Founded by legendary D1GP drifter Mitsuru Haruguchi, 326POWER is an aftermarket parts producer that is just as colorful as it is creative. Despite its demure exterior, the brand's unassuming warehouse and the building adjacent to it are home to some of the automotive world's wildest color combos. That, and a handful of builds that are bona fide "WTF?!" machines.
Raised in the misty, sak -soaked mountains of Higashi-Hiroshima, Mitsuru Haruguchi grew up racing motorcycles along the snaking highways of inland Japan. Located just down the street from Hiroshima University, 326POWER's founding father opted to skip school, favoring the act of familiarizing himself with every road in the region instead.
But Mitsuru-san eventually began to tire of the same-old bike rides. After recognizing his growing disinterest, a close friend came to call, offering to take the future drift sensation on a "little drive" up in the mountains. What followed was an intense corner carving session the likes of which Mitsuru-san could never have fathomed. Plumes of tire smoke, screaming redline warnings, and a vehicle that spent more time sideways than straight had left Mitsuru-san flabbergasted. The back roads that he had grown so tired of traversing by bike, had just been given new life and right away, Mitsuru-san knew that this drifting thing was going to become one hell of an addiction.
The sensation of slapping gears around willy-nilly and yanking on e-brake handles, all while hanging perilously close to a precipice filled with certain doom was all too enticing. And so, Mitsuru-san set to perfecting the art of drifting, not knowing that someday this obsession would turn a small business into an international icon. After seven long years, and who knows how many sets of tires later, Mitsuru-san's drifting practice behind the wheel of an old FC3S RX-7 had begun to pay off. One podium finish after another was landing in his lap, and the decision provided to pursue a professional drifting career seemed all but given. Mitsuru-san would go on to earn a name for himself as one of the greatest drifters in Japanese history, issuing in a golden era for the sideways motorsport, with antics both on and off the track making their mark.
It was around this time that Mitsuru-san began to dig deep into the modified car world. Not just from a performance standpoint, but from an aesthetic angle as well. Twenty years later, Mitsuru-san's decision to build cars that were low and wide and then set them atop deep, step-lipped wheels with stretched rubber and extreme camber have made him a pioneer in the show car segment.
The business side of 326POWER took a while to come into its own as well. Like many start-ups, it too had humble beginnings, with Mitsuru-san's first product being little more than a lowly decal sticker. However, due to being at the forefront of what would soon be the height of his career, every piece of merchandise the guy touched sold quickly, and business expansion seemed imminent. And while the jump from selling stickers to designing aero kits was certainly not an overnight evolution, gradual growth and reinvestment in the business eventually turned 326POWER into a pretty expansive global operation.
After being granted access to both the build side of the shop and the suspension assembly center, I soaked up everything around me with wild abandon. While the vehicular side of our visit was our primary focus, 326POWER's company history, services, and products proved to be just as wild as the cars it creates.
Housed a wrench's throw from the mountain roads where Mitsuru-san first cut his teeth drifting, the 326POWER operation of today is home to much more than just heavily cambered cars and expansive shop space. While both of these things can be found in abundance, it's the suspension assembly side of the space that warrants a mention as well.
Not only are all of 326POWER's coilovers assembled on site, but they're made per order via an "a la carte'' approach that is about as colorful as it is complex. I'm not overexaggerating when I say that you'd be hard-pressed to find a more vibrantly hued line of aftermarket products than those offered by 326POWER. After selecting a chassis and suspension category, buyers are not only awarded access to a lengthy list of spring rate options, but the ability to mix and match colors for no additional charge. May your setup be mild, wild, or somewhere in between, you have full control over how far down the rainbow-hued rabbit hole you wish to go. Almost every component the brand makes is infinitely customizable too, with 326POWER offering enthusiasts the ability to have any design of their choosing laser etched into a part for a modest fee. As he puts it, "I don't want people to say 'wow' or 'cool'. I want people to say 'huh!?' or 'what!?'" 326POWER parts are designed for those who want to go one step further than the rest."
Thanks to collaborative projects with companies like Work Wheels, 326POWER has also been able to make a name for itself in the aftermarket wheel market. With ten different wheel lines spanning the gamut, the company's rollers are just as customizable as every other product it offers. From coilovers and wheels, to adjustable suspension arms, aero, lug nuts, and all manner of merchandise, 326POWER has evolved into way more than just a pro drifter's side project. While drifting will forever hold a special place in Mitsuru-san's heart, his devotion to producing ultra-high-end products for aftermarket enthusiasts around the world has taken center stage.
Oh, and as for the cars we shot, note that the yellow S15 pictured here is Mitsuru-san's preferred drift car, which comes as a bit of a shock, considering how low it sits on the brand's coilovers. Another shocker is the condition of this machine, which after all of those years of tire-shredding, sideways antics, remains in pretty damn good shape.
Standing in sharp contrast, is the red Nissan S15 pictured here, which remains one of the shop's most recent, and arguably wildest creations to date. This brightly colored beast serves double-duty as both a show car and a candy red rolling product display booth for 326POWER's vibrantly pigmented products. So, let's forgo functionality and logic for a moment, and bask in the show-stopping anarchy that sits before us, shall we?
Sidebar: If you are interested in picking up some of these wildly hued, race-proven parts, head on over to 326POWER Japan, the worldwide distributor for all of Mitsuru-san's goodies. Just note that while a lot of 326POWER components are stocked in Europe, certain parts are special order-only, and being that everything is still built in Japan to spec, may take some additional time to deliver.