When you think of Japanese vehicles, you probably think of efficient cars designed for everyday use. If not, perhaps you think of the growing luxury car market in Japan and how imports are making their way across the world in today’s economy.
What you probably don’t think of are 1990s Dodge Ram vans. The interesting fact is that Dodge Ram vans are actually quite popular in Japan at this very moment. Keep reading to learn more about the ‘90s Dodge Ram phenomenon and how demand for this economical van has risen in an astounding manner, and for a very unique reason, in Japan.
Dodge Ram Van Racing
When you hear that Dodge Ram vans are popular in Japan, you assume that it’s because of their efficiency and ability to carry a lot of stuff, right? That’s what most people think when they first hear about the popularity of these vans overseas.
It turns out that the enthusiasm for Ram vans in Japan isn’t related to those attributes at all. Ram Vans are extremely popular because they’re being modified and raced on a track. While it isn’t exactly a mainstream sport in Japan, there is a whole unique sub-culture related to Ram racing.
Ram Racing History
Created by Abe Takuro, Ram racing was an idea designed to break all of the rules. When working at a race track, Takuro dreamed of racing the tall vans they used to transport other vehicles and equipment around the track as a lark.
Over time, his idea took off, though most tracks aren’t designed for taller vehicles at all. Now racers can even compete in the “D-Van Grand Prix,” once they get their Ram van race ready and know how to handle it on the track.
The 1990s Ram vans that are hitting the track aren’t exactly your standard models, though that could be pretty interesting as well. Instead, racers are heavily modifying their Ram vans and making them as close to real race cars as possible.
From milled engines and cross-drilled rotors, to racing transmissions and top-notch Brembo brakes, these Ram racers are getting every bit of speed they can out of their vans. Many racers even outfit their vans with wheels that cost nearly as much as an entire older model Ram van.
Only in Japan, right? That seems to be the case, as Ram racing hasn’t made its way stateside. At least not yet…
Article Courtesy of Avondale Dodge
Photos Courtesy of hooniverse.com, autoevolution.com, pinterest.com, omgpancakes.wordpress.com, dragtimes.com