The Import scene or Import racing scene refers to the Subculture that revolves around modifying imported brand cars (commonly referred to as imports), especially those of Japanese brands, for Street racing in foreign countries. Thanks to movies like The Fast and the Furious (2001 film) (2001), it has become a mainstream phenomenon.
Car modifying has been very popular among youth in the United States, especially in Southern California, since the days of Hot rods in the 1950s and 1960s. There is significant evidence indicating that import Drag racing first started in Southern California in the mid-1960s, with Volkswagen Beetles, Sit-up-and-beg Ford Populars and Austin A40 Devons including documentation of quarter-mile passes published in Hot Rod Magazine as early as August of 1965. The island of Puerto Rico also has a long history of pioneering import drag racing in the mid 1970s and 1980s, and it is still a huge sport on the island. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, front wheel drive vehicles, at first Datsuns and later mostly Hondas, gained popularity in Southern California. Young Asian American street racers played a particularly important role in the development of the early street racing scene. Many enthusiasts in southern California also began to modify their compact Japanese cars, following similar trends that originated in Japan. Arising from the street culture, import racing venues eventually arose and huge drag racing events at Palmdale, California often packed in over 10,000 spectators per day. Racers like Stephen Papadakis, Ed Bergenholtz, and Myles Bautista dominated the first import drag racing circuit IDRA (Battle of the Imports) in the mid 1990s. Show car clubs became a huge factor within the import scene: Southern California had Team Kosoku, Northern California had Z.Team Yossi, while the east coast had the Jade Crew (still active to this day). This Japanese racing scene can be seen in the Anime series Initial D, which focuses mainly on mountain pass racing and Wangan Midnight which deals with high-speed expressway racing.
Another aspect of the Import scene is Japanese products that either explores or details such racing, which often introduces new fans to the scene. These are usually found through DVDs and books.
Some of the more well known DVDs about the import scene, apart from the movies listed above, include:
- Best Motoring
- Street Fury
- Torque Video Magazine
- Video Option (alternatively known as JDM Option)
Anime and mangaEdit
Two Japanese Anime and Manga have been attributed to the growing Import scene in some form or another. A common theme is that both characters are seen as complete underdogs with hidden and untapped talent, and drive what amounts to antiquated cars that many would deem either ready for the scrapheap or severely underpowered compared to much better tuned and modified cars..they also had to race on the streets to earn respect and money to get to the top..
The anime and manga Initial D stars Takumi Fujiwara as he is introduced to mountain pass racing racing after it is found that he has a natural ability to race his father's nearly bone stock Toyota AE86 Sprinter Trueno. With his amazing skill he is able to defeat Mazda RX-7s, Datsunss and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions. With This has spawned several Initial D, which utilizes cars from both the manga, plus other cars associated with touge racing. The cars are setup more to take the tight mountain passes and emphasis is placed more on driver ability rather than speed and power. The series at first gained popularity via Fansubs and bootlegs, until TOKYOPOP translated both the anime and manga. However, some have criticized TOKYOPOP's translation of the property, with major changes to both the story and the content.
On the opposite spectrum, Wangan Midnight focuses on the vast and wide Shuto Expressway of Tokyo. Akio Asakura is a high school student who likes to race on the Wangan highway, and whom after being defeated by a doctor(and a racer as well), Tatsuya Shima's Blackbird (a Porsche 911), accidentally acquires a monstrously powerful Datsun 240Z known as the The Devil Z. All but one of its previous owners got killed mysteriously in traffic accidents involving the Z, and quickly makes a name for himself on the Wangan. The cars are designed for speed and power, and are based on the exploits of street racers whom used the Wangan as their own personal racetrack. The cars often were modified to attain high horsepower (this is reflected in the arcade game: it allows cars to attain Horsepower to the 820 HP mark, at the cost of virtually no grip) with bodykits and other modifications to make the cars go fast. While not as well known as Initial D, the series gained a cult following after the arcade game Wangan Midnight was ported to the US by Namco.
There are many magazines published following this scene. They often include tutorials for car modification and feature sexy models.
The following is a list of such magazines (and country of origin, those not mentioned are from the US):
- Drift Tengoku (car magazine) (Japan)
- Max Power (magazine) UK
- Option (car magazine) (Japan)
- Sport Compact Car
- Super Street
- VIP style
- Boy racer
- Cruising (driving around)
- Drag racing
- Engine tuning
- Hot hatch
- Hot rod
- Kustom Kulture
- Import model
- Sport compact
- Rice burner
- Sleeper (car)
- Street racing
- Team Hybrid
axis wheels (axis sport tuning)
AXIS WHEELS (Axis Sport Tuning)