Tokyo Auto Salon

Motorists Descend on Makahuru: Top Ten Builds at Tokyo Auto Salon 2023

Michael Ryan once reflected that: “Tokyo has a depth that keeps travelers in a constant state of rapture and delight.” No matter what you are into, this bustling city has you covered! The Tokyo Auto Salon celebrated its 40th anniversary this year, as excited visitors flocked to the Makahuru Messe to check out all things funky and innovative on wheels. Sadly canceled due to Covid in 2019, 2023 was the year that things finally were in person and “called back into the office!”

Much like SEMA and CES, there were the world’s craftiest OEM and aftermarket companies on deck to display their latest efforts. Following are some of the most fascinating and innovative builds spotted on site!

Top Ten Builds at Tokyo Auto Salon 2023

Toyota AE86s:

With their appearance titled “Carbon neutrality for protecting beloved cars”, Toyota’s builds this year were all about the future. They offered up two variants of the AE86: one was all-electric, and one sporting an internal-combustion engine powered by hydrogen. The AE86 BEV Concept’s motor was borrowed from the Tundra hybrid, with the battery sourced from a Prius PHEV. There’s also a manual transmission, scoring hefty points with diehard enthusiasts. The AE86 H2 Concept employs two hydrogen storage tanks and a combustion engine.

The Lexus Overtrail Project:

Not always previously known for intensely outdoorsy models, Lexus hit a park-sticker clad home run with these examples. The RX, GX, and Crown Outdoor Concepts have necessary extras such as chip-resistant paint, tents on the roof, and skid plates. As events such as the Easter Jeep Safari have become more popular, these builds have an eager audience.

The Toyota GR Heritage:

The GR Heritage Parts Project has initiated a movement to preserve “memory lane” with parts previously discontinued. These are part of an aggressive plan to launch over 30 items to be fitted on 8 different models. Among them is the iconic and terrain-conquering Land Cruiser axle shafts for the 70 and 80 series this spring. More parts will arrive after the initial offerings, thrilling overlanding enthusiasts hungry for action!

The Toyota GR Yaris Parts Exclusive:

The GR Corolla, GR86, and GR Supra were all very unique cars that have forever etched themselves into many track fans’ favorites. The GR Yaris is an attempt to have a bit of extra visual fun with a car that weighs surprisingly under 2500 pounds. Tight on corners is just the beginning of end kit result for the unique and pint-sized thrills offered with this one. There’s also enough primo-level chassis tuning and racing suspension to make any hardcore drift enthusiast weak in the knees!

The Subaru Crosstrek Boost Gear Concept:

The next generation of Subaru Wilderness models are going to provide tons of goodies for eager expeditions everywhere. On this build there are grab bars for GoPro cameras, flip-down tables, a dog leash mounting point, and a roll-out sunshade. Loyal fans have been raving about the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive System, which has proven itself as a true “Swiss Army Knife” of adventurers. It is constantly evaluating acceleration, cornering, and braking to provide power to the grippiest wheels.

The Subaru Impreza STI: 

This smaller crossover was already spotted last year amongst the breezy palms and glamour at the Los Angeles Show. The Tokyo Auto Salon allowed for some sick mods such as side skirts, a center-mounted dual exhaust, and STI bumpers. This year’s model brought back the rally-inspired RS Trim from the late 1990s. There is a well-stiffened chassis, along with dual-pinion electric power steering rack from WRX. A hatchback on street-race-inspired steroids is quite interesting: this unique model was NOT meant to lurk in the background!

The Liberty Walk Ferrari F40:

This F40 was one of the flashy and very confident show-stoppers on the scene this year! The fender was cut off right on the show stand, which definitely commands superior confidence. This legendary dominator of anything concrete boasted a rear wing, extra wide fenders, a front cowl, and side and rear diffusers. The result here is much like a young slot car racer’s dream on a rainy afternoon. An all-out Tokyo Auto Salon favorite, it oozes character even if initially catching the viewer off guard a bit.

The Liberty Walk Ferrari 355 Challenge: 

This body kit on display that is fit for the 1994 to 1999 F355 lays things on thick with wide overfenders, and a very short abrupt rear wing. You’ll need extra-wide wheels to accommodate the overfenders, and a cutting body for proper install. At the back, there are bigger tailpipes, with the AutoEvolution Crew thinking aloud that perhaps the Advan-branded tires were a touch too modern to tie together this look. This tuned F355 is paired with either a manual or six-speed automated manual transmission. It also has a very distinct and “chunkily lowered” appeal.

The 2023 Nissan GT-R NISMO:

Unveiled in 2007, the GT-R is built on the Nissan PM platform and was sold worldwide. Also clenching firmly onto the “Godzilla” nickname given to it by the Wheels publication, the GT-R was developed with Earth-shattering track performance in mind. This revamp at the Tokyo Auto Salon boasts a 10% larger wing, and limited slip differential to achieve expert-level cornering. This still very sleek number sort of resembles a Porsche 911 Coupe, but with its unique breed of taut downforce.

The Nissan Z:

This is an all-new model that was just introduced last year, with every aftermarket specialist eager to get their hands on it. Many knowledgeable fans think it is as example of all-out perfection. There were numerous varieties on hand here this year including Top Secret, Varis, Crewch, and Star Road. Under the hood is the highly revered 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 that cranks out 400 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. The Top Secret one was reportedly the hottest, adding a new front bumper, front fenders, side skirts, rear fenders, and a rear bumper.

Tokyo Auto Salon

Which one of these unique takes on an already-amazing vehicle is your favorite? Tell us in the comments below, or check out another awesome article about some of Nissans’ Safest Cars.

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Jon Weirman
I am a freelance writer in the Midwest who specializes in vehicles built for expert-level off-roading, and anything with a staggering amount of horsepower. In my first life I worked in broadcasting for Starz Network and Discovery Channel. I also love retro video games and sci-fi movies. Everything from the loud and burly muscle cars of the late 1970s to new crossover SUVs with futuristic tech features have populated my inbox!

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