Liberty Walk never ceases to up the ante at each Auto Salon, each time showcasing a car that somehow manages to be more mind-blowing than the year before. The internet-melting buzz this year, as you may have heard, was the Lamborghini Miura done in the style of traditional Japanese tuning melded with modern stance culture (don’t worry, purists, it’s a replica). However, it was a different car at the Liberty Walk booth that got our motors revving here at JNC.
Tucked to the side of the booth and wearing the iconic black-to-crimson livery of Yokohama Tire’s Advan brand was one of the meanest 4-door Hakosuka Skylines we’ve ever seen. The tuning style was made famous on Japan’s streets, and was inspired by the Nissan Skyline GT-R works racers of the late 1960s. However, no Hakosuka sedan officially bore the Advan warpaint.
Wearing no grille, nekome headlights, a black external oil cooler and deep RS Watanabes, it is exactly the type of car that makes you think, “I am not going to mess with whoever that is.” Is the racing number 4 a reference to its sedan-ness, or the owner wearing his bad luck proudly? Four is the most unlucky number in Japan because its pronunciation, shi, sounds like the Nihon word for death. For Americans, imagine this car with a “13” or “666” and you’ll get the idea.
In fact, the owner is part of Liberty Walk’s crew and a member of the old Ibaraki Racing Team. The Black Emperor logo and God Speed You motto are references to one of the most infamous old school bosozoku gangs in Japan. There was even a documentary made about them.
To be clear, the Black Emperor logo is not a swastika; it’s an ancient Buddhist symbol called the manji that the Nazis co-opted, but it is still commonly seen in Asia.
The more familiar fare from Liberty Walk consists of wide-body kits for supercars, a modern interpretation of the old school kaido racer look that adorns cars like the Hakosuka and Miura. A white GT-R wore version 1.5 of LB Performance’s R35 kit that brings the nose more in line with the facelifted GT-R and is more subdued than the 2.0.
Since modified supercars are kind of LB’s calling card, it’s no surprise that they would be the first to develop a kit for the new Honda NSX. It consists of front, side and rear diffusers, and a massive rear wing.
An Airrex air suspension allows the car to get super low on its 20-inch Forgiato Maglia-ECL wheels wrapped in Yokohama rubber.
Liberty Walk’s kits aren’t limited to supercars, either. The Honda S660 also undergoes the knife, in this case to look more like the NSX. Called the SSX-660, it’s fitted with an HKS turbo that winds horsepower up from the kei car limit of 63 to a blazing 134. In a package as small and light as the S660, it wouldn’t be surprising to have performance like the actual NSX.
As for the Hako, it isn’t a new build so it didn’t get center stage, but even in Japan this car received remarkably little coverage. The car was in Liberty Walk’s booth to promote the LB-88 rain racing-style tires they commissioned and are the sole source of. It’s in specific sizes for kaido racers, 245/525-14 by 12J and 13J, which you can see mounted on the car.
Many owners nowadays desperate for racing rain tires use dry-rotted or NOS or used ones revived with tubes. The prices they pay for such old tires far exceed the Y56,000 (USD $560) that Liberty Walk is asking for new ones.
It’s a shame the Miura got the lion’s share of the attention, but in this case the Hakosuka will receive some flattery. Liberty Walk shacho Wataru Kato has already given the Miura an Advan livery for its next showing at the Osaka Auto Messe.
To be continued…
In case you missed it, more 2018 Tokyo Auto Salon can be found with spotlights on the Endless Hino Contessa, Alaska-to-Chile Toyota Land Cruiser, Toyota’s Gazoo Racing booth, the TOM’s KP47 Starlet, Banzai Sports Sunny Truck, Nissan and Mitsubishi’s booths, cars of woman-run tuning shop L-Tide, and Yokohama’s reproduction tires for kyusha.
For past Tokyo Auto Salon coverage, see 2017 Part 01 — Legends of Rally, Part 02 — Restomods, and Part 03 — The Classics as well as coverage from the 2016, 2012, 2011, 2010 Tokyo Auto Salons.
Shota Mori is a photographer whose work can be found at @pgm_works and @pgmworks_official.
“To be clear, the Black Emperor logo is not a swastika; it’s an ancient Buddhist symbol called the manji that the Nazis co-opted, but it is still commonly seen in Asia.”
Should be careful, even explaining it will trigger people.
seems to be a lot of that around here these days…
called a Manji in japanese
The American Indians used the Swastika (called the whirling log) as well long before being used by the Nazi’s.