V to the I to the P
I have been asked several times over the years, “What makes a car a VIP CAR?”  That’s when I reply, “It all depends on what part of the world we are standing in.”

It’s very simple and something we tend not to make overly complicated, pronouncing it  “vip” or “bippu,” not “vee-eye-pee.” In essence, saying it as one word and not spelling out each letter.  

It all starts with the platform though. Fortunately in Japan, where this trend originated, they are blessed with a large variety of luxury sedans from its domestic automakers. A VIP Car starts with that foundation, the car itself. Nissan brings a fleet of sedans to the VIP party: the President, Cima, Gloria, Cedric and the Q45. Toyotas fleet includes the Century, Celsior, Aristo, Crown and Majesta. Take one of these platforms and begin the modifications of your choice.

Let’s start with the suspension. Air suspensions are extremely popular for the fact you can drive as low as you want and provide the clearance when needed. Coil-overs can also be used. The main thing is to bring the car down as low as possible. Next, we add low offset wheels. The rim is pretty much kissing the fender, or barely clearing it, when tucking into them. From there a body kit as installed, making the car seem even more massive than it already is and even closer to the ground. These are the building blocks of a modified VIP Car.

V to the I to the P V to the I to the P

Here is where a VIP Style Car comes in. You would take these same types of modifications and put them on cars that are not considered a VIP Car platform. A very popular trend is to use a van (Honda Odyssey, Toyota Previa and Sienna and the Nissan High-Ace), box (Scion xB and Nissan Cube) and other sedans (Infiniti G35s, Lexus IS300s, Nissan Maximas and Honda Accords). Outfit any of these cars with the same styling cues and/or vendors that a VIP Car would use, and that is what I like to define as a VIP Style Car.  

In North America, we aren’t as fortunate to have the large selection of true VIP Car platforms that other countries do. Though the trend is still in the infancy stages here, some U.S.-based companies have tried to sell European sedan offerings as VIP Cars. But, while those can belong in the VIP Car category, there is a large sense of pride within the Japanese modding community in its own luxury sedans. That said, within the past couple of years, we are starting to see a lot of the usual VIP Car suspects beginning to add their touches to the Mercedes S-Class, Rolls-Royce Phantom and other Euro luxury sedans.

V to the I to the PWe tend to adapt styling cues seen in Japanese VIP Cars to the platforms we have available to us. It isn’t our choice that we don’t have a Toyota Century or a Nissan President here. And, there is nothing wrong with starting on a Honda Accord or a Toyota Avalon as long as you can distinguish that a VIP Car starts at the foundation of the car itself.

VIP Style Cars simply take the styling cues of a modified VIP Car and adapts them to a non-traditional platform. A great example of this is Performance Auto and Sound’s own Honda Accord; it takes many VIP Car mods and then applies them to the Accord to achieve that all-important VIP Style. Several U.S. companies like VIP Modular Wheels and VIP’d Out tables provided custom-built parts just for the project.

I hope you enjoy this VIP-themed issue. Here you'll be able to see many different genres of VIP.

More Articles

Still Crushing

Robert Kochis is one of those guys that just can’t leave his car alone, but in the best ways. If you look at the orange car that graced our April/May 2013 cover and was featured inside of one of our…
Read More

Unitronic Chipped

From humble beginnings, Unitronic Chipped has gone from a modest auto electrical shop to a major player in the chip tuning world. With the proliferation of turbo Audis and VWs, Unitronic Chipped was formed in 2003 to brand themselves as…
Read More

Formula Drift In-Depth: Mid-Season Updates

After five rounds of the 2012 Formula D season, the series has evolved from where it started at back in Long Beach. Car changes, motor improvements and rookies have quietly made waves in the pits. So, it's time we gave…
Read More

Masato Kawabata (Part 1): Getting To Know The GT-R-Sliding D1 Champ

It’s not every day you get to sit down with a D1 champ and pick his brain with a bunch of questions; some trickier than others, but that’s exactly what I did when Toyo Tires invited me to lunch with…
Read More

Project Ground Pounder: Phase 5

All good things must come to an end, but in this case that’s only partially true. The only things coming to an end are the never-ending days, weeks and months of building to get Project Ground Pounder up and running.…
Read More