This Is What Illegal Japanese Street Drifting Looked Like in 2005

Illustration for article titled This Is What Illegal Japanese Street Drifting Looked Like in 2005

Today’s drift scene, particularly in America, is almost completely gripped with nostalgia for the late 1990s and early 2000s, dreaming after cars covered in lightning bolt graphics and giant body kits. But what did the scene look like at the time, not viewed through rose-tinted glasses?


An Aussie film crew came in and gave a nice English-language tour of touge driving, taking a ride with a crew from Nagoya. The exact location, according to the video uploader, is “Myoujin-no-mori, a touge drift hotspot deep in the mountains near Gifu.”

Some of you may recognize the voice of NoriYaro narrating this High Performance Imports DVD. NoriYaro is still the big name in english-language coverage of Japan, at least on video.

Even for street drifting, the sketch factor in this video is unusually high. Spectators stand on the outside of the turn, for instance. And the drivers in question are far from perfect. One S14 Nissan Silvia ends up causing a multi-car wreck.

What’s eternally surprising to me in watching street drift videos (and getting up close and personal with it as well) is that the driving itself never quite holds up with what’s done on a dedicated track. So much of the energy is in the meet up, in the spot-finding, in hunting to staying away from innocent bystanders, in the risk of crashing into curbs, trees, onlookers, or off cliffs, in the threat of arrest.

As ever, take it to the track.

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.


Hayden Lorell

As ever, take it to the track.

My head says; “yes this is the responsible and respectable thing to do”

My heart says; “fuck Formula D with a white-hot piece of rebar”

Pro drifting sucks, there I said it.

It basically went the way of NASCAR and WRC where you went from these (relatively modestly) powered vehicles that were modified versions of the cars you could go grab in a dealership,,, to these thousand-horsepower monsters that barely even resemble what they started out as.

I’m not saying pro drifting doesn’t require skill, or talent but kicking out the ass on a stripped out shell of a car that has 1000+ hp on tap seems far less impressive than this old shit.

Regardless of how “well” these touge drivers appear to be doing, they’re doing it. Lets put some of these “pro” drivers in a ~200HP Corolla/Silvia and chuck them down a mountain road that’s more narrow than a pit lane and see how many fuck-ups they have.