As automotive enthusiasts, we all have the desire to bring our visions- no, dreams to life in the form of automotive bliss. Constantly thinking about what could we do to impart our personality, our taste, our very soul into our projects. However, a funny thing happens along the way. We begin to change our dreams and visions in order to appeal to the Gods of keyboard warriors ready to strike you down at a moment’s notice. It’s only human nature to want to appeal to the massive. So what happens when you find someone that truly doesn’t care about what the warriors think?
What you have is someone like Akira-San, the owner of Garage Ill custom shop out in a little town in Osaka, and just as the name insist, Akira-San is all about customising cars and creating his ultimate vision of one off creations.
Akira-San got his start like most working in a repair shop. As he ascended up the ranks at the shop, he realized that he grew tired of simple body repairs and wanted to move on to using his painting and repair skills to bring his vision to life.
What you see today is the embodiment of Akira-San vision coming to life. From creating wild looking aerokits to suspension and exhaust systems, Akira-San demands that everything is done entirely in house and completely original Garage Ill design.
Outside in a parking lot full of customers cars are a pair of demo Audi TT MK2’s. The Gunmetal roadster showing off Garage Ill’s custom aero body kit, their minimum ground clearance system (M.G.C.S) suspension setup, and their crazy looking, but gorgeous Complex Exhaust System. The Work Gnosis HS202 Sports mesh wheels sprayed in a custom gold color helps pulls the overall visual aspect together.
The white TT received a more aggressive aero kit, once again an in house product, in house quad pipe exhaust and suspension system, and TWS Forged 107M Exe wheels. The kari nanba- or temporary number plates are represented by a red slash through the license plate which are theoretically used for driving your car to a testing center legally after shaken has expired.
The Audi Q7, Akira-San’s latest project, takes the rather large and mundane SUV, and turns the aggressiveness up to an 11 with their in house aero kit.
Oh, and they Hyper Forged C7 wheels for extra good measure.
Ever wondered what happened to expired demo cars? Sadly they sit in a lot waiting for another chance to shine at a show or be purchased. This Honda Odyssey RA8 is loaded with an in house aerokit, exhaust system, and air ride suspension kit was one of the many examples that caught my eyes lying around the shop.
Inside one of the workshops, you could find staff members hard at work bring about the newest line of in house aero kits and repairing customer cars.
Akira-San’s taste isn’t limited to only European imports. His first love was actually in low riders and American muscle cars.
When Akira-San found this El Camino it was pretty far gone. Thus a full restoration from the ground up is required. Should be interesting to see where his creative vision takes this project once completed.
Earlier I mentioned that one of Akira-San’s master craftsmanship is in painting and that he wanted to use this craft to create some truly remarkable designs and artwork with cars being his medium.
Combined with the love of Lowriders, which by nature have a rather large surface area, make the perfect canvas for Akira-San.
Remember, everything done at Garage Ill is completely done by hand. Armed only with masking tape, a picture for reference, an air powered spray gun, and a steady hand helps create these visual masterpieces.
The attention to detail is truly other worldly: A World that only someone who lives and breathes their craft and fully dedicated to mastering said craft can achieve.
A quick jog to the other workshop and you will find an an eclectic collection of customers cars ready for full restoration projects such as this Air Cooled 2 Cylinder Subaru R-2. However, what really grabbed my attention was what lied underneath the plastic covering next to the R-2
With a few yanks at the plastic covering revealed what I suspected all along: A beautiful C2 Corvette.
With all the factory knobs and gauges in tact, sitting inside the C2 was like sitting in your personal time machine and punching the coordinates to the 60’s.
The new C7’s are quite a stunning car with amazing accomplishments, however given the opportunity to own either a C7 or a C2, I would take a C2.
Another master painter hard at work, this time the medium is not a lowrider but an ice cream truck.
With the shop tour over, we had a little time left in the day get a little closer look at one of Akira-San’s wilder creations. His very wide Audi R8.
Following Akira-San in the Q7 was quite the experience if I’m honest. Not the fact that he trusted me with the keys to his latest project, but the fact that the R8 is almost hopelessly wide! Japan’s roads are notoriously narrow and the drive from Garage Ill’s shop to the various shoots had me biting my nails as I watched it barely pass through the streets with oncoming traffic to one side, and a ditch to the other!
Like all of Akira-San projects, he wanted to create something truly unique for this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon back in January. He wanted something that the World had never seen and the R8 was the perfect platform to turn that vision into a reality.
Thus with two other staff members, they transformed a stock R8 into what you see today. The front bumper, carbon front lip spoiler and front overfenders.
The rest of the aerokit such as the carbon side panels, rear fenders, and rear bumper was also created in house. However, there is only one thing out of the Garage III X Gecko One- Off Production aero kit that grabs literally everyone’s attention: That massive wing!
When Akira-San saw the images of the highly anticipated Bugatti Gran Turismo Concept rear spoiler, he just knew he had to attempt to make something similar for the R8 Project.
I say he nailed it spot on!
Kreissieg exhaust system not only allow the 4.2L V8 engine to breath better, but a devilish, high octave sound comes screaming out the titanium tips which caused everyone walking on the sidewalk, and a few police as well, to turn around and look.
Akira-San has a great relationship with Work wheels, thus 19” Work M1 Meister wheels wrapped Nitto Tires (275.30F, 345.30R) complete the exterior look.
With light fading quickly, we decided it was time to head back to the shop before the night traffic picked up and made the drive back even more difficult. The drive did give me sometime to sit back and think about what Akira-San had created right before my very eyes.
Akira-San’s passion as an enthusiast is to create one off masterpieces that causes you to sit back and rethink what is possible or even why someone would do it in the first place. He has stayed true to his dream and just like an art piece in a museum, he knows his pieces will be judged in both a very positive and a very negative limelight. However, as long as they cause the audience to stop, stare and think, Akira-San is happy. So, with that in mind, I’m interested to know what your opinions are.