Want to build a VIP Style car? Here’s our favourite picks for the best VIP Style project car…
Of all the niche and not-so-niche trends on the global tuning scene, there’s none more gangsta than the VIP look. We’re talking massive luxury saloons, panscraping stance, blingin’ rims, eyewatering camber… although there is actually a bit more to it than that.
Known domestically as ‘bippu’ (Japanese for ‘very important person’), VIP-style originated with the Yakuza – the bosses of organised crime syndicates wanted big flashy cars, but knew that rival gangs and the police would be immediately suspicious to see them in European luxury cruisers.
So instead of rolling in top-flight Beemers, Mercs or Rollers, they set about up-speccing JDM cars like the Toyota Crown and the Nissan Gloria.
As time moved on and the scene evolved, today’s bippu cars are characterised by high-end wheels with loads of dish, very low ride height, huge negative camber, aggressive skirts and lips, and very glossy paint – usually in a subtle black, white or silver.
VIP, then, is a style – this means that, while it’s logically and usually applied to big-ass luxury cars, it’s a set of values that can be affixed to any car you like. There are oodles of Kei VIP builds on the scene, and VIP minivans – you name it, it’s out there.
So if you fancy rocking the scary, moody VIP style but you’ve got a Corsa parked on the drive (or you feel like giving your grandad’s Previa a bit of a makeover), there’s nothing stopping you.
However, if you want to go traditional bippu – and let’s face it, why the hell wouldn’t you want to? – we’ve pulled together our top ten base cars for a boss-level VIP Style car project…
1. TOYOTA CROWN ATHLETE
The Crown’s been on the VIP scene since its inception. Hardly surprising really, as the first-generation Crown came out in 1955, so the model’s as deeply interwoven into Japanese culture as rice wine and clichés about karaoke.
This iconic model is now running in its fifteenth generation and is showing no signs of slowing down, and the one we reckon would best suit your needs for a VIP project is the eleventh-gen Crown S170, built from 1999-2003.
Why this one in particular? Well, this is the one that Toyota decided to fit with the 1JZ-GTE engine – the turbocharged 2.5-litre straight-six with BEAMS tech. The one you want is the ‘Athlete V’ spec; you’ll have to put up with an automatic gearbox, but you’ll also have close to 300bhp.
Brilliantly, they came with optional factory air-ride, which can presumably be fiddled with to dump the thing on the ground. (Or just rip it out and slam it on coils!) Rear sunshades and rear-mounted climate and audio controls were optional, so you’re already halfway to being a Yakuza boss.
How much? £5,000