WSTO made its journey across the Pacific in mid January to meet with our partners in Japan. We had the opportunity to share views on modding, products and the philosophy behind tuning with them. What started out as a business trip, quickly became a constant state of awe and disbelief. Why? It is because I got the chance to see the best of BMW tuning in Japan in real life. Cars, tuned to the very extent of my imagination or beyond, tuning parts that i hadn’t even heard of and most of all to get a glimpse of the thought process and brilliance of some of these tuners was simply overwhelming.
We will spotlight three shops; Dort, Bond (Larger Corporation) and finally Studie (Tokyo & Yokohama).
Located in the depths of Nagoya, Dort is a tuning shop for BMW and other fine European Marque that boasts 20 years of experience. Dort is responsible for many creations that grace the covers of many famous Japanese magazines, such as Special Cars and af imp.
The entire shop is wrapped with colors of the German Flag. A tribute to the origin of fine cars that Dort works on and i am sure a reflection of the character and boldness of the man behind the greatness of Dort, Yoshida-san. A distinguishing feature of Dort and of Yoshida-san is that he does not just sell products that customers ask for, but believes in the process of sharing his unique philosophy, knowledge and experience in tuning cars with his customers. He believes that this is the only way that the customers can truly realize the unique car that they are dreaming of. This is the motto of Dort.
Customers without knowledge of products or about modding, can step in to Dort and work with Yoshida-san, knowing that they are in good hands.
Although, Dort works on all makes and models of the European breed, majority of their customers are BMW owners. They carry all major performance products, such as BBS, Neez, Gruppe M, 3D Design, Volk, Advan, Arqray, Eisenmann, Akrapovic, Bilstein, Brembo, and many more.
Walking into the shop, I came in direct contact with a wall of Neez, volk and Japan only BBS wheels. I was in awe and could not keep my eyes off of them. As I turned, I could see a whole room filled with some of the products that we have only heard of in the US (or even that), such as ARC bracing, PIAA Japan LED and HID solutions, 3D Design coilovers (made by Ohlins), Bellof lighting, and many moreLike all respectable shops, they do not carry replicas and will insist, whenever they can on “Japan Only Product”. In Japan, replicas are frowned upon (deservingly) and if you do carry them, you cannot consider yourself to be amongst the ranks of true tuners. I truly believe that this is the way it should be in the US and any other part of the world for that matter.By the way, Yoshida-san is friends with the living legend Michael Schumacher himself. The Race suit was presented to Yoshida-san after a race in person (don’t think it got washed).
Like many shops in japan, Dort is a full tuning shop with the ability to do anything from interior audio to performance, wheels and exterior.
On the lifts were a Phoenix Yellow E46 M3 and R56 Cooper S when we visited the shop with many other cars in the back lot.We also got to see their stable of demo cars. First, is the brand new Mercedes Benz W204 C Class with Brabus conversion.
Of course one thing that caught my attention is Yoshid san’s E90 M3. This car was on the cover of the Rays Strahlen TE advertisement, as well as featured in af imp. Currently, on the outside, it wears a 3D Design front lip, 3D rear diffuser, 3D trunk lip spoiler, as well as hood vent accent by AC SChnitzer, CF front grille and an additional rear wing by Arqray (Might I say… didn’t think that would have turned out as nice as it did…). Custom pinstriping gives it a signature “Dort” appeal.
The car rides on Bilstein coilovers and 19” RE-V with Pirelli P-Zero rubber. Stopping power is via custom Brembo 6 piston front and 4-piston rears. (Notice the tinted side markers? That is 3M Tint vinyl, which is gaining popularity in Japan. Even on taillights).
On the performance end, Dort has managed to gain a healthy dose of HP with pulleys, GruppeM intake and the Akrapovic Evolution system.The true pride and joy of Yoshida San is his Mini Cooper S (R53). According to Yoshida-san, the MINI is more fun to drive and from what I hear about the kind of investment that he made on it, it better be. This is the case where nothing was held back in modifying the car.
I don’t know where to begin on exterior mods. Wide fender flares, air inlet scoop with custom paint, taillights and a huge CF wing by Arqray, makes it not only unique but a true show piece.
It may look like a show piece but it sounds and drives like a race car. Engine mods range from Alta intercooler, Gruppe M intake, plasma direct ignition, Plasma ground, boosted supercharger, new engine mounts dampers and much more. Arqray exhaust with Black out tips add to the overall Red and Black theme.
It was sad to leave Dort and bid farewell to Yoshida-san. I had a great time at Dort. It was a learning experience on the Japanese culture of tuning and modding cars. There is definitely more to car modding than just trends and looks here. The culture is deep with strong foundations based on quality, performance and individuality.[Source: WheelSTO ]