Authorities tend to get serious when street racing is glamourized.
But man, does street racing lend itself to interesting movies. While the Fast series continues to dominate headlines, I thought it important to share some of my favourite car movies, Megalopolis Expressway Trial.
Nearly as long-lived as the Fast & Furious franchise, with five films in the series, the films revolve around a group of racers that compete as street racers on Japan's infamous Shuto Expressway. Similar to how café racers would race their motorcycles from one café to the next, illegal street racing often meant timed runs made across various parts of Tokyo's highway system, with overpasses often used as timing checkpoints.
This red Nissan S130 Fairlady Z took part in such highly illegal trials, and not much is known about it—except that to become a member of the Mid Night Club, the dominant street racing faction, a car had to be capable of speeds in excess of 260 km/h (160 mph). In recognition of the Mid Night Club, now you know why I'm sending this #bcotd so late in the day!
These speeds had to be verified, of course, and the Mid Night Club in particular took great care—as good as can be expected—to maintain a high standard of driving. Potential inductees had a one-year internship before they'd be allowed to remain, with reportedly only 10% making the grade.
Japan is an interesting place for street racing, as drivers have the advantage of contending with patrol cars limited to just 180 km/h (112 mph)—with competitors routinely hitting 300 km/h (~190 mph), police wouldn't bother pursuing, instead trying to infiltrate the group by other means. Secrecy was of utmost importance: according to Wikipedia, a meet up would be planned by a team leader, with information posted in the classifieds section as so:
For Sale: Small handbags at discount prices. For more information, I am available for meetup at Daikoku Parking Area on Thursday, between 11PM and 2AM. Thank you.
Mid Night Club members were forbidden from sharing personal information with one another, including names and professions. The club disbanded forever after some members were involved in a huge crash that resulted in the injuries of eight innocent motorists and the deaths of two Bōsōzoku gang members, Wikipedia says.
As for the S130 Fairlady Z, I never really liked it—until seeing it in a new light, flying down the road in Megalopolis Expressway Trial. Watch the series (the first one is embedded below)—in the second one, a man by the name of Mr. Keiichi Tsuchiya shows up…
It's much easier to find the movies these days, too: the movies were banned from being shown in theatres due to their controversial content. The message still got out, though: consider the release of Megalopolis Expressway Trial in 1988 and the vehicles in it to be the launchpad for much of the import car scenes across the world—not to mention the books, movies, and video games like Gran Turismo that followed.