mirrors on Kawabata’s Supra which were actually just cameras enclosed in a side mirror-like housing…

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Brand new Rays Gram Lights 557FXZ wheels paired with Toyo rubber and Endless brakes…

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One of my favorite features of the Osaka Auto Messe event is the hall which is completely dedicated to VIP/Bippu car culture. If you love VIP stuff, Osaka Auto Messe is definitely the show to go to. You get to see everything Bippu-related there, including cars like this Toyota Alphard running T-Demand suspension and SSR Executor wheels…

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One of the more hyped debuts for Auto Messe was Nizo-Low’s bagged Rolls Royce Wraith, complete with Mansory aero components and MAE Crown Jewels…

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Garage Excellent brought a couple of their incredibly well-executed builds, including this Toyota Celsior which is currently on the cover of VIPstyle magazine…

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I’ve seen first-hand just how skillful their metal work is and how much work is involved in getting these wheel wells radiused, allowing the overall chassis to sit this low…

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Perhaps the wheel of Osaka Auto Messe this year was the MAE Crown Jewel, which is in-comparison, as legendary as the TE37 for many of the non VIP tuning crowd…

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Debuting for Garage Excellent was this Y33 Cedric from Club Believe. It looks a little odd because the face isn’t your typical Cedric. The headlights have been reshaped a bit to accommodate the retrofitted front grille…

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Garage Excellent went to work reshaping the wheel wells and fenders to house these 18-inch Crown Jewels. Just look at the fender line and how it still retains the factory shape and notching. Just spectacular skill and craftsmanship…

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The VIP-dedicated hall featured some pretty wild build but also some simply-executed sedans like this two-toned Mark II from Prince-Val with just a front lip and SSR wheels…

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This Toyota Crown was firmly laid-out on the green carpet tucking a 1/3 of its OZ Racing wheels…

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Its tucked so tightly you can’t even see the top of the wheel even from the ground-up…

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Manz Factory always builds some great cars. Last year they presented us with a beautiful Rocket Bunny S15 rocking an SSR livery and this year, they displayed this red Y32 Cima on T-Demand suspension. Love the execution with the cranberry red mixed with the gunmetal face and gloss black lips on the SSR Executor wheels. I also like how the black ties into the emblem, trim pieces, and tinted headlights…

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Toyota Crown Athlete planted via T-Demand suspension tucking SSR Vienna Kreiss…

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Mizuno Body Works’ UCF20 Celsior featuring a retrofitted G60 Century front face and K-Break Hybreed Fivesta wheels…

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On the more traditional Osaka VIP-style was this Nissan President wearing the complete Junction Produce package including a full kit and wheels…

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Original Junction Produce Scara wheels. In my opinion, still the best-looking Scara wheel ever made…

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Camber is super aggressive on this G50 President but the old man in me still enjoys seeing Junction Produce aero in 2020…

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Classy Junction Produce paired with Oni-camber can only be completed with these huge quad blast tips for the exhaust on this President. Very over-the-top—VERY Osaka…

That’s all for today folks. Thanks for looking!! I still have TONS to unload from my Japan trips. It’ll keep everyone busy so stay locked-in!!…

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  1. Pingback: Osaka Night Meet and More From Auto Messe 2020… Part 2… – The Chronicles© – No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

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