The choice of platforms for anyone building a drift car is like a Japanese smorgasbord — plentiful, and with way too many choices. If a JDM platform is your preference then you are hard-pressed to look past Nissan’s S-chassis, especially as used by the S13 and 180SX. A long-time favourite of many traditional Japanese drifters, the idolized legend’s reputation has rubbed off on the next generation of drifters as well — such as Takashi Mine and Ryutaro Orita.
These guys are big in the Kobe drifting scene, and are often seen out and about shredding tyres on the street or at a local circuit. And they’re easy to spot. The rapid growth of drifting has meant that many of the cars in any pit look and sound the same, they just don’t stand out. But Takashi and Ryutaro decided to take a different path to the rest, and the end result is two of the most character-infused drift cars I have ever seen in real life.
Looking over them, one question kept bouncing around in my head, how did they create something so good-looking, so different, and most importantly so individual? The key to their creativity lies in the many plastic military-aircraft models they both built and crafted when they were younger. “If you can do it in small scale, it’s actually easier to do in real scale,” they told me. The military obsession they once had has been at the forefront of both builds right from the start.
If you put these two cars together today, you’ll find looking away is a lot harder than you think, the view is just that good. The most impressive detail on both machines is the paintwork, courtesy of Painting Squad Taiki. Colour blending, and most importantly the weathering effect applied, makes both cars look used and battle hardened. Rivets, patina, and many other small details added via paint meant no detail was overlooked.
Lifting both bonnets delivered almost as much of a surprise, not so much due to the attention to detail they display, but the lack of it. ‘Just rattle-can black everything’ is the motto for Takashi’s S13. ‘“Why worry about how pretty your engine is all the time, just spray it all black and worry about going drifting!” he said.
Despite the darkness of the convenience-store car park at which we met, we could tell the hardware underneath the S13’s panels was excellent. A SR20DET with Blitz 550cc injectors coupled up to a S15 turbo pumping out just under 300kW make for a perfectly capable slider, yet when it needs to be street driven you can do exactly that. The cooling comes courtesy of a Trust intercooler, and the radiator was pillaged from an R32 GTR. It might seem a little mismatched, although just as much thought has gone into the build as to the design of the car. RYO Type-2 knuckles give the S13 some crazy lock, stance is courtesy of 326Power ‘chakuriki’ suspension, and the drivetrain includes a Nismo GT two-way LSD with a final drive of 4.3. All this was finished up with RAYS TE37V wheels and custom-stencilled tyres.
Ryutaro Orita’s 180SX has less of a matte-black theme going on under the hood, but it does have the same beating heart — an SR20DET. This is mated to a Zage T518Z turbo with Sard 550cc injectors to keep the fuel flowing. Crammed in under the hood there’s a host of additional parts consisting of Nismo Power, HKS, A’PEXi, and Blitz.
The one thing that blows you away with the 180 is the heavenly exhaust note, which was achieved courtesy of a Hayashi Auto Service custom exhaust with a Trust front pipe. A set of Hayashi Auto Service knuckles, Ikeya Formula tie rods, and GP Sports suspension keeps Orita-san firmly planted on the road. The bodywork on this 180 is largely customized by Orita-san himself, however, a Rocket Bunny diffuser and rear spoiler perfectly complement his hard work.
The car’s stance and fitment have to be seen in person to be believed. And I can only imagine how much better the car looks under load, fully squatted onto the road with smoke pouring off the rear tyres.
In a country where usually nobody likes to stand out, the drifting and motorsport scene is a breath of fresh air, as many of the cars are infused with individual taste and ideas, although you will be hard-pressed to come across more flamboyant drift machines than these two anywhere. “It is our life and we wanted our cars to reflect not only the motorsport side of things,” they both told me.
For many drifters it’s their ability on track which makes them stand out, and the fact these two drifters have bucketloads of talent makes for a home run when your machinery looks good enough to match your skill behind the wheel.
Meeting Takashi and Ryutaro and seeing their cars reinforced exactly why the rest of the world looks up to Japan for inspiration, as they are forever pushing the boundaries, and it seems they will continue to do just that. “In the future, when we build another car, we want to make it a level up on what we have done now,” they told me. If this is the case then we should all prepare to be once again truly blown away.
I guess for some, style is attained through hard work, however, some individuals are just born with style coursing through their veins, and Takashi and Ryutaro are certainly two of them.