Junique Design: the Turkish masters of JDM

Since its creation, Speedhunters has explored automotive culture across the planet. After 16 years, finding a “new” country to visit becomes difficult.

Turkey used to be on the list, but that’s no longer the case – all thanks to Erdem Küskü of Junique Design in Istanbul.

Erdem single-handedly introduces local modified car enthusiasts to quality and, most importantly, legitimate aftermarket brands. With his new store now completed and fully operational, Erdem invited me to fly to Turkey while I was back in Italy earlier in the year. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.


I was excited but didn’t know what to expect – other than good Turkish food. And the local culinary delights were even better than I had imagined.

But back to the cars…


My first day in Istanbul was spent learning the ins and outs of the local scene. Cars are very popular in Türkiye, as is their modification. However, with strict import regulations and high customs duties on anything coming from overseas, finding and building certain cars is extremely difficult and expensive. Then there are the parts.


For years, the Turkish market has been flooded with fakes and imitations of all major brands. Lower purchasing costs have translated into lower import taxes, allowing local automakers to achieve the “look” they want while spending less. But Erdem approached the issue from another side, partnering with brands like Work Wheels, Rocket Bunny, Liberty Walk and Old & New, and becoming their official importers for Turkey.

Using the premium quality of these respected brands, Erdem persuades the local community that quality and authenticity are worth paying for.


The new Junique Design boutique is a cross between Nakai-san’s RWB haunt in Chiba and Kato-san’s ever-expanding Liberty Walk empire, and it exudes quality and freshness around every corner.

I’ve spent countless hours chatting with Erdem on his comfy couch, hearing how his way of building cars is slowly but surely becoming many people’s end goal.


Sure, the price of entry for doing things the “right” way is higher, but so are the kudos you get when you show off a well-built car with legitimate parts. As Erdem tells me, once people see, touch and feel the quality, they instantly understand.

It was so cool to see BMX from the back of the Junique Design Datsun truck when it was showcased via IAMTHESPEEDHUNTER in 2021 – the first time I spoke with Erdem.


Upon entering the store, I was greeted by Erdem’s old and new Porsche 996 and a recently restored Ford Capri – both stunning cars.


Erdem’s idea is to build demo cars of as many models as possible to showcase the variety offered by the brands he imports. There is, however, a problem. As soon as a new car is built, it is sold. It’s not a bad problem.


Liberty Walk is one of Junique Design’s biggest brands and taking center stage is an LBW-equipped Ferrari 360 Modena. It was Erdem’s car, but it was another car that he had to sell due to customer demand.


It took years, but the word definitely spread.


Take for example the JZA80 Supra parked in the showroom next to the main exhibition area.


Open the hood and it’s obvious – it’s a serious build with all the extras. The Ridox Complete Kit is another kit imported by Junique Design.


Sitting on Work Meisters and painted in a custom metallic bronze, this is easily one of the craziest Supras in Turkey.

I loved the OEM+ feel of the interior with the suede trim on the dash and trim, all topped off with a TRD steering wheel.


A Veilside rear wing has been added for added visual impact, complementing the clean and well-executed build.


Kato-san and his team visited Erdem when he started distributing Liberty Walk products, and next on the list is to ask Nakai-san to fly out and create Turkey’s first RWB construction. Erdem’s dream is to build an RWB 997 himself, which I’m sure he will achieve very soon.


The selection of cars outside of Junique Design was pretty cool. Half were completed, some were customer cars and others were new acquisitions destined to become workshops. It blew my mind how similar the size of an Alfa Romeo 75 is to an AE86. I can’t wait to see what happens with these two, not to mention the Z32 and 928.


It’s a shame that this “R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R” was not finished during my visit. The engine was taken out of the car to do some work, but I would like to do a full report on this version if I return to Istanbul.

I used quotes above because this car actually started life as a four-door R32 Skyline sedan. Since no R32 GT-Rs could be imported to Turkey and there were none to be built domestically, Erdem did the next best thing and created his own. To transform it into a two-door coupe, he imported all the pressed sheet metal parts from Nissan in Japan, then the running gear. Once that was done, Erdem installed the Pandem kit and smoothed it onto the bodywork to create something totally unique.


Speaking of Pandem, Erdem’s freshly completed FC3S Mazda RX-7 project is also pretty crazy.


It’s not just an exterior renovation; under the hood is a Toyota 2JZ that develops 500 hp with its low boost setting.

One wonders what could possibly happen to the FD waiting in the store window!


And then there’s Erdem’s new baby…


This AE86 uses a built and turbocharged 4A-G capable of developing over 300 hp, making it a bit of a manic drift car.


The car was completed just a few days before my arrival and looked clean and useful.


The Work Equip 03 fits the D-Max vented FRP wings so well.


A week after I left Istanbul, Erdem told me that the car had been sold without him having had the chance to drive it and enjoy it. Luckily he has another one Hachiroku in his collection, and this car is now being built as a replacement.


On the second day of my visit, Erdem handed over the keys to the red 997 Carrera S and said to me: “Follow me.”


With a BMW E92 also on board, the idea was to take a few photos of all three cars together. The 15 minute drive from Junique Design to the photo spot was my most memorable memory of the trip because the traffic and the way everyone drives in Turkey is just crazy.

The fact that the 997 would roll sideways on dusty city roads with the slightest touch of the accelerator made things even more exciting.


I have to hand it to Erdem and Junique Design for pushing authenticity and quality. So far, 100 cars have been built, and with each new car, Turkish car culture is changing for the better.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: dino_dalle_carbonare