Most people might find it hard to believe but finding a properly modified VIP sedan in Japan is not that easy, especially up in the Kanto region of the country. VIP is a style that began down south, in and around Osaka, and has over the last decade or so spread around. Different takes on this style have emerged but for my slammed feature from Japan I wanted to bring you the most authentic car I could find, which is where my friend Kenji Yamada came in.
Yamada-san runs Sessions, a car shop in Yokohama specializing in creating some of the most well put together VIP cars on the street and his style has always stood out for its attention to detail, simplicity and above all, quality.
The slammed Celsior you see here is a car that best represents what Sessions is about, with a sleek yet modern VIP style. Yamada-san has a true understanding of this impossibly Japanese take on luxury styling, having been a bosozoku in his youth. VIP, as he says, is a modern interpretation and evolution of bosozoku and shakotan style…
…where the most important thing still remains riding low, really low in this case! The Celsior sits on air-bags, something that up until a few years back was a big no-no in VIP, but it has become a more accepted way of doing things, especially for show-oriented cars.
The front bumper is created using an Autocoture half spoiler and has been integrated with US-spec Lexus GS430 fog-lights. The front and rear fenders have been considerably widened thanks to the Evolution 12-piece blister kit, which is seamlessly incorporated into the bodywork.
Yamada-san prides himself on his attention to fit and finish…
…something that can really be seen everywhere on the Celsior. Check out the work that has gone into widening the rear, which includes the doors…
…it all looks like factory!
Style is all in the details and giving the old Celsior a more modern "LS" feel are the Toyota Mark X exhaust trims. The actual exhaust is a Sessions special, which sounds phenomenally loud!
The dark metallic silver from the Toyota Supra really works well on the Celsior, as does the pin-striping along its profile.
5-spoke 19-inch Koening Model X wheels sit beyond flush when the Bold World air suspension is dropped, the 12J wide rear rims almost touching the bodywork! The 4-pot Session brake kit looks great through the black spokes of the wheels and are a great improvement over the stock items.
No changes have been made to the V8 under the hood…
…something not really called for in the VIP scene. It's all about smoothness, something the silky 1UZ has tons of.
When I opened the driver side door the elevator scene from The Shining popped into my mind! It looked like a couple of people had been whacked in there! The read leather upholstery is of very high quality as is the rest of the trim that has been color coded in red. The whole dashboard has been covered with tight fitting alcantara with red stitching, a great touch that really adds a luxurious feel to the interior.
It actually looks brighter than it really is, something that is probably due to the four halogen lights fitted to the headliner.
The controls to the Bold World air suspension are grouped into a small pod, with an adjuster for each of the four "bags."
Yamada-san had to lift the car a little for the driving shots but it still looked great with its wide stance and slammed look. Notice the matte black accent on the hood.
Yamada-san's daily driver is a black-on-black Maserati Quattroporte which rides on 21-inch wheels and sports the loudest exhaust this side of a Ferrari FXX, but he also likes custom bikes. Here he is posing on his latest purchase.
And in case you are wondering why he is not wearing his t-shirt, let's just say Yamada-san is one guy you really don't want to mess with. He lives and breathes VIP style!
The Sessions Celsior is as authentic as modern VIP style gets, and I'm glad I was able to find such a cool car to shoot and show you guys!
-Dino Dalle Carbonare