If you are a hardcore fan of car cultures and designs around the globe, this might not be the first time you heard about the Bosozoku cars from Japan. For more than seven decades, this car culture has influenced many people to make their cars; well, let us just say ‘extravagant.’
For those who never knew this existed, say no more. We are here to help you learn about this ancient art of car design. At first, the images and descriptions of these Japanese cars may raise some eyebrows. But it is not only about tuning the car for performance but also about style and character.
What is Bosozoku?
Bosozoku means ‘running out of control tribe,’ which perfectly describes the group that was formed in the 1950s. During that period, Japan saw the rise of rebel motorcyclists who used to wreak havoc in the streets, racing and breaking car windows. These Bosozoku bikes were tall and had long exhaust pipes and loud, noisy engines. Over the years, this has turned into a subculture of tuning cars.
Here are some bosozoku cars as talked about in ep 12. They are weird and wild and kind of amazing. pic.twitter.com/LD38ch602W
— TheFast5Podcast (@TheFast5Pod) June 16, 2021
What cars are used for Bosozoku?
Throughout Bosozoku cars’ history, the wheels that represent this culture were only cars. But who said cars could only be Bosozoku? Vans and even trucks can be modified, and these fall into different subclasses of the culture.
Some of the common cars include Nissan Skyline GTR, Datsun 240Z, and many other JDMs. But as you read earlier, sedans are not the only variants to have a Bosozoku’ glow up’. In addition, just the rebellious nature of Bosozoku car culture means no car is off limits. There are a few Lamborghini Bosozoku cars out there with flashy paint jobs and suspensions as low as they can get.
Also Read: Why Is the Skyline GT-R R34 Illegal in America?
How did Bosozoku cars start?
The most common Bosozoku cars origin theory is how the returning kamikaze pilots started the tribe of rebel street racers. For those who wanted to die for their country, living a life of mediocrity was not an option. But what they turned to was building motorcycle gangs that had one thing in mind- breaking all rules. These rebellious motorcyclists roamed the streets on their noisy and extremely unconventional bikes and were constantly in conflict with the police.
If you've never encountered such a #quirky #car we suggest you Google "#Bosozoku" to see a whole lot more #Japanese 🇯🇵 #automotive oddity pic.twitter.com/G2gNzhcOAE
— Quirky Rides (@QuirkyRides) May 25, 2021
As years went by, the culture grew and was a great inspiration for youth who were looking for excitement and adventure. They started altering their cars which led to the rise of Bosozoku cars. Besides vehicles, this subculture has also created waves in fashion and art.
Common features of Bosozoku car culture
these are the moonlight runners #bosozoku pic.twitter.com/cKHM0m7sju
— Jennette McSturdy (@kimgnardashian) August 7, 2020
Most Japanese Bosozoku cars have a few common features that make them easily identifiable among the rest of the vehicles. Despite losing popularity among Japanese car fanatics, there are some people who still follow these parameters when designing their own Bosozoku car.
When the lowriders got popular among car owners in the United States, it also greatly influenced the JDM tuning community. Among the many Bosozoku styles, one of the common features is to have the suspension as low as possible. Some of these are too over-the-top that you cannot drive to the perfect surface. Forget about clearing speed bumps.
Orange, Neon green, lime yellow- think about the most unconventional and flashy colors in the world. Chances are, a Bosozoku car is out there with a paint job in that exact color. Apart from classic single-color paint jobs, there are a variety of designs inspired by animals like snakes, pop culture, and even food.
You can find Bosozoku cars that have long front splitters. Well, long is an understatement. Some of these splitters are long enough that you can park a bike on them. But not all cars have splitters that protrude a few feet through the front. When considering the suspension is a few inches in some of them, driving these cars will be a nightmare for a normal car owner.
Long exhaust pipes
Just like the splitters, some cars use unconventionally long exhaust pipes. No, we are not only talking about straight pipes. Some of these are curved, while others are as long and directed in such a way that they end higher than the height of the car. A rare Bosozoku car has an exhaust pipe that begins in the front hood and stands above the car’s roof line.
Sound travels faster than the paint job in the case of Bosozoku cars. You know one of them is coming around the corner before you see it. In short, ‘Loud’ is the perfect way to describe these JDM tuning cars. Some of them have custom exhausts to make already loud cars louder. In addition to the sound of the engines roaring through the streets, some of the Bosozoku cars also have multiple air horns.
Read More: What Is a JDM Car? Is Getting a JDM Car Worth It?
More Boso goodness#bosozoku #cars pic.twitter.com/o5FBFM6nho
— Tupperwave (@TUPPERWAVEMUSIC) July 13, 2019
Bosozoku cars have been around for decades and have already passed their prime. But even today, many designers are trying to learn from this car culture. Even though many JDM cars are still not street-legal in the United States, there are a few Bosozoku cars. In Japan, despite the number of fans for this culture dwindling, there is a small group still meeting and showing off their rides. At the end of the day, for some of them, it is the art and a way to express their creativity and character.
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