Hall to Hall | Osaka Auto Messe 2020 Part#1

Between the time spent in Japan from visiting that trackday in Tsukuba, to arriving in Osaka, me and Luke did some cool stuff in the interim such as: catch a guided tour through the Samurai Museum; see Mount Fuji (a lot, which is a rarity); drove both an R34 & R35 GT-R (at the very conservative Japanese speed limits); caught a couple bullet trains from Tokyo – Odawara – Osaka. I have a fair few photos of all that but, to be honest, I would rather get the bulk of the material uploaded first, which happens to be what will result in an event coverage blog post split into two. Its only right to do so, as it was my primary intention to visit the Kansai region’s version of Tokyo Auto Salon, so chill and sit back to scroll through all of what the show had to offer.

On the Saturday that we went, it didn’t feel crazily busy, although the footfall came in at 207,479 which is child’s play to the big TAS which saw a count of 330,666 visitors (2019). We got to the entrance just after the opening time I think, and joined the wave of visitors patiently waiting to get through the ticket gate. I say patiently, however, I remember there being one kid slipping past everyone needlessly. Maybe he really badly wanted those HKS ratchet-spanner keyrings on sale.

Before checking out the display halls, we saw a large gathering of people around a couple Super GT cars. I did get a mobile phone video of the Wakos Lexus LC500 GT500 car being fired up, but no revs occurred so I won’t bother uploading it. Juichi Wakisaka is actually the Team Director who was involved in the team’s securing of 2nd place overall last season, only to be left behind by Team KeePer / TOM’S and their Lexus by 1 point. Wakisaka-san was definitely the funniest Best Motoring host drivers, but not exactly the guy you would expect to be heading a Super GT team, no offense.

The first hall started off with a load of camper conversion MPVs and SUVs. Luke and I weren’t expecting this, but I suppose the event has to cater for everybody. We skimmed past all of that and headed towards the buzz – the Kuhl Racing stand. You can spot their demo cars from a distance, as you can’t help but be drawn in by their majestic, artisanal handicraft that is ‘Grinder Tattooing’.

Other than the bodywork finish, the R35’s low-slung swan-neck carbon wing and double-stepped carbon front splitter were elements that were very Kuhl to me.

Toyota and their Gazoo Racing division capitalized on the majority of the space in that same hall. The amount of width and aero applied to the WRC Yaris was pretty substantial to say the least. The automaker also had the all new 2020 GR Yaris on display but there was no chance of me getting a clear shot of it with my 50mm lens. There was a drivetrain layout display of the new hot-hatch’s 4WD system, something else I struggled getting full view of. A lot of hype and anticipation around Toyota’s all-new homologation special. I hope they have more success with them in the UK, unlike the last Yaris GRMN which was a great car on paper but didn’t sell a great amount. I am just bored of seeing Ford Fiestas left, right and centre to be honest, that’s all…

Seriously serious rear portion. Props to Toyota for pulling off some of the most coolest livery designs aswell.

Supra-ise! This car was in abundance at the OAM, clearly being the next big thing for Japanese/German sportscar enthusiasts. Snide remarks aside, I really do like the look of the next season’s Super GT car. I’m excited to see this thing go wheel-to-wheel with Nissan and Honda’s works-backed GT-R and NSX in the GT500 class.

After coming across a very weirdly customized Toyota Prius of the future and then a Gazoo Racing rep trying to sell us the idea of how their groundbreaking formula bottled in the form of a spray/wax/liquid sealant, can single-handedly counteract aerodynamic drag and body roll, we felt it was time to transport ourselves to a different hall.

Enter the world of V.I.P.

Luke wasn’t a fan of what we came across in this part of the Intex convention centre. Personally, I don’t mind this type of build style. Low, big-body Japanese metal looks great when done tastefully. A little (~3 degrees) negative camber is a good amount of aggressive alignment; excessive camber to a point where it looks awkward can sometimes appear nonsensical though. Saying all that, I have seen some wild cars before, most of them being online so I can’t comment on the fit & finish etc, and they have been executed really well.

More than a couple of cars wore these new SSR Formula Aero Spoke wheels which were a breath of fresh air. Its an off-trend approach to the VIP-look. A bit daring as the wheel looks smaller than it actually is, but it kinda worked, I dunno maybe time will tell.

This is probably the photo I should set as the thumbnail when sharing this article online. I think its a Toyota Crown, not sure, but it had more than a few exhausts. I cannot confirm which of these in actual fact dispelled any burnt gases, or if they were just ornaments…

…The Kanji characters stamped into the silencer shrouding were a neat touch.

For some reason, I instantly thought of Gundam looking back at this 350Z. I don’t even watch the anime, but its got that type of vibe going on.

Nizo-Low (an aftermarket aero/dressup parts maker?) had that blue Ferrari California on flat-bronze TE37s on show last year. Nothing mega-crazy in 2020 though, just this casually lowered 488 Spider.

As soon as we entered hall No. 3 (that probably wasn’t the hall number, it was just the third one we browsed) it was Euro-mania. Even WORK Wheels’ stand had a BMW 8-Series convertible showing-off their latest set of hoops. I have noticed over the years, Japan really knows how pay respect to the German marques when it comes to customizing them. You can tell there is a popular fondness of BMW over there, ranging from the classics to modern chassis. Oh and of course, RAUH-Welt Begriff has unquestionably made the Jap-mad worldwide take notice of old Porsches.

As if the standard 993 Turbo isn’t wide enough.

Internally, I was having a party when I caught sight of this 2002 built by a Euro importer. Every detail was just so on point, I couldn’t help but take photos of it. Whether it be the all-aluminium face Hayashi Racing Type ST wheels, custom carbon air scoop, rear screen louvres, the licks of chrome across the metallic green body, that carbon-fibre rear wing, or the jaunty side-exit exhaust tailpipe – or maybe its the culmination of all the above – this machine had a bunch of character. And those ITBs tell me that it must sound like a tune to every bone in your body.

A Toyota Celsior fashioned with the classic two-tone top-bottom paint option, plonked on a set of Walds…

… hard to look bad, especially with that stylish 3-piece ducktail boot spoiler.

This establishment is a staple in the automotive industry, both for showcars and competition cars alike. The all-new TE370 wheel is really cool with its pocketed spokes. I can already see every other GT-R wearing those seen as though RAYS will probably only make them in sizes above 19″. I remember that booth being really busy, so it was an in-and-out job. I did pick up a brochure though, of course!

WORK Wheels and their setup was nice, almost showroom-like in the way the wheels were all hung in their own recess built into the wall. And the lighting was good, so the photos make the wheels look very fresh. This dual-element design WORK and SSR are doing is pretty nifty, take a look at the WORK Crag T-Grabic intended for outfitting offroad vehicles. Thats the new 14″ version, which looks miles better than the larger diameter option in my opinion, taking the spoke count down and simplifying the look of the wheel. Oh, and the (prototype) WORK Emotion CRs were on display in forged guise!

Pretty certain this photo of the underbelly of a A90 Supra was captured at the Kakimoto Racing Exhaust booth…

…could be wrong, either way the company showed off their components installed on a demo car in a trippy way. The mirror was so clean and well positioned, I thought there was a pit in the floor!

Finally, BRIDE decided to produce some genuine articles of the [in]famous BRIDE backpack, along with a cool helmet bag too. Man, I always used to see people wear those “BRIDE/TAKATA” backpacks at college; shit made me nauseous.

Not usually a fan of the new-gen style of wheels, as they tend to overdo things, ending up in a good-looking car ruined. These HREs on the other hand are next level, and are actually more concave than they appear on camera. Dwarfs those brakes on the new Supra though, don’t you think?

Okay, so remember how I said it didn’t feel crazily busy at the start of this blog post? Well, I was chattin’ out of my arse abit to be honest. If you’re stood looking at a car, you’ll be able to breathe. But when a model comes out of nowhere, all the ‘keen photographers’ come out the woodwork and you’re screwed in terms of getting a decent photo of the car. This TOYO Tires D1GP Supra was different though, because a lot of people were hoarding the car to take photos of that, and not the female stood posing in front of it. I did manage to get some shots of the rear, illustrating the girth of the Rocket Bunny Pandem widebody. Cameras in place of the wing mirrors were also interesting.

That’ll do for Part#1, hope you enjoyed the read. Keep an eye out for the second accompanying post where we come across the real Osaka-style builds.

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