Now that Thailand has lifted most of its pandemic restrictions, events are finally returning. For the country’s modified and custom automotive community, having the Bangkok Auto Salon (BAS) back after a two-year hiatus couldn’t come fast enough.
We last covered this event back in 2017 when Ron paid a visit, so when the opportunity for me to return to Thailand after my recent trip and attend the BAS presented itself, I wasn’t going to let it pass me by.
As I’d never attended this show before I really didn’t know what to expect, but my first impression was it being smaller than I had imagined. I think this had a lot to do with a lack of international guests – real drawcards for a big crowd here – but that’s to be expected in the current climate. I did hear that legendary tuner ‘Smokey’ Nagata from Top Secret made an appearance, but I missed him sadly. However, there were a bunch of ex-Tokyo Auto Salon cars (the two events are closely related)…
…And Liberty Walk’s Kato-san, if only in cardboard cutout form.
The fact that the Bangkok Auto Salon runs for a full five days, as opposed to the Tokyo Auto Salon which is open to the public for just half that, also has a bearing on how busy it is. Having battled the halls of the Makuhari Messe at TAS time, I have to say, all the room to move was rather pleasant.
The first thing that caught my eye when I entered the venue was the iconic R Magic FD3S Mazda RX-7. I believe this is the same car that Ron managed to snap a few pics of back in 2017 when he spotted it in a parking lot behind the event. This kit is one of my favorites for the RX-7, and it looked even better in person.
When it comes to modifying, Thailand is well known for its crazy diesel-powered pickups. No surprise then that there were plenty of them at BAS.
I can fully understand why the whole of South East Asia looks up to Thailand’s truck car scene – they have ways of making these things look stunning. So much so in fact, that Toyota and Isuzu welcome modified pickups into their Bangkok Auto Salon booths.
The engine modification is next level, both the power made and also the presentation in the bay. Can you guess how many turbos this Isuzu D-Max is running?
One thing that I appreciated about BAS was the rest area behind the camping vehicle display. How convenient… Camping is huge in Thailand now, and the friends I’ve made in the modified car scene here are always talking about building up adventure machines for overlanding, which honestly does sound fun.
The ‘Electric Station’ was my next stop at BAS. There were a number of interesting vehicles in this area, but I spent most of my time checking out this Volvo 164 from EV Car Thailand. I’m really looking forward to seeing more electric-repowered classic cars on the road.
I also spent some time watching the RC drift competition. For anyone with an interest in scale modelling, the event had plenty to see and buy.
For me, one very awesome aspect of the Bangkok Auto Salon is its inclusion of Thailand’s car community. Behind the venue were displays that had a real local car meet feel to them. As I mentioned, the event lasts five days, and every day the cars are rotated to keep things fresh. I was pleasantly surprised to see wide variety of old school ’80s and ’90s JDM machines on the main day I visited.
This was a great place for me to meet new people and talk to owners about their cars.
Swapping Toyota’s 2JZ engine into older Mercedes-Benz models is commonplace in Thailand, so you can always count on a few examples showing up at a meet like this.
And Hondas, a lot of Hondas!
A few familiar faces during BAS’s Cars & Coffee meet introduced me to the owner of this wide-body MR2, who was kind enough to move it into an open space so I could grab a few clear shots.
This murdered-out BMW E36 with a Corvette LS V8 engine swap is a relatively new build in the local scene.
Impressed by what I’d seen, I returned to BAS on the weekend to meet up with Infinite Motorsport who hosted a Euro car meet near the main car park.
I walked in right on time to see a Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16V EVO II rolling through – what a sight!
I was also pleasantly surprised to see a bunch of classic cars, including a Jaguar E-Type, brought out by their owners too.
Despite the 2022 Bangkok Auto Salon being a smaller event than it was in pre-Covid times, Thailand’s car community is just happy to have it back. For me, the inclusion of that community is what makes this event so great, and I’m sure BAS will be back to its former glory in no time. Given how much I enjoyed this year’s show, I’ll definitely be back too.
Until then, there’s a lot more photos to check out below.
More stories from Thailand on Speedhunters
Thailand has GOT IT goin on. The fabrication, the style that's pushy but not gaudy, even the exotic owners fear no modding. Might become the new Japan if the roads aren't swarming with cops? Even the custom airstream serving up what seems like delicious noodles with a custom clean Jimny to deliver... Too much going on amd you keep saying "small".
That iconic R Magic FD3S Mazda RX-7 does work, LBW might have some competition... Love the headlight "conversion" too, parking well next to oem popups.
And then say whatever about Ferrari, but that 308 on wheels just needs some engine and pie-cut-pipe work like those dripping sexy trucks and would win the show, any show. What an OG classic.
Just1n Narayan here from Drive.com.au
This is a sick article!
Man this is literally the SEMA of Thailand
Or should I say the Auto Salon of Thailand!
Thanks Rick, lots of great stuff here. Those truck engines are crazy awesome, and that electric beetle had me thinking about how cool a Baja version would be with that motor sticking out on show