YouTuber Drifts Tuned Dodge Vans in Japan
Imagine a Dodge panel van with a 5.2-liter Magnum V8, souped up exhaust manifold, exhaust system, and whole lot of drifting.
Over the years, various vehicle manufacturers have tried to combat the image of minivans as bland, boring, brood haulers by giving their models sharp styling, aggressive fascias, and powerful V6 engines. Toyota has even gone so far as to call its Sienna “The one and only Swagger Wagon.” The Dodge vans in this video from YouTuber Noriyaro may be old, but they definitely have the attitude that minivan manufacturers are going for.
Over in Japan, using a Dodge Ram Van (aka Dajiban) to go racing is a thing. Noriyaro host Alexi heads to the Ebisu Circuit to give his viewers a glimpse of just what goes into the vehicles used during the D-Van GP. All the vans seem to be from the third generation, which ran from 1994 until 2003.
Preparation focuses on four basic areas: engine mods, suspension changes, brake upgrades, and interior alterations. Racers turn their wrenches on the 5.2-liter Magnum V8 and soup up its exhaust manifold, exhaust system, and air filter. To lower the van and tidy up its handling, they notch the frame, flip the rear suspension, and install custom springs and dampers. Racers also upgrade the brakes and throw on wheels that were made in Japan. Inside, they get their vans ready to race by putting in parts such as racing seats, a large tachometer, and a ratchet shifter.
Like any racing machine, these boxy beasts are prone to the occasional malfunction. Alexi witnesses one pull into pit lane, then dump all of its coolant. He then rides shotgun in another Dodge Van, which makes for a loud, rattly, top-heavy ride around the circuit. He follows that up by getting a ride in a van specifically set up for tire-smoking drifts.
As Alexi points out, the whole idea of turning a Dodge Ram Van into a race car doesn’t make a lot of sense and it doesn’t result in something that’s particularly fast. However, Japanese racers have found a way to give vans a street cred (by way of the track) minivan producers would love their vehicles to have.