Lowriders Invade Japan: Classic Legends Car Show
When one envisions attending a car show in Japan, tuner style or drift cars are what most would think they'd be seeing. Think again, because surprisingly California-style lowriders is one of the largest growing car scenes and lifestyles in Japan. Like its American origins, it is a scene that goes beyond the style of car built; extending into cultural aspects ranging from clothing style, tattoos, artwork and music. A quick look around the scene, and one would think you were back in East or South Central Los Angeles- but don't be mistaken that this is a copy or imitation, becuause it's a true extension of the art and culture of lowriding. The Classic Legends Lowrider & Kustom Show was organized as a one-time only event held in the city of Nagoya, Japan which is also known as "Kustom City" for its automotive industry and numerous custom shops. Oreyu Oreo and Toshi Shimizu’s goal for the Classic Legends show was to not only provide a platform for Japanese lowrider and kustom builders to showcase their cars, but to bring a slice of the American lowrider history and culture to Japan. Not just by telling, but by showing. They brought over several well-known cars from America as well as guests from all facets of the lowrider community. One of the cars attending is the iconic "Gypsy Rose" Impala - featured in the opening title credits of the 1970s TV show, Chico and the Man, giving Gypsy Rose international prominence and cementing its place in lowrider history. To show the longstanding car club history in the lowrider scene, Amigos CC of San Diego, California came out with one of their cars as well as a full display of Chicano Park to show the origins of the scene. The iconic modern lowrider, "El Rey," also saw its journey from Southern California to Japan, as did the Beatniks Car Club and many others. The Classic Legends show's promoters also wanted to show the Americans visiting that Japan has truly taken in the culture and cars as their own. Tracing the growth of the lowrider movement in Japan, one has to look at its homegrown builders as well as outside influences. With shops like Mooneyes and Paradise Road opening up in the late 1980s; the transition of many of the builders that customized domestic Japanese cars to lowriders, hot rods and mini trucks began to grow. At first, the scene saw only mild customs and already customized cars and trucks being purchased from America and brought over. As the scene grew, many shops opened up to cater to those that looked to build their cars in Japan themselves, but largely still with an American style. The precise craftsmanship common in Japanese industries shows in the homegrown builds. Many artists, photographers and clothing companies such as DA Designs, Estevan Oriol, Us Versus Them and Tribal Gear also showcased their work at Classic Legends Car Show. Before the nearly 500 cars and trucks were setup for the show late Saturday night, a party was thrown to allow the guests and attendees from America to meet and mix with the Japanese enthusiasts, fans and builders. After the show, a day of shop tours was organized for those attending from the United States so that they could get an up close look at those who created the insane lowrider and kustom cars from the show. Be sure to watch the video at the top and stay tuned for more lowrider coverage from Japan!