Have you heard of “VIP Style” cars? They’re a certain style of large 1990s luxury sedans, with an occasional van thrown into the mix. Essentially, they feature big brushed alloy wheels, cambered tires, and extreme lowering. The trend started in Japan, but we see them all over the Los Angeles area. So the fad has definitely spread. You’ll know one when you see one, but here are the basics and background for what makes a VIP Style sedan.
As we said, this started in Japan. Gangsters in and around Tokyo would modify their big sedans this way. Then, street racers picked up on the style, and it expanded from there. It’s imposing, and its extremeness captures people’s attention.
What kinds of cars get the VIP Style?
Almost any sedan can qualify, but most of the modders like the S-Class Mercedes, Lexus LS, and GS, or Infinity Q45 sedans. The range can go from a subtle tire and a three-piece wheel swap, lowered and cambered, to extremes. That means over-the-top upholstery, LED lighting, extreme body kits, and more.
The trend is called “bippu” in Romanised Japanese, according to The Drive. Lesser models like Nissan Cedrics, Glorias, and Laurels, along with Toyota Crowns and Aristos are also common. In Japan, these cars could be more luxed out than what was available in the U.S.
What is the most important modification?
Lowering is extreme, achieved by either airbags or adjustable coil overs. And then there are the wheels. Supposedly, this is an excruciating process. This shouldn’t be a thing, but it really is.
Your choices, among the thousands of styles of wheels available in Japan, are rigid. Weds Wheels, Work Wheels, and SSR are the top choices. Specifically, Works VS-KF and Weds Cerberus palm off of drifting. But there are other wheels that will work. But they have to be three-piece wheels.
What else makes a sedan a VIP Style?
This is considered the single most important aspect of a VIP Style car. Though we would suggest that without the lowering, it wouldn’t have nearly the same impact. From there, you can further gain cred with front corner antennas, roof spoilers, and aero bits. They say that headlight eyelashes are also part of the mix, but really? Projector headlights adapted to older sedans is also a thing.
Except for some of the details, this is the same basic approach as the Zoot Suiters and early customizers of the 1940s and 1950s. Lowered big sedans with special hubcaps or wire wheels and custom touches are sometimes based on examples within a particular city. In California, there were “Bellflowers,” a particular exhaust in the 1950s, originating in the city of Bellflower.
Is VIP Style only sedans?
But what is great is that, though not the most practical, modifying cars has been going on since the 1920s, when Hollywood elites sent their cars to shops to make them special. In the U.S., this is mostly carried on by lowriders, and in some ways even lifted 4x4s are a form of this same type of customization. Personalizing cars is a multi-billion dollar industry, according to SEMA.