Monster trucks are making their assault on Japan.
The used Chevrolet pickups with five-ton axles and 5 1/2-feet-high tires--which each weigh 1,000 pounds--are the newest U.S. vehicles to hit the roads in Japan.
Two Japanese businessmen, Mickey Mihara and Tatsunosuke Fukui, recently purchased the two trucks for $125,000 each from Seth and Meridith Doulton, owners of Golden State Promotions in Santa Barbara. They paid another $35,000 to air freight the trucks, which each weigh about 12,000 to 13,000 pounds, to Japan.
The monster trucks, the first to be shipped to Japan, will be put on exhibition throughout Japan and featured in an American show of monster trucks being planned at the Tokyo Dome in January by Gardena-based Ascot Raceway, according to Chris Agajanian, owner of the Ascot.
Seth and Meridith Doulton travel the United States, putting on “Monster Show Madness,” a two-hour show during which five monster trucks entertain young audiences by crunching and crushing cars. Corporations typically sponsor the vehicles for promotional purposes.
Leisure-conscious Japanese are beginning to take a fancy to monster trucks, too. “They are the epitome of the four-wheel-drive vehicle,” explained Seth Doulton.
Mihara and his partners purchased the original “Skoal Bandit” and “Goodyear Flying Tiger” trucks. The Skoal truck has been renamed the “Ascot Bandit.”