Let’s face it, the term “car enthusiast” is a little narrow, don’t you think? I sometimes like to use “automotive enthusiast,” but even then, I’m excluding motorcycles, boats, and even airplanes. I like anything that’s custom, anything that’s one-off, anything that has some effort to personalize it from the masses. Here at Stance Nation, 98% of what we feature are cars, modern cars if you want to really get specific. While it’s up to the big-cheese with that really slick, white LS400 to make the change, I’m still pretty happy to bring you something a little different, and something that I’m all about. We’ve featured a few vans in the past, but I still think that for most viewing this, it’s a far cry from what you’re used to seeing. Buckle up because this ain’t your Mom’s Odyssey.
Photos By: JC Pepino // WORK Wheels JP exclusively for StanceNation.com
I tend to like things that stick out, and appreciate things that are a little different. A lot of times, it’s not to the masses’ taste, but I’m one of those individuals who tend to stray from the herd. My Mom had a mini-van when I was kid, and apart from having a pretty cool sound-system from the factory (that included a little flip-down TV and a VCR!) I never thought it would be anything “cool.” Granted, it was a Chrysler Town and Country, but all vans were kind of the same back then. As teens and young-adults in the automotive scene strive to be “cool” and “scene” no one would think to pick a mini-van, the vehicle that most were shuttled around in before they got their drivers license and keys to their own car, to be a project to build. Over the years though, a few have popped up, and they’re kind of hard to ignore, and with ones like this one in Japan, it’s not hard to see why.
Makoto Fujikura’s RB1 Honda Odyssey has been extensively gone through by Yuuki Sato, the owner of OTAS shop in the Suzuka, Mie prefecture. The van has served as a rolling testament to Sato-san’s impressive skills, and what a site it is. Fujikura-san has owned the Odyssey for several years and has entrusted Sato-san to build it into what you see here. The goal with this van here has always been to stay ahead of the curve in the wagon/van world that is very popular in Japan. Sato-san takes influence from Miura-san at TRAKyoto/Rocket Bunny, and wanted to try his hand at building a van with a similar look.
The riveted over-fenders and super-aggressive front and rear bumpers certainly scream that aggressive, GT-style that is akin to the Rocket Bunny kits from Miura-san. The interior, however, is more traditional to the speaker-vans and VIP-style that are more commonly found in the Japanese van culture, and filled with custom audio and a lavish purple, lavender, and white retrim. That’s another point that I really like about this build and Sato-san is that he pulls ideas and inspiration from a variety of different sources. His idea of making something new is mixing a bunch of different styles together, and that is something that I certainly take to heart when it comes to my own cars.
Really though, when it comes to describing this Odyssey, there’s only two phrases that really capture it; “custom,” and “one-off.” That’s apparently all Sato-san knows. There are pretty much no, off-the-shelf parts on this van other than the wheels and the spacers, and I’m sure if Sato-san could make those, he would too. I can’t rattle off a modifications list, because this van doesn’t really have one, and I can’t go on naming parts either for the same reason. All I can do is my best to describe what I see, and what I see is probably the very best example of a modified van I have ever seen. The lines of the bumpers, the over-fenders, and that absolutely crazy exhaust, it all just comes together so well. The lines and shapes scream hard-core GT-style, but there’s a subtle elegance to it all that really draws you in. Sato-san mentions, “beauty and perfect balance of the body,” as one of the key points behind this build, and I really think he nailed it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a build that has flowed so well together and just looks “right.”
Even parts like the suspension are one-off so I can’t babble on about x-dampers and y-arms. If you’re after something similar, you’re on your own unfortunately. What I can report though is that this Odyssey is indeed static, although it is sporting some pretty stiff spring rates to make sure the tires don’t destroy the one-off fenders. There are a host of custom made arms and stabilizer links, as well as custom camber plates so Sato-san can fine-tune the suspension to get this van sitting just right. Pretty much the only thing Sato-san didn’t make are the wheels. Keeping with the sporty and aggressive look, this Odyssey is sitting on a set a of Work Emotion CR Kai Kiwamis. The Emotion CR Kai is one of my all-time favorites as I used to have a set on my IS300, and I’m glad that Work introduced the Kiwami for those after larger diameters and super-concave faces. This set measures in at 19×10.5 +12 all around with 30mm spacers on the front and monstrous 60mm spacers in the rear to bring effective offsets to -18 and -48 respectively.
The result is the one of the sickest, and most complete vans I’ve ever seen, and I’d wager to say it’s probably the most custom van you’ve ever seen. While some even within the stance and VIP community might still scoff at van tuning, Sato-san doesn’t really care. “I love to experience new shapes and try different styles, no matter what people say. I follow my beliefs and build cars that will create emotions when you look at them.” Sato-san has a great vision when it comes to customization, and with clients like Fujikura-san, and the few shots of Sato-san’s workshop filled with other projects, it appears others appreciate that vision as well.
While I’m not advocating that we should start selling off our cars and go start rescuing mini-vans from the soccer-mom life, I certainly wouldn’t complain to see more done-up vans here in the states. It’s certainly refreshing to see videos and photos of the van culture from overseas, so it’ll really be a shock to see more vans here. The few builds that have happened here in the US are proof of that because they are no less than stunning. We just need to look at taking a different approach to modifying and customizing vehicles. Don’t be afraid to stray away from the common path and try something a little different. You never know what it might bring out of you.