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VIP, (Japanese: ビップカー ) is a car modification trend that translates from the Romanised Japanese term 'bippu.' It refers to the modification of Japanese luxury automobiles to make them lower in stance and wider with more aggressive wheels, suspension, and body kits. VIP Style cars are typically large, expensive, rear-wheel drive sedans, although automotive enthusiasts sometimes use other cars such as minivans and Kei cars. VIP cars were once associated with the Yakuza, however, VIP style modifications are now a subset of their own as automotive modifications. As a trend it differentiates itself from the traditional origins of the term VIP otherwise associated with the concept of a 'Very Important Person.' VIP has become a loose appropriation of the term perpetuated amongst enthusiasts that goes beyond the traditional identification of VIP cars.
VIP Style modifications and their history have often been linked to the Yakuza. 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 1990s, turned to sedans, after police targeted sport compacts, as a way to cruise while remaining incognito. 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 1970s and 1980s. They also drove recklessly, such as causing traffic jams and avoiding paying tolls. To mimic their yakuza counterparts, they used large black sedans.
Cars associated with VIP style modifications usually have common characteristics, such as high end wheels with excessive amounts of dish. (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. The appearance of these vehicles is regarded in Japan as conspicuous and attention-seeking, as owning this type of vehicle is expensive, with regards to the annual road tax obligation.
Most VIP Styled cars are Japanese and European cars such as the Nissan President, Nissan Cima, Nissan Cedric, Nissan Gloria, Nissan Fuga, the Toyota Celsior, Toyota Century, Toyota Crown, Toyota Aristo. As automotive enthusiasts began to do their own versions of VIP, everything from minivans like the Toyota Estima and Honda Odyssey, to smaller cars like the Suzuki Cappucino and Toyota bB have received similar modifications. United States enthusiasts use USDM equivalents, such as the Lexus GS, Lexus LS, Infiniti Q45, and Infiniti M45.
Motorsport and aftermarket firm Impul is also well known for building kits for the owners of VIP-style cars.
- Scott Tsuneishi, Keepin' it Gangsta Homie-san, Import Tuner, December 2006 (#93).
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