For those of you who follow automotive trends coming out of Japan, then the whole VIP thing won’t be new to you. But for the uninitiated, VIP styling is perhaps the hottest trend to emerge from Japan in recent years, focusing on aggressive but clean styling that was first seen on Yakuza (Japan’s mafia) machines cruising the mean streets of Tokyo and Osaka. These were traditionally all big four-door luxury barges that had been pimped out with really aggressive offset large diameter wheels, fender flares to match, and a super low ride (often achieved with air bag suspension) along with a very plush interior. However, like all emerging trends, the VIP style, or “Bippu” as it’s called in Japan, has evolved into a more varied and nuanced form of vehicle enhancement that includes not only the big luxury cruisers favored by the gangster-class but also more traditional tuner platforms and even sub-compacts.
As you might expect, just like the JDM style that’s still so popular among Honda and Nissan lovers here in America, VIP styled Japanese rides are also catching on over here on our side of the Pacific. We’re starting to see more and more big Japanese coupes and sedans with a bippu flavor, but Will Wong of Vancouver, BC has injected some serious performance into the North American VIP scen by transforming his 1989 Nissan Skyline GTS-T Type M coupe into this blacked out and slammed ganstermobile.
After a few years of owning FWD Hondas, Will decided it was time to upgrade to a RWD platform. “When I found out [in 2004] that JDM cars were eligible for import [into Canada once they’re 15-years-old], I jumped on the opportunity and quickly snatched up a 1989 Nissan Cefiro A31.” Sadly, just a few months later the car was totalled in a freak accident, when a car theft ran a light while being chased by the police and crashed into a van that then crashed into Will’s parked Cefiro. Not wanting to wait another 2 months to source and bring in another Cefiro, Will opted to pick up this ‘89 R32 Skyline GTS-T Type M that had already been imported and was bone stock at the time. And so it was that in June of 2004 Will’s Bippu Skyline adventure began.
Almost immediately Will began modifying his R32, starting with a GT-R hood, front grill, and front bumper as well as Type M side skirts and a satin/flat black hotrod-style paintjob. “Originally I had 17x9 and 18x9.5 WORK Emotion CR Kai’s in Bronze. At the time (2004) the fitment of the Kai’s were considered pretty aggressive by North American standards, but the boys in JDM land were already poking like horny rabbits; fitting everything from 10J+ and super negative offset wheels. I knew I had to have that type of setup, the tsuraichi fender look.”
With that in mind, off went Will’s Skyline to spend some quality time with Gerrard and Paulo at Keep Performance Labs (aka Keeplabs) in Richmond, BC for a complete VIP transformation, starting with some fender rolling and pulling to add 30mm of clearance so that the newly selected WORK VS-KF deep dish rims would fit in that hardcore bippu style. And since the fenders got pretty banged up in the process, “I decided to live on Mac n’ Cheese for about 4 months to saved enough money to buy a Final Konnexion First Contact full body kit and covered up the ghetto superstar look with a blingin’ Alsa Corp Ice Pearl Flake Jet Black tri-stage paintjob.” Definitely worth the stomach cramps and diarrhea in our books, given how eye-catching the new paint is. And since the roads in Vancity aren’t bowling alley smooth like they are in Japan, Will was smart enough to run a set of Tein HA coilovers to finalize the ride height, rather than messing around with crazy low JDM styles that require an air bag system and a deep wallet to replace all the cracked front lips and camber-worn tires. Finishing off the super clean bippu exterior package is a PRIME 7000k HiD kit and Blitzgear pin-striping and “Keeplabs” crest.
But unlike many VIP cars, which are all style with very little substance under the hood, Will’s Skyline has some serious muscle to back up its “don’t mess with me” looks. Rather than doing the all-too-commom RB26DETT GT-R swap, Will decided he’s be a little different and go with a R33 RB25DET single turbo setup. As Will stated, “Everyone was nagging me to do a RB26DETT swap, but I thought to myself ,if I did that, wouldn’t I be a damn fool for not buying a GTR in the first place?” So in went the RB25, along with a polished Garrett GT30R ball-bearing turbo controlled by a Mines 300ZX TT ECU. And in typical Keeplabs style, this no BS shop worked the engine bay over from top to bottom, from the billet top-feed fuel rail, 90mm customized Q45 throttle body, one-piece driveshaft, intercooler piping, 3-inch diameter downpipe, and lowered battery tray to the wire tuck and stainless catback exhaust system. Throw in a GReddy polished intake manifold and catch can along with HKS sequential blow-off valve and front mount intercooler and you’ve got a boosted 2.5-liter RB motor that’s good for 403whp and 330ft/lbs at 14psi, thanks to the expert tuning done by Kinetic Motorsports on their Dyno Dynamics chassis dyno.
Inside Will’s bippu bruiser things aren’t all wood paneling and overstuffed seats like some of the old school VIP machines tend to be, instead featuring a much more performance-oriented cockpit including a Cusco roll cage and JIC Magic red Alcantara bucket front seats mounted extra low by Keeplabs. And instead of curtains and a hidden handgun in the glove box, this gangster go-machine has DEFI BF-series oil pressure, water temp and boost gauges flush mounted to the dash and A’PEXi SAFCII and AVC-R boost controller custom-mounted in the glove box. No big OE wheel with cruise control and volume buttons either, just a Nardi ‘DeepCorn’ steering wheel and Classic shift knob. But just in case you think Will’s R32 has totally departed from its exterior VIP theme, there are Focal speakers all around along with a Pioneer AVIC-D1 navi unit onboard.
Whether it’s his daily driven Junction Produce 1991 Y32 Nissan Cima or this “gangster with firepower” R32 Skyline, Will Wong is clearly a man in love with the bippu look. In fact, Will is so passionate about VIP style automobiles that he’s started his own business call Style Boutique Inc., which is dedicated to importing VIP products like those from Junction Produce. So if you’re diggin’ this VIP thing and want some help building your own, you could do a lot worse than giving our boy Will a call.