How Wild Liberty Walk Body Kits Changed The Game And Annoyed Purists

How Wild Liberty Walk Body Kits Changed The Game And Annoyed Purists

Love them or hate them. Liberty Walk body kits have changed the super car body kit trend. What many people once considered sacrilege is now a practice that creates showstoppers. Even those who cringe at anything but stock can’t help but notice.

To say that Liberty Walk changed the super car body kit trend might be a mischaracterization. Instead, you might say that they created the trend. It is the brainchild of famed car tuner Kato Wataru, who began his business cutting up Kei cars and quickly moved up to Lambos and other exotics.

Liberty Walk Broke Barriers By Cutting Up Rare Ferraris

Prior to Kato-san’s artistry, body kits were a rebellious spoilage of otherwise functional vehicles. Bosozoku cars gave body kits the reputation of unruly youth. They weren’t for people who were serious about cars. Bosozoku-style tuners would probably argue that point.

Kato-San was surely influenced by Japanese car modification culture like Bosozoku. In 1993, he founded Liberty Walk. He derived the name from the freedom people should have to modify their own vehicles. And he would eventually modify the untouchable.

Liberty Walk started with body kits for Kei cars. These were Japanese economy cars that were void of personality. His business model took off, and today, a modified Kei car is an expectation rather than an anomaly.

Then, Liberty Walk broadened its car kits to American models and super cars. It was a move unheard of in Japanese car shops at the time. At the turn of the millennium, he started modifying super cars.

Kato-San started the super car body kit trend by cutting into a Ferrari F40. It was a bold and controversial move.

The Ferrari F40 had an untouchable reputation as the last Ferrari model by Enzo Ferrari himself. Untouchable, as in, you don’t touch it. But Kato-san isn’t a purist. He is an artist.

What Liberty Walk did to the Ferrari F40 was insane, but it was also not the unharnessed madness of a careless hack. The modifications were respectful to the Ferrari concept, and they were functional.

People didn’t like the idea of modifying a Ferrari, but Kato-San had a vision.

Liberty Walk Body Kits Transform Supercars Into Something Else

GT-R R35 Liberty Walk
YouTube: Bankrupt Media

In 2009, Kato-San introduced the world to the first Liberty Walk full body kit for an exotic. The Lamborghini Murcielago was a shocker at SEMA. The world reacted with hesitance, and some hate.

Business at Liberty Walk slowed down after the 2009 SEMA car show. Like many great things in the world, people had to get used to the idea. After all, Kato-San was modifying things that the car community already thought were great.

At the same time as Liberty Walk’s slow-down, exotic car manufacturers were designing lackluster styles. The new models looked boring, which opened the doors again for Liberty Walk.

RELATED: 5 Wildest Body Kits From Liberty Walk (And 5 From Rocket Bunny)

By 2013, Liberty Walk body kits were transforming exotics into a different model. It was no longer a Nissan GTR but a Liberty Walk Nissan GTR. It was no longer a Lamborghini Aventador but a Liberty Walk Aventador. Today’s Liberty Walks often have a proud display of their tuner’s logo in a visible location.

There are still people who despise the thought of modifying a pristine, exotic, super car. But there are also a huge amount of people who think Kato-San’s body kits are the sickest they’ve ever seen.

Liberty Walk Lamborhini Huracan Widebody
YouTube: DailyDrivenExotics

The body kit trend continues largely because of visual appeal. Super car owners who appreciate a personal touch in auto design must have a body kit, often from Liberty Walk.

The 2022 SEMA show featured Liberty Walk modifications on iconic cars with names like Lamborghini, Corvette, Supra, and of course, Ferrari. Widebody kits are becoming common for narrow performance cars. The kits can improve aerodynamics, appearance, traction, and aesthetics.

RELATED: 10 Aftermarket Wide Bodies That Will Leave You In AweThe reason Liberty Walk remains a popular choice is the quality and originality of the transformation. Despite many styles, each Liberty walk has a recognizable quality and sophistication. These are things that other body kit companies, such as Rocket Bunny and RWB, have mimicked successfully. None has been able to carry the same level of reputation.

And as for Kato-San, he leaves the car in the limelight.

“The cars should be the heroes,” said Kato-San in a 2013 interview. “If people look forward to what I do next, I’m happy to entertain and perform.”

Kato-San says he loves what he does. This is clearly shown through his trend-setting, revolutionary work in the car tuning industry. His happiness is clearly shown whenever he is surrounded by his automobiles. And those autos have become works of art.

The name Kato-San is respected in Japanese car culture for his talent and his failure to adhere to the norm. He elevated super cars to a new level without being asked and without any regard to any potential barriers. This made his company what it is today.

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