「An American Museum Displays Japanese Modified Car Culture?!」From Drift to Old School Street Racers… Part 1

Published : 2020/07/20 22:09 Modified : 2020/07/20 22:09

Petersen Automotive Museum Report Part 1


A wide lineup of tuning cars from mild to wild


A special exhibition, “The Roots of Handmade Tuning” featuring Japanese cars was held at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.


A number of interesting vehicles were exhibited, including early imports to the US from Japan, promoting the feel of Japanese spirt of automotive manufacturing. Japanese custom culture such as drifting and tuning was also on display. Particular focus was given to the relationship between Japan and the United States through cars.



●1973 Nissan Skyline 2000GT-X



The Nissan Skyline models all the way up until the R34 were never officially imported into the United States, so this car is still the envy of many car fans. This 1973 Kenmeri Skyline is a vehicle imported personally by the owner in California.


The information panel of the exhibit explains that this car was customized in the manner of “Shakotan” with “Kaido Racer” elements. It also is of interest that this Skyline “Kenmeri” became popular through advertisements featuring Ken and Mary, an American couple. The owner has customized this car by replacing the engine with an RB26. The wheels are extremely rare Riverside Super River’s that were fully custom made by Izanami Wheel in Japan.



●1974 Mazda RX-3



Customization that is inspired by race machines is a style common in both the US and Japan. This is a car tuned in America by DNA Garage in California based on the works style RX-3 that was driven by Yoshimi Katayama. A racing livery, wide fenders, custom roll cage and more. The engine is swapped to a 20B 3-rotor boasting 400ps.



●1990 Honda Civic Si



As one of the custom styles that is common with the younger generation of Americans, “JDM” was introduced where changes to the exterior, interior and lighting to Japanese specifications is popular.


The example on display was a Civic owned by Mr. Jonathan Wong, editor of Super Street Magazine. Its engine was replaced with a B16A and it has a Mugen exhaust and SSR wheels. A rare rocket bunny EF Civic body kit was also installed.



●1991 GX81 Toyota Cresta



Street racer styling inspired by 80’s Super Silhouette racers is a style gaining popularity in America.


This Cresta was imported from Japan and features an extended bonnet, wide body, chinspoiler, externally mounted oil cooler and more. The wheels are SSR Formula Mesh.



●1993 Toyota Supra



The JZA80 Supra is exhibited as a popular base for customization. This drag car is produced by Titan Motorsports of Florida, which specializes in Japanese aftermarket parts from top tuners.



●1998 Honda Civic Dragster



This famous Civic is owned by Stefan Papadakis and was the first FWD car to achieve a 9-second quarter mile. At that time FWD was said to have a limit of 13 seconds and was praised for its complete shattering of that standard. The engine is a 2.2L H22A1 straight 4 turbo with a max output of 650ps.



●2014 Scion tC Formula Drift Car



Drift was also introduced as a culture that originated in Japan. Formula Drift began the US in 2003. A display panel that explained the birth of this motorsport stands near this Scion.


This is the 2015 Formula D champion Scion tC. The layout was changed to FR and the engine is a 2.7L 2AR-FE in-line 4 turbo that produces 800ps. It was the first 4-cylinder to win the championship that was swept by V8s until then.