It was just one of those days where the stakes were high and failure was simply not an option. Akira San’s schedule was incredibly busy after Tokyo Auto Salon and in the next couple of weeks, this fully custom, one of a kind Audi R8 was headed to a car show in Dubai where the chances of it ever coming back to Japan didn’t seem very high. Because of this, the only time we could schedule the shoot was bright and early Monday morning which usually wouldn’t have been a problem, however Mother Nature decided to try and throw a wrench into the plans.
The night before, it snowed a massive 3” which was more than enough to throw all of Tokyo into a disarray. Literally, the entire city was shut down: People sitting at train platforms for hours hoping that their train would come soon and that their bosses wouldn’t scold them for being tardy. The side streets, hell, even some of the main streets, had a sub par cleaning job which caused the streets to flood and the only way to get around was to either walk in the water, or try and jump across and hope you didn’t land on ice on the other side. It was SO bad that I had to buy hand warmers and stick them in my shoes to try and keep my toes warm because they got soaked in the water. When that didn’t work, I went to the Gap and bought new socks and layered up.
The thought of saying ‘screw it’ and hoping that the R8 will come back cross my mind a few times, but deep down I knew this would be the only chance I’d get. Boy did all the suffering pay off.
Akira San is the owner and head designer at Garage Ill Custom Works, a shop based out of Osaka. They work on all different types of cars, but their specialty is Audi’s.
We became friends about a year ago at the Nagoya Auto Trend when he brought out a black wide body R8 with the rear fenders cut out so you could see the articulation of the tires as the car went up and down on the air ride suspension. Leading up to this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon, Akira san was kind enough to leak me some before pictures of this amazing project being built and kindly asked me to take pictures of it when it was complete. How could I say no?
It took Akira San and two other staff members three months to completely transform this car into what you see today. Instead of going with the bolt on overfenders style which is hugely popular, Akira san wanted to create something that was truly unique. Something that the World has never seen before. Something that was a one of one. With that, they began creating all the Aero Parts that you see.
That’s right, everything has been hand built in house by Akira San and the two other staff members.
The front bumper, front lip spoiler, front fenders
side steps, side panels, canards
rear bumper and that massive rear spoiler was all designed by Akira san and built in house bring about the name Garage Ill X Gecko One-Off Production. Once the aero parts were built, they were also all painted, along with the car, in house as well.
I leaked a photo a while back while I was preparing the feature and out of all the comments, both good and bad, the most eye catching thing was the rear spoiler and I fully understand why. I don’t know about you but I have NEVER seen anything like it in my entire life. Working as a photographer in Japan, I have seen some pretty custom and wild things. I mean, I have seen a 350z that if you don’t sit there for a while and stare at it, you would swear up and down that it was a Porsche.
That’s is one of the reasons why we love Japan so much. Tuners and car owners here are always pushing the limits and striving to create that one-off car or parts and this rear spoiler is no exception. I honestly cannot even begin to figure out how Akira San came up with the inspiration for the wing but all I can say is ‘Damn’. The rear spoiler is still in the testing phase which, to me is intriguing. That means that Akira San had functionality in mind when designing the rear spoiler, and not just looks. I hate to say this but to make sure it sticks with the theme of One-Off Production, another rear spoiler will not be built.
The gas filler panel (for lack of better words) has been customized to reflect the attitude of the entire car being a one of one and acts almost as a centerpiece (besides that massive rear spoiler) for the car. Entirely painted by hand in house, the panel reads ‘Only One. Nothing Else Can Replace It.’
Beautiful 19” Work Wheels wrapped in Nitto Tires ( 275.30 F, 345.3 R) help pull the exterior look together.
KW HLS hydraulic system not only helps Akira San get over large entry ramps, but also allows him to slam it and give it that aggressive stance.
Kreissieg exhaust system not only looks stunning coming out of the custom rear bumper, but delivers a sound that is like bacon for the ears. It’s a sound that causes you to want to wake you up at 2am, walk to your garage, and turn the car on just so you could hear the sound again. It’s that good!
Moving on into the interior, two things immediately stand out the most. The first thing is the bright pink color that is on the re-covered seats and a few pieces of trim.
Pink and purple combo. Why? Because Japan.
The second thing is the carbon fiber.
There is A LOT of carbon fiber inside this R8. Of course, similar to the exterior all being hand built and in house, the wet carbon fiber parts and panels were created in house as well.
With mother nature causing all kinds of delays on the trains, we really didn’t have much time to spend with Akira San and his R8. As I mentioned before, his schedule was very tight and He had a very long drive back to Osaka as soon as we finished up the photo shoot. (yes He drove His R8 all the way from Osaka with his wife to Tokyo Auto Salon).
Thus, as he drove away in the opposite direction, I was only left in awe and began to ponder what the future has in store for tuning and customization. There will always be a line between form and function and some people will only accept one or the other. Cars that are ‘suppose’ to be function only are now showing up in the form category and trolls of the internet are having a field day with it. That has to be one of the best aspects of Japan’s car scene: The lack of care of the boundary between form and function. An R8 is suppose to be a function car only.
A super car made for the tracks that can function as a daily car (so they say at least). Akira San has crossed that boundary and transformed his R8 into something that not only functions (it still is an R8 after all) but giving it an element of form as well by creating an entirely custom and one off aero kit for it. I love it when people blend and cross the boundary without regards to the consequences of the internet.
Thus, the last thing to ask is pretty simple: What do you think? Spoiler: This guy thought it was awesome!