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Excessive accessories are on display at the Tokyo Auto Salon

Tue, 08 Mar 2011

The Japanese tuning industry may finally be emerging from the economic slump if this year's Tokyo Auto Salon is an accurate barometer. The three-day spectacular--Japan's equivalent of SEMA--attracted nearly a quarter-million visitors, all eager to get a glimpse of the latest cars and the newest excessive accessories for 2011.

Here's a recap:

The Honda CR-Z was, without a doubt, the car of the show, and some versions were tuned to deliver up to 300 hp, thanks to turbocharging or supercharging kits. Honda had its own CR-Z, the TS-1X, sporting an aerodynamically styled body kit but virtually no performance upgrades.

Legendary tuner Veilside, responsible for many of the cars from the Fast and the Furious movies, returned to the show after a long absence, showcasing a tantalizing selection that included a 760-hp, custom-bodied Toyota Supra.

Rotary specialist RE-Amemiya showed off an all-new RX-7 project fitted with a 600-hp triple-rotor engine.

The mighty Nissan GT-R was also represented, and tuners Trust and HKS responded with tricks such as turbocharger upgrades able to deliver 800 hp--or better. Another highlight was Abflug's wide-body conversion, lending even more attitude to the car's unmistakable tail.

Nismo also had a tuned version of the GT-R, and perhaps even more notable, a customized Leaf. The eco-friendly electric car doesn't gain anything in the performance department, but the lowered suspension and larger wheels do inject a sinister character.

Nismo accessorized the next-gen Elgrand minivan, the Japanese version of the Nissan Quest. This adds a slight power upgrade thanks to a lineup of S-tune parts, which include a remapped ECU and a sports-tuned exhaust.

But our favorite was a car that captures the true essence of personalization--Japan-style--called the Bee-Dragon Toyota Crown Majesta. A fusion of different styles, it is the epitome of the Japanese tuning spirit which, even when faced with an economic crisis, can survive and come out fighting.

By Dino Dalle Carbonare