Video Find: Dodge Ram Van Racing in Japan
Japanese Gearheads Hot Rod Mopar Breadboxes
Japan is known for having some unusual practices and traditions, at least by conventional Western standards, and even though the country is extremely densely populated and congested, there’s still a vibrant car enthusiast culture. Furthermore, sometimes the vehicles Japanese gearheads get excited about leave us scratching our heads. It turns out racing Dodge Ram Vans in Japan is a thing. Don’t get us wrong, we have a healthy respect for vans and acknowledge the role they played in the foundation of our own Truckin magazine and fostering the enthusiast culture in the 1970s. However, rarely do we think of them as the ideal vehicle for flogging around tracks. Perhaps because of this cognitive dissonance, it made a group of offbeat Japanese motorsports enthusiasts want to do it.
The vans pack some pretty serious performance hardware, including carbon fiber hoods, Brembo brakes, and high-compression Magnum V-8 engines with headers, a performance cam, and Edelbrock aluminum heads. On the inside are Momo racing steering wheels, Hurst shifters, and Recaro seats. Surprisingly, the rolling stock is only 16x8 front and 16x9 rear wheels and 225-width tires.
The drivers have a strangely philosophical, yet carefree attitude about their racing, with this one gem standing out especially: “In our custom vans, you suffer from rain and wind noise, and no extra seats. It’s almost like self-torture. So I remind myself…being non-productive is fun and cool.” The racing vans have such a cult following that they inspired the “Youga” vans featured in the Grand Theft Auto video game series.
Source: Daytona Magazine via YouTube