The Internet LIED about Steve Aoki’s Dodge Viper | Bumper 2 Bumper


– [James] Have you ever heard of a dude by the name
of Steve Frickin’ Aoki? (cheering) He’s known for throwing a cake or two. Heck, dude has nicer hair than my mom. Sorry Liz, he does. So why is his signature
on this Dodge Viper? Why does it say Benihana on the hood? Well I’m about to tell you. We’re gonna go bumper to bumper on this, maybe owned by Steve Aoki, Dodge Viper. (upbeat music) I’d like to thank NOS Energy Drink for partnering with Bumper 2 Bumper. (can opening) Aah. NOS Energy Drink gives
me the energy I need to make it through an
entire day of filming. This video might just be
14 minutes to you guys, but I’ve been here 14 days. They won’t let me leave. Thanks NOS Energy drink. Now, back to the show. (electro music) Before I tell you why this car is so cool, and the real story behind
the Benihana connection, you need to know about a guy
by the name of Hiroaki Aoki, aka, Rocky Aoki. (crash and suspenseful music) Rocky was born and raised in Tokyo. He was an athletic stud,
competing in track and field, wrestling, and karate. He was so good at wrestling
that he left Japan for the U.S. To wrestle on tour. Now I’m not talking WWE wrestling, I’m talking Greco-Roman,
oily boy wrestling, like Eddie did. (suspenseful music) At one point during his wrestling career, while he was in New York City, he made the bold decision
to stay in the United States and not return to Japan. He then rented an ice-cream truck, working seven days a
week, to make ends meet. All while studying restaurant
management in his free time. So what does this have
to do with cars, James? I know you’re asking yourselves. Well here comes the good part. In 1964, he was able to
open his first restaurant. Benihana of Tokyo. You ever frickin’ heard of it? Rocky Aoki was able to
create a dining experience that fused showmanship and entertainment with sick Japanese cuisine. Mr Aoki flew in some of
the best chefs from Japan to cook for his guests. And by 1965, people like the
Beatles, and Mohammed Ali, were dining at his restaurant. I’m gonna talk about
the car soon, I promise. With his newfound success,
Aoki did what anyone would do, pursue adrenalin-filled,
life-threatening sports. He developed a passion for boat racing, where he competed vigorously,
became a champion, and almost lost his life a few times. He also managed to float
across the Pacific Ocean, in a frickin’ hot air balloon, in 1981. Dude flew a frickin’ hot air balloon from Japan to NorCal,
without any fancy tech, in a balloon, for almost 85 hours. Where did poo poo? Just about every endeavor
he was involved in was used as a marketing tool
for his restaurant business. So naturally, dude found
himself in one of the coolest, adrenalin-filled forms of
marketing, motor sport. (rhythmic music) Rocky Aoki partnered with various teams over different forms of racing. Among the most notable, and
the reason that this car is sitting next to me right now, was his partnership with Team Taisan. Team Taisan is a private tier racing team, that has been most active
in the Super GT Series, since it was founded in 1983. Aside from racing Porsche’s
, R32’s and Ferrari F40’s, Team Taisan raced good old
American cars like this, Dodge Viper. At the time of the release
of the first Viper in ’91, Mr Aoki’s son, Steven Aoki, was living in California with his mom. By the time Steve was in high school, he realized that he was a misfit. It was in college,
during his years at UCSB that Steve came into
his own in the hardcore and punk rock music scene. And it was also the place where he started his record label, Dim Mak. Eventually, the label took
off, which led him to LA, where he stumbled upon the up-and-coming electro music scene. Steve quickly found himself
becoming an electronic music DJ. By now, you probably know
that this dude is non-stop. I went to his 26th birthday party. Much like his dad, Steve
Aoki is an adrenaline junkie, and it’s no surprise that he
too has developed a passion for extreme activities,
like sky-diving, and cars. Hell, even his sister is on it. Her name is Devon Aoki, but
you probably know her as Suki. Yup. (engines blaring) Your last name is Aoki,
what car do you drive to stand out amongst the
busy streets of Tokyo? (upbeat music) This 1997 Viper GTS was
originally bought in Canada, the country up top of the United States. Just like the first gen Viper’s, this GTS has the iconic long
nose, the itty bitty cabin, where you gotta put your
feet over like this, and the short but juicy rear end. It’s a classic sports car look. The front hangs low, it
has cutouts in the hood, that vent hot air out of the engine bay. It’s a big engine, it gets hot. Unlike the first gen Viper’s, this GTS has the exhaust in the rear, when the first gen had side exit exhausts that became notorious
for burning peoples legs when they climbed out of the car. My leg! Just look at the side profile
lines of this automobile. There’s nothing else like it. Has the massive fender cutouts
to relieve air pressure from the wheel wells. It came stock with
these sweet, super ’90s, very-small-by-today’s-standard wheel. And before we check out the rear, where you can see how wide the wheels are, let’s talk about the piece
de resistance, the livery. After this car was purchased, it was shipped all the way to Tokyo, where it received this makeover. Flames?
Check. Stripes?
Check. Japanese restaurant sponsor? Check. Bunch of dudes names all over it? Check-ity-check, check, check. A bunch of other decals? (mouthing sounds) Check. And because OEM stereos
sucked back in the day, it’s got a sweet Eclipse sponsorship. A frickin’ race car, with a sound system. This sounds like it could
belong to Steve Aoki. And back here, the car looks insane. Just look at the way it sits. The rear tires are wide AF. 335s to be exact. That is almost five Prius tires wide. The exhaust just pokes
out right in the middle under this massive trunk lip. Right under the lip is what has become the iconic Viper badge. This car is so badass
that it has its own badge. This is a very Dodge thing to do. They do it with the ram,
they do it with the hellcat. It’s also easy to see the massive groove in the roof from back here. Which was purposefully shaped to look like the head of a frickin’ snake. Dodge Viper, Kentucky
Cobra, nice to meet ya. Let me in on a little secret pal. Were you ever owned by Steve Aoki? Not talking, huh? Cool, I don’t snitch either. (screaming) Yeah, more engine baby. I mean look at this frickin’ hog. First off, the hood opens
up just like an E30, or Jesse’s Saab, like
a frickin’ clam shell. Sick. This engine is an eight
liter, all aluminum, V10, hooked up to a six-speed
manual transmission, paired with an LSD. All in all, this Viper puts
out roughly, 450 hrsprs, which might be kinda whoa,
by today’s standards, but because it has a
lightweight tube frame chassis, with a composite body,
the power to weight ratio makes this little snake boy sizzle. Because Chrysler owned
Lamborghini in the ’90s, most of the tuning and
architecture for this V10 engine was done with the help
of Lambor-(beep)-ghini. Hence the Magneti Marelli
logo on the throttle bodies. Did I mention that I went to Steve Aoki’s 26th birthday party? Your boy’s always been cool. Let’s go check out the inside. (shuffling) (spitting) As expected, the interior
follows the same design principle as the rest of the cars punk rock, bare bones, DJ, if I dare, aesthetic. Keep it simple, make it go fast. There’s not a single button
on the steering wheel. But thankfully, this one does have AC, because you know, your boy runs hot. (squelching) Coolest part about the interior? It’s got a frickin’
mini-disk player in the dash. This is peak 1998. Let’s start her up. (car engine starting) (car revving) It’s got more inside noise
than I thought it would have. It all sounds supercharged. (car revving) All right I’m gonna turn it off so we don’t smoke out the boys. With a sound like that, one could believe that this car was owned by somebody who is obsessed with sound. Maybe a musician/record mogul,
influencer, party boy, DJ, that throws cakes at peoples faces? I don’t know, I don’t know, maybe. I don’t know. Anyway. (rhythmic music) So, can you imagine Steve
Aoki driving this car down the busy streets of Tokyo? I can, but that literally never happened. The Interwebs said that
Steve Aoki owned this car and we believed it. There are articles out
there, outright saying, that Steve Aoki owned this Dodge Viper. But we made some calls. Our boy, Felipe, director of this show, he’s bit of a hustler. He knows how to use a
phone, is what I’m saying. He got in touch with Steve’s manager and sent photo’s of the car to Steve. Steve said, “Nope, not my car. “How did you get this number?” Turns out it belonged to
a very close family friend of the Aoki’s, then was recently sold to a buyer here in the States. Which is how it’s here. So that sucks. But, like I said a little while ago, this isn’t the only Benihana Viper. There was a 2003 Viper
GTSR with a black livery and Benihana logo. It was used as a drift
demo car in the early days of D1 GP and Formula Drift. The black Viper was driven
by Eiji Tarzan Yamada, and although the Viper never competed, due to the car not being fully legal, or safe for competition, many say, its participation in
drift demos played a big role in getting Americans
excited about the sport and building it to what would
become Formula Drift today. (car revving) It’s really cool that this is
like the most American car. But it lived in Japan. Jesse and I were in Italy last year, and we saw a frickin’ Z06
just cruise down the street, and we were like, that’s the move. Everybody’s got a Lamborghini here. You gotta get an American
big boy, that’s the move.

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