Although we’re treated to some pretty impressive modified car shows here in the UK, there’s one big problem with the vast majority for hardcore fans out there: they’re just not long enough! As 4pm rolls around and owners’ stomachs begin to rumble, the venues usually clean themselves out within the space of a few minutes, much to the dismay of the more dedicated in the audience who’ve waited a whole year for this event to come round once again.

That’s exactly where Japanese Auto Extravaganza [JAE] comes into the equation. Run by car clubs, for car clubs each August/September, the event takes everything that’s great about modified car events and stretches it into a four-day camping festival. And because JAE is all about the people, whilst bringing you some of our favourite cars from this year’s event, we’ve also decided to share the owners’ fascinating stories, too.

  • OWNER: Dean Carter
  • CAR: ’75 Datsun 1200 Coupé
  • KEY MODIFICATIONS: Minilite-style alloy wheels and an uprated stereo


“I had a modified Evo X before this, but wanted something older and with more character. It was an itch I needed to scratch and I don’t regret it! I always wanted to stick with Japanese cars, and with its Mustang-style features and being so rare, I knew this was the one for me. Future plans include lowering it on some retro wheels, a retro steering wheel and a full re-spray.”

“The best thing about JAE is camping with the boys and girls from my car club, JDMK. I’ve been going with them for the past six years and everything about it makes it one of the best weekends in my calendar; the relaxed atmosphere is amazing!”

  • OWNER: Steven Grove
  • CAR: ’91 S13 Nissan Silvia ‘Odyvia’
  • KEY MODIFICATIONS: The Odyvia was an unofficial derivative of the S13 Silvia created by Japanese tuning house Spirit Rei, which featured a front-end conversion using headlights from none other than an RB2 Honda Odyssey, along with a wide-body kit. This very car was Spirit Rei owner Motohiro Taniguchi’s master car, used to create the moulds which all other Odyvias were made from.


“I located this car in Japan in February 2017, whilst on holiday to source something special. I was after a Kenmeri or another Hakosuka Skyline, but both proved hard to source. During many different visits to various dealers I stumbled across this one. I knew I had to have it as I love the cars that are different, unique and rare.

Once imported the car was in need of a restoration; the paint was faded from the intense Japanese sun, the dash had cracked and the painted audio install looked tatty and not my taste. Over the last three months, the Odyvia has been fully restored inside and out. Whilst I have retained the original look a few subtle mods have been added to bring the car back up to date and again ready to be seen and enjoyed.

JAE is the show that the club I’m in looks forward to every year. Its unique in that it’s a four-day show where you get to enjoy being with your club members and the clubs cars all weekend; it’s great being able to visit all the other clubs and their cars, allowing you to talk to them first-hand whilst relaxing with a beer.”

  • OWNER: Mark Kelly
  • CAR: ’98 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution V
  • KEY MODIFICATIONS: Comprehensive long-rod engine rebuild with Garrett GT35 turbocharger and new fuelling system to produce over 600bhp, wire-tucked engine bay, Öhlins coilovers, motorsport-inspired interior, Alcon brakes.


“There were two main reasons I decided to go for the wire-tucked look on my Evo. Firstly, I hate things looking untidy and the standard Evo engine bay looks a complete shambles, and secondly it hasn’t really been done before, with most people determined to squeeze more in as opposed to taking bits out.”

“The car is usually used as a weekend show car at the moment. It does the odd drag event at our local abandoned airfield but as myself and a team of admins run Northern Ireland’s biggest Japanese performance car club – JPCCNI – it usually ends up on our stand as a show car during the summer. That’s not to say it’s only a show queen as when it’s out it gets driven hard, and it loves it…”

“The atmosphere at JAE is like no other show I’ve been to; the people are friendly and welcoming and there is such a mix of cars and styles it means there is something for absolutely everyone. Plus, what’s not to like about parking in a field and getting merry with your mates then talking cars all night to random strangers?!”

  • OWNER: Kay Rush
  • CAR: ’79 Datsun Skyline 240K GT
  • KEY MODIFICATIONS: Period re-spray and rear-light conversion, restored bumpers.


A friend of my Dad’s rescued this car from the scrapyard with the intention of putting it on the drag strip. The moment my Dad saw it he wanted it but my Mum had said no more cars! To circumvent her, Dad bought the car as a present for her in August 1995; his trick worked and Mum used the car as a daily driver.

Then on New Year’s Day, 1997 my Mum feel ill and passed away. Dad threw himself into restoring the car and having it resprayed the colour it is today. He spent several years enjoying and showing the car until he felt that he could go no further with it, but he didn’t want it to leave the family so in 2006 he gifted the car to me.

To date, the only modification we have made to the car is swapping out the European-standard rear brick lights for a set of era-correct hotplate lights we purchased for from Kuala Lumper. We have replaced both bumpers which are genuine Datsun parts that we sourced from Japan and Kuala Lumpar respectively. All other work has been maintenance-related; keeping her road worthy and cosmetic touch-ups for showing.

This winter, we intend to remove the engine and give that and the engine bay a refurb as it was never included in the paintjob Dad did and it looks tired. The bodywork is starting to blister in places now and the 20-year-old paint is starting to show signs of wear, so a full restoration and paintjob is on the cards in the next couple of years before the rusts gets too bad. We’re just trying to decide what colour to go, with blue being the favourite at the moment…”

  • OWNER: Christopher Wait
  • CAR: ’86 AE86 Toyota Corolla Trueno
  • KEY MODIFICATIONS: Full nut-and-bolt bare-metal restoration and AE85-AE86 conversion by Japanese tuner IMS/RS YASU in 2002, 4.5AGE engine re-built to 1700cc with all-new internals, seam-welded race chassis with TRD suspension components, Southernway Epsilon three-piece JDM split rims.


“The Corolla was imported into the UK in 2006, where it covered approximately 800 miles before it was put into dry storage for a decade. Since its restoration in Japan in 2002, the car has covered around 8000 miles.”

“I purchased the car at the beginning of 2017 and have done a fair few bits myself already. I constantly find myself cleaning and tinkering – this isn’t just a dry-weather driver but a show and project car, too.”

“The upgrades it received in Japan are well known but rare. It’s often found to be expensive as two donor vehicles are required to create the finished product.”

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