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Drifting Dodge Vans in Japan Exposes the Wacky "Dajiban" Racing Culture

We've always felt the giggles when flooring it while inside a van, but, for some reasons we can't remember, we never pursued this route. Well, it seems we should be sorry for it, as this form of blue collar abuse is already a well-known activity in Japan.
Drifting Dodge Vans in Japan 4 photos
Photo: YouTube screenshot
Racing Dodge Vans in Japan: DajibanRacing Dodge Vans in Japan: DajibanRacing Dodge Vans in Japan: Dajiban
Ah yes, leave it to Japan to turn hidden desires into not-so-high-octane fetishes - come to think of it, hearing the Dajiban name of this grassroots motorsport form is enough to figure out what's going on: we're dealing with Dodge van racing over in the Land of the Rising Sun.

And thanks to the video at the bottom of the page, which comes from JDM aficionado noriyaro, we can see what happens when a bunch of these vans duke it out on the Ebisu circuit.

You'll find that many of these vans are modified, but don't expect anything more than a budget take on the market. Even so, when a driver furiously blips the throttle during a column-using downshift, you know things are wacky.

Legend has it the Dajiban trend kicked off year ago at Ebisu, when motorcycle racers decided to switch from their two-wheeled monsters to the vans they used as support vehicles.

Out when the load and in came brief mods, with the result bringing tons of adrenaline. So don't be surprised to find completely stock 318 V8s under the massive hoods of these Dodges, albeit with supped-up cooling systems that can support the prolonged hooning.

And given the location of these stunts, don't expect the Dajiban thing to remain a straight-line-only affair. Oh no. Those crazy drivers will occasionally engage in drifting activities, such as the ones you can see in these screenshots - Body roll? Unpredictable mid-turn hopping? Don't let such unimportant details derail you from the slip angle path.

Come to think of it, the US enjoyed its fair share of van hooning pleasures back in the 80s. Just think of the A-Team or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

So what happened? Who killed the go-fast van? Well, Japan is probably the one to blame here. After all, it was the original Toyota RAV4 who popularized the crossover segment, allowing these cars to show the world it doesn't necessarily need to turn to vans for extra space, right?

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About the author: Andrei Tutu
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In his quest to bring you the most impressive automotive creations, Andrei relies on learning as a superpower. There's quite a bit of room in the garage that is this aficionado's heart, so factory-condition classics and widebody contraptions with turbos poking through the hood can peacefully coexist.
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