Gear and Tech : December 10, 2008
What is VIP you ask?
VIP cars are Japanese luxury cars such as the Nissan President, Toyota Celsior and Toyota Aristo. These aren’t the only models eligible for VIP status, however. The car makes the style, and it’s very specific. If you don’t have one of these models, your car is not eligible for being VIP. From Toyota you have the Century (JDM only), Celsior (Lexus LS), Aristo(Lexus GS), and Crown (very similar to Lexus LS). From Nissan you have the President (JDM only), Cima (Infiniti Q45) and the Cedric (Infinity M45). These are the only “True” VIP platforms.
It is rumored that VIP started off as a way for Yakuza to roll around incognito. By riding around in a big black 4 door sedan, you became way more inconspicuous than if you were in a high-profile European sedan such as a BMW M-series or Mercedes S-class. Osaka street racers, after suffering numerous police crackdowns in the early 1990’s, turned to large sedans after police started targeting sport compacts.
Most VIP cars carry the same characteristics: large diameter wheels (big lips are a plus) with low offsets that are flush, a lip kit or body kit(only to accentuate existing lines), and lowered ride height. More often than not, the vehicle is black as well. Low, dark, and slow is how they roll. Interior is where these cars really shine. Everything is available from Leather Tissue boxes, Curtains and even Tables crafted out of exotic woods. Most importantly (IMO) is the Fusa Knot.
This isn’t to say that the VIP Style cannot be applied to other platforms, as there are many Kei cars, Sport coupes, and even vans applying it. This is called Auto-luxury. Auto-luxury cars, even though not considered true “VIP”, can be pulled off very well, as evidenced by a friend of mine’s Anh-tuans SC300 as seen above. I see this style growing and more people immersing themselves into the VIP culture. My prediction: before too long you will see quite a few VIP themed rides rolling around on the street.