Throughout history those who think differently and attempt to change things up are branded as troublemakers, and going against the grain isn't something that is well accepted in Japan. Kei Miura is an individual who has always done things differently, is a true 'underground hero', but more importantly is a true pioneer and innovator who has gone against the grain since day one.
Wearing his old school boso-styled overalls, riding boots and sporting a haircut that harps back to the lawless days. This tuner has been churning out individual, inspirational, and downright gorgeous creations for many years. He got his first taste of tuning at 18 when he bought a Kenmeri and the very next day entered it in a race, between getting the keys and hitting the track he had already modified it too!
His latest creation to come out of Kyoto is the Pandem Datsun 240Z and he has once again created a show-stopper. His old school approach to building and designing kits is something that has shown me a different approach to things. 'All my builds are created around a set of wheels, not the car itself. First I choose a set of wheels I love, then I select the car, then build the kit around that. Wheels are the most important aspect of a car for me'.
For Miura-san the Datsun and Nissan platforms are his true love, the very first full-aero kit he made was for the S13, and as the creations have continued they have headed back in time with his current 240Z build. It is not a big power monster, more a road-legal cruiser that just oozes style and demands your attention.
In true timeless style he has kept things stock and low key up front. The only real change he has introduced is the 'stifle pipe' which is effectively a pea-shooter exhaust with a raspy tin twang to the exhaust note - just like the boso-styled cars of old. The L series is the perfect engine for this car.
It isn't too often you spot the pipes stacked, usually side-by-side is the social norm but Miura-san doesn't like being the same as everyone else. Different or die is the motto here.
Moving indoors and the clean, simple, and timeless theme continues. Old school racing seats, steering wheel and console are the go. A full gusseted cage dressed in the same candy red paint moulds seamlessly into the timeless lines of the Z.
No passengers seat in this one either, this is the car for when you need to get out, clear your head and not worry about anyone but yourself and the car you are driving.
To improve on an already beautiful base is something that not many would be able to pull off. Miura-san has a simple philosophy when it comes to building, the kit should never detract from the OEM body lines, they should simply enhance them. By creating kits with this in mind, the true spirit of the car is never lost.
While sitting down with Miura-san I had a couple of questions, as the finished products are next level precision.
AM: 'How many prototypes do you make of your kits?' KM: 'Zero'. The answer came out like he was waiting for it, this shows the level of skill and precision that Miura-san puts into his work.
AM: 'Has there ever been a kit you have looked back on and in hindsight wanted to change or alter?' KM: 'Every single one'.
Even when the creations roll out the door and onto other cars, the master's work is never done. Continually looking at his creations, and quietly, patiently plotting his next move to leave a mark on the tuning world. Kei Miura is one of those true pioneers who hasn't sold out, and always stretches the boundaries. Staying true to your old school roots is at the top of his priority list, and that isn't going to change any time soon.