Posted by Corey Smiley

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The Illusionists Of Bangkok Auto Salon

Magic tricks have been blowing people’s minds and questioning what is real and what is not forever. Levitation, disappearing acts and even the sleight of hand can make you take a step back and think ‘WTF?’

It all boils down to illusions, and while walking through the Bangkok International Auto Salon on Saturday, there were two cars that pulled that act off flawlessly – the Nissan R35 GT-R in the lead image, and the Bentley Continental below.

Or should I say, A31 Nissan Cefiro and JZA80 Toyota Supra. Yes, you read right.

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Let’s start with the Cefiro.

Frank, the CEO of Bangkok’s Tuner Concept, built the car to showcase his line of custom suspension parts. His previous demo machine was an Silvia S13 with an S14 face swap and a 1JZ under the hood pushing over 600hp, but it wasn’t all that unique in the Thailand scene. Frank needed something that would really stand out.

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He found exactly what he was looking for while searching online for parts – a 1:1 scale fiberglass R35 body from Karn Fiber designed to be draped over a drag racing spaceframe. Thailand has incredibly steep taxes for importing cars and to buy an R35 outright would have been prohibitively expensive, so Frank decided to take a chance with the fibreglass shell and build his own with an A31 Cefiro as the base.

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Aside from Nissan badges, the R35 and A31 share nothing in common, thus a huge amount of work was needed to pull the conversion off. With the help of Keng Racing, P1 Auto Service and Bangmod Racing, the A pillars were shifted back, and the B and C pillars were deleted altogether. The rear of the Cefiro also had to be cut and the front stretched out to meet the body’s proportions.

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Ensuring the illusion is of high quality, many parts such as the headlights, tail lamps, and even the entire center console are genuine R35 fare. They were all found through hours spent scouring eBay and Yahoo! Auctions Japan listings.

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An R35 GT-R’s VR38 would have been nice, but it was simply out of the question because of cost. Frank had previous experience with Nissan’s RB25DET NEO, but for this build he went one step further with a GT-R’s RB26DETT running a few basic modifications. The engine is backed up by an RB25 5-speed manual transmission that sends power exclusively to the rear wheels.

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The 20-inch wheels were custom designed for the car through Frank’s new business venture, Tuner Forged, and they fit the overall exterior look well. Of course, the suspension is by Tuner Concept.

Venturing into the unknown, there were always be complications and challenges, and this build had a few. Adding to that was the tight deadline Frank had to work with in order to have the car ready for Auto Salon, which is why there are still some things to work out and a bit of finishing to be done. But overall, this is a perfect example of Thai ingenuity.

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The second example of deception came in the form of this JZA80 Toyota Supra wearing a limited edition Veilside 4509 GTR body kit.

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From the front especially, it’s almost impossible to tell what’s exactly going on, but when it comes to radical body kits – or total body transformations as is the case here – it’s hard to beat the designs of Veilside’s Yokomaku-san.

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It’s really only from the rear three quarter angle that the JZA80’s original ’90s lines reveal themselves.

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20-inch Naya Revol wheels add even more complexity to the exterior styling and the lowered suspension sees that everything sits flush.

These two cars are the best illusionists I’ve seen in a while, and took me a good few minutes to figure out the tricks they were pulling. They may not be for everyone, but I for one can appreciate the creativity and craziness behind them.

Ron Celestine

Instagram: celestinephotography

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