Remembering Hideki Tanabe - 10 Years On
10 years on, and we'll still miss the Tanabe-san.
21 September 2008, exactly 10 years ago, we witnessed the loss of one of the legends in the tuning scene of Japan - Hideki Tanabe, the founder of Powerhouse Amuse.
Credit: Best Motoring's YouTube Channel
He was undoubtedly a hero of the time, being the founder of the tuning company, he insisted on testing and developing the cars out himself. His driving skills were on par with the professional drivers, and often the suspension setups for the cars would be so dialed in, that even the professionals couldn't find fault in them.
Credit: Best Motoring's YouTube Channel
Keiichi Tsuchiya, Orido Manabu and Taniguchi Nobuteru, the trio which hosted the show 'Touge Showdown', all said that the orange Amuse S2000 was 'perfect'. Keiichi Tsuchiya even said that the suspension setup was so perfect, that he'd be willing to sell it in his personal shop - Kei Office. It was that good.
This magnificence of course, had to start from somewhere. The company was founded in 1991, and it's aim was simple - to offer affordable fun for petrolheads who have limited budget. Hence why the cars he built were never outrageously powerful, they never made 1000bhp out of a Supra. Instead, they stuck with the stock internals, fiddled with the computer, exhausts, weight reduction and suspension setup. This undoubtedly allows us to upgrade our cars step by step, without having to spend a fortune just to get our cars running.
The first ever car that put Powerhouse Amuse on the map was a white Supra. You might have seen this thing getting ripped around Ebisu by Keiichi Tsuchiya and Orido Manabu, while comparing it to the Mine's R34 GT-R. The car spools up so quick, that it develops 60kg/m from 3000rpm all the way to 6000rpm. You might think that it's running on some sort of fancy internals, but no. Tanabe-san chose to stick with the stock internals, and just put a GT30 turbo from Amuse, tuned up the computer, the exhaust and other bits and bobs, to help achieve that big torque figure. It truly wowed everybody, and it was reliable too.
Credit: Best Motoring
As for what made Amuse the go-to tuning company, is undoubtedly the orange S2000 that we talked about earlier. The S2000 was capable to run on the 1:02 mark on Tsukuba, and it was the first time anybody had seen it run on normal road tyres. Tanabe-san went out to the streets of Japan the night before the debut of the car to tune the car up before letting anybody drive it. The results were shockingly good, it received an incredible 320 marks out of the 300 marks that it's allowed to get (that wasn't a typo, it really was that good). The turn in was so sharp, the car would just stick to the ground, and the rear will not let go one bit.
All Tanabe-san did to this car, was fit the widest possible tyres on front and rear, fitted a carbon fibre bonnet, bootlid, a fixed roof a wing and even door mirrors. It took 100kg out of an already light car, and it made the car go like a go-kart.
The one that stunned the Gran Turismo community was the Amuse S2000 GT-1. Many got it in turbo guise but the one car that got famous is the one with a 2.3 stroker kit. Not only was the stroker kit amazing, the aero kit was something to behold too. The front and rear were widened and lengthened, the wing on the rear was so enormous that you could eat your dinner off of it. It wasn't to everyone's taste, but it was handled beautifully on track and off track, as did every other car that Tanabe-san built.
The last ever car that Tanabe-san was involved in was the Powerhouse Amuse R35 GT-R Phantom. Same treatment goes for this car - lighten it by using carbon fibre everywhere, titanium exhaust, a tuned ECU, a superb suspension kit and a bodykit.
Unfortunately, Tanabe-san couldn't see the car finish. He designed the car, but he had to stay in the hospital for his last days. So it was up to his staff to finish the car up according to his will. Tanabe-san left us mid-way through the development of GT-R.
It was up to somebody to help him set the car up. Somebody that is just as capable as him, somebody such as Keiichi Tsuchiya. That was the first time that anybody had helped develop an Amuse and there is no better person.
Nowadays, Powerhouse Amuse is still one of the leading tuning companies in Japan. They're still making the parts that marks Amuse on the map, and they're constantly improving and expanding the lineup.