Celebrating SoCal Car Culture At AED
Staged Cars

If you wanted the best show to go to in Southern California that encompasses all forms of motorsports and vehicles, you go to Auto Enthusiast Day.

When Nitto Tire introduced the AED, it was designed to encourage all members of the automotive family to come out and enjoy a day of vehicles. From lifted trucks to show cars to drifting, if it had tires it had to be there. Since then, this show has grown substantially but has remained at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, California and it’s possibly one of the best venues for it outside of an actual race track.

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All cars are invited to show, but only those on Nitto tires could be selected for the display stage. However, there was no shortage of amazing machines.

Take Robert Chew’s NSX for example. It was the first Rocket Bunny NSX when it debuted at the 2014 SEMA Show, and continues to impress as it progresses with age with little refinements here and there. Most notably has been the change from that chrome blue to the pure white you see today. The other change has been the wheels, which are now a set of classic RAYS Volk Racing TE37s in bronze.

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Then there was this 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C built by Ranz Motorsports. The thing that struck me was just how well done it is. The engine is a Toyota 2JZ-GTE but inside was something that reminded me of touches I would see on a modernized hot rod; like something that would come out of Chip Foose’s shop. Modern Lexus IS250 interior touches are blended into the classic body of the ’70s Mercedes. This one might be worth a closer look one day.

On The Ground Floor
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Another car I spotted and recognized was the Motovicity R35 GT-R owned by Ernie over at Kolab Agency. The exterior features a Chargespeed wide-body kit and the interior was gutted which allowed Strasse Sport to use an auto body rotisserie to shoot it in Porsche Fashion Grey paint. The interior was added back in but Sparco seats, harnesses, and steering wheel replace the factory Nissan parts. The Yokohama Wheels Advan Racing GT Premium wheels in Racing Titanium Blue are wrapped in 315/35R20 Toyo Proxes R888s all around. It also rides on the HKS Hipermax coilovers and allow for a functional ride around Southern California. Under the hood is a full HKS GT800 engine build with a HKS 3XS Muffler for a unique looking sextuple exhaust outlet.

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Corey Hosford was in attendance for the Motegi Racing booth with the Boss14, which is powered by a very wild Mast Motorsports 427 LS Black Label with a pair of GTX3582 turbos run on a Holley Dominator EFI system. He’s attempting to compete in Formula Drift’s Pro2 category and had planned to debut at Seattle. Unfortunately, a timing chain failed while doing the final tuning on the engine at Murica Motorsports, but hopefully we’ll see this car properly run at 1000hp in Texas.

Burning Tires, Nitto Style

Of course, Nitto brought out their Formula Drift drivers for several exhibition runs, which meant that fans that normally don’t get a chance to watch every round got to see these guys in action. However, it was made even more special when Sam Hubinette and his wife, Stina, were out doing runs with their Lamborghini and BMW with Vaughn Gittin Jr., Alex Heilbrunn, and Matt Powers drifting around them.

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Auto Enthusiast Day is still one of the very successful venues for enthusiasts. While Nitto doesn’t have autocross or racing happening behind the scenes, it still find a way to put on a good show that people will show up to. It’s something many car shows struggle with and is why we’re starting to see them die off. It was also great to see more of the variety that encompasses all enthusiasts, another self-killing problem that many shows have by either just one type of car or the same cars seen repeatedly and without any progression. There isn’t a true, single solution to the problem, unfortunately.

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What Nitto does, though, works and might be something to consider when it comes to growing this side of car culture.

Words & Photos by Justin Banner
Instagram: jb27tt
Facebook: racerbanner
Twitter: RacerBanner

Cutting Room Floor
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19 comments

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1

Sweet show, garbage coverage.

2

Well damn dude. What was so garbage about it?

3
Philly Robertson

If its that big, There should be at least 100 shots.. When I shoot for large culture meets in Florida, My camera has at least 250 snaps. After editing, the final count is more or less 200 pics. But here at SH, IDK when the servers could handle. 100 Pics would cause slow page loading times, but to alleviate this, Upload to somewhere else and keep the link in this page where people can see the whole show.

This is what I do when I post coverage for a different site.

4

This is Sam and Stina from that lambo dealership drift video right??

Author5

Yep.

6

Why don't you guys ever cover the Pomona show? It is a much better show than this with tons more cars and a huge swap meet. A much bigger variety too than just a bunch of Japanese cars with rims. I've been to the Pomona show many times now and I highly recommend you guys take a visit.

7

Iirc Mike Garrett used to cover it

8

Yeah the coverage sucks you don't even show whole pics of the cars you try to feature.

9

...yeah most readers including young ones would be able to take these photos...especially with the camera I assume a Speedhunters reporter would have. These look like the Cannon G12 photos of any run of the mill visitor of the show. Sorry to just give you negative feedback, but I feel that it is in respect to all guys who make great posts, and all the people who would give anything for a shot at what you do

10
Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Wow, a HSV in America... never thought I'd see that!

11

Could be a G8, but those clubsport tail-lights would cost an arm and a leg.

12

not hating but pictures looks like unedited other than that it was nice coverage.

13

every car looks about as generic as the pictures

14

Really? Flak for a show coverage? Shows are generic galore, you can't expect touching and amazing pictures from a show. You want amazing, look at motorsport event coverage, not parking lot hunting.

15

I do not envy the Speedhunter staff sometimes. Being in Canada (Saskatchewan actually), I don't really get a chance to see any shows of this caliber, so an coverage is enjoyable coverage to me.

That being said, it must not be easy to go out and enjoy an event then get the thought in the back of your head "crud, I need pictures for to show those who couldn't make it what it was like"

I myself fall into that category, I have a tiny following on YouTube (WHAT is UP guys) and going to any event with the camera I find myself enjoying myself and hanging with friends or working the event (volunteer for an event staff, volunteers are what help keep events going) and I always get hit in the back of my head "I should have been filming this"

Its easy to voice an opinion, especially online now, and lately I've seen a lot more negative opinions on Speedhunters aimed more so at the various authors / photographers.

They do this for us, the reader, for our benefit if we can't make it to various events on a global scale.

So Thank you Justin for taking time away from enjoying yourself to take pictures and notes and sharing it with us.

16

You. I like you.

17

That 2j Benz was also a Sema build. I think from the same year as the NSX but it all sort of blends together now, 2012 though.

It seems like it kind of vanished before recently (at least online).

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18
Keaton Belliston

That's Kei Miura's old one-off front bumper on that EF Civic!!!

19

Dang! What's up with the shitty quality pics? Did a teenager with a crappy cell phone take these?

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