Veilside – Back When…

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Veilside Fortune Supra Old School Tokyo Auto Salon

This brings back memories. Granted, the picture itself isnt that old. I snapped this at Tokyo Auto Salon 6 years ago, but this Veilside fortune demo car dates back long before that.

Why am I posting this? I guess I still have a sweet spot for the old school Veilside demo cars that inspired me pre-millenium. Back in the 1990s there was a certian feeling, magic if you will, when you first laid eyes on Veilside’s fortune demo car special of the year at Tokyo Auto Salon. Year after year Veilside was just KILLING IT back then, winning top honors at TAS every time with just wildness that at the time nobody had ever imagined. Times have changed a lot since then, but I still can remember and enjoy that feeling of being stunned by something so innovative and crazy.

Honestly, the last time I felt that way was a couple of years ago when Top Secret premiered their final evolution widebody for the Supra. That was the last TAS car that made me feel like I was looking at “the future”. Anyone that was at TAS either when this Veilside car debuted (the old school JDM heads) or when the Top Secret final evolution Supra debuted will tell you that the unveiling of these cars is something special, even emotional. There are certian cars that just shatter your expectations and you feel priveladged to just be seeing them like a rare glimpse into an unforseen future. Honorable mention does go to ASI’s widebody Tetsu Bentley which I saw in the flesh for the first time at SEMA as my Toyo Tires booth mate to my S2000 and it blew my damn head off. I think my S2000 cried inside, out of shame that it was next to the ASI masterpiece.

Anyway, back on topic – Back when you wouldnt see much more than aftermarket bolt on bumpers, Veilside reshaped the front and rear of the Supra, made original headlights and tail lights, converted it to gull wing and just went all out crazy on this car. This was also back when Veilside stuck to their signature champagne color. Since then the Veilside Champagne and the Top Secret gold have faded away from those brands, to my dissapointment particuarly with Top Secret.

Anyway, for those that can relate…here’s a blast from the past.

PS: Props to my friend Ito-san of Do-Luck…his timeless R34 is hiding in the background of this pic. That car still is as perfect now as it was back then. Anyone who judges that Do-Luck GT-R by its color alone is missing out, big time.

Veilside Fortune Supra Old School Tokyo Auto Salon

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Veilside Gets It Right! – The Premier4509 Aston Martin V8 Vantage

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Earlier I wrote a post about the Veilside I once loved. It was fascinating seeing everyone’s response to it and how people felt about Veilside’s interesting evolution over the years. In essence, I missed the days that a new Veilside demo car would excite me. But no more…indirectly Veilside answered my yearning for something ground breaking and exciting with this new release. I say indirectly because its under their new brand Premier4509.

I was curious about the rumors I was hearing of Veilside hiring a veteran in the aerodynamics shaping/molding field from Japan to live in the US and work full time on new product development in Los Angeles. I knew they had some stuff in the works, but this beat my expectations by quite a large margin. Its aggressive yet still classy enough to not offend, that in itself is a tough line to walk when it comes to aftermarket aero for Exotics. There also appears to be some nicely integrated functional elements to the design as well.

Overall if the customer cars turn out as nicely as this, I think this would be a timely and huge win for Veilside in recapturing the hearts of its original fans such as myself (even if most of us can never buy this stuff).

What’s your take on Yokomaku-san’s latest design?

Veilside Premier4509 Aston Martin V8 Vantage

Veilside Premier4509 Aston Martin V8 Vantage

http://www.autoblog.com/2008/07/25/premier4509-limited-edition-body-kit-for-aston-martin-v8-vantage/

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What Happened To The Veilside I Once Loved? A Business Case Study of Sorts.

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This is an editorial piece exclusive to this blog. It is simply my personal opinion, not the official opinion of any business I’m connected with.

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To a lot of the JDM tuning fans that started in this millennium, you might think that it’s blasphemy that I’ll be praising Veilside on this blog. Although it is true that Veilside no longer represents the JDM ideals of this blog like the other brands discussed do, Veilside does have a unique history that needs more attention. Not because their business has gotten better or worse, but simply that it has changed so much over the years. Veilside over the years has alienated some from being fans and yet it has also found new, different fans all at the same time.

These days Veilside is an economy focused brand that although designed in Japan is produced often outside of Japan to make use of cheaper labor and supplies. The Veilside of today that you might think of would look like this:

Veilside Mini

Yet I entered into the JDM tuning world thinking a far different image from Veilside. Veilside for most of the 1990s was an iconic brand and a brand that for years I idolized. Here’s one of the main differences over time with Veilside:

Veilside TAS

Notice the difference? The hood is open for starters. Veilside was building complete racing machines and were true racing car builders. Veilside of the 1990s was then what Top Secret is now. In the 90s Veilside was unstoppable, winning best tuner car of the year almost every year at Tokyo Auto Salon. There was no competition. Their Fortune models were intense widebody conversions usually with one-off headlights and tailights, massively tuned engines and full chassis work. Truely they were complete cars and works of art.

Veilside was a legendary engine builder as well. Their R34 put out 1360 hp at roughly 10,000 rpm (going off of memory here) and was one of the fastest R34s ever built (doing a clocked 215 MPH on the street). For about a decade they had my utmost respect and I was always so excited to see what they would do next because year after year they were innovating.

Veilside Engine

Veilside Supra

(These pics are not at some shop, this used to be how they showed their cars…with the hoods open. Hard to believe nowadays)

So what happened? Veilside grew bigger, had more elaborate showrooms, even bigger booths at trade shows and started foraying into VIP tuning amongst other things. The image of a global giant in car styling became the focus and the art of innovating and building incredible complete cars dwindled away (at least by what I and most enthusiasts saw of it).

By the time Fast and the Furious 1 hit, Veilside was geared up and ready to hit mainstream. Ever since then it hasnt been the same. To me, I miss the high end image, made in Japan quality that they once had. I miss the innovation and complete car tuning they had. I miss the fresh new ideas they had with aerodynamics. Overall I’m simply sad that Veilside is no longer in the category of a Top Secret, or an Amuse or an RE Amemiya. They quite easily were before and most would say that Veilside was the best of anyone in the world back then. These days Veilside to me is like Chargespeed. Both are Japanese companies, but the majority of their parts are not made in Japan and their focus is on “aero trends” at economic prices. Surely there is demand for parts like that, as other economic aero parts brands like Wings West and Erebuni were also flying high for a while off of that model. But in my opinion, innovators stay fresh and have longevity whereas mainstream trendy parts brands tend to sell big briefly and then go out of style.

From game changing innovator and complete car builder to economic trendy parts supplier is a drastic change and one that lost me as a Veilside fan. (as a disclaimer I still offer Veilside parts to my clients if they request it, but we dropped our official Veilside Dealer status years ago when my interest dwindled and we slowed down our promotion of it.)

The Veilside business case reminds me of the BAPE (A Bathing Ape) case. Nigo, BAPE’s owner faced a similar situation where he risked sacrificing the fan base/clientbase that got him success by going excessively mainstream with a big Pepsi deal. For a brief period of time Pepsi cans had BAPE camo on them and there were BAPE Pepsi vending machines along with a national Pepsi campaign. Then Nigo pulled back on the deal because he feared that it would alienate his true fan base and clientele that helped him get to where he was. Nigo chose to stick with his roots because he felt that going mainstream would only be a short term gain and would eventually destroy his brand. Instead he stayed limited production, high end and has kept on innovating year after year with incredible success. Now compare that to Veilside when their “Pepsi moment” came (Fast and the Furious 1), and how Veilside treated their product line and image after that time…It makes me wonder if BAPE kept with the Pepsi mentality whether it’d be on the discount bin at Walmart right now rather than being sold in a Hollywood boutique for $80 a T-Shirt.

BAPE Pepsi

With stuff like this there is no right or wrong answer. Only Yokomaku-san, the owner of Veilside has the right answer since its his company and he runs it to satisfy his own needs. Me, as a prior fan of Veilside am sadly not impressed with them anymore…just as perhaps BAPE fans were briefly disenchanted with the direction it was headed as a mainstream commodity brand. In the end some companies stay true to their roots meanwhile others evolve into new directions. Results vary…I just wish someday I could be inspired by a Veilside demo car again.

How do you feel about Veilside these days? How many of you were fans of them in the mid-late 90s? Comment please, I’m interested in hearing your view.

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Veilside Introduces New Company Premier4509 With Murcielago and Continental GT

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Veilside Premier4509 Debut!

Veilside seems to be trying to step it up with this new brand. I do not think they had great success with their past attempts at Ferrari aero parts, Bentley aero parts and other exotics but Yokomaku definitely has a thing for exotic cars and is working at it again. Unlike most Veilside releases I’ve seen lately I actually like these a bit. Not horrible, I’ll say that at least. Credit is much deserved for the confidence and dedication it takes to produce a production widebody for the Bentley. I hope they can recoup their investment on these. Although at the price they’re selling for, they have a good shot at it.

I really miss the good ol days when Veilside would impress me every time (I’m talking like mid-late 90s). Lately with the exception of these cars they’ve been all about high volume low cost taking them from what was at one point the level of prestige that Top Secret has down to current comparison point of like a Chargespeed. I’ve been meaning to write an article about Veilside along these lines, and I will at some point. But for now, enjoy the exotic goodness of their new side project:

Veilside Premier4509 Debut!
Veilside Premier4509 Debut!

Veilside Premier4509 Debut!Veilside Premier4509 Debut!

I feel like this blog is turning into an exotic car blog with Mansory’s SLR and now this! Dont worry we’ll bring it back to Japanese built cars soon.

If you or your friends ever feel like dropping close to $30k on a Veilside/Premier4509 kit for their Lambo or Bentley hit me up. Our office has been selling Veilside for nearly a decade now and we’d be happy to take your money. 🙂

By the way, much respect goes to Kultivate Blog which not only had the jump on this one but also did a very nice feature on my S2000. If you have not checked that blog yet, you should. He’s on point with his JDM news always.

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