HKS Premium Day Part 1: The Art Of Show

With Tokyo Auto Salon (part 1, part 2, part 3) done and dusted,  you can only sit back and wonder what just hit you. With the the event being notoriously short for its size it is safe to assume that any automotive enthusiast would be craving for more.


This is precisely where HKS comes in to rescue. Being Japan's most renowned tuner and parts manufacturer they take their marketing very seriously as just two weeks after Tokyo Auto Salon they throw one hell of a party, making all tuners and shops come out here to Fuji Speedway to unite once more in pure automotive harmony.

But this time the cars are not hiding under a roof of some convention center but are shining under rays of natural light right here where they belong: on a world famous Grand Prix circuit.

After all, there were plenty of cool cars at TAS, but the luxury of space was not there, and looking at cars at a exhibition facility does get a bit repetitive.

HKS Premium Day is the event for real car guys.  If TAS was an appetizer, this is undeniably the big fat steak with a side of mash that we've all been waiting for.

Cars are displayed out in the open and some are taken to track, as we will check out in part 2 of the coverage.

In this entry we will check out some of the most awesome and down right insane cars that were scattered around the paddock, pits and in the custom car showcase behind the main stand.

As usual, some cars are modified to such extent that they are no longer recognizable making entire JDM scene that much more awesome.  Please Welcome Nissafiniti G370SX... see what I mean? 

And then there is the breathtaking scenery, which gives me chills every time I come down to Fuji Speedway.  Despite midwinter schedule cold weather had very little to do with it, as cars around here were simply hot!

So let me start with my usual BMW bias as I spent good 15 minutes drooling over this E90 M3 on BBS wheels.  Perfection redefined.

But you don't have to spend your life savings on a car if you just want to make it look good.  Once more BMW and Rays combo proving how good of a match it is.  Should BMW consider signing Rays as OEM maker?

But simplicity was just not the word for the day as I stumbled across the Varis Z4 that we encountered at Tokyo Auto Salon just a couple of weeks ago.  With the car being displayed at wide open space with nobody getting in the way I was finally able a closer look,

and do nothing but admire the hard work and bold design.  Varis is one fascinating body shop and with their strategy covering such vast variety of vehicles it is exciting to see them evolve into world renowned design studio.

I was then brutally interrupted.. Again... Time for a million dollar shot I guess.

But we have to snap back into reality, reality of JDM world that HKS Premium Day is.

Luckily, with introduction of so many performance cars last year, it is safe to say that JDM tuning culture is back.

Despite the fact that the new WRX STI has been on the market in Japan for just a few months, it was great to see professional tuners and shops dedicate so much attention to the small sedan.

Which brings me to this new addition to the fleet of Car Station Marche line-up.  The VAB WRX STI features a race-car lively and has been entered in to time attack session.  In the relatively short span the car has been in the shop it got a small list of upgrades ensuring its competitive entry in the time attack contest.

Apart from the HKS cat-back exhaust the car received a new suspension kit, and a set of Rays ZE40 wheels.  We will see more of it as it goes out for a time attack session in part 2 of this coverage.

From new hotness to timeless classics.  It is hard to imagine the JDM scene without the screaming rotary powered RX-7.  This example here however has been completely rebuilt with 3 rotor NA setup and is sounding like nothing else.

NSX fans would be delighted that their favorite cars are always present in these events,

and most outrageous of them, such as the Espirt NSX are taking part in the time attack competition.

As with many other cars, we will be checking it out as it goes around the track in the next update.

Yes, you guess it... More of the HKS Technical Factory Kamikaze R in the next update...

but here is a glimpse of what will be powering this beast so it can achieve the record braking lap time around Fuji Speedway.  As we saw it being introduced at Nismo Festival the VR38DETT has been bored and stroked to 4.1L, fitted with larger turbo and cooling and should be good for about 1200HP.

As usual, R35 is the star of the event as so many variants of it are being displayed.

It was especially captivating to finally catch up with the Top Secret demo car from 2014 Auto Salon finished in Nissan's classic Bayside Blue.

As for something new, this R35 is an on-going project of DoLuck and has undergone a whole body makeover,

which includes wider track via new fender design, but in such way that they keep the original styling of the GTR in tact.  The mirror deflectors resemble the design found on R34 Nismo Z-tune making this body kit even more appealing to fans of grass roots GTR's.

Yet its functionality has lowered the drag coefficient, increased down-force and improved corner stability making this car even more suitable for track and street use.

Lots of air vents imply potential for some heavy tuning, which is for now only laid out on paper as the project is still in the early stage of development.

So far it has only been treated to a custom exhaust, custom intercooler and tuned ECU yielding just a bit over 600 horses.

DoLuck designed their body kit to emphasize the organic lines of the R35 while concentrating on aerodynamic performance, the designers at Kulh had a completely different approach on their minds as they went all out and made the Godzilla almost unrecognizable.  The  wide body kit is the same as the one they showcased under a coat of sculptured paint at Tokyo Auto Salon, while Airex supplied the air suspension,

allowing the R35 to be slammed on a set of 20 inch deep concave Work wheels and extending a long middle finger to all the purists... 

Of course not far from it, was this: slamming GTR's even harder, and extending middle finger even further, courtesy of Liberty Walk.

As for the performance tuned old school GTR's, of course we remember the bright red Art Tech Hanatsuta R34 from Tokyo Auto Salon and R's Meeting here at Fuji Speedway.  We will finally get to see it in action as it takes on time attack challenge in Part 2 of our coverage.

As usual, these events are filled with S15's Silvia's. While wondering around searching for the one to focus on, this race-car looking example from ELD Auto caught my eye.

As the SR20 motor has been swapped out and replaced with might 2JZ, which has been treated with a  modified intake and cooling pipes from Tanida, while stock turbo has been swapped for a larger AR70 unit.

Nobody does S15's as well as Garage Mak in Nagano.  Their area of expertise extends to applying the unique chameleon paint job,

to absolute perfection in styling and tuning. We have seen the famous wide body scissor door S15 before, but this time we had an opportunity to have a closer look.

A peek inside shows a perfect balance of street/track setup with Bride buckets ensuring the perfect seating position and side bolstering. while removable steering wheel improves accessibility, yet lack of roll cage, and virtually untouched factory dash, AC, and proper aftermarket LCD infotainment system make this car usable on daily basis.

Yet it's the track where this car really shines.  With addition of GCG GTX3582R, VE head, and HKS injectors among other bits and pieces the car is now capable of delivering 730HP to the rear wheels!  For a 2L 4pot, this is beyond any imagination.

Perhaps this is the point where ultimate goal has been reached.  The car has been at this current stage for quite some time, which is unusual for tuners who work on their cars day in and day out.  Yet in this case it would be difficult to improve the car any further, so the only thing left to do is to enjoy it.

The rest of the tuning world is refusing to stop and sometimes it takes an unusual... hold on a minute now... as word "turn" would be a very inappropriate here, so I will get "straight" to the point.

This is a Chaser JZX100 dragster.  A creation of a world re-defining uniqueness it takes a pun at both traditions of JDM and Americans culture by choosing an unorthodox method of blending the two.

After all, 1000+HP out of 2JZ is nothing new, but it has almost always been a standard to put into drift cars and shred million pounds of tires, but a four-door dragster is something the boys at Esperanza Motor Service have definitely managed to hit the spot with.  

From big to small: the Suzuki Swift Sport is definitely one of the headlines of JDM compact scene and this little red devil is on display just to show what can be done to slightly improve the performance of the tiny 1.6L four-pot.

As it turned out, "slightly" was an understatement.  The engine has been treated with number of upgrades and tweaks, including the R's original supercharger and intake manifold.  The little car is capable of producing enough power and torque to embarrass pretty much anything on the street or track.

Which brings me to this, the most unique blend of track weapon and customizing perfection.  The remarkably clean Civic Type R is basically a kit car/full restoration project that Mr. Watanabe has embarked on pretty much by himself.  Starting with layers of nerve calming beige paint,

and completely rebuilding the B16B power plant. All wiring and piping have been completely rebuild with brand new parts from more recent Type R vehicles, while internals polished and overhauled. 

Bolt-on parts have been kept to minimum, with just HKS intake, exhaust and tuned ECU, but it's fine tuning and perfecting the existing unit what makes the car keep its character,

as in this little Honda this is what comes into play above all.

With so many cars displayed and randomly scattered around Fuji Speedway it is impossible to cover them all.  We will come back with some track action in next update,

but for now please check out the HUGE bonus image gallery below and don't forget to follow, share and comment!

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