Jul 05, 2023
Our Top Picks From Art Of Speed 2023
I’ve just returned from my 10th trip to Art Of Speed and, as always, I came away questioning if Japan really does have the best car culture in the world. Staying away from comparisons of such nature,
I’ve just returned from my 10th trip to Art Of Speed and, as always, I came away questioning if Japan really does have the best car culture in the world. Staying away from comparisons of such nature, one thing is for certain – Malaysia knows how to do it, and do it well.
Before I put together my main Art Of Speed 2023 story, I want to share my top five picks from the event, starting off with the car that Alec and I selected as the ‘Speedhunters Choice’ award recipient.
The Hayashi86.com AE86 Toyota Sprinter Trueno is a very special car with a story dating back the better part of a decade.
How the car looks today is testament to the passion and dedication of its owner Lim, who set about building his perfect Hachiroku and didn’t give up.
The defining aspect of the project is the fact that Lim did a backdate, taking a kouki (facelift) Trueno and visually turning it into a zenki (pre-facelift). More often it’s the other way around.
The entire timeline of the 10-year project was laid out on a board for all to see. This is what the Toyota looked like eight years ago, before the restoration began.
On top of the bumper and lights swap on the AE86’s exterior, Lim had to acquire a lot of parts for the zenki interior makeover. That included the seats, the dashboard, the door cards and the plastic trims – all in the oh-so-early-’80s shades of brown and burnt orange. Even the head unit is an original item.
Lim’s Trueno rides on classic RS Watanabe 8-spoke wheels shod in Yokohama Advan Neova rubber, and he’s swapped the stock ride height for a slightly lower appearance.
The panda paint scheme paired with gunmetal Watanabes and yellow fog lights is a classic Initial D look, but there’s more of a connection here than just that. Lim is also a part owner of Fujiwara Tofu Shop Malaysia, a cafe and hangout spot in Kuala Lumpur that has recreated the look and feel of Bunta Fujiwara’s tofu shop in the legendary manga.
I didn’t get to just look at this build; Lim threw me the keys to his Trueno after the show. Believe me when I say this thing drives as fresh as it looks!
Next up is a car that wasn’t even from Malaysia. Yip Feng’s Singapore-registered Mazda RX-7 was, however, built in Malaysia, and he spends a lot of time in the country enjoying the car.
The FC3S is full of cool little details and stories, like the original RE Amemiya vented hood Yip ordered directly from Ama-san. This was a special order piece, as the hood had been discontinued.
The hood pairs very nicely with the rest of the RE Amemiya aero and fixed headlight conversion, but that’s not all. The RX-7 also features a Tamon Design GT wide-body, topped off with a rear diffuser and large GT wing to help keep the car planted at speed. Enkei NT03s are Yip’s wheel of choice.
Up front is the Mazda’s original 13B twin-rotor engine. It still runs the factory Hitachi turbocharger, but with the engine having been given a light street-port and other supporting modifications, it’s now making around 300hp tuned through an A’PEXi Power FC.
I can’t remember the last time I saw one of these old school Trust/GReddy blow-off valves. It’s a cool touch.
Before I flew back to Tokyo, Yip handed me the keys to his RX-7 and we took it on a quick blast up a nice stretch of newly-built highway. I was impressed at just how hard the engine pulls, and the broad spread of power makes it great on twisty roads too.
And that’s what it was built for; not only to look good at shows with its 787B-inspired livery, but proper driving. Yip even drove it from Singapore over to Bangkok.
Next up, it’s something Malaysian, but with a Japanese connection. The Proton Satria was originally built with mostly Mitsubishi components, making it easy to upgrade with Lancer Evolution parts.
This particular Satria from Fatboy Racing Malaysia has been heavily modified for time attack, and it’s recoded a fastest official lap at Sepang Circuit of 2min15sec, which is Porsche GT3 Cup fast.
Under the hood is a Mitsubishi 4G63 lifted from a Lancer Evo III that’s been built around a fully-forged bottom end and force-fed by a Garrett turbo, which itself is fed via a 3D-printed Artec header.
A recent addition is a second turbo, but I couldn’t figure out how this setup worked. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one scratching my head on this one.
You have to love Frankenstein creations that actually work, and this one definitely does that.
The rear perhaps is probably its least aggressive angle, which is saying something!
I just couldn’t pass up a closer look at this KE70 Corolla wagon. Because aside from the fact that I’m quite partial to Toyotas from the ’70s and ’80s, this one has been extremely well built. It’s as fresh as they come too, having just been finished the day before the event.
It’s always nice to see someone going the extra mile, and on top of shaving and wire tucking the engine bay, the owner has sourced what is easily the coolest cam covers I have seen on a 4A-GE. Made in New Zealand by BSpeed, this particular set of cast covers brings some vintage vibes through their black finish and retro Toyota lettering – a nod to the 3M straight-six that powered the legendary 2000GT.
While the Corolla looks simple and clean, there are so many nice touches around the car.
It’s a pity it wasn’t lifted up at the back to show the work that went into the rear suspension, which has seen the original leaf springs replaced with a coil setup.
The rear bumper delete only accentuates that rather long, twin-pipe silencer setup.
The car was definitely getting its fair share of looks throughout the weekend, and I don’t think it’s hard to understand why!
Finally, it had to be something European to balance out the selection. Although, being an RWB build there’s definitely some Japanese flavor.
But believe me, this Porsche 964 was an easy choice to include here.
The Nakai-san overfender treatment never fails to add aggression, but it’s the rear-view of this car that really makes it.
Because, when it comes to 911s, nothing beats a pair of turbos hanging out the back of the bumper. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this done in Japan, which probably explains why I couldn’t stop looking at it.
At one point over the weekend the engine cover was lifted up so everyone could take a look at the flat-six in its entirety. Thanks to the massive rear wing, there was plenty of space for the intercooler to be positioned. It’s wild to see just how short piping can be kept too.
This is one car I’d really love to sample out on the road.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick look at some of my favorite cars from Art Of Speed 2023. Stay tuned for my main event post, which will hopefully relay the cool vibe of this annual get-together for Malaysian custom car and bike culture.
Dino Dalle CarbonareInstagram: [email protected]
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Looking through at picture’s of car shows from here for years now I see a big difference between other countries, some seem to be well thought out, others not so much. Looking forward to more from MalaysiaDino Dalle CarbonareArt Of Speed related stories on Speedhunters