VIDEO: Drifting in America has come a long way since 1998

Drifting was still a little-known underground activity in the United States back in 1998. However, that didn’t stop some of Japan’s most famous drift racers and judges from visiting southern California to see what the nascent scene was all about. Honestly, it’s a little embarrassing for us Americans, but hey, we all have to start somewhere.

Remember, 1998 was the same year the Initial D anime debuted. The only way to watch it, and Option Video, was in poorly pirated VHS tapes, which may or may not have required a region-free (or Japan-region) VCR. The tuner scene had invested heavily in front-wheel-drive platforms, but drifting was so mind-blowing that those who saw them on these tapes were eager to try it, even if all they had were front- and all-wheel-drive cars.

That would explain the plethora of mostly-stock Hondas, Eclipses, and MR2 attempting to drift. There were also a jaw-dropping number of AE86 Corolla GT-Ses, which probably could be found with no problem for about $500 each. There’s only one S13 and one S14.

It’s hard to know what Tsuchiya and Nomuken are really thinking about the US drift scene, but being the good sportsmen they are, the hand out 70- and 80-something scores like Halloween candy. Drifting has evolved a lot, but it’s great to see the early days immortalized on video so we can see how far we’ve come.


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5 Responses to VIDEO: Drifting in America has come a long way since 1998

  1. Nigel says:

    No “one more time” back in 98′ !

  2. Tofu Delivery says:

    Look at all those GTS!

  3. Bryan Kitsune says:

    Understeer competition?

  4. Mark F Newton-John says:

    There are no “region-specific” VCRs for Japan. Japan uses the same NTSC system as North America. You were thinking of DVD players, where Japan was Region 2.
    I used to go to Yaohan in San Jose to rent Japanese television VHS tapes.

  5. f31roger says:

    Geez that is awesome!!!

    I often think about the early to mid 2000s drift scene and how skill was there before the high horsepower cars of today. I always loved the SoCal and Hawaiian scene back then too.

    Even when the PNW started to get into it, It was interesting to see how our cars looked like then versus now.

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