2007 Tokyo Auto Salon

Makuhari Messe Convention Center Chiba-City, Japan January 12-14, 2007

By: , David Pratte, Photography by , David Pratte, Matthew Williams

If you’re one of the lucky few who’ve experienced the Tokyo Auto Salon before, then you know it’s well worth the dozen or so hours in the air and the jet lag that comes with it in order to see what’s new and hot in the automotive motherland of everything JDM. We do our best to stay up-to-speed on the latest trends coming out of Japan’s tuner scene, with the help of our favorite Japanese racing driver Tarzan Yamada, but there’s just no way to fully appreciate the incredible passion that exists here for all types of automotive modification and personalization without seeing it for ourselves.

Now that we’ve put in the miles walking the show with cameras in-hand in search of anything and everything new, different, interesting, bizarre or otherwise cool, one of the trends that stood out for us the most was the sheer number of VIP style cars on display. Clearly the VIP phenomena has grown into a very important segment based on the number of wheel, tire, and body kit manufacturers whose displays focused on luxury brand automobiles from Japan, Europe and even a USDM machine or two.

It’s also clear that vans, minivans and microvans remain extremely popular as ‘lifestyle expression’ platforms, with wild body kits, paint schemes and I.C.E. installations. There was plenty of evidence that drifting is also alive and well in Japan, based on the crowds surrounding the D1 cars on display not to mention the huge number of shop-built and enthusiast-built drift machines found throughout the convention center. Oh yeah, and the Japanese like their tuner cars dumped so low you’d be lucky to wedge a dime under them. We’re talking seriously pimp slammed.

Beyond that, there were of course all the best and brightest aftermarket parts manufacturers in attendance, many of whom were displaying new cars or products. HKS had their JDM-only (for now) VQ35 complete single turbo kit, Toyota unveiled a brand new vehicle in their already massive line-up of cars, and Blitz released a new line-up of wheels, BRW Profile.

And let’s not forget the models, umbrella girls and booth babes! The massive crowds at the show seemed to be just as happy as we were to see so many gorgeous and friendly models in virtually every booth, with some of the higher profile manufacturers going so far as to have all-girl pop groups singing and dancing.

Enjoy the over 800 photos we’ve shot of the show and if you’ve ever considered making the trip to Japan to check out the Auto Salon, start saving your pennies right now and we’ll see you at the show in 2008!

By , David Pratte
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