PNW: The Japan You’ve Never Heard Of

The Pacific Northwest – loosely regarded as the American states of Oregon and Washington, and I suppose we’ll throw British Columbia in there too. If you live up that way, you already know how strong car culture is in your neck of the woods. But if you don’t, it’s high time someone shed some light on this corner of North America for you.

While I’ve always regarded Japan as the pinnacle of car culture — and whether this is the case or not is certainly up for debate, but the density of quality builds and fanatic enthusiasts in Japan is undeniable — the PNW is a bit the same. With heavy influence from Japan, albeit spread out over a vast, beautiful landscape, there is much to be uncovered here.


My trip up north started with a Facebook message to my buddy Evan Brown; his car was going under the knife yet again, and I wanted to finally have a go at properly shooting the thing. I don’t generally get all that worked up about editing photos anymore, but this is one car I seriously can’t wait to share.


The problem is, it’s a proper drift car, so static shots alone just wouldn’t do. We started brainstorming a bit and a wild idea occurred to us: Pat’s Acres Racing Complex. What if we could invite a small handful of some of the PNW’s finest drifters to the best local track? It seemed crazy, but I sent out an email to Chris Egger, the owner of the track, and we waited for a reply.


Lo and behold, thanks to Chris’s generosity, PARC was ours for a day. From Formula Drift Pro 2 drivers to old school shakotan-inspired cars (that you’ll get a good look at soon enough) on the tight go-kart course, I’ve seriously never been so stoked to shoot drifting. I still can’t believe we pulled it off.

Here’s a quick, completely raw peek at the good times that were had in one of these cars, and I’ll be plowing through the 5,500 shots I took up north in the coming weeks.


To get up north in the first place I was originally planning to fly to Portland, but one thing led to the next. I ended up with a gig in Southern California the week before, only to have to return south this week for the start of the Formula Drift season.

The result is 3,200 miles on the road in just over two weeks; as Paddy said, it can be hugely taxing.


Despite this, I have to say it’s been an absolute pleasure so far. From the beaches of San Diego to the rainy city of Portland (and back down again), I’ve gone to so many places I never would have otherwise, and met so many amazing people along the way.


One of those is Mark Vasilyuk, a 16-year-old filmmaker. To say that the progression of his work has been incredible is a bit of an understatement.

Here’s a short teaser Mark made for a project he’s been working on for quite some time, a video that I’m happy to say he’ll release alongside my photos of the car in the coming weeks.


We’ll also be taking a bit of a behind the scenes look at the workflow and process that goes into making a film, and how Mark manages to edit videos all day during high school classes.


I tagged along on more than one of Mark’s shoots farther north in the middle of nowhere, where we blasted through some absolutely stunning back roads.


Seriously, the Pacific Northwest is an unbelievably beautiful place to live and to shoot, and I’m secretly a bit jealous of everyone up there after returning home.


With Formula Drift ramping up in the coming days and months, I always hear a small cry for smaller, local event coverage. As such, I’ll be sneaking in a couple good old grassroots stories for you with help from my new friends in the PNW.

I’ve yet to find a place that loves car culture in quite this way, and I can’t wait to make another trip up. There’s much more hunting to do here, I’m positive of it.

Trevor Yale Ryan
Instagram: tyrphoto

Speedhunting stories on Speedhunters



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Can't wait to see all the shots, the variety of builds up here is awe-inspiring. Villains, ShaDynasty, Tanoshimu, Destroy, and so many more.


Well, as they say, "Its started in seattle!"


The cover car is an FC RX7. Fuckin send it Trevor, we need more FCs on here


#itemb <3


More more more.....


Excited to see some coverage from the PNW! I'm a BC resident, and some days it feels like the only car culture around here is lifted diesel trucks. And with the only track nearby having been closed for years, I'm interested to see what kinds of cars and events are in my backyard. There are some truly stunning quiet back roads here for sure though, BC is a driver's paradise!


dude check out the kart track just across the border (below Abbotsford). p.s. don't die.


Washington State is just a short drive away and has a busy car scene. Come on down some weekend!


why are both of your features extremely small.
feels like click bait...


Thanks for the article ! I grew up in so cal and have lived and competed in many places, but the pacnw is home now and I love it here.


Thanks again for the invite. Everyone had a blast driving our asses off! 10/10 would do again.


Since 2009, still in high school, sold my first car almost immediately for an AE86 SR5 and really got into drifitng. PNW played a huuuuuuge part in influencing what I enjoyed about Japanese cars, styling, and driving because I was one of the only ones in my town in Ohio into that stuff. People weren't afraid to be different and they pulled it off really well. I've always dabbled into media with skateboarding and seeing all of those vimeo/youtube videos filmed up at PNW by AW Films, Shreeve, Loren, Hert, etc was the best thing to me.

Kevin Kaminski

If you guys want to look at some smaller events, and are in the Tacoma area in Washington, check out Griot's garage!


What kind of small events? I'm in the Redmond-Sammamish area, we've been looking for a few more meets.


I'm in Redmond too and have always wondered why there aren't any local events, there's a huuge scene here but no local meets!


YES!!! I used to live in Portland and I'm so happy your going to feature the crew with the old Toyotas!! Old ass celicas, Corollas, and even a corona! They are the best drifters to watch at PARC as 4 vintage Toyotas tandem tight together with high revving NA motors roaring. These guys definitely deserve respect.


Aww thanks man. We always have a good time out there.


So much win here. Thanks for the grassroots drift coverage Trevor. Sure hope you got more video with the shoots!
Mark Vasilyuk - insane video! You're setting the bar quite high. Hopefully others notice. Only tip: reduce music volume when car is talking... out of respect.


Item B's fc>>> Item B and Herts FC are my favorite rx7's in grass roots drifting. I'd love to see a full shoot on his car, the new version 3 livery looks so good


Ahhhhh....this is golden.