No, this isn’t a story about good ol’ American V-8s whipping the living bejeezus out of a Ricer. Certainly the Land of the Rising Sun has been known for reliable, little four-cylinder cars that need to fit in their densely populated streets, but they’ve come a long way since they’ve become a global automotive producer.
However, anything resembling a sports car or V-8 luxury car usually has been created for our market, where gas is relatively cheap and we drive on long, open roads. So when the Japanese take an interest in American horsepower, you can’t help but sit up, rub your eyes, and take notice. Over at Yellow Bullet a resident of Nagoya posted photos of the Super American Festival 2012 at Fuji Speedway. It may surprise you to learn that the Japanese roll like we do.
Around 20 years ago, the Japanese owned a lot of American real estate, which made some people nervous. There also was fear that they were snapping up American classics due to a strong Yen. Apparently, that fear was unfounded, as American classics still is a niche hobby and, besides, the Yen lost its power. Gas prices in Japan seemingly hasn’t been a big hindrance, as they tended to be reasonable compared to Europe, but last year’s earthquake and tsunami have pushed prices to 18th-highest in the world (compared to 50th for the U.S.). Still, it’s nice to see them appreciate good ol’ American horsepower with nary a drifter in sight.
Most of the cars in attendance were Chevy-powered, which shouldn’t be a surprise. The Chevy world has an equal balance of stock and modded cars – witness Chevy Hardcore’s recent coverage of a big show at Maple Grove Raceway – but photos from this event show a heavy bias towards gobs and gobs of horsepower. And who can blame ‘em? There’s something about the torque and sound from an American V-8 that can’t be replicated from a turbo six.
Perhaps American cars haven’t been mainstream in Japan because what Detroit builds tends not to meet their needs, but there’s no denying that the American car is alive and well in the old car hobby in Japan.