Liveries in drifting are as synonymous with the sport as just about anything. From the early videos from the mountain roads of Japan, to the ten-car teams running the wall at Meihan, to the biggest competitions on the globe, cars with wild colours, fades, vibrant graphics and hundreds of decals are what instantly jump to your mind when you think of drifting.
But where did this trend come from?
In Japan, initially there was a law against modifying your car. Sounds strange to say that now since we know Japan as the epicenter of tuning culture. So, having a modified vehicle was almost an outlaw subculture, or a “gang” if you like.
Ever since Japan’s Bosozuku counterculture, pushing back against what is rather a rigid structure of law and order present in the land of the rising sun was commonly done through symbols, insignias and wild, flashy colours, showing you would not succumb to the monotony. But, to show allegiance, drivers would paint their cars with extremely unique, matching liveries, that they and the members of their team only would run.
This style became extremely popular throughout Japan and is present on some truly legendary drifting machinery such as the cars of Team Burst, Pink Style, and MCR Factory, to name a few. Soon, this became the accepted style and people seeking to promote businesses through D1 cars began to advertise on the vehicles or even enter teams themselves, as was the case with the famous BEE*R R324.
As more and more commercial traffic was drawn to drifting, drivers began finding ways to incorporate their various sponsors into their liveries, leading to some of the most famous drift livery designs in the world.
The Japanese influence on liveries spread far and wide across the globe, with many drivers taking heed of their styles and emulating them, as is the case with American drift teams, such as Julian Jacobs’ Animal Style, all the way to Australian teams like Street Karnage, and Polish teams such as Doriminati.
Liveries on cars in Britain really go one of two ways. Some cars rock extremely clean, professional looking liveries, as is the case with drivers like Luke Barker or Ricky Lawrence, or some cars go the whole hog with crazy Japanese inspired liveries such as Dylan Kehoe, Martin Wonnacott, Danny Whyman and so on.
The only question is, which one is more your style?