The Japanese are picking up this American car tradition.
If you’re surprised to hear there’s a true-blue hot rod car show being held annually in Japan, you’re not alone. While the Japanese are famous for having some crazy custom vehicles and even racing modified Dodge vans through mountain passes, hot rods have largely been an American tradition. It seems things are spreading overseas as the Japanese get a taste for big blowers and so forth. As you watch the video below, just keep in mind their interpretation of hot rods can be a little… different than what you and I would call a hot rod.
Some of the vehicles shown off in the video are like what you’d see at an American hot rod show, which is pretty incredible. Getting the right vehicle and parts to build such a thing must be difficult in Japan, yet here these people are creating automotive masterpieces using classic Fords, Chevrolets, and so on. Certain cars even have the clever names written in script on the body and other callouts only people familiar with American hot rod culture would even think to include.
There are also a surprising number of classic cars, Some are from Europe, like a Jaguar, and others are American. They haven’t been chopped up, the engine cowls are still in place, and there’s a good chance they’re using the factory powertrain, from the looks of things.
Other cars in this show would be considered lowriders, tuners, or rat rods here, but they’re still cool. And the event includes a fair amount of motorcycles like Ducatis and Tritons, which are quite popular in Japan, so that kind of makes sense. It’s still cool to see all these customized vehicles being shown off, even if not all of them would qualify as hot rods by our standards.
This show is called the Yokohama Hot Rod Custom Show and has been running for 28 years now. Some foreigners do attend, so if you want to make the trek to Yokohama, Japan next year for it, you might have quite the good time.