Import Racing started as a predominantly Asian American sport/lifestyle but has become so popular and mainstream, it now features 42% Caucasian Americans (source: SEMA '02). From the years 1997-2000 (Z.Team Yossi's most active years in car shows and magazine publications) the Import Racing market grew 300 percent to $1.25 billion dollars. With the 2001 film, The Fast and the Furious, reaching blockbuster status (Total US Gross: $144,512,310) and an international audience, Import Racing is a global mainstream culture. One could say that Z.Team Yossi has achieved its uniting goal.
Northern California’s show scene was practically non-existent in 1996. There weren’t any import car shows (the only car shows around were primarily ones for low riders, old school or muscle rides, etc.) and the criteria for a “fixed up” ride were minimal – a set of 16” wheels was impressive. So when my brother and I started Z.Team Yossi, we wanted to represent and pioneer Northern California’s import show scene as RJ did for Southern California with Team Kosoku. Sure there was people who doubted us – but the results speak for themselves (actions over words). In those days, I spent every dime on my car. In those days, I couldn’t wait for the next car show. In those days, a car magazine was my bible. In those days, my heart would beat fast at the award ceremony. In those days, I would wash my car till 4am and that still wasn’t enough. In those days, the thought of mashing with a group of imports gave me a natural high. In those days, I was proud of the import scene. In those days, all of “this” was fun. In those days, I used to love her.
These days the “scene” just saddens me - from the commercialization and raping of “our scene" to a market saturated with cheap gimmicks and quick bucks. But we have seen this downward trend in hip-hop, movies, and pretty much any other industry that starts from the underground and inevitably heads into the mainstream.
When people ask if ZTY is retired, I reply with these questions. What more can we accomplish? What’s the point if it’s not fun anymore? From Goodtimes Motorsports to Import Showoff, Z.Team Yossi has consistently put it down: 280+ trophies nationwide, features in nearly 25 magazine spreads (local, national, worldwide), being part of a motion picture, being featured on public radio & TV, judging at car shows all across the nation, starting trends (first import car club with a dot com/website, full graphic schemes in 1997, JDM / “clean look” in 1999, team trophy presentations, etc.) and most importantly playing our crucial role in pushing the scene to heights that no one could have imagined, comprehended or fathomed. At times I wonder if our efforts have gone unnoticed…
On the bright side of things, I have learned a lifetime of lessons from the import scene. From leadership skills and being able to effectively communicate with a group of peers – I was literally cultivated by Z.Team Yossi. I can honestly say that this experience has made me a better person and prepared me for the real world. In this sense, I have graduated to the next level.
I am proud of Z.Team Yossi’s accomplishments as well as the other “OG” car clubs that supported and represented along side of us. Also, a very true thanks to all of our families, friends and faithful “show-goers” for all the strong support over the years. Although we are technically retired, the name Z.Team Yossi will never die, and we will forever survive… “we will continue growing – one day at a time”, to bigger and better things. ZTY / Z.Team Yossi will always have a special place in our hearts. My only hope is that the younger generation of today’s import scene looks back and understands its history - we must all pay respects when they are due.
Peace, love, respects
and stiff resistance.
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