Pushing The Boundaries: Bee Dragon Q45

And so the debate of form over function continues. I suggest that you don’t bother reading on if your aren’t prepared to expand your horizons, because we are diving very much head first into the realm of the VIP ride. And as you have probably gathered from the bright blue Q45 in these pictures, this isn’t your ordinary type of VIP style either; this is bippu done the Bee Dragon way.

Ever since seeing two of their wild creations at the 2011 Tokyo Auto Salon I have been intrigued with Bee Dragon’s take on the whole VIP scene, one of the quickest growing and evolving forms of Japanese car culture. We know VIP is all about the visual impact but what I was seeing was unlike anything I had come across, the cars dominated by massive fender flares that seemed to struggle to contain the aggressive offset and camber of the wheels. Slammed low to the ground they just looked so menacing and, well, so right. I kept going back throughout the weekend for additional looks and to grab more pictures.

Fast forward 18 months and I’m sticking half of my body out of the passenger side window of a new F30 BMW 328i, attempting to take pictures of an impossibly loud Infiniti Q45 as it bounced and scraped along the countryside roads of Gifu-ken.

As Imamura-san of Bee Dragon tells us, VIP style has so many interpretations it has almost become hard to categorize all the different schools of thought it has branched off into. Sure, the original and almost, dare I say, sedate style that Taketomi-san at Junction Produce started remains one of the most popular, with sleek black sedans lowered onto silver or polished rims and sporting subtle aero modifications. Imamura goes on to explain that no matter what you end up doing with your particular sedan, the end result should always be a menacing looking car, one that attracts looks for its extreme style and of course sound. So I guess you can kind of understand where the whole onikyan thing has come from.

Initially, negative camber was an unavoidable and at times unwanted result of lowering a car so drastically, until one day someone somewhere wondered, hey, what if we go a little more extreme. This particular style has split away into its own tangent with some people taking it to the very limits of practicality, with some running up to -30 degrees for that UFO look. Imamura however has incorporated the aggressive “demon camber” into his cars combining it with his unique sports-oriented feel of the car. Back last year when I first dropped by the Bee Dragon shop Imamura was busy at work fabricating the Q45′s front and rear fenders…

…all done with metal, where a shaped fender extension is welded onto the body panel and then smoothed over before being shaped and refined with putty.

The result is stunning, a flowing and beautifully created blistering that wraps around the stretched tires creating that shorudazuri look, meaning the fender is flush with the shoulder of the tire.

The Q45 runs custom painted 19-inch K-Break Level Over Delta split rims, sporting a +3 offset boosted by a 25 mm spacer. 225/40ZR19 Toyo Proxes are stretched over the 10J wide rim. The car sits on a set of K-Break Kai adjustable dampers and runs custom modified lower arms to obtain the desired level of negative camber. K-Break also supplied the brake upgrade, made up of 6-pot front calipers and 2-piece slotted and drilled discs with a similar set up at the rear running slightly smaller 4-pot calipers.

Of course it’s the rear where the widening has really been exaggerated. Again it’s all done in steel, meticulously shaped and smoothed over…

…prior to being painted.

What one may overlook is the attention to detail, as the widening is taken into the rear door itself, requiring a lot of work around the panel gap/shut area.

Imamura does all the work with the wheels fitted so that he is always aware of how the fender will sit and can fine tune as he goes.

Shorudazuri perfection. The rear K-Break wheels measure 12.5-inches across and are fitted with 285/35ZR19 rubber. The “zero” offset is boosted by an 80 mm hub extender and like the front, extended lower arms give the required amount of negative camber.

Out on the street this thing is wild! Imamura has to slalom through the smallest imperfections, manhole covers, potholes and anything that the car might scrape on. It’s quite the experience following this thing around, the unsilenced V8 rumble coming from the custom exhausts serving as a sort of warning to other users to get the hell out of the way.

While the origins of the whole bippu style have obvious links to organized crime, these days VIP has pretty much began its move into the mainstream side of things, becoming a large part of the huge car culture that exists in the country. Imamura, seen here getting out of the Q45, has helped get more people interested in these sorts of cars by making it all more accessible and explorable. Before, the negative connotations the style may have had, may have stopped some, but now it’s becoming a fashionable way to make your big sedan stand out.

A full custom Bee Dragon aero kit spices up the lines of the Q45 (initially I thought it was a Y33 Cima, the tinted glass making it hard to see what side the steering wheel was on!)…

…which includes front and rear bumpers as well as skirts that help make the body of the car sit even lower.

Attention to detail is the key to any VIP car, and the more custom work you do the better as you get far more kudos from those in the scene. That’s why Imamura went all the way to the trouble of incorporating an integrated trunk lip spoiler…

…that seamlessly fades away into the rear fender sections. And like the fenders it’s all done in steel.

Even the lateral profiles of the hood have been extended upwards to form bigger creases, joining other additions like the customized F50 Cima mirrors and the hood spoiler, a must on any VIP car.

Custom head and taillights followed, incorporating complex and modern reflectors for the front and LEDs for the rears. The car was then painted in Dragon-blue, a custom mix of metallic blue that Imamura mixed up for this project.

There isn’t anything to see under the hood, like most bippu rides the engine has been left stock, the 266 HP VH41 4.1L V8 joined only by a straight through exhaust system…

…doing away with any type of silencing and ending with a pair of K-Break oval tips.

The goal of making the Q45 stand out and attract curious glances from passers by is very much a success, especially when viewed from this angle.

Imamura has kept the interior stock, enjoying the comfortable stock leather seats and only adding a fusa to the rearview mirror…

…and a pair of Gouf Gundam cup holders that help keep his canned coffee nice and cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Imamura is a diehard fan of anything to do with Gundam, attributing his influences and style to the popular Japanese anime.

If you look close enough he also has a pink Gundam charger for his mobile phone!

The sporty twist that Imamura gives his cars has done quite a lot for the scene, not to mention gain further international attention from those wanting to know more about these strange cars from Japan. And trust me, no matter how set you may be in your “function over form” state of mind, something I strongly believe in myself, when you are confronted with something like this Q45 you just can’t help but throw down your guard and appreciate it. VIP is just as important as time attack and drifting; it’s a defining factor of the vastness that is Japanese car culture and as Speedhunters we should always bow down and take our hats off to the crazy guys that devote their lives to it.

You can expect to see a few more crazy bippu rides from Bee Dragon in the next few months. In the meantime scroll down and embrace the way of the VIP and download some desktops!

Bee Dragon

-Dino Dalle Carbonare


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47 comments
gino bartoli
gino bartoli

Where can I buy those Toyo  custom painted Tires from ???? or are they hand painted ?

Kotetsu
Kotetsu

I've read a lot of strong words here.

 

First I'm no big fan of "Oni-can", especially on sports cars like a horrible mat black  Z33 from an US tuner I recently saw. BUT, after all it's not relevant wether I like it or not. We all have different tastes. 

 

For the record, this isn't really VIP. it's a hybrid between VIP and "Oni camber". Pure VIP keep to super classical black or white cars (Junction produce, Freedom Legion or others...)

 

So please no need for "he can just die" or "he ruined this car". This is a demo car, it's very well made for this kind of mod and the guy behind it is a very nice fellow.  I spent time to talk with him at the SAS and even if he didn't convince me to build such a car at least I could understand that some do. I don't need to like or even understand, just accept that as I love to track my RX-7 with a Racing oriented tuning he wants to have a ride with extreme looks to cruise in style. At the end of the day I respect that and is there anything else that should matter?

Taryn Croucher
Taryn Croucher

I respect that everyone has different opinions but it baffles me that people can't accept that this style of tuning is huge in Japan and is just part of Japanese car culture. Why do people think what they like is the only right option? I can't get enough of this car.... I don't even know how people can hate on this, to me this is the ultimate cool! just makes me want to visit Japan again even more!!! Thanks Dino for the new desktop :)

AlexLobanov
AlexLobanov

I thought VIP was all about interior styling... Guess now it's all about "the look". One more style ruined by someone trying too hard.

savage1
savage1

the car still got the biodyshop bondo dust on it i love it. i really miss my autobody days but the hospital pays more and has bonuses. the inside is still staock cause he ran out of loot. still 1 of the best ever

bakayaru
bakayaru

stunning! truly well done. those demanding "function over form" - get over yourselves. the highest "function" for land travel is public transport. ALL function. People choosing to drive cars on Japan's streets, do so for self-expression and individualism - NOT for function.

Corey K
Corey K

OK, I really like VIP cars and I totally appreciate the work put into this one, but for the love of all things sacred, that rear fitment looks downright... "silly". If he can do all-metal fenders, why not tub the rears so the wheels can fit straight up and down, instead of looking like Fat Albert sat on the trunk?

Ajbce
Ajbce

i have always love this car but looking under the hood, and also seeing the wires hanging in the passenger side footwell  and how not imaculate it was on the inside just kinda lost it for me  today is a sad day cause i idolize the outside of the car so much 

jonas maurstad
jonas maurstad

Dino, thanks for the personal reply. I hope you read my comments with a sense of humour. I am sorry for being a vip hater, but there is no denying this car looks bad ass with its ultra low ride. The only thing putting half the world off is of course the neg camber. I have always liked lowered cars, but driveability and grip has always been the highest concern for the technically interested petrolhead. Thats why this upsets so many people I guess. Would it not be possible to actually enlarge the rear inner arches and shorten the lower rear wishbones to make the wheels fit under the arches and have a normal -2-0 camber angle? The moment I see a vip car achieving that ride height and have normal camber, I will eat my insults and dig it. The builders obviously have skills, so perhaps someone is up for a challenge? But I guess its a sort of punk / rebel approach to car building I simply dont understand.  As for us" haters":-)  not building anything ourselves; Im building an e36 coupe with a twincharged nissan vg30 and time attack aero. Im from Norway the gatebil country you know:-)

tenpennyjimmy
tenpennyjimmy

Firstly, i think everything about this car is mindblowing... except one thing ;)

Secondly, thank you for another great post Mr Dalle Carbonare.

Thirdly i would like to put one question to you: if this car was kept the same in every respect except that the rear wheel camber/fitment was adjusted to match the front... would you personally like it more, or less?

 

tenpennyjimmy
tenpennyjimmy

Firstly, i think everything about this car is mindblowing... except one thing ;)

Secondly, thank you for another great post Mr Dalle Carbonare.

Thirdly i would like to put one question to you: if this car was kept the same in every respect except that the rear wheel camber/fitment was adjusted to match the front... would you personally like it more, or less?

Steffan
Steffan

I love this car! Want one.

on3lv3
on3lv3

Great article Dino! I love all cars and appreciate anything automotive. I am biased towards Japanese models because I am Japanese but never go out of my way to "hate" on others because I like them less. I read most articles here to open my eyes to the tuning scene around the world and respect them for their efforts and passion. For all those people leaving negative comments here I have a question for you. What have you done lately? Anything worthy to be featured on Speedhunters? Have you tried to push the boundaries in your scene? Being specific to this Q45, builds are usually never finished and go through many phases of construction so I would venture to say this car can be included in that category. For the matter of form over function, its a large sedan not a sport coupe it functions just as it was made to be perhaps not a efficient as it can but as a form of transport and now art and advertisement for the owner.

jonas maurstad
jonas maurstad

Ok you warned me this time, but I still puke at the sight of those rear wheels. No more vip on speedhunters please.  Can the owner run a whole day before changing those tires? When he throws them away they are as new on 90% of the thread width, but they are worn out on the inner inch. Really clever. Perhaps he should add a 4 meter vertical exhaust pipe and a roof mounted oil-cooler with oil lines wrapped around the car twice? Then he cant get out, and hopefully die? Dino, there must be something interesting to cover in Japan? You have had some good moments, but you still keep posting these shit vip cars. Time attack? jgtc? Amateur built race cars?

greenroadster
greenroadster

This has to be one of the most gorgeous vip-styled cars ever. Is has been on my descktop since January.

Ethan
Ethan

this car is awesome however i was hoping that atleast the interior would have been done up some for how extreme the exterior looks

Kotetsu
Kotetsu

Nice! I shot this car at the Shizuoka autostyle a couple of month ago. Was the only foreign media there...

 

I'm glad this car got this article. It's one the the rare oni can I ever liked because of the level of detail and the quality of the work. 

 

Well done!

Sam
Sam

That is one extreme creation! Would be a very memorable experience to see and hear that Q45 in action.

andrewhake
andrewhake

Function over form isn't over the write phrase really, it is function & form over "what the fuck are you fucking doing to that car?" Say whatever you want. This is not attractive to me in any way shape or form and never will be. Even actual VIP cars have some class. These cars just have no shame at all. When you completely sacrifice even the original performance of a car making it perform worse than a radio flyer red wagon, just so you can jack off into your zero offset wheels, my opinion is quite simple. "F*CK. YOU. YOU F*CKING. F*CK"

 

If I saw this can and met the owner I would hit him on the head with a rolled up newspaper and say "Stop that!, Stop it!" and then rub his nose in his damaged undercarriage and fenders that will soon be jacked up beyond belief. Seeing someone put so much work into just makes it all the more depressing. Why are you trying to make me sad Speedhunters? Why?

jdhariwal
jdhariwal

What a shame. A shit load of $$$ spent on custom bodywork, he could of atleast built the engine as well.

Mighty_Mite50
Mighty_Mite50

Diggin this look. Looks rad.

side note: wonder why he left the interior stock? It's more than nice enough obviously but so much work went into the exterior, the interior feels like a bit of a let down to me.

Killua
Killua

HNNNNNG

 

Please, desktops of the other 2 rolling shots too!

TomKimmell
TomKimmell

@Corey K He doesn't want his wheels straight up and down for a reason, he extended the lower control arms to GAIN negative camber. It is always for the looks, function? who cares!

Ajbce
Ajbce

well in the back of a q45 the gas tank is in the trunk which right in between the rear fenders so in order to tub it for the wheels they would need to cut up the rear seat, and get a fuel cell which is possible but  not my car not my call 

speedhunters_dino
speedhunters_dino

 @jonas maurstad Well it's their style, and with their shop's demo cars I think they need to push the boundaries.  The customer cars they build aren't quite so extreme, a little more functional but almost all sport shorudazura style, the sidewall of the tyre being flush with the fender.  You gotta take VIP as it is I guess!  

speedhunters_dino
speedhunters_dino

 @jonas maurstad He gets 10,000 km out of the rears before needing to change.  So no big problem.  There is plenty to cover in Japan, and as we do cover everything out there we try to make space for VIP too.  It's not for everyone I'm sure, hence the warning in the opening sentence;)

Dom
Dom

 @bigmac69 please MORE vip! VIP was what interested me in the japanese car culture first, before i discovered all the performance maniacs in the land of the rising sun..grazie dino e non ti lasciare rompere u cazz di questi tipi haha

andrewhake
andrewhake

And you know I love you Dino, and your writeup is brilliant. but..

 

BAD! BAD! Stop that! (rolls up the Japanese newspaper…)

speedhunters_dino
speedhunters_dino

 @jdhariwal Question is what would you do that engine?  And keep in mind these guys drive slow, they don't need the performance!

speedhunters_dino
speedhunters_dino

 @Mighty_Mite50 Honestly it's probably to do with timing. The time the car needs to spend at shows, meets and events probably makes it hard to get stuff done to the interior.  

silviaps13
silviaps13

Agree!! Rolling shot Desktops are a must!!

 

Always look forward to you articles Dino, Thanks again!

Sam
Sam

 @andrewhake You know what? Im not interested in le mans. So you know what i did? I didn't read any of the le mans features.   I saw what the features where about, realised they weren't for me and i moved on. Didn't need to make any negative comments, didn't shit on anybodies hard work, i didn't need to express my views because i knew it wasn't for me. 

 

Crazy concept i know, i must of escaped from a looney bin!! Re-read the first paragraph if you must.

Pancakes
Pancakes

 @speedhunters_dino That and he does quality bodywork (people may question the style but thats some smooth all metal blending that flows well to the factory bodywork). Just cos people have a skill it doesn't mean they have the coin for a show interior and race motor. I take it this is his demo car? So the body is where it's at.


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