VIDEO: You could tune pretty much anything in Japan

In the 90s, Japan was so high on octane that you could find aftermarket parts for just about any car imaginable. In this Best Motoring video, the hosts step out of NSXes and GT-Rs for a second and test drive tuned regular cars that are accessible to a teenager making minimum yen at the local Lawson. Whether its a 4WD Mazda hatchback, a late-model front-drive Corolla family sedan, or an ancient A60 Carina (the four-door Celica, if you will), all are flogged at the track. 

In many ways Japan today still has a penchant for tuning — you’ll still see everything from lowered Priuses and kitted out hybrid vans — but it’s more cosmetic and less about hard core track use. The 1990s was a magical time, a perfect storm of an economy still riding a wave of unprecedented prosperity, automaker craziness, and young people not yet addicted to smartphones.

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6 Responses to VIDEO: You could tune pretty much anything in Japan

  1. CobaltFire said:

    I don’t know about that whole “more cosmetic” part. There’s a lot more of that than there was back then, mainly because the cost to manufacture body panels is much cheaper now. Couple that with the visibility of those mods vs many of the performance mods and you get a far more visible fraction.

    As an example I DD a 2016 Yaris iA with a 6-speed, which is a Mazda Demios DJ in Japan. I can get most anything under the sun for it, including full coilovers (CUSCO, RS*R, Tein, AUTOEXE, RE Amemiya, etc.), body bracing (strut towers, subframe, interior floor braces, etc.), LSD’s (CUSCO), Brakes (AUTOEXE has a set of ALFIN rear DRUMS that drop 1.6kg per side, along with front forged calipers and two piece rotors), subframe mount inserts (CUSCO, and chinese knockoffs), etc.

    I think we are really going nostalgic here (appropriately), because when I visit the in-laws I get to see all kinds of grocery getters hopped up and running around the track (BiL is a big time trackday guy). Everything’s available, and faster than ever, it’s just attitudes have changed and it’s no longer as popular on a day to day basis for the young guy or dad to throw their money that direction vs cellphones, etc. (as was alluded to in the article).

  2. Michael said:

    I believe these are the type of videos that JNCers, & potential JNCers, should be watching.

    Soooooooo much better than that Donut Media Skyline “history” BS from the previous post/story.

    Option, Hot Version, Best Motoring……….these are the real-deal!

  3. Banpei said:

    Hurray! Someone is showing Carina A60 appreciation! 🙂
    The Carina A60 can be described as the four door Celica as in the A40 series the Celica Camry was basically a Carina with IRS. In this generation it could rather be seen as Toyota’s attempt to make performance family sedans with the GT-R and Gt-TR. This was in an era where the X60 series still featured the SOHC 1G and were more aimed at luxury than performance. Especially the 4A-GE powered GT-R sold very well, while the turbo charged 3T-GTE offered more performance but was less tunable. The 49:51 weight distribution on the GT-R also ensured good predictable handling. It even got nicknamed the for door hachiroku for the above reasons. The only downside was the added weight of the larger body: about 150kgs heavier than the AE86.

    • Banpei said:

      Btw: I posted this video two years ago on my blog, but it got removed from YouTube for copyright violations. Good to see it now got made available officially! I’ll update my blog post with this video!

    • Ant said:

      I do love the styling of that Carina. Knew very little about them (and still don’t), but those simple, boxy lines are very easy to like.

  4. Joe Hornberger said:

    If you are into European or Japanese cars, the ’80’s and the early to mid ’90’s were a great time to be an enthusiast. I don’t want to knock modern auto enthusiasts, because we need all the “enthusiasm” we can get; but it’s so much easier (for me, anyways!) to be into the older machinery.

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