VIP Style refers to the modification of Japanese luxury automobiles to make them more fashionable and more luxurious. VIP Style are typically large, expensive, rear-wheel drive sedans, though automotive enthusiasts use other cars like minivans and Kei cars. Once associated with the yakuza, VIP Style modifications now are a subset of automotive modification.
VIP Style modifications and history have often been linked to the Yakuza. It is claimed that VIP Style came to be due to the risk of gangsters riding around in high-profile European sedans like the Mercedes S-Class or the BMW 7 Series. Such cars brought increased attention from police and rival gangs. By using JDM cars with modifications associated with the creation of limousines, gangsters could avoid detection by the police and rival gangs.
Both Osaka street racers and Kanto area Bōsōzoku (motorcycle and moped gangs in Japan) adopted styles in different ways. Osaka street racers, after suffering numerous police crackdowns on the Hanshin Expressway in the early 1990's, turned to sedans after police targeted sport compacts as a way to cruise while remaining incognito. Many design cues were taken from Mercedes-AMG cars. Kanto area bosozoku gangs took a somewhat different approach, by modifying sedans with cut coils and mufflers and were often bold and loud known as "Yankee Style". Their styling cues were actually taken from the Super Silhouette race cars of the 70's and 80's. They also drove recklessly, such as causing traffic jams and avoiding paying tolls. To mimic their yakuza counterparts, they used large black sedans.
Automotive enthusiasts adapted beyond luxury sedans, utilizing minivans and Kei cars. One advantage presented to enthusiasts is that such modifications can make a car luxurious without being expensive.
Cars associated with VIP style usually have common characteristics, such as large diameter rims (usually broad faced designs) with low offsets that sit flush with the fender, exhausts that stick out past the rear bumper (although not so much emphasized these days), a full bodykit or lip kit, glossy paint and a lowered ride height. It is not uncommon to see extremely negative camber on many VIP style cars. Traditional colors of VIP Style cars are usually black, white, grey and silver.
Most VIP Styled cars are Japanese luxury cars such as the Nissan President, Nissan Cima, Nissan Cedric, Nissan Gloria, Nissan Fuga, the Toyota Celsior, Toyota Century, Toyota Crown, and the Toyota Aristo. As automotive enthusiasts began to do their own versions of VIP, everything from minivans like the Toyota Estima and Honda Odyssey, to keicars like the Suzuki Cappucino and Toyota bB have received similar modifications.
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