Hot Import Nights 2011 Coverage…Part 1…

I’m sure all of you have heard that Hot Import Nights is making a return to our beloved import automotive community. Some were very skeptical about it’s comeback because the last couple years that it was around, it just wasn’t the same anymore. Many of the new generation won’t understand, but HIN was once the top tier car show to attend in the early half of the 2000s. Back then, you looked forward to two events every year, Import Showoff and Hot Import Nights. HIN was so huge back then and were making so much money, that they even tried to buy the Showoff series at one point, but Ken Myoshi turned them down because he wanted to keep the show grassroots. It turned out to be a good decision because inevitably, HIN was sold itself and the whole show just changed and shifted another direction. The new owners didn’t want to do the shows indoors anymore in an attempt to save some money and it somehow hooked up with the NOPI series which was the worst fucking idea EVER. Now, apparently, the original owners of the HIN brand have brought it back and are hoping to bring the show back to it’s top tier status…

This past weekend’s HIN event was held in the venue that helped make the show huge back in the day; the Los Angeles Convention Center. Maybe by bringing the show back here, it’ll conjure up the same excitement that enthusiasts once had for the event. What they didn’t mention to people was that the show wouldn’t be held in the larger hall where the once epic Hot Import Nights show called home…it was in the adjacent smaller building next to it. I was honestly a little surprised to hear that it was back at the Convention Center myself, because renting out a venue of that magnitude is not cheap at all, by any means. Plus they get a chunk of your gate, insurance, etc., etc… When I arrived the night of roll-in and Tony told me that it wasn’t in the larger hall, it made more sense to me. They dubbed this show “The Return”….as in Hot Import Nights “return” to prominence… Unfortunately, in my opinion, it was more of a “return” like if you were returning a DVD at the videostore. It’s loud, crowded, and you just want to get out of there as soon as you can. I’ve been in the car show scene since the late ’90s so I am very familiar with Hot Import Nights. I was there at the peak of it’s popularity when it was so crowded inside the Convention Center that you could barely walk or breathe. Nevermind trying to take photos because there was constantly people walking in front of you and it was so dark in there that you couldn’t even see the cars. It was a massive….they had concerts with major recording artists and it was the talk of our industry. “The Return” served as a nice reminder of how HIN once was….that is, until you walked through the doors into the actual event. It’s just not the same anymore. It’s called Hot “Import” Nights but line-up of cars were everything but imports and a chunk of the cars were DUB-style, luxury vehicles or high-end exotics. I understand you want to bring these type of cars into the events because they have money and lots of it, but if you want to bring the show back to it’s roots, you have to bring back the cars that people came to see….IMPORTS. I didn’t really expect there to be a big turn-out of Japanese cars because I’ve also seen what has happened to Extreme Autofest over time, and that went from an all import show that turned into a DUB show. There were cars in there that definitely made me scratch my head…I have no idea where these cars came from but I definitely did not need to see them again after HIN…

The Hot Import Nights show has just turned into every possible cliche’ you can think of, of a mainstream COMMERCIAL automotive lifestyle event. Which basically means that it was pretty much a ridiculous music video that you really wanted to end, but you couldn’t find your remote anywhere so you just had to sit there and watch it happen. There were go-go dancers on the stage, DJs at every corner playing music that was way too fucking loud, it was dark as shit, there were rappers “performing”,  and there were exotics as well as every car you could think of that could somehow manage to cram 24-inch wheels into their wheel wells. It was fucking hectic in there. I don’t know what the purpose of blasting six different songs at max volume simultaneously was, but it was so loud in there that you couldn’t even have a conversation with the person standing inches away from you without screaming at them. I didn’t even plan on going at all, but I managed to get a free pass from It’s JDM Yo!! Tony so I decided to go do some coverage of the show. From my previous experience, it’s always been incredibly difficult to take photos at HIN while the show was going on because, like I stated earlier, it’s incredibly dark in there and crowded. I knew that I had to get there as early as I could and get as many shots as possible before the show started. The coverage you’re going to see from HIN is basically everything that went on during roll-in the night before, and the day of, but before the gates opened to the public. They won’t look like the typical HIN photos because no one was there yet and the lights were all on. I apologize if you wanted to see the photos with the “HIN ambiance” included but I wanted to make my life easier and not have to fight people to get a good shot. I did take some pics during the show itself, but it wasn’t really car-related, haha. I just wanted to capture what was going on while I was there. At the end of the day, I think the HIN staff did a good job of executing “Hot Import Nights” but it just isn’t the same as it once was, and I highly doubt that it will ever be how it was when it was one of the top shows in the industry. The cars that are there just don’t fit the enthusiasts that once made the show as big as it was and it almost seems as if they want to cater to a different audience now. The younger generation might enjoy the event, but it’s hard to spend $12 on parking and another $35(?) at the gate. It’s more of a DUB show now and the cars there represent that. You won’t see those cars here though because I took the time to weed out the cars that I liked and the ones that aren’t very favorable to your eyes are cars that I captured merely for comedic relief. With that said, thanks to HIN for the hospitality and I hope that you guys enjoy the photos…

If somebody were to ask me to describe my HIN 2011 experience in one long-drawn-out sentence, I would say:

“I went to Hot Import Nights and saw a Chrysler 300C with a new Camaro front end on it and across from it was a Scion tC with 26’s or some shit and a truck that looked like it was in mid-explosion.” 

It’s kinda like the new Chrysler commercials where they say that their cars are “imported” from Detroit. You’re not really fooling anyone but it was a nice attempt. I guess if you dim the lights and turn up the music, nobody will notice, but somebody is eventually going to trip over an RX-7 in the dark and ask their friend what it’s doing there…

We’ll kick it off today with the widebody R35 GT-R from Auto Concept Elite. You probably recognize this GT-R from SEMA 2011 sitting inside the ENEOS Sustina booth… This was taken around 6:30pm the Friday night of roll-in when the Auto Concept/High End guys were still setting up their massive display…

Loved this Lincoln that was posted up near the area where Tony was setting up his booth… This is actually one of the few none imports that I was happy to see….

Despite the obnoxious rear arch work on this S14, it was actually pretty well done. I don’t really understand why the rear arch was done like that but it throws off the whole car. The craftmanship itself is not bad at all and it has all the right parts on it. It even has Racing Hart CPF Tune-R wheels on it that you don’t really see utilized that often.. I just wish the owner bought wheels that fit better under all that bodywork…

Carl’s EM2 Civic at the Fatlace showcase area on some CCW wheels…

VIP-themed S14 with an Instant Gentleman kit and MMR wheels…I posted up a photo of this car awhile back and asked you guys to help me find out who the owner was and he actually emailed me, I just barely remembered right now and I need to return his email….

Cody Chan’s widebody Miata that I shot awhile back for Super Street magazine. If you guys follow this site religiously like I hope you would, then you probably caught the unpublished photos from the shoot that I posted up just last week….

Here’s that truck that I’ve been talking about that looks like it’s in mid-explosion, haha…Excuse me for being ignorant towards this style of modification but what exactly is the point of having your hood look like that?…

Widebody G35 that’s been a consistent force in the import show scene…

MaDara’s S2000 with ASM I.S. Designs aero…

Love this race-inspired BMW M3 with Voltex components and HRE wheels…

Wild widebody Cadillac CTS-V from D3 that was also at SEMA 2011 in the Toyo Tires booth…

I found it a little odd that this whole set-up was finished by the time I got to roll-in but when I returned the next day, it was completely different booth with different cars…

Crazy dually that was sitting on the floor…

Matte red-painted 5-Series BMW wagon from VIP Modular wheels…

Really liked the classic-styling of this FC3S RX-7…The two-toned bay was kinda odd and I took a photo of it the following day when the hood was popped, but I’ll save that for later…

Another R35 GT-R…I think this was the second of maybe 4 or 5 that were at HIN…

Top Secret widebody S2000 from Bulletproof Automotive…

This particular section of the show hosted some of the better cars at HIN in my opinion, including this Miata on SSR MK2s…

This Miata was also nice and I had a chance to talk to the owner the following day at the show and he tells me that there’s a motor swap in it from a newer Miata…

This one was a little more wild in contrast to the previous two I posted. It had a polished hood and a two-toned black/silver theme…

This S13 coupe was one of my favorites from the HIN event…I saw this thing posted outside on the dock during roll-in and it instantly caught my attention, even though it’s very basic aesthetically. Crazy how hammered to the floor it is and apparently from watching him drive in, this is his static ride height… I chatted with the owner for a bit and this S13 also has a RB25 swap…More pics of this thing tomorrow…

Tony and friends setting up the “It’s JDM Yo!!!” booth…

Yuta’s S30 240Z from Heart Breaker…

I think a lot of people at HIN slept on this Supra because it was dark as shit in there and you probably couldn’t see it…

…however, you couldn’t miss this thing from miles and miles away….Batman helps to illustrate my shock here when I saw this Chrysler 300C with a Camaro front-end….

This orange Civic hatchback was pretty clean… Me thinks those are Rotas though…

Engine bay is clean and well-done with a K-swap and JRSC…

Lexus SC430 from BP VIP on some Work Schwert SC4s…

2nd Gen. Lexus IS on SSR Professor SP1…

Infiniti Q45 on WED’s Kranze LXZs…

Junction Produce Toyota Previa…

Does anyone remember Greg Leone from the MTV show “True Life: I’m a Street Racer”? Well this is his short bus…

What’s cool about it is that it’s like some make-shift auto-transport for his S13 “drift car”…. The car is whatever and has VIP Modular wheels on it that cost more than the car itself, but what’s interesting is that he probably has more money invested in the school bus than he does on the car…

You see that little platform above the bus? Well during the show, he and his band of buddies were pulling random girls up to the roof and posing for all kinds of ridiculously douchey photos. They had their sunglasses on and some guy had a zebra-printed blazer, it was quite a spectacle…He should call this thing “The Douche Bus”…

A pair of Ruckus’ in the Fatlace display area…

Tony almost finished with his display…

EVO X on gold SSR Type-F….

Not really sure what’s going on with this 350Z… It has WED’s Kranze wheels on it, which are luxury VIP wheels, but then it has this really wide, aggressive body work done to it with a front bumper that looks like it’s too long for the Z33 chassis…I don’t know, I’m confused…

Michael Mao applying some finishing touches to his NSX…

S14 celebrating the spirit of the holidays…

Ferrari 360 Modena on HREs…

Another shot of the BMW as I walked past it…correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that bottom front splitter might be a new addition…

At this point, I walked over to the DUB area where I unearthed these gems…

OH MAN. Words just can’t describe everything that is going on with this 240SX…rainbow zipties….Kouki S14 front end conversion…a hood that may or may not fit the front end..Advan SA3Rs that look like they are trying to hide…

The back is even better…pink zebra taillight garnish…paint-splattered rear hatch…crazy arrow-looking spray-painted sharpie designs on the rear-quarter….AHHHH!!!…

Directly next to it was another S13, this one I’m hoping is some sort of display vehicle for House of Kolor…Fucking thing looks like a rolling acid trip…

I had to do a double take just to figure out what kind of car this was…I believe this is an Eclipse with a Vertex-style Toyota Soarer front bumper and spray-painted wheels…I was walking with Tony and he said that this car looked like it was “Transforming but got stuck half-way”….haha…

I’m not even gonna lie, this MR-2 with ROJA wheels wouldn’t even be that bad if it didn’t all of a sudden grow Nissan S15 Silvia headlights in it’s front bumper…now it just looks odd…

Once I returned to reality, I spotted this Honda Fit rolling into the show…

…and also saw VIPStylecars member “Blitz’s” Y33 Q45 with WED’s Kranze LXZs and a K-Break aero kit…

After that I packed up my gear and headed home. Tomorrow I will bring you guys the photos from the actual day of the show and I swear, they are much better than these. I even brought my tripod out and everything…. Since I went back to the show so early the next day, I had all the time in the world to do coverage because nobody was even there…Anyways, back tomorrow with more…thanks for looking….

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13 thoughts

  1. O m f g …. I had to take breaks in between pictures …. I was laughing so hard I was short of breath!!!

    (Please … please email me that batman pic, I wanna make a t shirt! Lol)

    • Thanks man, I appreciate the fact that you still took the time to say that. We’re all just messing around and having fun at the end of the. What is said is not meant with any ill intent. To each their own man, and keep doing what you do…

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