BulletproofEco.com by Ben Schaffer

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Bulletproof Eco

We’ve been hard at work on expanding lately. A couple of new projects are in the works and at the moment I’m ready to introduce our Bulletproof Eco project.

www.bulletproofeco.com – Coming Soon Page

This one has been a long time coming…under the radar of most, we’ve actually been supplying Prius styling and tuning parts by Kenstyle, Toms and other high end Japanese companies for quite a few years already. However, lately the Eco tuning scene has rapidly picked up and we feel a need to double our efforts on our end to promote and distribute for our friend’s brands in Japan.

Bulletproof Eco is designed to do for Eco and Hybrid car tuning what Bulletproof Automotive has done for Sports Car tuning.

The website is being built now and I’m excited to debut it in the hopefully near future. In the meantime, please keep us in mind for you or your friends who are interested in adding something special to your Eco or Hybrid daily driver. Our Eco business is already running at full speed and we can currently accept any orders or requests by email or phone. For those who already know what they want, this is ideal while waiting for the official website launch which will debut a lot of parts and brands that many have never seen before.

This is also perfect timing to announce that we have recently been selected as the North American and Middle East Exclusive distributor for Tommy Kaira and their great Prius and Insight tuning parts lineup (and those cool LED emblems they make!).

Bulletproof Eco is already an authorized direct distributor for Prius and Insight Tuning Parts Produced By:

ASI Green

Tommy Kaira

Kenstyle

Top Secret

J’s Racing

and much more…

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The Transition – Discussion Shift From Vintage JDM To Eco JDM

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the_transition

I came across this picture from our archives and it made me think about the transition…The transition from our last blog post (the flawless old school Z) to what I want to write about next (Eco tuning) is what this picture represents…but also it represents the old and the new of JDM tuning which are both celebrating new heights of popularity at the very same moment in time. Granted the two cars are totally incomparable, but if i had to isolate two prominent themes of Tokyo Auto Salon 2010 it would be nostalgic car tuning and eco tuning. These two massively contrasting mediums of JDM tuning are what made TAS 2010 most different from previous shows.

So what about Eco Tuning? Well, there is one point in particular that I wanted to share. Often I learn profoundly interesting things in meetings with my friends and suppliers over in Japan. Although I wont say the particular company or the person in this case, there was an interesting perspective mentioned in private that I feel is worth mentioning publicly with my source being anonymous.

I asked my friend quite honestly what he felt about Eco tuning. His booth happened to feature a newly tuned Eco (hybrid) car so I felt he would have some perspective on where that trend is headed. This particular guy’s company, much like many other Eco tuning firms has its roots in sports car tuning. I suspect his perspective is comparable to those like ASI, Top Secret and the countless other well respected tuners who after years of tuning sports cars are now playing with the Prius and the Insight.

So I started off by asking what he thought about Eco tuning because of his new demo car. His response was not terribly enthusiastic about the demo car, but his response led to the overall impression that he feels that Eco tuning is an important part of the future of the industry. I said that I understood and agreed that it was a smart decision to produce something that would be a part of the next wave of tuning. But then I asked him how Eco car tuning is doing right now in Japan. His response was that he did not see many tuned Eco cars on the roads, almost none actually.

Then the “ah ha” moment of the conversation was revealed…

I asked him…if you don’t see tuned Eco cars on the road then why is it that Auto Salon was filled with tuned hybrids everywhere I looked? How could it be that the most popular trend at TAS of tuned hybrids is so far off from the current demand (or lack thereof for hybrid tuning). I was honestly shocked that he had a tuned hybrid car in his booth AND that everyone else seemed to have one as well, and here he was telling me that at the moment that very few people are buying parts like this at the very moment that people like myself are led to believe that they are becoming massively popular in Japan!

He then went on to explain that this is how trends are started. Essentially the situation is that collectively all of the tuners in Japan are betting on the Prius and Insight to be an important part of their future (based primarily on car sales data). If the industry feels that those are the popular cars, then the consensus is that if the entire tuning industry gets behind those cars that they’ll be able to influence the habits of the owners to modify the cars and a new segment of the industry will be launched.

Essentially I look at it as the entire Japanese aftermarket trying to jump start an industry from scratch. They are trying to build enough cool demo cars, and enough awesome parts that they will convince a new market to form based on the sheer collective effort of the aftermarket.

This concept goes against my traditional understanding of a business’s duties being to fulfill demand and instead shows the aftermarket’s optimism and brute force of creating demand rather than fulfilling it. I can’t lie though, it does work when it comes to JDM tuning.

Think about it another way.

Did you want to buy a 370Z even more than before after Amuse came out with that Vestito aero kit? I sure did…

And the first time I saw the Ericsson kit and exhaust for the M3, at that moment I lusted after an M3. Before that I admired the M3, but after that all I could think about was buying one! And the examples go on and on, hell I want a S30 Fairlady after Rocky Auto convinced me!  I don’t think that any of us can deny that actual desire (demand in business terms) can be jumpstarted by the industry if amazing parts and complete cars are created.

It is for this same reason that the FT-86 was revealed at TAS already heavily modified. Intelligent car companies are embracing the aftermarket to make their cars more lusted after and cooler! So here, the story of TAS to me is seeing the entire collective aftermarket giving a big push forward to the sexiness and appeal of the Insight and Prius in hopes for successfully launching a new category of tuning which the industry desperately needs to stay healthy long term (keep in mind, the industry cant survive on out of production Supras, Silvias, etc forever).

So wrapping up…it was a fascinating lesson on what happens when the entire Japanese aftermarket seems to rally around a concept and to create a new style of tuning and a new demand out of essentially thin air. It might sound crazy, but based on what I’ve seen in the past I think it may just work. I know I’ve had thoughts about cruising daily in a Tommy Kaira Prius after seeing that car at TAS…So at least I can say that its working on me!

PS: I’ll feature more Eco cars that I felt were cool later on. I wanted this post to be more conceptual about this important discussion on the power of persuasion and the unity of the aftermarket in Japan to rally around the singular goal of launching a new style of tuning.

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Top Secret’s Latest Parts (Prius and Insight)

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Normally a post with a title like that would have an ! or some other method to convey excitement. What can I say here…

Top Secret has been hard at work on two new cars for their tuning line-up. The ZE2 Honda Insight and the ZVW30 Toyota Prius.
(yes I name dropped the chassis codes…one day when the ZE2 and the ZVW30 both become Tsukuba Circuit time attack record holders we’ll affectionately call them by these codes like we do R35s and S15s…or not).
Top Secret Honda InsightTop Secret Toyota Prius

All sarcasm aside, Top Secret has put in some considerable work to be appreciated by the eco-loving hybrid drivers out there that perhaps also own a Top Secret tuned Supra or GT-R. Both cars feature Top Secret original aero kits designed both for looks and also for aerodynamic efficiency (better miles per gallon er… kilos per liter). The cars both run RAYS eco drive wheels designed for maximum weight reduction, in this case the 15″ RE30 Volk is fit for duty of cranking up the ECO further.

The aero kit for the Prius is now on sale by Top Secret USA outside of Japan and by Top Secret inside of Japan. 213 745 6954 for pricing or usa@topsecretjpn.com. The Insight kit is still coming together and will be released shortly. Both kits are sold complete or in pieces and are available in FRP or carbon fiber. Designed to be not shocking and overly aggressive in design, these kits are timeless and classy enough to be sold effectively as dealer optional parts. Of course Top Secret’s excellent fitment and quality will ensure that it is an attractive option at any Toyota or Honda dealership looking to spice up their offerings.

When viewed as an OEM optional kit, these are quite nice. But for the readers of this blog, I think the hardcore tuner in us might not feel the same way as the average Prius/Insight owner shopping for a new car looking for something a “little extra”. I know that for some, being a fan and knowing about Top Secret’s history makes this a little hard to swallow.

The other parts just released are new exhausts systems for these two cars. Top Secret utilizes their high quality titanium for exhausts on both models. The goal being again to reduce weight and to boost efficiency (as well as adding a couple of horsepower).

Top Secret Toyota Prius Titanium ExhaustTop Secret Honda Insight Titanium Exhaust

Its great to see Top Secret producing new parts again during a time in which most companies are sitting still. Although I personally would love to see more sports car tuning from them, the hybrid tuning scene is undeniably blossoming in Japan right now and Top Secret is right in the middle of it. I hope it succeeds for Mr. Nagata and crew.

A few more pics of the Top Secret Prius (it feels funny to say or type “Top Secret Prius”):

Top Secret PriusTop Secret PriusTop Secret PriusTop Secret Prius

Ok, I’ll be crying in the corner for the next hour now…

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Silent But Deadly JDM Hybrids – The Next Generation

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Zeus Honda Insight

The next generation of Hybrid cars are officially out and as expected the Japanese tuning scene is already hard at work to stylize and tune them!

The lead off image features my favorite design of the bunch by Exclusive Zeus. I really like how the painted the grill and center area of the bumper in black, it really helps give an aggressive front profile. Check out the rear under spoiler, its pretty damn nice! Very sporty for an Insight!

The usual acts are getting back into the game as well. Kenstyle has two new kits coming out, one for the Insight and one for the Prius as seen below:

Kenstyle InsightKenstyle Prius Next Generation

I’d take that Prius over the Insight!

Gialla Honda Insight

Above is the Gialla Insight, also very well executed! Gialla is a company we’ve been very close with as a direct dealer for a long time now. I’m looking forward to help them sell some of these kits!

And finally…

Top Secret Prius NOS Tuned

Yeah, thats right…Smoky Nagata is getting back to the future. A Top Secret tuned next generation Prius? Yes. You better believe it. Here you can see the new Top Secret aero kit being prepared (that rear under spoiler looks like it’ll turn out great!). You’ll also notice Nagata-san hooked up some nitrous so he doesnt entirely fall asleep while driving this eco ride.

Prius tuning is real, its not just that Rays Eco wheel ad that had you wondering if anyone with a Prius actually buys CE28Ns.. If you’ve been to Japan over the past year or two you’ll notice that there is a big push for “Eco” everything. The Japanese have fully embraced the Eco concept over the past few years and are working hard to produce and promote more eco friendly products and cars. I never thought I’d see the day that Top Secret was tuning a Prius…but the future is here, for better or for worse.

Anyone looking for any new Hybrid tuning parts, I suggest giving us a call at 213 745 6954 and we’ll get you set up with the latest and greatest.

(Thanks goes to Option Mag who did a great job helping out our friends in Japan with this promotional write-up. Pick up the latest Option Magazine at your nearest bookstore to see more!)

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