Hideki Tanabe RIP

The Japanese tuning world has suffered a great loss. Powerhouse Amuse founder and president, Hideki Tanabe, passed away on September 20th. He had been suffering of a serious illness for some time, and his condition began deteriorating shortly after TAS this year. I knew things were not good, but I was shocked to hear of his passing last night. He leaves behind one of the most successful tuning businesses out there, and a long line of incredible demo cars that over the years have helped show the world what a perfectionist he was.

I first met Tanabe-san back in 2001 at Tsukuba circuit. He was there putting a few of his demo cars through their paces, and the first thing that surprised me was how damn fast he was behind the wheel. Over the years he never hired a pro driver to drive his cars, always preferring to set lap records himself. He was always on pace and the R35 GTR record he set at Tsukuba and Fuji with the Phantom R earlier in the year are still there.

I first went to the state of the art Amuse shop in 2005 to shoot the S2000 GT1, the 350Z and the Carbon-R. Talking to Tanabe-san revealed just how passionate he was about creating the best possible tune out of any car. Business aside, Tanabe-san loved to have fun in cars, just look at what he created with the Carbon-R. The whole project was started to develop a lightweight, RWD GT-R just for himself, to see what could be done with the R34 when taken to extremes. He was never interested in marketing any of the parts for retail, it was just a little project for himself to enjoy.

Here are a few pictures I have dug out. The first one is from a Hot Version event at Tsukuba in Jan 2004, when Tanabe-san took out his then newly tuned 350Z.

Here is a customer V35 coupe one year later in May 2005 being put through a dyno run by Tanabe-san.

Out on the local toll roads for some driving shots. I will never forget the ride he took me out for with the 350Z. Back then there wasn’t that many shops getting much power out of the VQ35DE, but here we were in a Z33 putting out close to 350PS (NA tuned) with carbon hood, doors and trunk. Amuse was always the first and still is when it comes to innovation. Tanabe-san proceeded to thrash the lightweight Z around some local roads pulling superbly controlled drifts at every corner. I had a grin on my face for a week after that! The response from that engine was insane!

A shot of by far the most well known and stunning creation to come from Tanabe-san, the S2000 GT1. No words can describe how beautifully styled this car is, and just how menacing it looks out on the street.

And here is the last car I shot at Amuse a few weeks ago. For more pix and info pick up a copy of this week’s AutoWeek in the US.

Power House Amuse and Ericsson will continue to run as usual with Tanabe-san’s wife running things like she has been doing for the last few months. So if you are looking for Amuse and Ericsson products contact your local dealers for more information.

The tuning world has lots a great man, an innovator and a husband.  RIP Tanabe-san.


3 Responses to “Hideki Tanabe RIP”

  1. 1 eclip5e
    September 23, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Really sucks to loose someone like this.

  2. September 23, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    Hey Dino, Nice write up. Tanabe-san touched a lot of lives. I’m glad you put this out there. It compliments my memorial to him nicely.

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