Story: Michael Crenshaw
Photography: Scott Council
VIP culture is more than skin deep. Think you’re in the same world as the big boys ’cause your Lexus is sittin’ on Rotas? Chances are you ain’t even in the same universe, kid. Rather, the Far East–inspired tuning culture is built around certain standards, practices and mind-sets meant to build a cult-status level of respect in one’s community.
“It’s a culture that shows you’re a dude with class, and that you’ve put serious money into your ride,” explains Chris Huynh, manager of Platinum VIP and member of Platinum VIP Modular car club. To the members of his crew, the money he’s referring to is the dollars that flow freely from their pockets; while wheels start at a minimum of $4,500 per set, instances of $10K being dropped are anything but out of the ordinary.
“We make our own wheels [VIP Modular],” explains Huynh. “We like to push it to the extreme—that’s why we chose the whole VIP style.” And while wheels play an integral part, every subsequent mod must fit their established standards. From stance to bodywork to fitment and paint, all of it must adhere to the VIP pretense; it’s that simple.
Kicking things off in the year 2000, Platinum first set out to make VIP culture come alive with a BMW E30 as their canvas. Unfortunately, the culture was a hard sell for the Americas. Not ones to give up, the crew waited until 2006—when they felt consumers were more ready—and started the Platinum VIP Modular brand. “We started VIP; we’re gonna end VIP,” says Huynh. With close to 24 members, all of which are close friends or family, Platinum quickly went from being just a shop to a full-fledged team. “As long as you get along with everyone within the group and you have taste—your car isn’t no $5,000 Honda Civic, and you actually put some effort into the team—we take you in,” Huynh says.
Been taking notes on the “dress code”? Chill, you’re probably overthinking things. If VIP is the status you’re after, lose the cookie-cutter mentality, brush up on style, and perhaps a crew like Platinum will take notice. Then it’s up to you to help enforce the guidelines they’ve put in place.