Make Your Car Look Like a VIP's Car
VIP styling is a style of vehicle modification. The term "V.I.P." originated in Japan to describe the modification of certain luxury car models, such as the Toyota Aristo and Nissan President, to give them a more distinctive look. While only modified versions of these specific high-end cars can technically be called VIP cars, you can apply VIP style to just about any car.
- Get a car. VIP styling generally begins with a large, rear-wheel-drive luxury sedan. In the U.S., Lexus and Infiniti sedans are the most popular platforms for VIP modification, but European imports such as Mercedes are growing more common, and even American cars are sometimes done up in VIP Style.
- Unless you're a purist, the model of car isn't as important as how it looks. People are increasingly applying VIP styling to Kias, Scions, and even minivans, but you want a flawless car, not a beater.
- VIP cars are traditionally black, white, grey or silver. Try to find an appropriate car in one of these colors or have it professionally painted one of these colors. If you're not too concerned about the constraints of tradition, you can choose any color you like.
- Lower the car as far as it will go. There are a couple of ways to lower the vehicle. Probably the most popular now is the use of air suspension, since many of the high-end models that are modified into VIP cars already come equipped with air suspension. Since factory air suspension won't allow you to lower the car enough, many enthusiasts install a special air control system. Coil overs can also attain the desired lowness. Try to minimize the distance between the wheel and the fender. Edit if you are a purist coil overs are the only way to go. A true VIP car uses coil overs only, and airbags are looked down on.
- Install very wide, low-offset custom wheels. The wheels are perhaps the most important characteristic of VIP styling. Oversize (18-20") wheels are essential. Another almost-universal trait is that the wheels should be flush with the car's fenders, which requires a very low wheel offset (rear-wheel drive vehicles typically have a lower offset than front-wheel drive vehicles, but most VIP-styled cars have even lower offsets). Negative camber angle (the angle between the vertical axis of the wheel and the vertical axis of the vehicle, as viewed from the front or rear) is also very common. Wheels with large lips are common, but not essential.
- Mount smaller than recommended tires on the wheels so the tires pull away from the wheel's mounting edge. Tires are usually stretched dangerously thin on the wheels, as tire stretching (Hipari) allows a flush, or close to flush, wheel to fender fit. The idea is not to tuck the wheel into the fender but rather have the lip of the wheel as close to the fender's edge as possible. Only the tire is tucked in, while the wheel is emphasized.
- "Widen" the car. VIP-style cars should be not only low, but also wide. A body kit can enhance both of these features. Add a body kit that emphasizes the car's lines while adding presence. Go all out with a full aero kit, or, at the very least add a lip kit.
- Customize the interior. VIP style exudes luxury inside and out. Curtains on the windows are very popular, as are custom leather seats, floor mats (fur, anyone?), an accessorized dash, custom lighting and wood grain trim throughout. Tint the windows in either green or black to keep prying eyes out.
- Install a high-end audio system and electronic accessories. A VIP-style car without a quality system just won't do. While a trunk full of subs is a good start, focus also on fitting your car with video and audio accessories to give it all the comforts of home. From electronic gauges to a DVD player to a navigation system, screens and monitors give the car the look of the luxury spaceship.
- Add the personal touch. While there are certain conventions that should be followed when modifying in VIP style, there's plenty of room for your individual tastes. From custom taillights to interior accessories, there are plenty of options to set your car apart from the rest.
- Don't forget the tassles.
- For many people, performance isn't usually a big issue in VIP styling. Most traditional VIP cars are already finely tuned for performance, and so traditionally this has not been much of a concern. While custom exhausts are popular, they are often more for the look than for the performance.
- Be aware that many individuals have different interpretations on what VIP styling is about. For example, some people believe they should have loud exhaust systems while others believe only certain models of car are suitable for this kind of modification and still others like their cars as quiet as they are sleek.
- Looking for other VIP style enthusiasts? You can find out more by searching online, and there are many sites with forums and photo galleries. These sites are also a great way to meet other people in your area and find out about VIP style events.
- Newer VIP styling kits are not tall or exaggerated at all. Kits from companies such as Junction Produce, AimGain, Mode Parfume, Wald, and Anceltion can even be difficult to distinguish from stock to the untrained eye.
- VIP kits and modifications can be expensive, up to $20,000 or more. Don't try this if you're on a budget.
- Tire stretching and modifications to camber angle and wheel offset can negatively affect a vehicle's handling. Drive your VIP style car with care--even if it's fast, because if not properly set up, it's probably not safe for racing.
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