Another crisp winter morning in Japan started with finding myself entangled around a roll cage in the back of a PS13 Silvia; an awkward spot that I’d be in for the next few hours as we began our roadtrip from our hotel near Bihoku Circuit all the way across to Hiroshima to visit the legendary parts shop and car builder known as 326 Power.
Located in a little town, surrounded by hundreds of bicycles (how the hell does anyone remember where they parked?) and rolling fields 326 Power was a lot more remote than I’d expected, but this made the shop and it’s particular style hard to miss.
It’s probably a good idea to state now if you’re of the disposition where function is everything and style is an afterthought then it may be a best idea to close your internet browser and step away from the computer now. For those of you who are still at your computer and haven’t heard of 326 Power, allow me to shed a little light.
Owned by O.G drifter Mitsuru Haraguchi, 326 Power are specialists in drift car preparation and lavish VIP builds. When it comes to drifting, Haraguchi has been pushing the boundaries of drift car style since the early 2000s; going that one step lower or wider than everyone else at the time.
Parked outside the shop was an S14 that’s a perfect example of this.
Rocking the newly designed (at the time) 326POWER 3D☆STAR kit, a set of stunning BBS LM wheels, and an obscenely low ride height, this sums up the unique style Haraguchi has created over the years pretty well; crossing aspects of VIP and drift styling as well as tons of development on suspension parts that allow cars to run this low whilst still being drift-able.
It’s definitely not for everyone and it’s not going to be a competition winning setup but to me 326 POWER’s drift cars are all about showing off and dropping jaws – I guess this is what you could call the high end “fashion” side of drift cars in Japan.
As mentioned, 326 Power also specialise in building wild VIP creations like such as this ridiculous Oni-Kyan (demon camber) Mazda Sentia!
VIP style in Japan is always evolving and a trend that’s become popular in recent times is a crossover between the traditional sleek style and sporting looks usually found on track cars. These days it’s becoming common to see big VIP cars running forged one piece wheels, vented hoods, bucket seats, etc.
Haraguchi’s even been turning his attention to European car manufacturers like Audi and adding a little 326 twist.
The JZS161 Toyota Aristo VIP/Drift demo car was sat next to the shop looking menacing as ever.
Rolling on a huge set of Work Gnosis GS-2 wheels and running the full 3D☆STAR kit, this Aristo is probably one of the best I’ve ever laid eyes on.
It might be worth pointing out (for those assuming these cars run air ride) that all of the 326 Power cars are static! Most of the company’s focus is on developing suspension parts that help those looking to go as low as possible without the need for air suspension. You can watch the Aristo in action here!
Tucked up inside the workshop was yet another unreal looking S14 Silvia.
I couldn’t stop staring at the wood grain effect paintwork and colour coded 18″ Work Schwert SC4s. I had a little giggle to myself when I noticed this car was running 215/35/18 tyres on the rear – I can imagine this car being an interesting experience to drive!
Despite the showcar looks, this paticular S14 has seen competition action at the WDS series in China and it’s even been shipped out to Europe to compete in the HEL King Of Europe series alongside D1GP drivers Tetsuya Hibino and Daigo Saito.
My computers hard drive is stacked full of 326 Power photos I’ve saved off the internet, but despite years of lurking I’d never actually seen much from the inside of the showroom.
I was blown away by the presentation of the place, from the decor, to the window looking out through to the workshop, it was more like being inside some kind of stylish apartment owned by someone who was REALLY into cars rather than a garage. I’d love to see more places back in the UK with little showrooms like this!
Of course there was stacks of 326 Power parts on display.
Style isn’t just reserved for the cars exteriors, even the parts have to look as good as the rest of the car!
Whether you love it or hate it you have to appreciate the attention to detail and the go low or go home approach 326 Power has. It’s amazing to see that shops around Japan are still coming up with fresh ways of tuning cars that are borderline 20 years old!
And with that it was time to get back on the road towards our next stop – V FACTORY.
– Daniel Bridle