The wildly-modified Lamborghini Murcielago, Ferrari 458s, BMWs and Nissan GT-Rs from Liberty Walk/LB Performance are without doubt some of the most talked about machines on the planet. Thanks to Australia’s Sunus MotorSports, Liberty Walk’s rockstar-like president, Wataru Kato, will be making a special appearance at Meguiar’s MotorEx during his highly-anticipated trip down under.
Behind the beaming smile and infectious, happy-go-luck persona, Kato-San is as passionate a car enthusiast as you’ll ever meet, with wonderful outlook on modifying vehicles that’s certain to resonate with all enthusiasts – not just those into tuner or stance-style Euro and Japanese machinery.
“Don’t let the rules prevent you from enjoying your free movement,” says Kato. He deliberately likes to create machinery that rebels against the authorities and rules. Like many of us, he also believes road laws are problematic, limiting tuner’s ability to modify cars in the style they want.
“I want to re-emphasise to enthusiast that you cannot forget your passion to create the best car,” says Kato, “it is the number one essential to have that feeling. We make our products to look fun and awesome, that’s why we take time when designing them. If you can afford it and it makes you happy, that’s all that really matters.” As for LB Performance’s trademark race look. “People watch F1, GT racing and other race cars and get interested in cars,” says Kato, “so it is only normal to want a race car that you can drive on public roads.”
This is why it’s the Liberty Walk philosophy to optimise shape over functionality. Kato happily acknowledges acceleration, braking and other features are important, however good-looking cars that are unique, loud and high-risk are most important. And to the purists outraged by the notion of modifying such revered exoticas; cutting into expensive bodywork and sacrificing some practicality to add wider bodywork and get the right look is simply unavoidable, according to Kato.
On the subject of personal tastes, while Liberty Walk’s insane Lamborghini Murcielago, Ferrari 458, BMW and Nissan GT-R kits have been hugely successful, gaining a cult following around the world, Kato considers himself to be an old-school enthusiast. He has a deep love of classic Japanese machinery like the C110 Skyline he drove around as an 18-year old. It saddens him that modern, so-called eco-friendly cars are turning realistic, older cars into unacceptable social outcasts. His personal rides include wildly modified Sylvias, Skylines as well as a few custom bikes. Sitting comfortably next to these are his other pride and joys including a modified Ferrari F-50 and F-40!
At heart, Kato-San is a car guy that wants to play with cool automobiles, while having fun – all of which he’s nailed emphatically. For the unmissable opportunity to catch up with this international cult hero, head to the Sunus Motorsports (Australia’s official LB Performance distributor) stand in the Liqui-Moly Performance Garage. Come say konnichiwa and check out the stunning Liberty Walk Murcielago, Ferrari 458, BMW M3 and two R35 Nissan GT-Rs in the flesh. There’s little doubt you’ll come away with a refreshed sense of passion along with heightened enthusiasm towards your current and future projects.