Pictured: Takahiro Taketomi and co.
Now to get into little bit of history, many enthusiasts recognize the “Black Coachroach” as the first unofficial VIP team based out of Wakaya Prefecture. Their team was the first team to be published in the National Car Magazine of Japan. Some of these members had ties to the Yakuza, who styled their non luxury cars (Nissan and Toyota) for purposes of being undetected by the local police. The cars were typically black, four door sedans, lowered to the ground with wide wheels and low body kits.
Soon after, Takahiro Taketomi built his first VIP car in 1993, a Nissan Cedric. He is believed to be the self-proclaimed father of VIP-styling. Taketomi’s team began fabricating custom body kits for their sedans and eventually began producing it to other VIP enthusiasts. Three years later he founded Junction Produce, which specializes in wheels, body kits, and accessories for VIP style cars. Whether or not he was associated with the Yakuza or “bad hands” of society it remains a mystery. Nevertheless, in the early 1990’s VIP styling became more popular in the Japanese automobile community with his influence.
This quickly caught onto other car enthusiasts and eventually pioneered to U.S. in the early/mid 2000’s. OG plate holder “El Pres” lived in Japan during this time. He helped bring the trend Stateside with his VIP inspired Jaguar Daimler, where he met other future Liberty members. Other noteworthy VIP-OG’s include John from “VIPstylecars/Endlessprojects” and James from “VIPdout” who both continue to elevate the scene into what it is today. According to Taketomi, true VIP tuning is limited to only 10 Nissan and Toyota models: Nissan President, Cima, Gloria, Cedric and Fuga; Toyota Celsior, Century, Aristo, Crown and Majesta. Therefore a VIP car starts with just that—a VIP platform.