February 29, 2024

Four Must-See Cars From TAS 2024


If there’s one takeaway from the first day of Tokyo Auto Salon 2024, it’s sheer craziness. The crazy builds are back, and so are the crazy crowds. In fact, if the number of attendees we encountered on just the first day of this three-day mega event keeps up over the entire weekend, there’d have to be a new TAS attendance record set.

Within the eleven huge halls of the Makuhari Messe, we’ve come across so many amazing builds, and we’re planning to show you as many of them as we can over the course of the coming days’ coverage. Today, though, we wanted to share a few of the early standouts – the cars you must see if you’re braving the Tokyo Auto Salon this weekend.

Kazuki Ohashi’s Madlane 935ML Masterpiece

Let’s start with Kazuki Ohashi‘s Madlane 935ML Masterpiece. And ‘Masterpiece’ is a fitting name, because what this 29-year-old builder has created is nothing short of phenomenal. If you cast your minds back to 2021, you might remember our visit to Madlane, where Kazuki-san talked us over the 964 Carrera 2-based creation he was working on. You can check out that feature here.

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Kazuki-san’s inspiration for the project was the Kremer 935 K4, but as you can see from the 99.9% finished project (only tuning of the MoTeC engine management system is needed before the car’s shakedown) he’s taken it to a whole new level – and it’s awesome.

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Don’t for a minute think this is a just a show-style build, like some of Madlane’s other creations, though. It’s been engineered with motorsport underpinnings, from custom tube chassis and suspension work to a built 3.8L engine running twin KKK turbos with 935 wastegates. And check out those rear slicks!

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We’re so happy to see Kazuki-san bring this vision to life, and you can bet we’ll be heading back down to Madlane HQ as soon as possible to shoot the car for a full feature.

Mad Mike Whiddett’s Mazda 808/RX-3 Wagon

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Before Mad Mike Whiddett started drifting rotary-powered Mazdas in New Zealand he skidded them up, and of all his early builds none are more famous than FURSTY – his peripheral port 13B-powered 808 station wagon. After winning NZ’s 2004 Skidfest event, Mike found drifting and the RX-3-facelifted wagon was sold to help fund the purchase of his FD3S RX-7 – the car we now all know as MADBUL.

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After a long time away, in October last year Mike was able to purchase the 808/RX-3 back, and reunite the wagon with its original FURSTY plates. But there were more plans that just that, and over the past three months the 808/RX-3 has been transformed from a street car to a fully-fledged pro-spec drift machine that will compete in the 2024 D1 Grand Prix championship here in Japan.

There’s a huge spec to FURSTY, from the TCP-Magic-built 26B four-rotor NA engine backed up by an HGT sequential transmission and Winters Performance quick-change rear end, to the one-off Rocket Bunny Pandem wide-body kit and custom Rotiform wheels, and we’ll uncover all that and more with a full feature very soon. What we’re really looking forward to though is seeing the car in action in D1GP!

Hikaru Taguchi’s Moontech x LTO BMW M3

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In Dino’s 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon preview post, he named Moontech’s E36 M3 as one of his early standouts of the show, and now having gone in for a closer look, it’s only gotten better. We already knew that Hikaru Taguchi could build a tough E36, but this one goes even further than he’s gone before through a special collaboration with Khyzyl Saleem and tuning powerhouse Trust/GReddy.

Moontech’s ‘Project LTO E36′ features Khyzyl’s LTO (Live To Offend) wide-body kit, paired with Air Lift Performance air suspension and SCD EXT wheels from Neutrale in 18×10-inch and 18×13.5-inch fitments.

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Inside, in true Moontech fashion you’ll find a full custom-trimmed cabin, while turbocharging of the M3’s S50 provides a solid performance bump. Trust/Greddy came on board for all the engine work.

Kei Miura’s Rocket Bunny Pandem Toyota Hilux 

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Rocket Bunny and Tokyo Auto Salon have gone hand in hand for longer than we can remember, but Kei Miura has brought something very different from the norm to the TAS party this year, and we can’t get enough of it.

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It’s hard to know how to classify this 1989 Toyota Hilux as there’s a whole lot going on. At first glance it’s a mini truck with a Pandem kit and sparkly lowrider-style paint work – a wild mix in its own right – but then you see the drift stance and the completely exposed rear end. But that’s not all…

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Up front, the Hilux has been 2JZ-converted and stacked with mods that include a very serious-looking single turbo conversion. There’s plenty to unpack here, so stay tuned for a full feature in the very near future.

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Also of note was this custom TRA Kyoto chassis parked alongside.

Mad Mike Whiddett recently pulled the wraps of his 5-rotor-powered ‘787D’ – a build inspired by the ’91 Le Mans-winning Mazda 787B, but destined for drift demos – however, it seems like there’s another one of the custom stainless steel chassis in existence too. That’s not entirely unexpected given that Miura-san built 787D’s chassis and bodywork, but we’re really looking forward to seeing where this build goes.

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As you can see above, we have a lot more to share with you from Tokyo Auto Salon 2024 – including a full feature on Wataru Kato‘s Liberty Walk Lamborghini Countach, which Dino is shooting straight after the event.

Stay tuned for our next update from the Makuhari Messe!

The Speedhunters
Instagram: thespeedhunters

Photography by Toby Thyer
Instagram: _tobinsta_
tobythyer.co.uk





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