Late-Night Hangs In Malaysia

It’s one thing to attend modified and custom car shows in other countries, but to get a real taste of the culture nothing beats a casual meet-up and cruise. And that’s something I got to experience on my recent trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

If you’ve caught some of my recent stories you’d know that my primary reason for heading to the Southeast Asian country was Retro Havoc 2018, and also that the event’s organiser, Alie Kuoppa, planned a number of other activities for the invited Japanese media contingent including a Sepang International Circuit track day.

Then there was the special late-night meet…


I didn’t exactly know what I’d be in for, but that was half the excitement of turning up to the meeting spot, a large gas station around an hour’s drive out of the KL city center.


Over the next while a steady stream of cars arrived at the location, but soon enough the organizers gathered, formal introductions were made and the night’s plan was explained. The main event would be a drive up to the grounds of Casino De Genting in the Genting Highlands region of Pahang. Walkie-talkies were handed out, but at this time I had no idea of just how amazing the roads leading to the casino would be.


Before setting off, Daijiro Inada of Option magazine, Yuji Miyazaki of StanceNation Japan, Syouzi of Star Road and myself were asked to each select a car to ride in. While my counterparts chose familiar JDM machines, I decided to go for something I didn’t even know existed before visiting Malaysia: a humble Proton. More on that car in a moment.


What proceeded to happen was a bit of a blur. As it turns out, the casino is perched on top of a mountain, and the route up to the top reminded me of one of my favourite Japanese touge passes: Irohazaka, just outside of Nikko. Like it is in Japan, the driving was, well… ‘spirited’.


At the top we all regrouped in the casino’s massive parking deck, and it was here that I was able to take a closer look at the machines that has joined us for the evening. To say it was a varied bunch would be a total understatement.


See what I mean?


As for the car I had arrived in, it definitely wasn’t your average Satria Neo. This is a 2010 Satria Neo R3 Lotus Racing version, of which only 25 examples were ever built. It’s based on the 2009 Satria Neo CPS, but featured a host of 2008 Satria Neo R3 engine tweaks and other upgrades including Öhlins coilover suspension and AP Racing brakes. Being a genuine Lotus-enhanced model, British Racing Green paint was a given.

I didn’t have time to do a full shoot of the car this time around, but hopefully we can make that happen on my next visit to Malaysia.


As so often is the case, it’s the experiences that happen by chance that provide the most amazing times, and although this was nothing more than a meet-up and a drive – something I’m sure the majority of us can relate to – it’s another night of car culture I won’t be forgetting any time soon. I can’t wait to do it again, but next time I just hope someone will let me drive.

Ron Celestine
Instagram: celestinephotography



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Whats the story behind the RWB tag on the AE86?


The owner (same guy from the race track in the video) got Naki to sign it after his visit to Malaysia a while back. That's kinda of the short version but that's basically how it happened if I recall correctly. Now, Daijiro, Yuji, and Syouzi signatures are on it


Really cool detail!


"Being a genuine Lotus-enhanced model" It is true that some early Satria Neo were benefited from Lotus Enginering but the late models were modified in house by Proton's R3 division (Short for Race Rally Racing). The Lotus Racing badging was in commemoration of Tony Fernandes F1 team at that time Lotus Racing (Later become Caterham racing, when trademark issues end the collaboration between Lotus Cars (Proton owned at that time) and Fernandes. So the car had no tuning from Lotus Cars/Engineering.

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Lotus helped in the suspension tuning right from the factory. R3 refined it further. But I believe this model with the Ohlins coilovers does benefit from Lotus tuning it again.


Yes, all Satria Neo benefited so called "Lotus tune" but I once spoke with someone from R3 in a fair that all their cars were developed in house and that Lotus guys only there to give final approvals, but again being from Proton insider, we can't take his words with grain of salt.

But yeah the Lotus Racing badging is merely sponsorships, which is ironic since later both DRB-HICOM (Proton owners and to extent Lotus) clash with Tony Fernandes about badging in his F1 team so bad that Fernandes ended up buying Caterham just to rename his time.

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

The Lotus Racing name was applied to the Neo not long after the 2010 F1 season started. The clash between Tony Fernandes and Proton (DRB-Hicom only took over of the company in 2012) only began towards the end of the season, so there isn't any irony


You don't get it do you, the irony is that later on they will clashed and ending up having 2 different Lotus on the grid. Also the fact that the car was implied to have something related to the Lotus Cars while this is just example of Marketing exercise.

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

No one thought of such a thing to occur in the first place, so there wasn't any irony when it was launched until it happened.


It's a second gen Perodua Myvi, in essence it's a Malaysian version of Daihatsu Boon/Toyota Passo. Beside Proton, Malaysia has second car manufacturer called Perodua, unlike Proton who ended up developing their own model, Perodua line up is mostly their version of Daihatsu cars.

I believe Myvi is Malaysian best selling car for like almost 10 years, they are very reliable, cheap and popular.

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Trivia: Daihatsu Indonesia takes Perodua Myvis and rebadges them as the Sirion for sale there.


if you are in Malaysia again, I would like to see a feature on a Satria GTi. it is a predecessor to the green one and one of the few Proton that I would like to own.


I'll be back sooner than expected ;) But I def want to do a proper feature on a few Protons on my next trip!


I definitely would like to see more feature on Protons and Peroduas on Speedhunters.


We have 3 of the GTI's in our family, there were 4 but that one was crunch between two cars. Not fast but who needs to be fast when the speed limit is 60 to 110 at most, you simply don't need to slow down around corners in a GTI :)


Lately, you came here (Malaysia) quite a lot. I assume the car culture here really caught up your attention until now. Wish to meet u in person someday Ron. Maybe at the AOS2018 next few months. Great job, keep it up.


Actually this was my first time to Malaysia ^__^ I have been traveling a lot though recently to South East Asia. Its such a nice change from Japan and you can always count on discovering something new and out of the box! I'll be back in Malaysia in a few months but still planning those details out


U really need to come again... Lacking scoobyness and 3pointed diamond cars in this one...

Not to mention double unicorn stagea and oldies volvo yet to come out and play


Next time I'll let people know and see what shows up then ^^


I would love to do this? Did the people who were at the meetup speak English ?


Just to share some info if you ever plan to go down there, Malaysian and Singaporeans speak rather good English, this is because the two countries made English as their second language (Being former British colony had something to do with that).

This is in contrast of Thai or Indonesian, while some people do speak English, majority of them didn't speak that well.


It's a must! Yeah, everyone basically spoke really good English.


I'm not sure what Malaysian transport laws are like, but if they're anything like the rest of the Far East, these guys are to be especially commended for their dedication to their chosen craft.

Let me guess how it works over there - ludicrously low speed limits enforced with hard-nosed self-righteousness, sky-high taxes on displacement, registration, parking, parts & road usage, laughably expensive highway tolls, crippling vehicle inspections and probably some cultural aspects that associate love of a fast car with hooliganism.

So again, they've done well.

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

There's no ludicrously low speed limits. The limit here is 110 km/h, or 68 mph. But then most cars today are more than capable of such speeds.

Tax rates here are not that bad, just the excise duties for non-national brands are rather high. For road tax, anything under 1.6-litres are affordable because the prices are rates. Anything larger than that are subject to incremental rates.


You were thinking countries like Japan and Hong Kong. Malaysia like it's Southern Asia neighbors has less strict rules (Singapore excluded).

As far as I know there are no mandatory crazy speed limits, in fact I used to live in a rather countryside of Malaysia where literally there are no rules to follow, Malaysians don't suspected to high tax because of cars displacement, instead to boost their national industry, tax leverage where given to their national cars like Proton and Perodua, that said in the recent times more people buying Japanese or European cars, also Malaysia has a free rules on importing used cars, it's easy to get JDM imports there and also there are no crazy stupid expensive parking, road usage and so on. Nor the stringent vehicle inspections.


I envy you.

- Sincerely, a Southern neighbour


definitely go back and please feature the yellow ek9