There is no place on earth that’s weirder and wackier than the Land of the Rising Sun - Japan.
There is no place on earth that’s weirder and wackier than the Land of the Rising Sun - Japan. Fire-breathing giant dinosaurs? Check. #Anime? Check. Pink Salons? Check. Babymetal? We sense a trend developing here.
It should come as no surprise that the Japanese love of the bizarre should make its appearance in the nation’s thriving tuning scene. And the weirdest of the weird are cars built in the #Bōsōzoku Style? (To be fair, the Japanese don’t have a monopoly on weird cars – #Donks, after all are an entirely American invention)
What’s interesting about Bōsōzoku styling though is that it has its origins in #Japanese motorcycle culture – Bōsōzoku Style cars are a more recent development and seemed to have come about as a way to pay homage to style and ethos of the #motorcycle-gangs.
Bōsōzoku which translates as “out of control/violent street gang” started as a motorcycle-based youth subculture that originated after the Second World War. American Biker gangs are famous for their bloody internecine wars, and in Britain, the bitter rivalry between the Mods and the Rockers is equally well known.
The Bōsōzoku earned their notoriety, not for attacking one another, but by behaving aggressively towards civilians and fellow road users. They would spend their time driving around at high speeds, ignoring traffic regulations and attacking other vehicles and pedestrians with baseball bats and metal pipes.
Like their counterparts in other countries, a big part of Bōsōzoku Culture involved customizing their motorcycles. Bōsōzoku motorcycles were heavily influenced by both American Customs as well as British Café Racers and modded scooters.
Tougher laws and police enforcement gradually made it harder for Bōsōzoku to ride around causing mayhem. At the same time, their notoriety left a lasting impact on Japanese culture and perhaps it should come as no surprise that many people would want to pay tribute to these bad boys by adapting the Bōsōzoku “look” to cars instead of motorcycles.
Cars modified in the Bōsōzoku Style take themes found in more mainstream automotive tuning circles but interpret them in a radical, almost cartoonish manner. Popular styling elements often include radical spoilers, front splitters that stick far out past the front of the car and crazy body kits, reminiscent of the 1970s Group 5 Super Silhouette Japanese race cars.
Another popular element often found on Bōsōzoku Style cars are radically lifted rear ends which clearly draw inspiration from American drag racers but carry it to an extreme.
Since Bōsōzoku Style originated as a motorcycle subculture, it should come as no surprise that many Bōsōzoku cars adapt modifications that are popular on motorcycles. Amongst these are the outlandishly long exhaust pipes that are one of the hallmarks of Bōsōzoku Style.
Bōsōzoku Style cars usually sport wild paint jobs, which come from the motorcycle culture from which they are derived, but which may also draw inspiration from American Custom and Lowrider cultures.
Any type of car can be modified in the Bōsōzoku Style. While #classiccars Japanese coupes and sedans from the 1970 and 1980s are popular choices, vans are often used as the base for a Bōsōzoku build, as are sports cars. In fact, someone has even built a Bōsōzoku Style #Lamborghini Murcielago.
If there’s one word that can be used to sum up Bōsōzoku Style cars it’s “excess”. To most of us, they probably seem completely pointless, an exercise in style over function and the type of oddity that you’d only find in Japan. But if you are building a car as a tribute to the wild, dangerous motorcycle gangs that once ruled the Japanese streets, “excess” is probably the only way you could capture the Bōsōzoku spirit in all its badass glory.