..Written by Sam Eskew
Photos by John Toth..

For all those not in the know TAS stands for Tokyo Auto Salon. Now that you are all in the know here are few statistics from the Event Summary on exactly what the TAS consisted of. There were 319 Exhibitors, 602 custom vehicles, and took up event halls 1-8 in the Makuhari Messe Exposition Center, with 249,197 people visiting over 3 days. In simple terms the event was huge.

Ok now if the statistics above dont impress you maybe the description will. Here is how it went. Opening day of the event we after we picked up our press passes, we were waiting for the doors to open, we decided to take a look at the layout (did not help that the exhibitors were listed about ½ in English and ½ in Japanese, not to mention, none of us read Japanese). Anyway we decided from what we could read, we would start in the center hall, casually browse the booths, head to the West hall, browse there, and finally over to the East hall.

After that we would then decide who we wanted to visit and try and get some interviews and talk to some people who were at the really interesting booths. So much for plans; any non-car person would have thought we were kids in a candy store. After stopping to photograph (and admire) the models right past the gate, we spent 10 minutes on the steps overlooking the main hall admiring (drooling) over the massive size of the center hall in itself. Down on the main floor, I think anyone observing our behavior would have thought we all had ADD.

We see a company selling remote control drift cars, with guys drifting remote control cars around a carpeted track. So we briefly stopped to see what they had. As soon as we had stopped, a couple pictures were snapped. As I browsed the booth, we rounded a corner, wait I see models in cool outfits, the remote control cars no longer interested us. Off to see (drool over) the models. After John got the models to pose and some pictures were snapped, our attention was diverted, look a beautiful White 1000 PS, Nissan R34, have to get pictures of that. Bye bye models (for the moment).

As soon as we get to the other side of the R34, another booth with models is in sight. Bye bye R34. On display at the Subaru booth was a completely disassembled 2.8L WRX boxer engine, that was used to demonstrate how it was put together, very educational and it all looked so easy. Very tough for our video camera guy to get good footage of the Subaru mechanics assembling the turbo, and the Subaru girls doing a model show at the same time. And that is how the days progressed.

So what exactly was there? Well a majority of the well know import/compact sport car tuning companies and manufactures were there; Spoon, Mungen, Top Secret, Blitz, HKS, TEIN, Works, Honda, Nissan, NISMO, Brembo, Endless, Bride, GREDDY, DUBS, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Toyota, TRD, Alpine, Dunlop, Goodyear, Weld, DEFI, RALIART, numerous race teams, and 294 more exhibitors besides what I just listed. Amazing.

I will highlight a couple of the more interesting things that were showcased there. Top Secret debuted their Twin Turbo dual throttle body V12 Supra, which took Best in Show. TEIN was showcasing their EDFC (electronic damping force controller) which enables you to adjust the damping of your (TEIN) shocks from the drivers seat. They also had a hybrid version where you not only adjust damping, but ride height also. There were more carbon clutches there than I knew what to do with. Everything from triple plate, double plate, single plate, push type, pull type for just about any car you could think of including a F1 clutch pack that was 97mm in diameter (thats 9.7 cm, or 3.1) and had a weight of 1000g (2.2 lbs). HKS had a new supercharger kit out for the 350Z, a 2.8L stroker kit for all you people thinking of converting your Skylines RB 26 from 2.6L to 2.8L.

In short, coming from a guy that has been going to car shows and events since he was about 10, this is the best one I have been to yet, far exceeding my expectations. It is definitely worth the trip if you can make it there for 2008. In fact I think one of the hardest things about going to TAS was sorting through the thousands of pics and knowing we cant share them all!

Be sure to check out more photos from the event in the SDM Gallery section.

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