A Big Wig. A Head Honcho. Man On Top. All of these have nothing on being a Very Important Person. But in the Far East, a VIP means something very different. But what does being a VIP have to do with cars? And how does Japan figure into this? It's time for another part in our ongoing series – allow me to explain.
What's a VIP?
In Japan, VIP isn't really a type of person, it's a style. A better question might be "what is VIP?"
Alright. What is VIP?
VIP style consists of Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) cars sitting low down on big, deep-dish wheels. Traditionally they're big, executive Nissans, Toyotas, and Hondas.
Photo credit: Wikicommons
That's it? A dentist's car with big wheels?
Not entirely. VIP-style tend to have incredibly chopped suspension, with the added bonus of extreme negative camber. Also, they look cool and some are coming along with crazy paint jobs.
I still don't get it. Why not a slammed Subaru? Or a Geo Metro?
It's about the history. Think of it like traditional hip-hop style. Jay Z once explained that baggy jeans and puffy coats were used as a way to conceal what you hid on your person from the law. What was once purposeful, became fashionable. It's the same thing with VIP style. Plus, other variants, even Subies, are coming out.
But that's just silly. How do big wheels, negative camber, and a JDM car help you hide from the police?
Well, they don't. But all great fashions take the utilitarian and build upon them. VIP style was originally associated with the Japanese version of the Mafia, the Yakuza. A big executive car wouldn't really stand out to the cops when you're just cruising along, but you don't want to just look like any old dentist. That's how you get the crazy suspension mods and wheels. When you total up the whole package, you look like someone with both style and class.
In Japan. Just go with it.
But some of these cars look so low you can barely drive them.
Yeah, but style is about form over function sometimes.
So what if I want to make my own? I have to fly to Japan and get a Toyota Century?
Not quite. VIP culture is making its way stateside, and with that comes a little American flair. You can now see VIP Mustangs, VIP BMWs, even VIP Vans:
Photo credit: Deishawn Ashley
Well that just looks ridiculous.
So then why do it?
It's about looking good, dude. And who doesn't like to look good?
Yeah, I can tell. You smell kinda funky, too. You should maybe think about getting some style.
Maybe even VIP style?
There you go. I think you're onto something.
Top shot credit: Moto "Club4AG" Miwa