Hidden Gems of the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show

A lot slips through the cracks in the Tokyo Big Sight convention center.

Max Prince/TheDrive.com

The Tokyo Motor Show is a biannual event packing enough eccentricity to last a decade. This year was no exception. I’d planned on bringing something curated here, a tidy roundup package. Hope was quickly abandoned. Because, hiding behind debuts from Mazda and Lexus, wedged between those formidable Nissan and Honda stands, there’s a lot going on.

Related: Five Tokyo Motor Show Cars That Will Actually Get Built

Some is breathtaking, some is bizarre. Some is just downright cool. Either way, a lot slips through the cracks at Tokyo. So I wandered through the show halls, snapping photos and getting lost in the menagerie. I stole carrots. I fell in love. I saw the future. Here’s a quick rundown.

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A rebodied Alfa 4C from Ken Okuyama. He’s a former Pininfarina pen, the man behind Ferrari’s P4/5 and 599. The dorsal fin says it all.

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Kei truck? Produce cart. Parked off on the periphery of Suzuki’s stand, nobody else seemed very interested in free food. Suckers.

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Semi truck concept that uses four massive, offset folding machine arms: auger, backhoe and crane, plus a massive claw, like one of those lift-a-toy grabbers—except from hell. This thing scared the bejesus out of showgoers. I hope they build it.

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KTC started off a specialty firm, tooling Zero fighter planes during the Forties. The company has come a long way. These custom, lacquer-painted handle wrenches go for around $2,000. The detailing is incredible.  

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Honda Fit Hybrid with a crudely transposed plastic face. The lips moved. Then it started singing. Be still my heart.

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Part motorcycle, part musical instrument. That tank trim? Wood grain from a six-string, and those tailpipe flourishes are lifted from the brass section. All tied together by a simple, air-cooled 125cc four-stroke. Brilliant.

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Downside: It looks like a GoBot on angel dust. Upside: It is. That big red orb is a hinge, so the eXmachina can handily fold up, reconfiguring itself for storage.

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Here, a very nice Japanese woman giving a seminar on Honda’s gyroscopic, hands-free scooter. Nobody fell off. Which was impressive but also slightly disappointing.

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Yes, finally, a scooter with caterpillar tracks. This little guy’s designed to traverse slopes, gravel roads and farmland. There’s a remote control that’ll work within a three-mile radius. The final say in agricultural semi-autonomous personal mobility.

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Stay kooky, Tokyo. See you in 2017.