Tuning Essentials: Japan #1

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Somebody Call The Fire Department! Warning! This issue is so smoking hot that it may spontaneously combust.

And, when there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. In fact, Chris Nicholls, the newest member of the PASMAG team, caught up with the legend himself – Smokey Nagata – during a tour of some of the country’s top tuning shops while on assignment. Nicholls, a resident of Melbourne, Aus., has been working behind the scenes for months, curating and coordinating the best of the best JDM content on the planet to make sure that our super special JDM issue beats all others in the market. And, after all that’s been said and done, nobody can argue that fact either.

During his annual pilgrimage to the recent Tokyo Auto Salon, Nicholls stayed on for weeks after the fact to attend the massive HKS Premium Day at Fuji Speedway, photograph some killer rides and visit with Mine’s, Power House Amuse, Spoon Sports Type One Garage, RE Amemiya and, of course, Top Secret.

You’ll find all of it inside so keep reading to see what else is in store – besides the Japanese-style, backwards printing that is!

Meanwhile, Adam Zillin, our regular JDM Insider, has started hanging out with the ultimate car guy, who's been garnering much attention with his exotic rides and community outreach initiatives in and around Tokyo. His group is actually called CarGuy (go figure).

On the features front, we’ve nailed down some of the most insane Japanese tuners in existence. The all-star list of machines boasts a pair of Mazda RX-7s, including the time attack RE Amemiya Hurricane and the jaw-dropping Car Shop Glow FD3S street and track terrorizer that graces our cover.

Takero’s joins the party with a 600-horsepower Nissan Stagea Autech 260RS, while Zillin follows up his interview with Naohisa Tazawa (PASMAG #131, June/July) with Garage G-Force’s CT9A Time Attack Evo.

It laps the Tsukuba Circuit in 55 seconds. Enough said!

Our final featured vehicle actually calls the U.S. home, however, it is anything but made in the USA. Frankensteined in the USA perhaps. Archie Concon’s two-door Evo VIII is actually a 2000 Mitsubishi Mirage, and it has been a project of passion for many, many years. PASMAG’s Eric Eikenberry walks us through this one-of-a-kind whip.

Also on the homefront, we sat down with Bulletproof Automotive boss Ben Schaffer, North America’s authority on all things JDM and author of “The Real JDM” blog (which actually has its roots in PASMAG by the way), to talk about the process of importing and distributing JDM parts in the U.S. and his personal philosophy on JDM tuning.

Also stateside, Ashley Barone from Amsoil recounts her personal experience of importing her JDM dream car – a Eunos Cosmo – legally into the U.S. It’s a must-read for anyone thinking of doing the same.

To round out our first but definitely not last, full JDM Special Edition, Phillip Awad photographs the 10th annual last Japanese Classic Car Show mere steps from where he grew up, alongside the RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. And our editors bring the latest and coolest JDM parts and accessories in our Hot New Products Guide.

If all this doesn’t amount to the best JDM enthusiast special edition magazine outside of Japan, then we have no clue what we’re doing. Let us know at editor@pasmag.com if you agree or disagree. That is, after the fire department has left the building. In the meantime, thanks for checking us out!