The “Ruined” Stallion: Japan Drift King’s 348

“Ruin: to injure (a thing) irretrievably”

Ruin and/or ruined exists as a staple of vocabulary within the current climate of automotive enthusiasm and industry. The word, whether it is being used as a verb or adjective, is tossed around quite carelessly, particularly when being used to describe the stylistic choices from outside one’s own genre of interest. However, in this context of cars and customs, “Ruined has transcended literal meaning (like so many buzzwords and key phrases do). Rather than remain bound to its dictionary definition, ruined often serves as a charactuer of the build which it describes. It signifies that the build has reached ultimate levels of a certain stylism. Custom builders and owners alike now quite regularly wear the label as a badge of honor; one that both flies in the face of purists and critics, as well as manifests having achieved a top-shelf level of customization, uniqueness, and overall x-factor.

Even with this dualistic definition of the word framing its use, ruined is surely an apt term for describing the genuinely awe-inspiring build that is this 1991 Ferrari 348ts. The once in a lifetime project was completed by Gimpei Yamaguchi. Yamaguchi is a resident of Kitami City, Hokkaido, located on the northern tip of Japan. The 27-year-old Japan native is a long-time builder, owner, and operator of drift cars. While Japanese car culture is every bit as colorful and diverse as it is on the opposing end of the pacific, broad genres and styles sweep through it. For JDM enthusiasm, clutch kicks and controlled slides are as natural as a back-road burnout contest here in The States. Gimpe’s hot-rod lifestyle has led him to build increasingly fantastic projects, thus far culminating in the 348ts dubbed, The Rising Stallion.

Photos: Shingo Takeshita | Words:  Michael Phillips

Hand-made is another phrase that has stark contrasting meanings in the automotive industry. There are plenty of different uses of the phrase “handmade” in regards to beauty. One brings to mind the imperfect but beloved finger paintings a child makes as a thoughtful gift, while the other points to bespoke precision and craftsmanship found on well… a Ferrari. Most certainly this Italian thoroughbred was originally endowed with the hand-made fit and finish that can only be curated with the walls of garage who’s sterile atmosphere rivals that of a surgery center. However, just as the 3400cc DOHC V8 was pieced together with unrivaled engineering detail, a one-off exhaust fabricated by humble hands in Japan to replicate the F1 audio experience was fitted to the Ferrari. Both serve as unique contributors to this particular builds undefinable magic.

Had Enzo himself been able to peer down the hallway of the future, he surely would not have seen such a striking expression of one of his designs. Even amongst the upper-most echelon supercars, the 348ts ranks highly. This example is finished in the unmistakably iconic Rosso Corsa, or Racing Red. Its body remains almost entirely stock, making use of a simple chin spoiler and the ultimate period styling it was originally made to display. The interior too remains largely intact with its dramatic bucket seating and its intoxicating gated shifter. The screaming V8 and custom exhaust offer what is often a Ferrari’s most notable feature. However in this most rare case, the stance is ultimately what takes center stage on this build – and it does so in such a beautifully unapologetic and dominating fashion.

The single pump hydraulic suspension system is completely handmade, even wonderfully rough around the edges, displaying the commitment that Gimpei had to his project in producing a custom feature for it that before, simply did not exist. The ground clearance eliminating suspension setup is aided by seemingly ridiculous amounts of negative camber on both the front and rear of the Stallion’s stance. Negative camber is employed heavily in JDM culture, particularly in that of Gimpei’s own world of drift cars. In those examples, excessive negative camber on the front wheels aides in setting up a controlled slide and making space for ludicrous steering angle.

In this case, it serves as means to fit extremely low offset wheels, as a nod to the builder’s specific automotive pedigree, and as a bridge spanning two automotive worlds. The perfectly matched wheels which lean intensely beneath carefully rolled and pulled fenders, are Work Wheels VS-XX. The 19s measure 10 inches wide in the front with 16mm of offset and a massive 12.5-inches wide in the rear with just 6mm between the wheel hub’s mounting face and center mark.

Yamaguchi’s passion project is perhaps the most outlandish build to have crossed the threshold of Slam’d Mag and will go down in infamy amongst onlookers of every opinion and genre. Passion is passion and when it is positively directed within the world of cars and customs, it will always produce positive results in our eyes. Gimpei and his Rising Stallion serve as more than just icons of native car culture and cross-genre customization. They are icons of the entire realm of automotive enthusiasm, serving as the perfect representatives for lovers of all things low!


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