The Big Weekend in Chiba
The next day, it was off to Chiba prefecture for the main event of the trip. Another record-setting Tokyo Auto Salon kicked off 2014, as DSPORT’s tour group flooded the halls of the Makuhari Messe International Convention Complex. The DSPORT TAS Tour joined the VIPs and media to get an early look at the show exhibits before the general admission ticket holders filled the halls after 1 pm.
Over the course of three days, a record of 296,714 attendees walked the show (an increase of 14,055 compared to last year), a positive sign of growing interest. Although there were fewer exhibitors this year (428 compared to 452 from last year), there were more vehicles on display (840) and more booths (3,880) than in 2013.
Get Your Engine Started
Throughout the Tokyo Auto Salon, one could get a good feel for the direction of the automotive aftermarket and, thankfully, that direction is headed back toward performance. There was hardly any hybrid hype, as there had been at some of the recent Auto Salons. Numerous aerodynamics and body kit makers showcased the latest trends in aerodynamic and cosmetic upgrades. But the 2014 Tokyo Auto Salon showcased a marked increase in performance upgrades beyond aerodynamics.
[pullquote]THE JAPANESE TUNERS WERE ALSO STARTING TO SHOW A RENEWED INTEREST IN DRAG RACING[/pullquote]Superchargers made their way into more than just a few of the engine bays, along with numerous twin-charged platforms. RevYou showcased its twin-supercharged 370Z, while Garage G-Force and J&K Power displayed their twin-charged machines (a CZ4A EVO X and an R34 Skyline GT-R, respectively.)
The Japanese tuners were also starting to show a renewed interest in drag racing, as Blitz’s TAS award-winning, chrome-wrapped Supra drag car captured plenty of attention in its booth. Attendees also admired Black Line Racing’s 2JZ-GTE-powered SC300 drag car in the Option Magazine section.
The Top Dogs
For the last couple of years, the Makuhari’s North halls 9 through 11 had been a VIP- and Euro-focused landscape. But this year, some serious performance action had migrated into these halls and provided a showcase focused on performance. The RH-9 shops took up a significant piece of real estate, displaying some of the heavier hitters of the show. The dominant platforms continued to be Nissan’s R35 GT-R and the Toyota/Subaru collaboration, the 86/BRZ. While R35s continued to be sprinkled throughout the show, the floors were practically littered with 86s and BRZs. There were more aerodynamics and engine upgrade packages than there had been in the past, along with a dedicated segment of custom 86 and BRZ builds assembled by Option Magazine, called “86 & BRZ World.”