Junichi Shimodaira first visited Los Angeles – the birthplace of the lowrider movement – in 1987: ‘I was a fanatic of Californian custom art culture.’
Running Paradise Road – a full-service lowrider shop in Nagoya, on the Pacific coast in the Aichi Prefecture – Junichi spends a lot of time in garages and workshops, putting together custom designs: ‘I love thinking of the whole custom car; the body shape, the front end, the grille and the headlights.’
Junichi draws on influences from magazines, movies, music videos and his customers' favorite images: ‘We're inspired by organic matter in nature, or vintage designs such as art deco.’
Junichi also runs Pharaohs, one of Japan's oldest lowrider car clubs. Inspired by the film American Graffiti, he used the title as the name of one of his clubs. Together, the club customizes and restores old cars – and, Junichi adds, the team also spends some time cruising in them.
While the garages are full of old and remodeled parts, the intention behind the business was never just to sell car parts. ‘I really wanted to remodel and fix cars,’ says Junichi. ‘So, we moved to a new store with a garage. That's when we started restyling. And with the internet, we could bring our customizing to the whole world. My job is my hobby!’