Shakotan, kyusha, kaido racer - bosozoku car lifestyle (to put it loosely) is rich with different niches that originated in post-war Japan. After a couple of generations, the original ‘motorcycle gang’ aggression switched to an expression of personal style and a love for bike and car culture in general.
Love and admiration is one thing, but building a bosozoku project outside of Japan is not easy. But Janne Kortekuru from Turku, Finland might just have created a kaido racer true to its origins.
Janne’s car of choice for the build was a 1986 Mazda 929. The Mazda was purchased in 2015 as a typical rear-wheel drive beater, perfect to slide around on Finland’s many frozen lakes in winter.
Janne actually sold the car in 2017 to a couple of friends, who used it for a cheap car challenge-type trip from Finland to Norway. He regretted it of course, so when it reappeared for sale in 2018, Janne bought it back.
That same year, Janne had a clear plan in front of him for the car, and the kaido racer conversion work began.
It started with a set of SSR XR4 Longchamps – an iconic Japanese wheel and bosozoku favorite. After re-barrelling them with wider outside lips, the wheels measured up at 14×9.5-inch and 14×10.5-inch front and rear respectively.
Next, Janne’s attention turned to the ride height. The Mazda obviously needed to ride super-low with a static setup, and there was a straight-forward solution in FC3S RX-7 coilovers which bolt right into the HB-chassis 929.
A kaido racer’s most defining feature is its stylised bodywork. There aren’t any off-the-shelf kits for this sort of thing, so everything was custom made. A Fukuoka-style long-nose conversion was a must for Janne, and to achieve this look the hood and fenders were stretched by 400mm (15.75 inches).
Out back, things are just as wild. The bumper was deleted and the whole rear end welded up to fit a pair of round Mazda Porter (a JDM kei truck) taillights and AW11 Toyota MR2 side air vents.
While they’re not JDM, the Vitaloni Californian mirrors suit the look and provide Janne with some perspective on what’s happening behind the car. I’m sure it’s mostly just confused faces of other road users…
A previous generation 929 front bumper, a random trunk wing mounted under the car, a straight exhaust pipe, universal fiberglass front flares and side skirts all bring the exterior look together. The final, but very important detail, was the bright red, white and yellow old school racing livery.
The interior has seen some radical modifications too. Janne fashioned a 230mm steering wheel out of a Luisi item and added a rally bucket seat from local Finnish company Ergo. The purple velvet dash drape and other small details are all in keeping with the theme.
The Kenwood FM tuner, cassette player and graphic equaliser all fit the Showa-era Mazda like factory, as do the Pioneer TS-X9 box speakers.
Kaido Racers aren’t just about long noses and loud exhausts, they’re about your own style and building the project yourself or with friends.
So I think Janne has done a tremendous job of keeping his Mazda build as close to a Japanese kaido racer’s DIY roots as someone 7,500km away from the motherland could. Best of all, I’m sure he had a lot of fun in the process.