(Editor’s observe: In the course of the month of January, the ClassicCars.comJournal presents a sequence of tales associated to and maybe explaining the current enhance in curiosity in amassing vehicles produced by Japan-based automakers.)

Within the final 15 years, the rise of a brand new motorsport has captured younger hearts whereas creating its personal way of life and tradition around the globe. Drifting is a world FIA-sanctioned motorsport originating from Japan that has created a brand new and rising section to our evolving automotive tradition.

Drifting is a driving approach through which the driving force purposely forces the automotive to lose traction, usually by “clutch kicking,” after which oversteers and or countersteers to make their method by a nook with the automotive angled sideways as a lot as attainable.  The approach primarily requires the driving force to countersteer to offset momentum to direct the automobile into the path of the flip.

Skillful driving: Nissans in a managed drift
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    Keiichi Tsuchiha
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    Kunimitsu Takahashi (proper)

Kunimitsu Takahashi, a former skilled bike highway racer, was thought-about the “father of drifting” as early because the Nineteen Seventies. He was ready to make use of his driving strategies to win a number of championships within the All-Japan Touring Automotive Championship.  He was additionally the primary Japanese rider to win a World Grand Prix bike race.

One other early “Drift King” was Keiichi Tsuchiya, a two-time 24-Hours of Le Mans winner recognized for utilizing drifting strategies in non-drifting motorsports and, in his free time, whereas touring on the mountain roads of Japan.  

As one of many leaders in popularizing drifting by founding the world’s first organized drifting competitors, referred to as the D1 Grand Prix, Tsuchiya not solely helped unfold the phrase about drifting but additionally the love for the Toyota AE86.  Driving a Toyota AE86 Sprinter, Trueno, Tsuchiya was additionally recognized for “touge” (mountain roads) racing in it.  Since then, the AE86 has change into a Japanese collector automotive with direct popular culture ties as properly to the favored anime Preliminary D, with Tsuchiya performing as a guide.

Drifting actually didn’t actually emerge forcefully in america till the primary season of Formulation Drift in 2004, and in 2006 when it was highlighted within the film The Quick and the Livid: Tokyo Drift.  Tsuchiya additionally consulted for the movie as a stunt coordinator and stuntman whereas making his personal cameo look on the display.  

Nonetheless, in 1996 at Willow Springs Raceway in California, one of many earliest drift occasions exterior of Japan was hosted by the Japanese journal Possibility.  Founding father of the Japanese D1 Grand Prix Daijiro Inada, NHRA Humorous Automotive drag racer Kenji Okazaki, and Keiichi Tsuchiya have been showcased by giving demonstrations in a Nissan 180SX introduced over from Japan.  Since then, sanctioned competitions have advanced into everlasting motorsports sequence.


Aggressive drifting is a judged motorsports competitors targeted totally on the flexibility of the driving force to navigate the course with specified acceleration, deceleration, and zones to be crammed in addition to their capability to “chase” or comply with a lead driver in extraordinarily shut proximity.  Over time, the expectations of the driving force have advanced together with the rule guide that’s shared internationally between completely different sanctioned drifting sequence.  

Recognition of the game introduced in bigger-name drivers, like Tanner Foust and Vaughn Gittin Jr., which led to the rise in curiosity within the chassis utilized in drifting.  Not like many different motorsports, drifting doesn’t have guidelines about which chassis and engines a driver has to run, so long as the rear subframe is manufacturing facility and the automotive passes their tech.  This allowed drivers to be extra artistic with their presence on the monitor.   

tvtropes.org picture

Rear-wheel drive vehicles have been the preferred chassis of selection for drivers, particularly Japanese rear-wheel drive chassis.  The Nissan Silvia 240SX grew to become one of many high picks, having received seven D1 Grand Prix championships, and has a really intensive aftermarket product availability for added efficiency particular to drifting.  As the recognition of the 240SX rose, the rarity of an all-original and low-mileage instance has change into troublesome to seek out, and thus dearer for amassing. 

The identical may very well be mentioned for the Mazda RX-7, Nissan Skyline, Nissan 350Z, and Toyota Supra that have been all featured within the anime sequence and Japanese manga Preliminary D and are all presently aggressive chassis used on the PRO degree of Formulation Drift.

Most not too long ago, drifting has made appearances in lots of movies like Child Driver, Vehicles, and the Netflix tv sequence Hyperdrive in addition to pc and console gaming like Gran Turismo, Forza Motorsport, the Want for Velocity franchise and even indie video games like Absolute Drift.  

There has additionally been an increase in social media celebrities sharing content material associated to drifting, from driving to constructing drift vehicles. There’s even a sequence of drifting-oriented way of life occasions underneath the Gridlife banner happening.

Formulation Drift attracts a crowd

As the game grows and its viewers has cash to spend, one of many locations it’s spending is on collectible drift-style autos. 

Currently, the Lexus IS300 has been the most popular on the drift fanatic’s radar, though additionally being sought are the BMW E36 and particular parts from the favored 2JZ Toyota Supra engine.  

End up a clear instance of an early 2000 mannequin IS300 with a manufacturing facility 5-speed handbook transmission and also you’ll have a unicorn in your fingers, and in your assortment.

Tales exploring the how and why behind the rising curiosity in amassing vehicles produced by Japan-based automakers.


Rebecca Nguyen

An skilled automotive motorsports photographer and fanatic of all issues with wheels, Rebecca Nguyen is the Advertising Supervisor of ClassicCars.com. Former Advertising and Undertaking Coordinator for a number of aftermarket manufacturers, Rebecca has a novel perspective developed from being on a number of completely different sides of the automotive world. From growing progressive automotive merchandise to doing her personal DIY modifications on her 2003 Subaru WRX and 2014 Ducati Monster, Rebecca’s ardour for the passion brings contemporary concepts to The Journal. As well as, she has spent a few years publishing occasion protection for occasions like SEMA, Formulation Drift, and International RallyCross whereas coordinating the annual Future Collector Automotive Present in Scottsdale Arizona.