GREETINGS and welcome to day four in Osaka (day nine in Japan)! On this morning I went to Ichiran for breakfast and then patiently waited for Shimuzu-San of Roughsmoke to pick me up from my hotel. Today’s agenda was simple: Osaka tuning shops tour!
Originally I had reached out to No Good Racing to see if it’d be possible to meet up with any of the members and see their cars, however they just had a big meet a couple weeks prior to me arriving so there was nothing really going on (unless you count the Kanjo racers that I could hear from my hotel each night…). Kazu-san from Mecha-Dock was also out of town at the time so we couldn’t drop by there either unfortunately, but no matter, Osaka still has plenty to offer and first up on the list of shops to visit was the famed J’s Racing.
We went inside to say hello and then off I went snapping away, starting off with their showroom.
Fully built K series with the signature J’s teal valve cover.
Plenty of goodies on display such as the titanium exhausts, steering wheels, and titanium lug nuts, all of which are available for sale if you have enough room in your luggage.
Tons of awards and trophies on display by the seating area. Unlike most car awards around here, these are entirely from racing events, not shows!
Like most shops in japan, the showroom itself is fairly small so I soon made it back outside…
…to get a better look of some of the machinery that was present that day, such as this customer S2000 with the full TYPE-S 2.0 aero kit.
Their demo car Fit tucked away in the corner.
I saw plenty of S660’s during my time in Japan and it’s just too bad that we never got these overseas as they are pretty cool.
A rather rare yellow EK9 sandwiched in the middle of all its newer siblings.
Another Fit sitting off to the side, but what caught my eye which was sitting right behind it…
…was this amazing looking DC5 Integra Type R.
Quite a serious looking car, complete with full aero, a full roll cage, and gutted interior.
That pretty much wrapped up what was sitting in the parking lot, but as for what was getting worked on in the shop…
What you are looking at here is THE Hot Version Touge Maou S2000 built by J’s Racing, and honestly I’m not too sure what else to say about this car except holy crap.
This is the actual car that has done countless battles on the Gunsai Touge against many other famous tuning names such as RE Amemiya, FEED, Techno Pro Spirits, Arvou, and ASSIST, just to name a few.
At the time of my visit, the team was changing some settings as well as the brakes in preparation for a Hot Version event the following week.
The F20C has been fully built with the displacement increased to 2.67L making a whopping 340HP and 260ftlb.
Pretty wild stuff and I love seeing “complete” builds like this; it’s has to perform as good as it looks!
Also in the shop was yet another S2000, but sitting underneath it was something rather interesting.
This is the Shizuki Project Fit GT2 built by J’s Racing quite some years ago. Of course this is Osaka so this is no ordinary Fit, but rather one powered by a built, high compression K24 engine with a MoTeC M400. The interior is fully stripped and caged as well in typical racecar fashion.
After grabbing a few more shots as well as some souvenir’s, it was time to head on over to our next stop…
…which is a very old school shop and one that helped bring drifting to the spotlight in America in the early 2000’s; welcome to Signal Auto!
Signal Auto’s rise to fame came almost 20 years ago when they had more wild builds such as the twin Drifter X and XL S13.5’s which went to America a few times, the 700HP R34 GT-R which made numerous top speed runs featured in Grip Video, and of course the Maziora painted R34 GT-R racecar which did everything from drag, circuit, and drifting.
They used to compete in D1GP and even in Formula D in the States, but these days it seems that things are a bit on the tamer side for them with quite a bit of focus on custom paint work.
That being said, I LOVE the custom painted Gundams that they have on display to show off some of the colors available.
In fact, it seems like they will paint just about anything and everything to use as a demo.
Despite the emphasis on “dress up” style, Signal Auto still offers full mechanical and tuning services…
…such as this Stagea which they just completed a full RB26DETT and manual transmission swap on.
Also in shop that day was a pretty dope looking Odyssey as well as a very pristine MKIII Supra getting some maintenance done.
What appears to be a Banksy like tag on one of the paint booth doors.
Back inside were some old copies of past features from both Super Street and DSPORT Magazine.
That was pretty much it at Signal Auto, so we said our goodbyes and went off to stop number three.
Our third stop for the day is a shop that many of you are probably more familiar with these days. We’ve seen them in the spotlight in Super Street, Speed Hunters, The Chronicles, and BOWLS. Tactical Art でようこそ!
Tactical Art’s main specialty is custom fabrication. While their focus is primarily on Honda’s, USDM style, and even importing many American brands, they also create a lot of custom one-off parts in house such as roll bars and roll cages, titanium and stainless steel exhausts, and custom upholstery as well. In fact, the owner Tsubouchi-san even created the shelving and tables on the upper floor, but for now let’s take a look at the garage area.
On the day of my visit there were a couple EK hatches in the middle of getting some work done.
As cool as it is seeing “finished” builds, I actually really enjoy seeing cars in the middle of it all. This way you can appreciate and even study all the work and attention to detail that goes into some of these cars.
Of course Tactical Art works on many other cars as well such as this V36 Skyline on Vossen VFS-1’s and NRG lug nuts (there’s that USDM style influence that I was talking about).
If you’ve been following either Tactical Art or The Chronicles for a while, then you may know that Tsubouchi-san used to have quite the crazy EG track build a while ago which unfortunately met an untimely demise at Nakayama Circuit one day.
He has since started to rebuild on a new chassis, and this is it. They’re usually pretty busy with customer cars however so he generally doesn’t get too much free time to work on it.
Full carbon quarter panels by Tsubouchi-san himself complete with carbon window replacements.
Radiator and oil cooler mocked up in place along with some ducting.
Looks like the car will be powered by the same B series that was in the old car (pretty much anything and everything that was still reusable was taken off the old chassis). You can also gett a better look at the tube frame work done on the front end here.
The old EG looked absolutely menacing and was also probably one of the best EG’s ever built. I can’t wait to see until this new rebuild is complete and running!
Eventually I moved along upstairs which is also the showroom, storage, and lounge area.
Full carbon doors awaiting to go onto the EG sitting downstairs.
Plenty of parts scattered around the showroom.
CCW is a brand that Tactical Art imports regularly so they always have some on display.
A couple of examples of the custom exhaust work that Tactical Art is known for.
Tactical Art original coilovers.
After chatting for a bit about my own Integra back home, I took one last shot of the shop front before hopping back into the Alphard to continue on my tour of the night.
Our final shop of the day was a complete surprize to me as I was not familiar with this them at all, but I already liked what I was seeing upon our arrival; welcome to BrushUP auto works!
First thing that greeted us was this wild looking EG Civic parked out front.
As you can probably guess from these series of photos, this car is quite a serious circuit racer with widened front fenders, custom carbon window vents, carbon quarter window replacements, and even a carbon back window replacement. We’ll come back to this car in a bit, but let’s take a look around the shop space first.
Lots of body parts sitting outside the shop.
Sitting right next to the EG was an entire roof and pillar assembly off another EG hatch. Yuki-san (owner of BrushUP auto works) is planning on using this to create a carbon roof for future use.
The shop space here is actually incredibly small. In fact, it’s only two bays large!
In for service that day was this EK9 Civic Type R which looks like it’s seen quite a bit of time on track.
Sitting right next to the EK9 was yet another EG6, this one looking more like a dedicated racecar with its full livery.
You can also see just how tight the shop space here is from these photos. It is literally about the size of your average double car garage here in Canada!
Pair of Advan RG’s and Enkei RPF1’s lying on the ground awaiting some new paint.
BrushUP competes is various races such as the Civic One Make Race as well as various endurance races. Give them a follow on Instagram to see more of their track activities as it seems like they’re at the track almost every week!
Some more RPF1’s hiding underneath the EG.
First time I ever heard this name was in JDM Insider Volume 2 from what seems like forever ago…
Eventually I went back outside to study the details of this nutty EG build a bit more.
Yuki-san was kind enough to pop the hood for me to reveal that this car is actually K-powered!
Inside it’s all business with a custom switch panel, roll cage, racing fuel cell…
…and a SINCO TECH digital dash display.
Even the factory dashboard has been removed for weight savings.
Must be convenient to have a vending machine right outside the shop…
One final shot of this amazing Civic before leaving BrushUp.
Later that night we ventured off to a couple touges to see if anything was going on, but unfortunately police were already on site. No matter, we’d just have to run the touge in the Alphard instead!
Side note: NO ONE should ever go fast on a touge in an Alphard…
There was one silver lining however; we stopped at the top of whatever mountain we were on and were greeted by this incredible view. This was my very last night in Osaka and it was honestly everything I ever thought it’d be plus so much more. This was easily my favourite city of all the ones I visited in Japan.
Thank you so much to Shimuzu-san of Roughsmoke for showing me around and of course, to the staff at J’s Racing, Signal Auto, Tsubouchi-san of Tactical Art, and Yuki-san of BrushUP auto works for being so incredibly kind and welcoming. I cannot wait to be back!
Next stop: Tokyo.
Click here to view the full photo set on Flickr.
See more from my Japan trip here !
Thank you sir!