The Coolest Car Meet In Cali
Cars, But In Real Life

Before the internet and social media was a serious thing, getting your car on the cover of a magazine was the ultimate in recognition.

Big selling magazines like Super Street and Max Power would put builds in front of a global audience. These were titles I used to buy religiously. One of the coolest cars I read about was an orange RE Amemiya-kitted FD3S RX-7 that was built by SP Engineering in Los Angeles. Owned by a guy called Andrew Chu, the car was pretty much my perfect FD. A few internet searches lead me to read about another one of SP Engineering’s builds called Supra-7. This was a 2JZ-powered FD3S RX-7, which to some would be sacrilege, but the car looked amazing.

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What’s my point? You may ask. Fast forward a couple of years from 2001 and I’d managed to blag a job on a magazine called Redline and convinced them to send me to LA to meet this talented photographer guy called Mark Fagelson. With a very loose agenda, we found ourselves hunting speed, before Speedhunters was even a thing. The end result? A drive out to SP Engineering in Los Angeles’ City of Industry and, as luck would have it, I got to actually sit in that orange FD RX7.

Photos are fantastic, but they rarely match the wow factor of seeing a bonkers car with your own eyes.

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With magazine features you could read about the cars and their often whacky stories regarding their evolution and existence. Nearly 15 years later, the way we experience car culture has changed a lot.

For a while now we’ve been able to immerse ourselves in car builds, almost in real-time, as they are being put together, all via the medium of social media. But seeing a car in the wild that I’ve only ever seen in a magazine, online, or double-tapped on the ‘gram, gets me more excited than ever. One of these such cars was Carl Taylor’s S13.

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This was the first time I’d seen the Rocket Bunny-kitted Nissan in its not-so-subtle shade of green and excitement levels peaked.

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Caffeine was much needed since myself and Ryan Stewart, responsible for these photos, had just completed our third transatlantic flight in less than a fortnight. Granted, the coffee that Ryan picked up may have been affecting my ability to keep calm, but this was like a toy car. “Can I sit in it?” Of course, Carl replied. As long as I promised not to make turbo noises. And this is why I much prefer car meets over car shows. The close knit environment allows you to easily catch-up with owners and builders.

The gentlemen behind Players Shows joined forces with Ravi and the team at CSF to throw a meet at CSF’s killer HQ in SoCal a few weeks after SEMA. With this timeline in mind, I owe you all quick apology. I’ve been sat on this story for a couple of months. Ideally this sort of coverage would come out a lot faster, but… [No lie, this sentence stopped here. I assume Ben got distracted by something shiny - PMcG]

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When you arrive early at a meet, you get those birthday party nerves. Will everyone arrive fashionably late? Is the taco truck going to have enough tacos? You never know what’s going to happen. As the cars started to fill up the slick facility, we all knew it was going to be a great day.

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The most simple ideas are often the best: get a bunch of the coolest cars from SEMA that are owned by people who actually drive their show cars on the street, and eat some tacos.

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And who the hell doesn’t love cars and tacos? Did I mention that I love tacos? Anyway, I digress. Back to the cars.

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LTMW came out in force and the best thing is you could see these cars driving, hear them running and experience them without the mad hustle and bustle of the SEMA show floor.

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No Cali car meet would be complete without an RWB Porsche. This 964 993 was nothing short of stunning.

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Sitting next to the brand new R8 it was a nice contrast of old and new.

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I’d heard lots of positive vibes about Bobby at Sadistic Iron Werks and his fabrication skills, but never spoken with him. The man clearly has some serious balls if he’s chosen to chop up a 2017 Audi R8 and fit a Prior Design kit. His company revolves around getting cars absolutely on the deck and he has certainly proven his point with this R8.

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It runs Air Lift Performance struts that have been heavily modified, enabling the suspension to get its full range of seven inches of travel up and down. With Sadistic’s custom valving, fluid change and nitrogen setup, Bobby reckons the car drives a little softer than stock.

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Looking at this photo reminds me of what it was like to be warm! London is not the best place for car culture in the winter and right now we’re just getting over the largest snow fall in nearly five years. Granted it was only a few centimetres, but when you live in a country that grinds to a halt when it gets a bit windy, you can imagine the effect a little bit of snow has.

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All stop and bow down at the alter of all things E30. Ryan was certainly into this.

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Looking at the license plates, I’m not 100% sure if this is an E30? Let me know if I’ve got it wrong, bruh.

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It was great to see the CSF Evo X in all its glory. I’m looking forward to watching this get used in anger this year.

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SEMA reminded me that we don’t get to see that many Mitsubishi Evo models on the road here in the UK that much anymore. I’m sure there’s plenty still in daily use, but as prices sky rocket, people must be tucking them away.

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One thing I do know, is that R32 prices have gone fairly bananas over the past couple of years. At four of five thousand pounds back in the mid-2000s, they were certainly underpriced at that time. Now a good one will cost you over £20,000 (circa US$27,500) here in the UK. This example was super clean and made me miss my old R32 GT-R. Perhaps it’s time for another one?

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From classic JDM metal to a new school German M-car, the CSF x Players Select Open House really was super eclectic. The F8x game in the US is pretty serious. Alan Wei brought along his aggressive looking M4, complete with CSF cooling package. The F82 is a very complete looking thing.

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It really looked the part with a few extra carbon pieces. If you saw it in your rear-view mirror, this M4 would have you moving over on the freeway.

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The Coolest Car Meet in Cali. Why, you may ask? Well, on the face of it, this may not seem like anything special, but it’s a brilliant concept.

First of all, it’s free. Secondly, you get the opportunity to see these wild cars up close and personal. Even better, you can watch them launching down the street. You see, technically SEMA is only open to people in the trade and media. Add a couple of hundred thousand people into the mix and some very tired owners/builders of these cars and you’ve got a pretty hectic environment. Players and CSF have absolutely nailed it with this casual meet. Sitting in Carl’s silly green Nissan reminded me of the experience I had years ago at SP Engineering. Cars are about having fun. Rolling with you friends. Being excited about life.

And if that means spending 24 hours on a plane to enjoy an afternoon of post-SEMA Cali car culture this year, then I’m down.

Ben Chandler
Instagram: ben_scenemedia

Photos by Ryan Stewart
Instagram: 7.nth

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Please never call it Cali again..


I've always been partial to calling it Soviet Kalifornistan, myself.

I'm beginning to think that Speedhunters uses three criteria when choosing WHERE to cover a car show in America.

1 - A place where auto theft is so common that the locals consider it a legitimate sector of the economy.
2 - A place where winter either exists only as an academic concept, or never gets cold enough to hurt.
3 - A place where people threaten you if you make eye contact with them.

Hence, California, Florida, maybe Texas and New York Ci...I mean "the East Coast."


Urban Dictionary says:
'Cali' Top Definition:
1) One of the most important cities of Colombia, AKA The capital of Salsa. Unfortunately one of the most violent cities in the country.

2) An annoying name for California.

I say: There's a bunch of cool cars above this and you've zoned in on the annoying name for California. Haha.


Maybe it sounds better if you say it with a Mary Poppins type accent?


I am absolutely in love with that S13!


It's absolutely amazing in a really very stupid way. Glad you like it.


Any more photos of the F430 right after the coffee photo?


*Paging Ryan Stewart*


Isn't RWB 993; not 964?


You're correct and I am wrong. We'll get that updated.


I need some spotlights from this car show!!! Like really need it!!


Message the benz owner for fucking up what could have been a great picture. Cheers


I'm confused. You want me to message the owner of the G63 and congratulate him for ruining a photo?


I NEED MORE INFO ON THAT 2018 sti with the over fenders!!!!!!!!


Still waiting for a car that looks good with a duckbill spoiler. Not sure which one looks the worst, the BRZ, the M4, or the GT-R.


There’s an empty Autozone and a Home Depot low on sheet metal screws and black caulk somewhere.


Ha, you said black caulk...


Can you have someone do something on lowriders?

Keaton Belliston

Woah, I'm loving the look of those meaty tires on the back of that Challenger!! Now I need to see what it'd look like with meaty tires all around!! Totally reminiscent of its predecessor!!


love the one with the stick on fenders


That 458 looking so sick


The car culture is nowhere near what it used to be. Reading all of these comments shows me just how divided the car community is.


Judging the car culture by internet comments is like eating/not eating at a place because of a Yelp review - IE completely pointless.

You have to participate in the culture to judge it, plain and simple. Attend. Checking out builds on the interwebs is not being a car guy.

Point in case, I attend a weekly car meet with a bunch of guys. We typically have 20-30 cars. 99% of them are American cars. I like this because I work at a very nice Hot-Rod shop. I bring my big-booty'd-boat of a Ford SHO and park it among the classic Mustangs, new Hellcats, and occasional Fox bodies or classic trucks. The only thing not American that attends is a guy with a super cool MGA.

Now if you just looked at the pictures, you would think this crowd would shed a angry eyeball at my B-Swapped 95 Civic with some old school wheels, and a ton of interesting parts. I drove it there a couple weeks ago just to see what would happen.

Defying All the logics that would be found on the interweb, a small crowd gathered pointing at various things (my long tube/big tube header especially got a lot of looks) and questions started being asked. At one point I had half the show standing around it. All wearing the stereotypical car show shirts emblazoned with mustangs, camaros, and 32 three windows. Older dude walks up and tells me about his 2011 Civic Si that he loves and is his daily - he drove a AMC Javelin to the show. Another guy in a beautiful 1LE package new Camaro strikes up a 40 minute conversation about how he firmly believes to be a true car enthusiasts - you must respect ALL well done/interesting/neat cars.

Someone looking at pictures on the interweb would never guess that 50+ Merica-lovin' muscle/classic car guys would be so enamored by a faded paint old-enough-to-vote civic with some quality parts/work done to it.

Hence why, all the people who think social media can substitute for actually being THERE are missing out on the BEST part of being a car enthusiast. Shame really. #getoutandgotoadamnmeetyoulazyasses.


This might be my favourite comment in quite a while. Thank you.


Thanks for the compliment.

I have been extremely fortunate in the automotive world. My professional life has covered a quite expansive variety of automotive exploits ranging from pre-war race cars to modern supercars. I am lucky to be employed at one of the best Hot-Rod/Customs shops in the US and see an amazing variety of the cool, common, and unusual there.

I am also fortunate in that my close friends are as car-crazy and wide-interested as I. Dinner conversations frequently visit topics such as the intermingling of Bizzarrini with the major Italian manufacturers, Brookland aero-engined race cars (the Napier Railton - what a machine.....) and stuff like classic low-riders and odd 80s rarities.

Being close minded, and limiting your automotive interest to the extents of your personal taste ensures that you will miss out on the greatest part of the automotive culture. RWB Porsches, Stanced Euros, and Liberty Walk kitted things are not my "style" - but you better believe I would be the first one to run over to check them out and admire the creativity, craftsmanship, and vision the owners/builders have put into the vehicles. Anything well done is worthy of appreciation, and when you develop an appreciation of things that may be out of your personal taste or comfort level it expands the horizons on what you can accomplish with the design, performance, and abilities of your own vehicle.

Even if the owner of a vehicle has built/bought it for reasons you may not agree with - still does not change the fact someone, somewhere put it together and had some sort of inspiration for the final product. Over the years I have met many owners who only had cars built as a statement of wealth, trend, or attention gathering - in my world that doesn't discount the vehicle...just the owner.

Ford vs Chevy, Import vs Domestic, Built vs Bought, Function vs Form - all these arguments and mindsets are just crutches for people who are too close/narrow minded to realize that every facet of the automotive culture is amazing, and we are lucky they ALL exist.

Things can be learned and used for inspiration from any facet of the automotive culture, the only limiting factor is the individual's ability to keep an open mind.


I've never felt that the internet is an honest reflection of car culture and people's attitudes, the vast, vast majority of car people are good people. There's always the exception, but they're a minority and it's the same with any group in society.


I Love that fr-s


So many cool cars!
Ah, mention of Super Street brings me back. I remember the anticipation of getting another in the mail and wondering what cool things would be featured. I miss those days a bit because of the excitement that came along with a new magazine. I don't get that excitement or anticipation with so much being covered and easily accessible online. Ah well, the internet still makes so many more things visible so we aren't limited to what we see. I do wish I still had my fat stack of magazines though.
Keep up the good work guys.