Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Import Scene or Import Racing Scene refers to the subculture that revolves around modifying imported brand cars (commonly referred to as imports), especially those of Japanese brands, for street racing in the United States. These modified cars are sometimes pejoratively referred to as rice rockets, rice burners or ricers. This scene was originally frequently associated with Asian American youth, however, it is gaining popularity among youth of all races in the United States.
Import drag racing first started on the island of Puerto Rico in the mid 1970's and 80's. Rwd Toyotas and Mazdas were the first imports modified. A similiar trend caught on in the U.S in the early 90's in Southern California. Fwd's primarely Hondas were the car of choice during this time. Racers like Steph Papadakis, Ed Bergenholtz, and Myles Bautista dominated the first import drag racing circuit IDRA (Battle of the Imports) in the mid 90's. Car modifying has been very popular among youth in the United States, especially in southern California, for decades since the days of hot rods in the 1950s and 1960s. In the early 1990s, youth in southern California began to modify compact Japanese cars, following enthusiasts in Japan who modified compact cars. This Japanese racing scene can be seen in the anime series Initial D, which focuses mainly on drifting.
The Import Scene has been protrayed in two mainstream movies:
Numerous video games have been produced about Import Racing, including:
- Need for Speed Underground
- Need for Speed Underground 2
- Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition
There are many magazines published following this scene. They often include tutorials for car modification and feature sexy models.
The following is a list of such magazines:
- Import Tuner
D-Sport (formerly Drag Sport), OverRev, TMR, Turbo, Sport Compact Car, Honda Tuning, C16
Modified cars are often exhibited at car shows, such as Hot Import Nights (HIN) and NOPI. Vendors sell various products at these car shows including sound equipment for cars and other car modification products. Frequently, models are present at these shows to pose in front of cars. These models are known as import models and have gained massive popularity among those in the Import Scene.
Notable Import Models
Although many participating in this scene race legally on tracks, Import Racing is often associated with illegal street racing. This has lead to a broader stereotype that those driving modified compact cars are participating in illegal activities, especially those driven by Asian Americans. A new breed of import racer formed over the turn of the century called the "ricer". This is a person that has a bad sense of autofashion and has a low I.Q. They usually have a slow car and make failed attempts to make it look fast with "Altezza" tail lights, neon lights, stickers, windshield squirter lights, chrome rims, large wing, spray painted interior, etc.........The general public relates these "ricers" with real import racers that actually know whats going on and cause a bad reputation for everyone.
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