The thing you'll find about the Japanese car scene is that it's perhaps the most diverse niche in the entire modified car world. Anything goes here, all sorts of styles and all sorts of crazy ideas, it's basically a huge melting pot that takes influences not just from Japan, but from all over the rest of the motoring world. Whether it's drifting, Yakuza-style VIP specials, track cars, out-and-out show cars, Kanjo racers, mad Bosozoku creations, JDM purists, or anything in between, the guys with a penchant for oriental metal have it all covered… and that's most likely what makes Japfest one of the biggest shows of the season.
Trust us when we say that you can see it all here, and then some. The Japanese scene is so strong in the UK that we put up plenty to rival what's going on in the USA and even Japan itself. And, when all these cars get together for an annual blowout, Japfest always kicks off in spectacular style.
All this, along with our own personal love of all the madness that tends to come with modified Japanese motors, is what persuaded us to show our support as headline detailing sponsors and bring along, not just our own project R32 GT-R, Yaris GR and pop-up store, but a whole load of invited guests, too.
Once again, the Scrutineering Bay at the legendary Silverstone GP Circuit would be our home for the day, and it's safe to say that we managed to pack it out with more than a few special features!
What with Japfest being such a big deal, we had to break out the big guns to ensure that our specially constructed pop-up store was filled to the brim with enough products to last for the whole event. From previous experience we knew that the stand would be packed for the whole day, so we loaded up an army of vans to make sure we could cater for everyone's needs.
But, laying on a whole load of our most popular lines, and revealing some seriously special show offers throughout the day wasn't the only thing going on.
As the main sponsor we thought we'd offer something extra special and bring along some of our Master Detailers, keeping them on hand to answer questions and perform detailing demos, straight out the back of our fully-equipped Academy van. Think of it as a mobile version of their home base at the Auto Finesse Detailing Academy, and a vehicle that allows us to teach some of the more specialist practices like safe washing and machine polishing when we're out and about, and during our day-to-day professional training courses.
When it comes to awesome car displays, too, it's safe to say that we went all-in this year. As well as the Japanese side of the AF project car fleet, we drafted in some of our favourite cars from all around the UK, creating a fusion of styles and influences - a heady mix and no mistake. With everything from the ultra-rare, like a super clean Supercharged Mk1 MR2, Mark's Civic Type R Jordan and Taylor's Nissan Silvia S12, to VIP cars like a whole collection of big, badass Toyotas from Matt Leese, Steven Boardman, Jack Frisby, Adam Wyatt and Ed Stance. These came along with Jay Hitta's old skool Lexus, and this collection of cars sported some of the most stylish (not to mention biggest) rims of the whole event.
Of course, it wouldn't be the Jap scene without some completely off-the-wall stuff, too. And, we have to say that we loved Jack Ellis' mentalist RX-7, Alex's Rocket Bunny S15, Luke Gaeta's Turbo'd MX5 (just check out the ton of aero mods on that monster) and Ben William's Nissan S14 on Work Meister wheels, sporting a Skyline RB26 lump and a massive Holset blower… all slotted into the cleanest bay in the history of conversions.
What did we like most though? Well, we loved them all, but we have to give a special mention to Cameron Palmer's Corona MkII Grande, which we parked pride of place right out front. It's not enough that this is one of the coolest classics on the UK scene right now, but we just love what he's done with his old skool wheels. Six months of sitting at home hand-engraving your hoops is one worthy way to kill some lockdown time in our book!
Naturally, there was a whole load more too, so thanks to all the guys who came along to show off their perfectly-buffed cars and ram out our stand with some of the coolest vehicles of the whole event!
We've supported the Show and Shine Competition at Japfest for quite a few years now, and we're always happy to see the standard of the cars that turn up to compete - in detailing terms at least, these cars get better and better every year. It could be seen as pretty ironic too, because even we'll admit that Japanese cars aren't the ones most associated with these sort of ultra-clean concours shenanigans.
We had a great time rifling through the cars, talking to the owners and eventually crowning (and handing over an extra special detailing kit) to the victor - Phil Egan and his Honda Acty. After all, if there's one thing that floats our boat it's the craziest old skool trucks and commercials, and this freshly-painted example has to be the best in the UK, if not the whole world!
Well done to everyone else who entered, including Adam Robinson and his RX-7 that came in as 1st Runner Up, along with 2nd Runner Up - Sean Walsh and his GT86.
There is one part of Silverstone that's perhaps the most important, and that's the big, windy tarmac bit right in the middle - it's hallowed ground for racing fans, that's for sure. One of the great things about Japfest though, is that they lay on multiple public track sessions so anyone with a driving licence (and a car, naturally) can go out and have a go themselves. This means you get a heady mix of metal out there smoking their tyres, including one or two unusual cars that you wouldn't normally expect to see out on track. These all get to hit a legendary circuit that is steeped in motorsport history, you can't say fairer than that, can you?
The track also played home to drifting demos throughout the day from the big power cars brought along by Bilstein. These super-sideways antics, as you can well imagine, proved extremely popular with the crowd. This drifting thing could catch on y'know.
Apart from Japanese cars remaining infinitely popular on our shores, what makes the show huger than your average event is the fact that the entire area from the pitlane to the gate is available, this always ends up absolutely rammed with other display cars, trade demonstrators and an almost baffling amount of car club stand. We're not only talking miles and miles of metal to ponder, but with this of course comes the opportunity to see just about everything the Japanese scene has to offer, from mildly-tuned street cars and big power cars, to heavily modified show cars. With literally thousands on display, we wish we could show you them all here, but there's simply not enough room on the internet! So instead, here's just a few of our favourites…
Thanks to everyone who came along to Japfest, especially those who popped along to the stand to grab some products, check out the cars and learn a few pro tips with our detailing demos. We'll see you again next year for this another Japanese extravaganza.