Big Trip 2002 - Welcome to the Tokyo Auto Salon

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This is the first hall of the Makuhari Messe, filled to overflowing with fine cars. What is most impressive about the displayed vehicles is the quality. No half- finished jobs or kluges. Everything , no matter how outrageous, looks like it came from the factory. And there are a lot of them.

Many of these cars are Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) cars, which we will never get in the States. Why, I don't know, because they look very useful. If the Japanese had come out with these "Sportvans", maybe we wouldn't be so overrun with Sport Utility vehicles. They look good and I imagine that they get up & go, too. My notes say that this is a Primera with DAMD styling.

Another sharp-looking Sportvan, an Estima with styling by Goltier and Veilside. Even Dennis said it looked good enough to be seen in. For a 16-year-old, that's a lot to say.

The cars may be Japanese, but they're not all built in Japan. This is a front-wheel-drive drag race car, used in the American IDRC series. Probably built in the US, where drag racing is now huge. The notebook says g-Force KDW 240. It also says the Apexi is 3x as large as the Mugen booth. Mugen is one of the best Japanese tuners.

This is jam-packed hall #3 (of three main halls). There are a total of 16? halls, and the Auto Salon fills 11, I believe. The rest are significantly smaller.

This is a Mazda RX-7 road race car. Like many of the road race cars, it looks like something straight out of Sony's Gran Turismo videogame series. When you play the game (as I have wasted many, many hours), you see the sponsors' names, but they have no meaning, since they aren't in the US market. All those names are here and they're real. I'm still not sure what they make, but they're here.

I thought that this was the new Mazda RX-8, but the sign says "Atenza". Very sweet, but not coming to America...

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