Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Import Scene

The Import scene, or the import racing scene involves import drag car racing, which became popularized in the U.S. after "hot rod" racing was introduced in the 1950s and 1960s. Import drag racing first started in the mid-1960s in Southern California with Volkswagen Beetles, and continued to gain popularity through the 80s and 90s with Japanese import brand cars, such as the Honda. In particular, young Asian American street racers in the California area had a great influence on its early development. With its rising popularity, street racing with modified Japanese vehicles became a great attraction to many Asian Americans, following the trend in Japan.

Import Models
Import models, or promotional models started to become hired in order to drive the consumer demand for drag racing products as well as the popularity of import drag racing shows. As was the racing scene, import modeling became popular amongst young Asian American females. Such models are extremely objectified and sexualized to represent a feminine contrast to a "macho" racing scene, yet fall in line with the attempts to portray the import scene as "sexy" for all involved. Tila Tequila and Natasha Yi are among the many import models that are idolized in the import scene.

Cultural Relevance
The import car scene started off as a uniquely Asian American phenomenon, derived from both American influences of "hot rod" racing and Japanese street racing. Together, these aspects of different cultures have created a new culture, involving "souped up" "rice rockets" and "exotic" models that can only be found in Asian America. This import scene culture has leaked into a more mainstream media, with Tila Tequila's reality show, "A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila" and the "Fast and the Furious" movie trilogy. Several magazines cover the import scene, and one can find that the pages are dominated primarily by Asian American faces.
Import Tuner magazine
Super Street magazine

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