We have been really pumped to attend a ‘proper’ car show in the UK for sometime now. When the opportunity to check out Japfest at Castle Combe presented itself, we jumped! We didn’t want to miss the chance to see some of the finest Japanese machines in this fine land.
Boasting itself as ‘Europe’s Biggest Japanese Car Show’ is a big call. But in the case of Japfest it is warranted. Fortunately, unsettled and inclement weather conditions throughout the day combined with a particularly nasty wind didn’t scare the masses of crowds and their cars away.
There was a vehicle for every Japanese car enthusiast with every conceivable automotive style and taste- from retro classics.
To the ultra-modified and stanced.
Plus everything in between.
Seeing one NSX is inspiring…seeing this many is mind-blowing. The first generation is the better looker in our opinion.
Do you have a secret lust for a Toyota Celica GT4. Memories of Sega rally arcade games make us fond of this particular model. Arguably, the most attractive version is the curvaceous ST205 model built in GT4 form from February 1994 to June 1999.
This version was to be the most powerful Celica produced to date, producing just shy of 180 kW.
The Japfest track sessions allowed an opportunity for fans to test their vehicles (and their own!) capabilities out on the famous track.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t a fun time had by all. With excessive corner speed this Rx8 spun out, front end first into the concrete barrier. An expensive day out.
Everytime it passed on the circuit, we were drawn to the organic lines of this Datsun 240Z.
The old school theme continues here with this 1974 260Z. Looking mighty tough, it mixes it with the big gun Godzilla. Its 15×8 JBW wheels and carbon add-ons work perfectly against the perfect Masarati red duco.
With over 3,000 of the UK’s best Japanese cars on display and over 120 clubs in attendance, the scene was somewhat overwhelming. Every couple of steps a new discovery was had. Among the Japanese bulk, there were a few surprise lurking.
One of the largest collections was the mx5. All amazingly presented and uniquely modified.
It’s hard to believe the fresh-faced MX5 is 25 years old this year. The original concept of a light, cheap, drop-top has never been more relevant. Why not get your own piece of Mint DNA here by sporting our awesome Mx5 tee?
As seen at Japfest, you can’t really put a foot wrong with this model. Cheap, light, fast with a few modifications perfectly suited to the road and track.
Widened wheels and aggressive arches was a winning formula found on many miatas, or in this case Eunos Roadster.
This black little number was our pick. A meticulous engine bay, flawless bodywork with chromed BBS meshies. The bolt-on flares are the perfect size.
The carparks around the track were literally packed with cars.
Among the copious amount of S2000’s these two stood out for all of the right reasons.
With 86’s flooding the market, it takes a lot to take a second look at one. This one with an eye-catching very British livery got our attention.
A strong field of Mitsubishi GTO’s.
With its carbon-clad exterior this Evo was selected as one of the best cars on display. Oh… and a rumoured 700 horsepower on tap.
The quality of cars on track was second to none.
This R34 Skyline Sedan from Garage D cut through the corners with ease and blasted some quick times.
Back out on the field, as expected the WRX presence was strong.
This Rex wagon was cutting some smooth lines out on the circuit with that iconic Subi-burble.
What do you make of the new model? Nothing beats the original for us. We can’t quite get past those slab-sides and the bulkiness of the rear.
This Corolla GT looked great stationary and sounded crisp out on the track. Naturally a fully built engine is coupled with bonnet, doors, tailgate and N2 arches all in carbon kevlar. The windows are all polycarbonate.
The whistle of this Skyline was electrifying.
A real head turner here in family-hauler form. This Yuasa Honda Racing Accord Tourer, is primed for the BTCC championship. It is the first appearance of a wagon in the championship for 20 years. Its powered by 2 litre, turbo four punching 300 horsepower.
By late afternoon the dark clouds rolled in.
As the weather began to turn, scores and scores of fans descended on the banks of the circuit to check out this main spectacle of Jap-action, the Drift Kings Competition.
Amazing drifters tracked their high powered weapons of mass destruction to the delight of the crowd.
The Lucas Oils UK Drift Team sliding Supra is currently tuned to produce a phenomenal 1012bhp. The Garrett GT42-GTX and SATS Motorsport 2JZGTE allowed for extreme acceleration on the straights.
The Drift Kings competition is judged on specific criteria: Style, Smoke, Skill and Entry Speed!
Although the drivers at times barely reach highway speeds, throwing themselves and their cars sideways towards the guardrail still takes a huge amount of guts and courage.
This is a not for the faint hearted, ‘no-holds-barred’ competition as the drivers throw it down and give it everything they’ve got to impress the judges.
From events such as Japfest- the biggest Japanese Car show in Europe- It’s obvious that Japanese tuning and styling provides a lot of inspiration all of us as car enthusiasts. The ability to reflect our personality and push boundaries in the car scene has never been greater.
Thanks so much for reading our coverage of Japfest. We hope you have enjoyed it! Stay tuned to Driven Threads- very shortly we will be bringing you coverage of Beaulieu Spring Autojumble and National Motor Museum. To say you won’t want to miss it is an understatement. Watch this space.