Final Bout Special Stage Japan 3: The Pre-Meeting

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Final Bout is one of the largest and most well-known drifting events and organisations in the US. Their events are the reason many people build drift cars in the first place, and for Final Bout they are often inspired by early-2000s Japanese drifting style.

It’s been somewhat of a dream of mine to eventually shoot at one of Final Bout’s stateside events. I haven’t got there yet, but this past weekend I didn’t need to travel that far to get a taste of it. Final Bout was back in Japan to hold their third ‘Special Stage’ event.

Speedhunters - Alec Pender - FinalBout Pre Meet-1

This article isn’t about the Final Bout Special Stage Japan 3 (SSJ3) event itself, but a quick catch-up on the small meeting they threw here in Tokyo, which brought together a handful of entered cars for a pre-event party.

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That brings us to this small photo studio, with just enough room to fit around 10 cars inside.

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This 180SX and matching S13 were two of my favourites cars, not just because of their classic styling and immaculate engine bays, but the monumental trip their owners had made to attend. Leaving the night prior, the pair had trailered their cars 13 hours from Fukuoka in Japan’s most southern main island of Kyushu, arriving punctually at midday to roll into the venue with everyone else.

Speedhunters - Alec Pender - FinalBout Pre Meet-12

This JZX100 owner took the opportunity to bring out his impressive collection of early BM (Battle Magazine) issues, Option DVDs, stickers, and drifting paraphernalia. Carefully laying it out on fake grass, the collection ranged back from the late 1990s and through to the late 2000s. It was by far the most popular attraction for the day, with a constant flow of people lining up to catch a quick flick through what are now becoming increasingly rare and sought-after magazines.

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Rolling out in the evening, many of the cars and guests met back up at the local Family Mart. The cliché scenes of street-driven drift cars in front of a combini never get old.

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This black S13 was by far my car highlight of the day, proving that simple styling on these timeless shapes always wins.

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I hope these cars have got you excited for our Final Bout SSJ3 event coverage from Nikko Circuit, which I’ll be sharing with you very soon.

Alec Pender
Instagram: noplansco