Back to the Future: Sendai Hi-Land Pt2

As we discussed in part 1, the Escort cars were the big drawcards. I have no idea how much power their RB26s make but I’m going to suggest it’s somewhere in the vicinity of A Lot.

The cool thing about these cars is because they don’t have half the motor sticking out the bonnet like certain other drag cars they look almost normal. The R32 was actually a pretty cool looking car, despite its droopy nose.

Classic 90s styling on the Y’s Engineering FC. For a while you could hardly find a modified rotary in Japan without these signature bonnet vents.

While we’re on the subject of FCs, the Art Engine/Kamata Body car was ridiculous. Louis Vuitton graphics and, as you can see here, a bit of power. Truly an “only in Japan” sight.

Of course, being a drag meeting, it wasn’t all Japanese. The contrast of American muscle and Japanese scenery is forever interesting fodder for a photographer. As an aside, I feel like this car would probably understeer a bit.

This Chevelle was actually pretty cool, I must admit. Check out the nitrous bottles. And the John Travolta impersonator in the trucker hat.

What appealed to me was the stance and the subtlety of the car. No fancy chrome or flames or anything. Shame about the bonnet, but at least it kept things neat.

One more. This Corvette looked really funny to me. I’ve always seen them as kind of quaint, like something a rich 80 year old Californian widow would drive. If that’s the case here, I hope for her sake she was already deaf. This thing was LOUD.

But back to the proper cars. Remember this R32 from part 1? 32 GTRs look so good with just the N1 lip spoiler.

Nasty thing, Skyline poisoning.

Not sure if any of you guys knew this, but apparently you can own an S13 and not turn it into a drift car. The rear overs on this car caught my eye. Check out the tyre wrinkle too! (I’m sure there’s a proper term for that but I have no idea what it would be). This car was super quick too. Somewhere around the 5-6 second bracket if my memory serves me well.

Big burnout, crazy metal flake flame paint, ridiculous wing end plates and awkward Elvis hair. This photo has all the essential elements, I think.

Slightly more normal looking FD, slightly less extravagant hair. The most amazing thing about the event at Sendai was how close we were allowed to get to the cars. This photo shows you just how “intimate” it was, and no one batted an eyelid no matter where we stood. Japan’s great.

It was interesting to see a few Scorch Racing stickers at the event. Here’s their super cool and aggressive looking R32 GTR. This is everything that’s cool about Japanese drag racing. Tough stance, stock body and fast. Who says drag cars have to be ugly?

Another “up close and personal” shot, this time of the Round Engineering Zed from part 1. Pretty.

Here’s the Scorch/Blitz Supra ready to pounce. Fun fact – this car ran a 9 second quarter mile at its first ever meeting. On a stock, unopened bottom end. Making 800hp. TwoJayZeeNoShit.

Escort R32 making cute fluffy white clouds for whimsical teenagers to look up at from a grassy field and interpret. “That one looks like a puppy”.

Up Garage/Target R32 looked mean. It was so cool to see names like Target at the track. Workshops I’ve known about forever – since back before getting a feature in HPI required you to buy advertising space in the magazine – but never thought I’d bump into.

The Supra in action. A rolling piece of tuning history.

Say cheese! Normally the person wears the sunglasses and the car has to go without, but I guess when your Z32 looks as cool as this one it really deserves the shades.

I know it looks like a street car, but that sneaky little pipe hiding behind the front wheel suggests there aren’t too many normal parts on this Fairlady.

Here’s that black street Fairlady I posted in part 1 bumping into stage. Panasports and a yellow cage make it look so wonderfully 90s.

This is the part just before all hell breaks loose.

The strongest competitor for the Escort cars was the First Way Supra. Note the LHD configuration – it is clear that the American nature of drag racing is a major drawcard for a lot of the participants.

Definitely not short of power. Could probably use 2′ spacers on the front though.


I mentioned the VWs in the previous post. This vintage-looking guy was definitely the coolest. To Sendai from Germany via California.

Welcome to 1975.

Welcome to 1998.


A man in a HKS jacket coaching the driver of an R32 GTR through his burnout while a tree-covered mountain or 3 looks on. We’re not in Melbourne here, are we.

So that was JDDA Sendai. A fascinating look at a scene that is clearly on the wane, but still passionately supported by the people who remain. And that’s what it’s all about really – once the fashion moves on and the crowds turn their backs you see the true die hards. The ones who truly live the culture. Here’s to them.

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