It's one of the most overused and misunderstood labels in the import automotive world, and even now, some 20-plus years after its inception, the VIP movement continues to serve as a point of confusion. The Internet, with all of its quirks and self-made experts hasn't helped clear things up, and if you ask ten different people what VIP style, or "bippu," refers to you'll probably get just as many different answers.
What do we know for certain? Well, based on what's been said time and time again by those that helped fuel the movement from the very beginning, your friend's 1989 Tercel with privacy curtains and a fancy rear view mirror charm isn't really VIP. In fact, bippu styling is really only appropriate for a small group of vehicles known for being large, luxurious sedans, typically offered by Toyota and Nissan in Japan. The color of choice is almost always black, which is why so many U.S.-bred VIP cars are done that way.
Junction Produce of Osaka was at the forefront of the bippu craze, and under the watchful eye of president Takahiro Taketomi, the company saw rapid growth as the style caught on with enthusiasts in Japan and years later the U.S. In the early '90s, Junction Produce was a small car crew with members interested in building luxury cars, but with an almost non-existent market for the large sedans, options were scarce. Those parts that were available weren't to the liking of the JP crew.
Taking matters into their own hands, Junction Produce began creating their own body kits, but the effort wasn't to make money. In fact, the bippu kits weren't even available to anyone outside of the group. That changed when people saw their cars and were begging for them to offer their custom parts to the public. The interest soon led to them creating other components like exhaust systems, wheels, and interior bits.
As bippu styling swept across the US, many soon learned that the price tag associated with authentic goods was extraordinary. And while some cars featured a legit Junction Produce body kit or a few lavish interior pieces, few had the whole package like Kelvin Tohar's Lexus. Our sister pub Super Street did their own feature on the car, but I also had a chance to shoot Kelvin's car at the old Falken facility in 2007, and recently dug up the pics - enjoy.
Behind the Build
Kelvin Tohar's 2000 Lexus GS
Suspension Air Runner full air suspension
Wheels/Tires 19x9.5 (front) and 19x10.5 (rear) Junction Produce Scara rims with 235/35R19 (front) and 245/35R19 (rear) Falken FK-452 tires
Exterior Junction Produce body kit, Junction Produce three-piece rear wing, Junction produce exhaust, Junction Produce badging and LED taillights; repainted stock black; shaved inner fenders; Blitz i-Burner spark lights; Graphtech decals; Garson Executive license plate emblem; Star Shield Armor invisible bra; chrome Lexus grille
Interior Woodgrain dash from Sherwood Dash; Luxis shift knob and pedals; Garson Executive curtains; Junction Produce pillows; Indeed side tables and woodgrain cigarette lighter; Alpine IVA-X200 head unit, V-Power amplifiers, Type R speakers, Blackbird and separates; Tsunami wiring