Home / Social media / Cars / Smokey Nagata - the Japanese tuner who went viral before viral was a thing.


There are many legendary names linked to the automotive industry, some are well-known race drivers, some are well-known celebrities and some are well-known for building amazing cars and they’re scattered all around the world. Back in what this old SXdrv writer likes to refer to as the Max Power era, there wasn’t as much by way of online content as there is today as the internet was in its infancy and social media hadn’t been invented yet. It was a time when print media was the best way to get hold of glossy shots of your favourite cars, and scans, chats and photos were shared in online chat rooms. Chances are if you have a dad or uncle in his 40s to 50s he’s probably got a weird nickname and we reckon if he does, there’s at least a 95% chance that it was the pseudonym he used when chatting in these forums. I know it’s where my nickname came from… It was a time when the tuner scene was booming around the world, in Japan and America cars were being built to be ridiculously fast and powerful, and in the UK it was all about over the top body kits and audio installs that weighed more than the car underneath. The guys who were able, and willing, to push the boundaries started gaining notoriety, one such man is Smokey Nagato.

JDM fans, the real old school ones, know of the man, the myth and the legend. True fans wouldn’t only buy English magazines, these real passionate types also bought Japanese magazines, like Option even though the words were never going to be translated, pictures said all they needed to. The biggest in the UK was Max Power, and it had legions of fans in SA too, partly for the cars, partly for the naked women. When Max Power heard all about Smokey Nagato, they made sure to bring him to England to attend the massive Max Power Live event. Of course, the man arrived but brought one of his most impressive builds along for a bit of a show-off session. The Top Secret Mk4 Toyota Supra in the company’s signature gold paint was chosen for the job, back in 1998 1000 hp was almost unheard of from a 2JZ and so this Supra was fitted with a 1 000 hp RB26 Nissan setup. Yeah, the man did some crazy things, including building a V12 Supra, seen below.

The crew from Max Power were known for their antics that involved breaking every traffic law possible, and so they set a challenge for Smokey while he was in the UK, they dared him to take the RB-powered Supra to a top speed of 200 mph on a public road. If anyone thought Smokey was famous before that... There are legends, and then there are legends. Of course there's a lot more to the man, and this video gives some great background information.

Take a look at the YouTube video below, it does an excellent job of teaching today's young car-loving generation what a legend Japanese tuner Smokey Nagata is and some of the stories that made him famous, including that aforementioned time in the UK. : Japan's Top Tuner Was Arrested | Albon

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