FDLB: Rethinking The Car Show
The Show

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
Instagram: tyrphoto

The Extras


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That darn Cressida man!!! I'm pretty sure I have to get one!!!


I'm really digging the rear end on that Miata. Anyone know if that taillight/center piece is a bolt-on or more involved?


It's a bolt-on part, Garage Vary make it.


Great shots, that R32 is just about near perfect. I love DT Long Beach though, just spent the morning doing physics homework out by the light house.

Also, you need a 2002.... there's a couple around if you need extra temptation (just let me know, I'll happily help with PPI)....


Loving the coverage! Thank you for the awesome photos!

Ivor the Engine Driver

Once you stop vomiting, you begin to realize how hilarious that Cressida is!


Cressida is a Japanese Classic, you're vomiting inducing.

Jones the steam

True. However, once i'd stopped laughing, I realised again just how vomit-inducing that Cressida is!


Why exactly is the Cressida vomit inducing and/or hilarious?

Daffyd the Coal

Boyo, the hilarity is obvious - the vom factor off the scale...

Ivor the Engine Driver

I hope you're joking.


Sc a awful car?Its a mark 4 Supra in disguise minus the turbo jz.You can buy one cheap,bolt a 1j or 2j or boost the n/a that is in there.Finding a 5 speed is tough,but that is easy to remedy with various 5 speed adapter kits.I myself think with the right wheel and lip kit,the sc looks better the the Supra.Im just saying you can get Supra performance for pennies on the dollar compared to the most rough mark 4 out there


Definitely, that's why I was after one. But considering what they weigh, how they look stock and the work that would have to go into the swap(s) I think I'd rather have something else. Honestly, I'd still get one, but only for dirt cheap.


dang that bozo cressida is missing a lug. scary!


What makes SC’s awful cars? I personally love their looks and thinking of getting one. I heard they are heavy, but never heard that they are awful


I think they look great if theyre really low, nice wheels, and a body kit. Otherwise it's a hard pass. And yeah they're heavy, non-turbo, and automatic. Just depends what you want and how much you want to put into it. Most people I know who have one love it, so I'm really just giving my friend who wouldn't sell me it a hard time.

Matthew Dockery

It's unfortunate that the more interesting driveline -- the 1UZ -- doesn't come in a manual. Kind of puts a damper on the car's potential in my opinion.

Daniel P Huneault

they make kits to convert them to manual - no big deal - I've had one for 6? years now, best part about having them auto in stock - these engines never really gotten abused :)


For sure, they were built for a different market. But I think they do have great potential if you're willing to put a lot of work in.


Love the way 3650lbs disqualifies the SC from being a good chassis because its "heavy."

What does an M4 weigh, or any current sporty RWD-based coupe or sedan for that matter? My z30 is setup quite nicely, corner balanced and keeps up with many newer and more 'sporty' cars through corners just fine and then some.

Trevor, we are all enthusiasts here with our own likes and dislikes but your comment on the SC chassis is unprofessional and not what we come here to read.


I don’t understand how having an opinion about a particular model is unprofessional. Trevor might not like SC’s (although he clearly does like a few things about them) and you might not like something that Trevor likes. It’s not like he personally attacked anyone for liking SC’s.


I can have an opinion about a car, it's not a big deal. It seems like they were built to suit a boring driver, someone who wants to reliablely get around and not fuss about how. The SC300 has roughly the power to weight of a stock Miata, nearly all came with an automatic and an open diff, and I just don't like the factory aesthetic.

Besides all that, I think they have great potential, and would definitely still buy the right one. They can be made to be really good looking (like I said) and I'm sure a good setup feels good behind the wheel. Don't take it personally, and for what it's worth I'd be interested in hearing how you set yours up.


Thank you for the nice shots Trevor
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