Japan has a reputation for making some of the most impressive sports cars from the likes of Toyota and Nissan, and some of the most luxurious and well-priced sedans from the like of Lexus. Japan is also home to the world’s biggest car modification scene, with parts available to turn your every day car into something from the Fast and Furious.
However, it’s not all Tokyo Drift, as some modifications here leave the mind scrambled and the jaw on the floor as some things that are done to the cars in Japan really make you question what it means to truly customize a vehicle. Below are some of the weirdest JDM modifying trends.
Starting as a part of Japanese bike subculture in the 50s, Bosozoku typically involved outrageous customization and reckless driving of these motorcycles, both typically illegal.
Since then, this type of customization has spread to cars as well as bikes, making for some insane looking vehicles. Insane body mods and huge spoilers are the main focus of this type of mod culture. However, it seems like they may be difficult to live with, so perhaps they are best left as show cars.
For a slightly weirder type of customization, Itasha mods involve wrapping or adding stickers and decals of anime and video game characters to your car. The word Itasha actually translates to “painful car” which makes us wonder who is getting anything from this.
If the cars are self-titled painful cars, then it’s hard to image why this mod even exists. Nevertheless, this type of customization doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon and often these characters are displayed in much less PG forms than what’s depicted here, making it especially difficult to find appropriate images.
The mod here is one of the most striking visually, and that’s saying something, as the art of Onikyan involves adding huge rims, slamming the car to the ground, so the wheels are right up in the wheel arches, and then adding as much camber as physically possible.
There are a variety of techniques used here to get the desired amount of camber, and these involve the use of hydraulics and even airbags. Large amounts of camber are common amongst car modders, but nothing like what’s shown here. You really have to feel for the tires with this mod.
It’s hard to say which mods are the most insane in this list however, you’d have to think that Dekotora trucks are close to topping the list. These trucks gained popularity after the Torakku Yaro series of films from the 70s, which depicted a truck driver with an insanely modified truck just like these.
It seems nothing is off limits when it comes to these trucks, and they are more often than not completely custom, meaning some true dedication and effort goes into creating these ridiculous machines. A combination of lights, a huge variety of colors and often airbrushed images are a staple of the trucks. It doesn’t just stop at the exterior, however, as the interiors are often customized with everything from vinyl upholstery to even chandeliers.
A brief look into past Fast and Furious films are some earlier Need For Speed titles will give you a little insight to the world of neon lights. These are often added to inexpensive cars which are typically heavily customized. However, in Japan, this is of course done to the extreme.
Strangely, they are often added to Lamborghini’s over in Japan, making for some insane additions to an already insane looking car. If an area can be covered in neon lights, you can almost guarantee they will be. Absolutely nothing is off limits here, and even the richest partake in some heavy customization of their cars, despite being valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
At first, Kaido Racers appear much like some of the other types of modified Japanese cars. However, the difference here is that they are made to look more like Japanese race cars, whereas most other mods are ridiculous just for the sake of being ridiculous.
Common Kaido race cars are the Toyota Cresta, Soarers, Nissan Glorias, even Skylines. Over the top engine noise and vintage 14-inch JDM wheels with stretched tires are essential to get a true Kaido racer car look.
In most other nations, minivans are typically a sign of maturity and moving on from your hooligan like racing days. Not in Japan, here, vans are simply the next thing you can customize after you’ve sold your JDM sports car.
Due to the most popular minivans coming from Japan from the likes of Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and so on, it only makes sense that they should be modified extensively in the land where they originate. Again, nothing is off limits with huge spoilers and a lot of interior customization, especially given the large nature of the vehicle. Aftermarket parts are readily available if you want to turn your minivan into a street racer.
These tiny little Japanese trucks known as Kei trucks and are the worker’s choice in Japan, think of it like the eastern Ford F-150 or Transit. They are cheap to buy and maintain whilst providing storage capabilities, giving for an overall versatile vehicle.
Obviously, since this is Japan, the Kei trucks are subjected to copious levels of customization like anything else here. This means huge bumpers, massive camber, comparatively large rims and over the top paint schemes. Some are even converted to drift cars, making for possibly the most Japanese thing ever.
Often seen as features on some of the other heavily modified cars from Japan, the huge tailpipe seems to be nothing more than a status thing, much like other modifications on this list.
They are often referred to as bamboo exhausts due to the shape and cut. No one is quite sure when this trend began, however some have speculated it is due to ever-increasing regulations on performance modifications, leading to people modifying their cars in more visual ways.
Shakotan cars are much like the Kaido race cars from earlier, but are a little toned down. This usually means vintage rims, stretched tires and lowered body, but there are a few subtle differences.
The differences come in the custom flares which are sculpted for a flush look, as well as less extreme paint jobs. Cleanliness is the name of the game here, which is far from what we’ve seen earlier. Almost any car can achieve this look, but usually you’ll find it on a car dating back to the 70s or 80s
Japanese car manufacturers know a thing or two about making affordable and reliable sports cars that can hang with the best of them.
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