The Fastest Corvette In Japan

Growing up, I remember seeing a Corvette Stingray in a magazine and thinking it was the craziest car design ever. I was probably around seven or eight years old at the time, and to this day I still think of the Corvette as one of the most beautiful cars ever made.

At Central Circuit’s recent Drag Festival series round, I spent some time looking over a very cool example run by Rod Motors. The ‘Dragvette’ currently holds a Japan Drag Race Driver Association (JDDA) Pro Stock title.


I was told that the chassis and body are all original, although I’m pretty sure the front end uses a tube frame and of course the rear end has been tubbed so it can accomodate those massive 33x15x15-inch Hoosier drag slicks. Then there’s the hood and iconic rear split-window roof, which are fiberglass.


As I found out on the day, there’s a brilliant history behind the car and its owner, Mr. Makoto Katsuragi.


Back in the mid-1970s, Katsuragi-san emigrated to and opened a garage in San Francisco, where he developed a taste for drag racing. Soon after, and during the same year his son Ryo was born, Katsuragi-san started racing a red 1963 Corvette Stingray – the very same car you see today.


It’s been raced for nearly five decades, and today competes in Japan in a completely evolved state with Ryo behind the wheel. Up front, a 440ci SBC V8 with nitrous oxide provides the power, while a Powerglide transmission helps get it to the ground.


It’s amazing to see this 60-year-old car go down the quarter mile in 8.50-seconds at 246km/h – a Japanese drag racing class record.


The journey that drag cars and their drivers take to gain split seconds of speed is really something special. It shows that perseverance, dedication, hard work and a fair amount of blood, sweat and tears will allow a few select people to achieve greatness.

Drag racers like Makoto and Ryo Katsuragi are my new heroes.

Toby Thyer
Instagram _tobinsta_



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As always, your article is very nice to read, Toby. Thank you.

Car racing world craziness.
Drag racing all decided in 10 seconds or less, while Le Man racing ain't done until 24 hours.


what folks don't realize is that most drag cars have more tuning put into them than an F1 car, just to get a millisecond off the time

I like that part, everything is approaching failure so everyone has to be very competent, it forces the talented to excel


Definitely the fastest car in its class, not so much in general. There are plenty of 3000hp drag cars in japan.
Brilliant cars and article, drag racing never disappoints ever I swear


that vette B&M shifter going crazy in the looks department, look at all that milled metal. Sexy.


Thanks for a tight-well-written article with great photos.

Drag racing is a lot like soccer. To the uninitiated, it looks very simple- almost trivial.
But to compete successfully requires near fanatic attention to the minute details. and that's what separates the winners from the losers.


They always get the style RIGHT!!!! Beautiful machine


Really awesome that they've kept it for so long and it's passed on to the next generation. Looks amazing. Would love to read more about the spec of this car


You and I both, I’ve asked the owners multiple times without much luck I’m afraid!


Whoa love to see the Corvette here! Perfect for the drag strip!
Love this kind of culture in Japan!


C2 Vettes are the business.

Anyone else read his name as Motoko Kusanagi? Or am I the only GitS fan here . . .


Loved the Tim McAmis nod in the photos