True Gangster: Chinchilla Dash & Seat Covers


The chinchilla is a squirrel-like creature that has the misfortune to possess a thick, warm, velvety coat of evenly-colored fur. As a result, this native of the Andes Mountains region in South America has been nearly hunted to extinction. Around 2001 the rodent experienced an upsurge among rap lyrics in hat and coat form. But long before that, bosozoku were lining their dashboards and seats in Andean mouse fur. Here is a typical if ill-fitting dash cover, shown on an MS125 Toyota Crown. Peek below the fold to see seat covers.

Images: Yahoo Japan Auctions

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6 Responses to True Gangster: Chinchilla Dash & Seat Covers

  1. Kev said:

    Wow.

    With upholstery like that, it would be a shame to wear pants when you drive.

  2. Komeko said:

    Chinchilla fur is about two inches thick. Natural colors are grey with black flecks, pale beige, medium beige with brown flecks, and pale beige with spots. Only the grey with black flecks is used in the fur trade, the other colors are common only to specially bred show animals that are not even commonly seen in pet stores. The black flecks are actually longer, coarser black hairs that stand above the fine grey bulk, and the iridescent color change occurs as the angle of view changes when looking at the fur, or the fur is moved. This affect is called Agouti, and refers to another Andean animal.
    The dash cover and seat covers shown are not chinchilla. The material is not thick enough, the color is not correct. If someone were to cut the hair off a chinchilla hide and die it pink, it would defeat the purpose of using a chinchilla hide, and it would make more sense to use rabbit, if that is the desired end result. Also, a chinchilla hide is about 2 1/2 inches by 2 1/2 inches, so it would take one hundred or more to cover a seat or dash panel, and the covers would have a patchwork appearance. The number of animals and difficulty matching the color shade (across so many animals for a single uniform garment) are the reasons for chinchilla fur being so expensive. The above pictures look like someone is marketing rabbit fur or thick crushed velvet under the name “chinchilla”.

    • Ben said:

      In the auction the material is identified as チンチラ, or “chin chi ra”. As you said, it could very well be rabbit fur or thick velvet marketed as such. To be honest, it makes us feel better about wanting the covers then! :)

  3. DerrickS said:

    Oh Ben… Wanting those covers is wrong on so many OTHER levels :-)

  4. Jason said:

    Cool! Look at that green early JDM Prius in the background.

  5. Nigel said:

    Chinchilla, Velour or Velvet no matter. These are all gangster.
    Only need the 8 Track player or DAT to show loyalty and an ashtray bolted to the dash.