If there was one thing we learned from SEMA this year, it is that you must widebody all the things. From Beetles to Benzes, everything is being massively flared, often with bolt-on over-fenders, ducktail spoilers and turaichi shakotan stances. Bosozoku style has finally come to America.
Note that we’re not talking about all bosozoku style here. Ankle slicing deppa chin spoilers, mile-high takeyari exhaust pipes and massive Group 5 box fenders clearly aren’t part of this new — to the west, at least — trend, and may forever be too extreme to cross over (but hey, anything’s possible!). Others, like nekome (tilted “cat eye” headlights) are simply not possible with modern automotive design. And of course, traditional bosozoku elements have been appearing at shows like JCCS for years.
We are a bit surprised, however, at how widespread and mainstream this new template has become, starting with enormous fenders, often bolted on with exposed fasteners. Add to that a massive a GT-style wing or a slim ducktail (that sometimes appears as if bolted on as well). Lastly, these cars must have an ultra tight fitment between tire and body that the Japanese call “turaichi shakotan.” “Shakotan” simply means lowered, dumped, slammed, whatever you like to call it, while “turaichi” is translated as “one-face,” because the fender, tire (usually stretched) and lip of the wheel are so closely fitted that they appear to follow a single plane or curve. Kids today call it “hellaflush.”
Yes, we’re sure some wise-ass can dig up an old photo that shows riveted fenders, point to it, and call us a bunch of morons. What we’re talking about is this current onslaught of widebody kits that began appearing circa 2012 and has now spread to the point of infiltrating seemingly every make, model and country of origin.
The rise of this particular wave very clearly started with Japanese tuners like Rauh Welt Begriff, Rocket Bunny and Liberty Walk. These guys got their inspiration from decades Japanese tuning culture, and it’s a known fact that Liberty’s Kato-san has a stash of bosozoku style cars himself.
RWB was the first to modify Porsches in this manner, Rocket Bunny did Silvias, and Liberty Walk sliced up Italian exotics in ways that gave Lambo-philes and Ferraristi il aneurisma. Their aesthetic spread like wildfire across the internet, making Akira Nakai, Kei Miura and Wataru Kato insta-famous tuning gods.
Now there’s a slew of parts makers from outside of Japan adopting this style too, some probably unaware of its true origins. The irony is, on every automotive forum’s off-topic section there is inevitably a thread about Japan’s most extreme bosozoku cars, and how ridiculous and stupid it all is. But now, it seems the bosozoku have the last laugh. Regardless, there seems to be no end in sight to this craze.