How would you feel if there was an event where you’d get to see all your favourite cars in Japan, driving together all in once place? You’d do anything to go to it, right? This is how I felt when I found out that the Drift & Dress-up aka. ‘doridore’ event would be taking place again this year at Motorland Mikawa in Aichi Prefecture. After seeing photos and videos from it last year, I was super keen not to experience that level of FOMO again!
So earlier this year, I started planning a trip to Japan and made sure that I’d be able to attend. I think you can already see just by looking at these first few photos that it was worth it! We got up at 4am to drive from Osaka to Motorland Mikawa, which is on the eastern side of Aichi and set in the most beautiful green forest.
As well as a full scheduled day of on-track action, there was also a show section of the event which saw a pretty decent turn-out of cars parked up on display. This area is actually a newer section of the track which links up to the old course (this map will you give you a better idea of what it looks like), but for the drifting they chose to run just on the original track.
This immaculate AE86 had me swooning. You just can’t go wrong with a classic look like this!
Aggressive stance wasn’t just limited to the cars on show, it was a theme carried throughout all of the cars attending the actual track day part of the event too. Both driving style and presentation play equally important roles, which is likely part of why this event has become so popular with both drivers, spectators and photographers.
This year things were a bit more structured, with a designated photographer schedule in place to ensure there weren’t too many people running around the inside of the track. Usually things at small, low-key circuits in Japan like this are pretty casual, but for this event I had to arrange media access with the organisers beforehand. I’m so glad I did, as Pedey and I were able to get some great shots from the inside of the circuit and we basically had a 360° open view of the whole track. I love how this wide angle shot of this strawberry-faced itasha-style S14 turned out!
Part of the fun was capturing the different patterns of the smoke spraying out of such tight fenders, like on this super-low 180SX. I first saw this car in person at the Offset Kings event at Fuji back in 2014, and it’s come a long way since then.
The owner is a guy called Hosotani-san, and he’s clearly built this car to reflect his own personal style. It’s all about standing out and being different and not conforming to what society considers normal. Whatever boring is, this is the exact opposite. Seriously, just when you thought it was impossible to do something different with one of these cars…
Watching its crazy rear diffuser dragging along on the ground creating sparks was quite the spectacle. This has to arguably be one of the craziest-looking 180SX’s on the planet right now.
This S14 looked beautiful in motion, and how about that weird bonnet thing? The skin of the hood has been removed – I’m guessing there was an angle grinder involved? – exposing the bare frame. I really enjoyed the juxtaposition of this odd, raw-looking piece of metal against the overall cleanliness of the rest of the car.
Judging by old photos, the bonnet wasn’t the only thing the owner had recently changed about the car since last year, but he’d actually changed the paint colour from silver too.
It would seem that most of these cars never reach a final or finished state. The white Crown Athlete pictured above recently underwent a complete transformation; I didn’t recognise it at the time, but I’d actually seen it parked up at Daikoku PA a couple of years ago when it was pink and black! If you saw it parked up you’d have to assume it was a VIP-style show car… you just wouldn’t think it was built to drift, right?
So what was the overall vibe of the event like? I think this photo sums it up pretty well! People with such ‘out there’ style when it comes to cars generally come with personalities to match, so a lot of these guys are hilariously funny and just a bit crazy. A particular song came on and this group started dancing, then this guy stripped down to his undies and started ripping some bizarre moves causing everyone to clutch their stomachs in pain with laughter. Of course he’s wearing a (girls?) singlet with the ‘Drift & Dress-up’ branding on it!
Here’s another shot of that pink S14. I’ve always had such a big crush on this car, but I found it so difficult to capture its true colour! It was so bright, it seems to look a slightly different shade of pink in all the photos I’ve taken of it.
I know what you’re thinking and you’re right, it was a bit of a Silvia fest. It’s funny because back up north closer to Tokyo, JZXs seem to dominate, but once you head further south (and it’s especially noticeable in Osaka!) the S-chassis really is the platform of choice by almost everyone. However, there were heaps of other non-Silvias…
Satsukawa-san from the famous Team A-Bo-Moon made an appearance, driving a very naked-looking 4-door R32.
Is that the exhaust exiting through the petrol flap? Yes, yes it is.
I was pleased to recognise a familiar face behind the wheel of this seriously cool-looking AE86 notchback. I had met the owner, Ishikawa-san in Nagoya a month or so ago. I knew he’d remember me as we were at dinner with some friends, and I went to hold his baby for a photo and she started crying which everyone found pretty hilarious. Amusing photo evidence of this moment can be found here. He’s a super nice guy and gave us some stickers too. Thank-you! 😀
Would you even believe that this ridiculous RX-8 with oni-kyan (which means ‘demon camber’ in Japanese) was out on track drifting? Unfortunately it went off into a ditch at one point, but after it got towed it had zero damage; a testament to just how high quality TRA-Kyoto-made kits are.
These things do happen, and thankfully there were no serious accidents to report. This A31 Cefiro on TE37vs got off lightly, but the Advan S13 in the opening image, not so much!
At this particular second the owner of the purple 180SX was flapping his arms over the barrier, motioning for the drivers to get as close as possible, which of course they did. This was a fairly hairy moment as this S14 tapped the wall right next to me!
Nothing like a bit of peer pressure, right?
They were supposed to run a special exhibition round during lunch, but things ended up running behind schedule so they ended up driving in some of the regular sessions which was still cool. I’m still yet to go through our video footage, but hopefully we got some of their runs on camera! That’s next on my to do list. 😉
This post would take a hundred years to read if I included every car in it, so here are just a few more of my favourites. This ground-scraping Audi-faced JZX100 looked extremely menacing in motion. This body kit/stance combo might not be for everyone, but it’s so weird and I really like it.
You don’t see many Silvia Variettas around; I think this might actually be the third one I’ve ever seen in real life. This one looked crazy sliding around with no cage and a pair of massive subwoofers in the back! Only in Japan…
It might look relatively unsuspecting, but don’t be deceived! This S13 might just be the loudest drift car I’ve ever heard, and every time it went past I honestly thought my ear drums were going to burst it was that painful. Needless to say the crowd were loving it!
Here’s Mine-san behind the wheel of his S13. He’s a well-known drifter from the Kobe area (near Osaka) and was one of the main event organisers.
I have to say that I was so impressed by his dedication to updating information on the event Facebook page and just the overall structured nature of the event in general. The other organisers and he did an absolutely brilliant job! Thank-you so much!
Seeing such a huge collection of Japan’s best-styled grassroots drift cars in such a cool location was such a treat, and I’m so so glad we were able to make it along to this. Together Pedey and I took a ridiculous amount of photos, so I’ll make sure to upload these + some extras to a Facebook album shortly!
Additional photos by Peter Kelly