Gallery>> Japanese Vanning Madness

Can anything really be any more Japanese than this? We have all heard stories of these curious creations roaming the streets of Japan at night, outrageously modified old diesel vans made to look like something out of a manga or anime. Over the years I have stumbled upon the odd one cruising down deserted countryside roads, but they have been getting pretty rare over the years. 

Or so I thought! 

Last night at around 2 am I get a call from Miguel Varella-Cid, the man behind Newera Imports and Newera Parts. Miguel is as car crazy as they get and actually lives literally 5 minutes away from Fuji Speedway. After returning from a blast up in the mountains with his Knight Sports tuned FD3S he noticed a line of crazy tuned vans heading up towards the circuit.

He decided to follow them and this is what he discovered outside the main entrance of track. Turns out a big vanning meet was materializing with a lot of people turning up late at night and sleeping in their vans ready for today's gathering.

Miguel shot down to his house to pick up his camera and tripod and returned up to Fuji Speedway to grab these pictures. It looks like the party started early with all vans showing off their full illumination and owners chatting until the wee hours.

Size obviously doesn't matter!

Not only did the owner of this Kei-van put it through a very interesting aesthetic custom transformation, but also went full out in outfitting the interior to create very comfy sleeping quarters. In-car entertainment is offered by the built-in slot machine!

These vans are of course all about big spoilers and wings…

…combined with crazy overhangs!

The vans kept arriving but at one point Miguel called it a night and headed home to get some sleep. He was up again very early, ready to go back up to Fuji Speedway to take another look…

…at what had gathered over the night. Around 250 vans had showed up in what has to be the biggest vanning meeting of this type in Japan.

This was by far my favorite out all the ones Miguel shot. Gotta love the Police-car look!

Most of these vans have "800 class" registration, which is a designation for camping and oversized vehicles. The "800" appears on the plates next to the prefectural Shaken office name which releases the license tags.

Miguel had a chat to some of the owners who told him that apparently it's not too hard to pass the shaken (motor-vehicle inspection) with these vans.

The only requirement is that mechanical parts are a minimum of 9 cm from the ground while bodykits and overhang sizes don't really matter. The kind of people that drive these vans are known as "Yankees," who are usually rebellious and individualistic types that strive to be uniquely different from the masses.

How about this for the next Batmobile? Batman seems to approve!

The bat-theme really does extend over every single inch of this van…

…with those being some of the wildest wings I've ever seen on these vans.

I'm sure the owner has to calculate alternative routes to some of his destinations as there is no way those wings can clear small Japanese bridges and underpasses!

He even had a scale replica made!

If this van ever gets into a front crash there is a lot of crumple-zone to protect occupants!

Scooters and motorbikes are not forgotten in this crazy stylistic movement. The helmet is very cool!

Toyota Hiaces and Nissan Caravans are popular bases for these transformations…

…and there are a few tuning companies dedicated to creating the massive FRP wings and bumpers, with the rest of the work being fully customized.

It is Haulers & Sedans month at the moment so Miguel didn't forget to get a few shots of cool VIP rides like this Celsior…

…which was given a very smooth widening and lowering.

Here we have a very aquatic feel…

…and a unique set of taillights!

That is Tsuri Kichi Sampei airbrushed on the back and sides of this purple van. I used to watch that anime in Italy as a kid!

The majority of these vans sport intricate airbrushed drawings of either anime and manga characters or… 

…famous Japanese singers and actors.

This particular Hiace went for a sportier feel with an integrated wide-body conversion and small low spoiler. It can almost be considered a drag look LOL!


Very artistic.

Not much to do with this particular scene but this TT was sporting a wide-body conversion made by the guys at Takero's who do a lot of work on vans and station wagons.

Of course massive, loud exhausts are a big part of these crazy vans, there to add to the whole antisocial feel of these custom creations.

A big thanks goes out to Miguel for supplying us with these images. I have to make sure I don't miss this meeting next year!

Pix: Courtesy of Miguel Varella-Cid

Newera Imports

-Dino Dalle Carbonare



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Wow. Batman and 6 wheeler are the hit


Man, those are some crazy vans. They might look awesome and fantastic, and all the rest, but just imagine trying to drive one of those things in the city, or finding parking xD

Looks like it would be one hell of a meet though. Love it!


Hate me if you must, but I honestly find these things ugly and pointless in pretty muh every aspect.

I mean.. why would bunch of people waste so much money and go trough all the trouble and work to make his/her van look like this, I simply don't get.

Only reason I can think of is simple need of attention, but even then it would be a laughing stock instead of.. "Wow! Look at this!".. it would be around here anyway.



Interesting article, it would be cool to see how it looks inside these crazy vans. I do find it funny they call them "yankees" lol


I love the fact that the world is not ALL THE SAME.

Next to a silhouette racer, awesome


Amazing! love these vans, much better than the old chev and dodges from the 70's!!


How do they fit under bridges or better yet go through a drive through? I really hope these don't catch on in the US!


Awsome pics Miguel. Love those vans


Pokemon style =)


I'm drowning in rice! lol


Love the fact that the feds are not trying to change/forbid the scene but rather adapt to the sub cultures. Thats one of the things I love so much about Japan - although very conservative and ritual always the most outragous creations.

Top story


Its not a celsior but a jzs171 crown athlete.


OMG, it´s totall madness...But DEKOTORA style is typical for Japan,what you can do.


is it a camaro next to the blue van ??!!!

And the vans are f***** ugly.. BUT the TT looks sick


Did anyone else notice the Camaro? haha


Autobots, we're not in disguise anymore.


`YESSSSSS! FINALLY! Gah, Bosozoku never gets old, it's so unique and just out there. Funny how some people embrace Bosozoku for what it is instantly and that some people will never understand it. That 800 Class van and the police van look great. Need more articles like this.


I'm sorry but the airbrishing on purple van you pointed out is actually One Piece, an ongoing anime and manga, not that anyone would care, just thought I'd point out. Amazing post, I never expected this!!! Post more!!!


Is there any more shots of the Camaro? I would like to see a video of those vans driving. I can't imagine them going anywhere there is a inclined drive or speed bump or hill. They are very creative.


Desktop of the Celsior, PLEASE! :D


I cant at all understand how these guys pass shaken?!!! my rear spoiler stuck out an inch past my bumper and it failed. my wheels are flush, cambered and hipari but they didn't pass?!! I don't get it? I need to talk to some of these guys haha.


Possible wallpaper of the Celsior?


ITS OVER 9000!!!!


It looks like One Piece airbrushed onto the side of the purple van, not Tsuri Kichi Sampei.


It looks like One Piece airbrushed onto the side of the purple van, not Tsuri Kichi Sampei.


...Selling my car


My 2 cents!!suck how people just hate these van for no real reason the unique and stand out yes at times dey may look ugly but its the time and the idea they put in it and its props for that and even if you think its a waste of money not. For the individual who spends it becuase they love the van style!!!mad props to the owners for putting these crzy machines together and to Dino for posting something this unique!!I wanna see it here in the states!!ohh I want to see a vid of this driving please!!!


:O....just :O


ummmmmmmmmmm, i think we officially ran out of ideas on how to mod a car


Japan truly is the craziest nation on earth. I have no idea how some of those vans get around, the pink one would shit itself if it saw any kind of incline or road undulation.




@XIII: these guys showed me their list of "people whose opinions we care about".

I didn't see your name.


Yeah I'm not feeling this as well.

Probably its a culture centric thing to me (I wonder how is the reception in Japan to these people and their cars?) but I find it silly.

"I'm sure the owner has to calculate alternative routes to some of his destinations as there is no way those wings can clear small Japanese bridges and underpasses!"

They probably never go out except to head for vanning meets hehe.


:-D these are without a doubt most insane vehicle creations coming from Japan. One day I would like to understand what this is all about, because simply I can not.

Having read my own words.. do i really want to understand? ..

Actually not. Better go back to Miatas and stuff.. ;-)


i think you will find that is Wan Pisu (One Piece) airbrushed onto that van, not Tsuri Kichi Sampei. close, but no cigar ^_^


These are awesome, I wish we saw more customised (not modified) cars and vans. As long as lcd screens are inside the cabin, that shit pisses me off when they put them outside the cabin.


i think thats a toyota majesta crown not a celsior


ricers ¬¬


ahaa. these vans are great. they dont serve a purpose other than showing off these peoples fanatic love for these vans and trying to be original. the hours gone in to each van is impressive. but i could think of alot better things to spend the money on personaly. great article


im pretty sure there was a transam/firebird at the meet!

I dont think it was a camaro




this is so random and out there but it's people with a passion..of sorts so i'll cut them some slack

bit crazier than some of the overdone camber cars have been getting lately


Fricking love these vans, the 'cop' look works best for me... Wouldn't own or drive one, I think it's a cultural thing and I don't live in Japan. But ace all the same.


Im pretty sure its One Piece on back of the van hm hm

AWESOME anyway O.o The boso-police van is incredible O.O!


The airbrushing on the purple van is of One Piece, not Tsuri Kichi Sanpei.

Cool article though. I love these vans :)


Haha that's awesome!! I'd be totally blown away by this if I were there in person.


Tsuri Kichi Sampei?? That's totally One Piece.

Twin axle van is awesome.


Straight out of Goku's hair, or Gundam's ass.


Paint the 6-wheeler white and it could pass for a Toyota "Star Destroyer". LOL! But most of them look like metal Pokemon. I want to throw balls at them and shout, "GOTTA CATCH 'EM ALL!" ... and then toss the balls into a fire place and watch them burn.


How are they still street legal?


How do they drive ANYWHERE? especially the 6-wheeler, i mean what the fuck?


Japan has the widest range of vehicle modification I know of. Some I like more than others - no way would I ever want a custom van anything like this, but I can appreciate how much work, money (& sheer nuttiness) goes into customising to these levels.

It's not just about their vehicles, they're excited to meet similarly individualistic people - in a land where 80% want to be the same as anybody else...

There were Yankees having BBQ's late into the night, drinking and partying and the next day they were out admiring each other's rides and sharing ideas. When some of them saw me with camera & tripod shooting pics at 3am they invited me, a foreigner to sit and eat, drink & chat and know what I was doing there and what I thought of their vehicles.

Regardless of whether it's our style of vehicle or not, different car cultures are something we can't afford not to encourage for future generations, so new ideas can keep developing although not necessarily in this direction. Variety breeds individualism.


An 800 registration number is a designation for camping vehicles in Japan. Campers can be different designs with overhang, etc.

As long as spoilers aren't wider than a car and able to cut someone's arm - it's considered OK for a Shaken. Some of the vehicles arrived to the mwwt on temporary numbers, which are available for occasional vehicle use, without need for a valid shaken. Not every country has over strict vehicle law & enforcement.


anybody know what scooter model/brand that is in the photo?


Oh, just needed to add that these vans are probably bagged or have hydraulics. That's what i'm guessing after watching documentary a while back of a line of Dekatora trucks bouncing happily up and down a mountain road. :D


This doesn't make any sense, should be illegal : can you imagine this in an accident, the big frigging wing on top falling of and piercing the windshield of the guy behind...

And also, so so so ugly ... pointless too exagerated worst even than the bosozuku cars ...


as mentioned before above, it's a crown athlete in the picture. not a celsior....


damn and i thought are cars where slammed. we got nothing on these guys, cool stuff. i am just really curious to how the keep those overhangs up?


LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



hahahaha cute




whoa, im glad this scene is alive


Love it or hate it, i love it!! These vans have so much work put in to them. The red widebody Hiace looks awesome


man i freaking miss japan and occassionally seeing one of these on the road

haha freaking awesome!! while some of you bash on these guys for their

creativity get a fucking life and do something! b/c with that vehicle they accomplished

more then most of you guys have!! ha i love japan!

can't wait to be back


LOVE!!! I love crazy custom cars, Japanese vans, donks, sleds, lowriders, I love them all. I would never build or own one but I love the passion these builders put into their cars. I don't understand how anyone can call themselves car people and hate cars. We act like we hate NASCAR but drop one of those engines in a Solara and the same people go nuts. Post more crazy stuff and wait for the rest of the world to catch up!

PS anyone ever seen one of these things moving?


Huge thanks to Miguel for giving up his time and sleep to bring these to us!

Personaly I can definatly think of better things to spend my money on, but that doesn't mean I don't appriciate that amount of work that has gone into these creations. Definatly dedication to the cause.


hahaha! oh these things are too awesome


Love the 1st pic!

Looks outrageous and these vans always amuse and bring the laughs :D


oh my...

i need not say no more!


Having lived through the '70's van craze I gotta give a huge thumbs-up to these special lunatics for looking outside the box (pun intended). This is so far beyond the shag carpet and airbrushed madness of before. While I wouldn't drive one of these myself, I could gladly spend a day or two just perusing and applauding them.


I love this stuff.. Would never do it myself, but gotta give it up to the guys that have the balls to drive something like this around town. That twin axle/6 wheel one in the first pic is too cool. I'd rock that all day.


These things are silly, over-the-top, stupid, pointless and impractical. I love it! More power to them!


GO YANKEES! hahahaha love these crazy off-beat cars!


this is seriously THE. BEST. POST. EVER.

Looking foward to the rest of this months themed musings.


Audi looks like after Photoshop.


i like the fact that these look so overtly done.. they do look a bit overdone in some instances, but if 'we' were in that culture we'd love them.. and do them to death! - cool


These are soooo amazing. I wish i could accidentally find an event of this sort. (Thank you Mr. Miguel Varella-Cid!) I don't think the people who create these masterpieces care about the haters, so if you are hating - go find something you like. I think this stuff is awesome. If you are worried about driving these and/or registering them, you are clearly missing the point. I don't think they race for pinks with these, nor do i think they use them to haul groceries. d'uh. Thanks for the awesome pics! i want more.


Those are the sickest J-Vans I've ever seen lol.


This kind of madness is what drew me to Japanese car culture. That, in turn, made me find Auto-Otaku, and without that, I would've never joined Speedhunters. Thanks to Mike, Dino, and now Miguel.

Dino, is that little Kei van a Suzuki Wagon R? And what Anime/Manga is that on it?

That Camaro is one of the most hideous examples I've ever seen, but I love that TT!

It's funny, I got out of Anime a long time ago, but the second pic from the top is making me want to watch Dragonball GT again, lol!


Gotta love Japanese creativity.


Over here in NZ all we get are crazy engine conversions like 13B-Ts, 4G63-T RB25dets etc in vans, none of this nuts body work, mind you NZ cops wouldnt put up kits like that i dont think, They look crazy as though!!!


I wonder what material the wings are made of, and how do they fasten to the roof of these vans. All in all i couldn't stop laughing, leave it to the Japanese to reinvent the van.


one thing i love about these vans are the big negative offset wheels


BuuarrgghhH!!!! Sorry!!! Just vomited inside my mouth!!!



i absolutely LOVE these vans.


ClassiczMS, I meant...


Wall please! this machines are crazy!!! :D Love it...


Never have I ever seen anything so interesting and unique. Great articles!


Had fun with Dino & the boys at past years TAS... we did a little Bozo scouting at Toyosuna meet.


Phantom who? Bentley what? Thats riding do low right there. That front shot of the purple and green van looked like it had another car coming out of the front lol. Like it was Giving birth haha

Jesus has got a thing for ya and He died just to show you :D rep em!


This is the best. ever.


Awesome Gallery! Very cool to see such a large collection of pictures of these things. The style is way too over the top for me but you really have to admire how much work, dedication, and money they have invested in them.

Couple of questions that I'm wondering Miguel could answer since he talked to them:

1) Are most of these on air ride? I can't imagine you could drive them at that height, especially with the overhangs!

2) Do they reinforce these wings and overhangs with some kind of structural support underneath? I can't imagine an 8 foot long fiberglass wing or overhanging platform would hold up to flexing, vibration, and wind for very long otherwise!


speedhunter keeps giving the wrong


Man tha Japs go all out aye.......Crazy


Coolest vans ever! The Japs do it again.


Speedhunters: International Car Culture


seems like everyone is copying each other and coming up with their own version of the same theme ... Here Is one that stands on its own .. just google COSMIC CRUISER