Top Secret is one of Japans highest profile aftermarket manufacturers, winning such prices as the 2007 Tokyo Auto Salon Champion with the Final Evolution JZA80 V12 twin turbo Supra. Well known for body kits and styling, Top Secret also have an intimidating presence in Wangan high speed tests, professional Drifting.
|Founder||Kazuhiko “Smoky” Nagata|
|Headquarters||Chiba Prefecture, Chiba City|
|Products||Automotive Performance Parts|
|Founder(s)||Kazuhiko “Smokey” Nagata|
Top Secret Co., Ltd. (株式会社トップシークレット, Kabushiki-gaisha Toppu Shīkuretto) is a Japanese automobile tuner and parts manufacturer. The company was founded by Japanese automotive engineer and driver, Kazuhiko “Smokey” Nagata.
The company is mainly known for its body kits and performance engineering. Top Secret is also known for its illegal Wangan high speed runs, professional Drifting, Circuit, and Drag Racing. A recognizable feature of many Top Secret tuned cars are their gold paint schemes. Only cars that Nagata deem to be his best work receive this paint scheme.
Ryuji Miki won Round 5, and ultimately won the 2004 Japanese D1GP championship in a Nissan SilviaS15 racing for Top Secret. In 2005 Miki won an exhibition round at Silverstone Circuit in the UK in a Nissan Fairlady Z.
In 2007, Yoichi Imamura took 3rd place at Round 3 and 6 at Suzuka and Autopolis respectively. Imamura also won an exhibition round at Las Vegas Motor Speedway the same year.
Top Secret won the 2007 Tokyo Auto Salon Championship with its 'Final Evolution' V12 twin turboToyotaSupra.
At the 2017 Tokyo Auto Salon, Top Secret debuted an R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R that had been transplanted with the engine, driveline, and interior of the newer R35 Nissan GT-R. The tuning company dubbed this car the 'Skyline VR32 GT-R'.
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Kazuhiko Nagata grew up in the northernmost Hokkaido province of Japan working on his parents’ farm. Nagata became interested in automobiles and started working as a mechanic at the local Toyota dealership. It was there that Nagata began modifying cars and street racing.
Nagata moved to Tokyo and became a shop assistant for the aftermarket tuning company Trust. There he started working after hours in the motorsport division, creating parts for himself. Company executives caught him eventually and instead of reprimanding him, they were impressed by his skill and advised him to keep his activities 'top secret'. This became the inspiration for the name of his future company.
In 1999 Nagata famously shipped a Toyota Supra producing over 1000 horse power to England with the goal of going 200 mph on the A1 expressway. He got to 197 mph on wet roads in the middle of the night before being pulled over by police. Nagata was jailed for the night and forced to pay a £190 fine. He was subsequently forced to leave the country the next day and banned from driving in England for 28 days.
|2004||#10 NissanSilvia S15||Ryuji Miki||1st|
Top Secret was a brand found in literal secrecy. By day, Kazuhiko 'Smokey' Nagata worked at Trust, the parent company for GReddy, but by night he worked on engineering parts for his own cars and eventually taking on projects for others under the shroud of darkness. Eventually, management found out but refused to let Smokey leave the company, allowing him to continue to work after hours so as long as he kept it a secret from his coworkers. Only a year later, the doors for Top Secret were opened.
After building quite the reputation for himself stemming from repeat run-ins with the law and blatant disregard for safety and speed, his trademark Supra became the envy of many in the '90s and 2000s. Now, the very same Supra is up for auction in January, and you could be the proud owner of a piece of automotive culture history.
Originally built by speed-chasing legend 'Smokey' Nagata, nicknamed for his trademark burnouts before high-speed runs, this Supra was way ahead of its time. Today, it's commonplace to do crazy bastardized swaps that would make purists cringe, but in the '90s, most tuning companies worked with what they had. Smokey decided that this wasn't the route he wanted to take when building Top Secret's Supra and re-homed a 5.0-liter V-12 1GZ-FE engine from a Toyota Century into the Supra.
Despite the auction listing the Supra as a 1994, its VIN is coded as a 1998 chassis. This means that the then-$40,000 sports car had its heart removed while still in infancy, and fitted with one of Toyota's newest creations. In 1997, Toyota released its first-ever V-12 by cramming into an ultra-luxury limousine to be sold only in the Japanese market. Smokey plucked the 276 horsepower power plant from the $100,000 Century and prepared to replace the Supra's 3.0-liter inline-six. But because the Supra had an extra 54-horsepower on its replacement, some work had to be done.
Smokey outfitted the car with dual HKS GT2835 ball bearing turbochargers, which were able to provide substantial power throughout the rev range. However, the tuner felt that top-end could still be improved, so he fit the Supra with a wet nitrous setup. At the time, there were no engine management solutions for something with 12 cylinders, so naturally, Smokey did what any sane person would do; he used two HKS F-Con V Pro standalone ECUs to tune the car, and then sent it to the dyno where it made a respectable 930-hp and 745 foot-pounds of torque.
The Supra was also fitted with custom aero parts, including Top Secret's Super G-Force kit. It sat atop Aragosta's harmonic drive suspension, which was mated to a Roberuta Cup kit, allowing for the car to raise or lower itself 3-inches on-the-fly.
Painted in signature Top Secret Gold, the car set the grounds for color-coding future cars developed by the garage; white for development, gold for when it achieves enough notable honors of speed and power to receive recognition. Top Secret uses a point system similar to how Dinan badges BMWs based on the number of upgrades it has, except Top Secret looks at how the car performs, not what you've bought for it.
After it was built, Smokey was determined to break the 200 mph barrier and had the Supra shipped to England. After several attempts on the A1 expressway, he reached 197 mph before being arrested and spending 'a few days' in jail.
I know what you're thinking; this doesn't look identical to the Top Secret car. The car also set various speed achievements in New Zealand and at the Nardo test track in Italy where it reached 222.6 mph before topping out its motor at 7,300 rpm. While that may not seem impressive given the recent success of the Koenigsegg Agera RS, consider the time period when the car was built. In the '90s when it was built, it was nearly as fast as the McLaren F1. The speed of the Supra wasn't tested until 2008, but by then technology had allowed the Bugatti Veyron to claim the throne.
Last time the car was spotted in 2015 at the Tokyo Auto Salon, it appears nearly identical to the photos in the auction. The auction claims that this is the very car which set the Top Secret speed record in Italy when driven by Smokey Nagata. We reached out to Top Secret to confirm its legitimacy and find out just why the shop is auctioning off the piece of history, but have not yet received a response.
The history of some of the most iconic '90s cars are fading, and it saddens us. Being able to see where the roots of current car culture stem and how they molded the path that our love for cars follow today will be a part of the lifestyle which many collectors miss out on. No matter the price the car fetches at auction, the amount of nostalgia and pure influence that it's had on the world will be forever invaluable.