Yeah, yeah, you know I don’t like car shows that much.
I probably said exactly that on here at least a dozen times last year, but I think the tide may finally be turning. Starting with the StanceNation NorCal event, I realized I was actually having a genuinely good time taking in the builds and finding the ones that really inspired me.
In fact, if I back up a bit, it was actually car shows that got me interested in car culture in the first place. While we don’t as often cover the genre here, it was hot rod and muscle car get-togethers that first pulled me in. There might be a lot of seemingly cookie-cutter builds at those shows in comparison to tuner circles, but it’s hard to go wrong with hot cams, fat tires, and classic styling.
Regardless, I think my main issue is that since I’ve started shooting I don’t take as much time to stand around and chat like I used to. Learning about why someone has built their car the way they have sheds a whole new light on show machines, regardless of the genre they fit into.
So it was with an open, more relaxed mind that I went into the car show during Formula Drift Long Beach. Besides, you have to have some balance between work and play.
I’m currently in the market for a car, and seeing an SC at the event reminded me of how I almost bought one a couple weeks back. The owner of the Lexus decided he wanted to keep it the day I went to check it out, but in retrospect I should probably thank him; they are sort of awful cars in many regards. Although, when set up right, they really can look remarkably brilliant.
I always have particularly enjoyed shooting the show here as the backdrops are so unique to this area. It’s hard not to frame every shot with the Villa Riviera or the International Tower in the background.
If you’re wondering, a two bedroom condo with an ocean view in either will run you around one million US dollars. Quintessential California, but just think of all the cars you could build instead…
As the years roll on it’s interesting to see how old school style has influenced the mods being applied to newer Japanese cars, and vice versa. I’m really curious to see how current offerings like the latest Supra affect the aftermarket, and where these builds go in future decades.
I realized after the fact that I didn’t grab any shots of this C7 Corvette, which was a build for last year’s SEMA Show, but I wish I had as the harsh afternoon light looks really great on the angular bodywork. Also, listening to the video, it looks like I missed a modified Tesla at the show as well…
While I didn’t get as many shots as I typically might, it was nice to kick back a bit and take the show in as anyone else would. Sure, there were a handful of cars I’d seen before at other shows, but plenty others which were new to me or that had been entirely reworked.
It’s awesome to see creative minds pushing the boundaries of what a car can be, and it’s refreshing to see these visions played out in so many different ways.The Garage
Although, it was outside the show in the parking garage where I spotted three of my favorite cars of the weekend.
When I saw the silhouette of bosozoku tail pipes and bodywork at the far side of the garage at the end of the day on Friday I thought I’d hit the Speedhunting jackpot.
What I was seeing was the Moonlight Runners Cressida which was slated to be displayed at the Hardcore Tokyo booth the following day. It also turned out that Sara has been talking to the owner on Instagram for a few months, and the car has been out and about at shows before, so it didn’t feel like quite the big discovery I initially thought it was.
Of course, that isn’t to say the car isn’t still fantastically cool, so I’m saving ample room here for a full feature someday.
Whether imported or built here, I love seeing this style properly executed stateside. I’ll need to make it a priority to make the trek south for this car (and a handful of their friends’ builds) soon.
Another car I spotted in the lot also turned out to be at a sponsor booth the following day, but as I was too busy to get any extra shots of this GT-R I’ll share my shots from the garage and pretend to myself that I truly spotted it in the wild.
Thinking also of Naveed’s California-registered R32, it’s awfully hard to beat a well-sorted Skyline on looks. Of course, they’re no slouches from behind the wheel either, but I wouldn’t know much about that.
What I do know about how rewarding a Miata can be to drive. Many, if not most of my gearhead friends have owned one at some time or another, myself included. For the money they’re an awfully hard car to beat, but like any ’90s Japanese car, good examples are becoming harder to source.
This car looked like it was set up fairly simply with some nice mods, and although it may not command the prices of some of the other cars I shot on this weekend, I’m sure it brings the owner great satisfaction on the back roads.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss mine, but I’ll find the right car to to replace it with soon.
This is half the beauty of any car show or meet I head to now, as I find myself much more engaged than I have been in the past.
I guess I’m on the hunt, in more way than one…
Trevor Yale Ryan