Exclusive Content…The Import Car Show Scene from ’99 – 2001…

EDIT: This was originally meant to be posted on Thursday 5/10/2012 but it took so long for me to put it together that I didn’t manage to get it posted until Friday. Sorry, but please read through it!

Today we are going to take a special look back for Throwback Thursday. The last couple weeks, I’ve been taking you back a couple years to show you some photos I re-edited from 2009 but today, we are going to go WAY back….13 years to be exact, to take a look at some photos I took when I was just a kid at various car shows I attended. 1999 was a very different time… I had no cell phone, I had a spikey head of hair, and in ’99, I was still a junior in high school. I was already very interested in the import scene and the cars that were a part of it, and so I went to as many car shows as I could. Things were very different back then. You had to be a baller to have a digital camera TV shows like Dawson’s Creek and 90210 were still on the air. Everybody was worried about the whole Y2K scare and President Bill Clinton was busy getting in trouble for getting a blow job from Monica Lewinski. I was already driving by then but I didn’t have a Honda or anything to really modify. My buddy Jose and I would go to car shows and just take photos of whatever we saw and grabbed whatever free shit was being handed out. I guess I wasn’t too different back then, just a lot more naive. I carried a backpack like I do still today but instead of it being packed with camera gear, it was the same backpack I used for school and I used it to carry all the free stuff I would get at shows. Man, if I knew then what I know now, I would have tried to take better photos and more detailed shots of stuff. Back then there was no such thing as blogging and web car forums were limited to a handful or less…

Back in 1999, the bodykit era was just huge in the import community and headlight/taillights conversions were all the rage. People shelled out all kinds of money to do these conversions and though they may be totally ugly and gaudy by today’s standards, that was the trend that was pushing the industry. “JDM” was not a household name yet and there were very few people that had full-on Japanese-spec builds. If they did only a small group of people would recognize the parts that these people had. The show scene was all about being flashy and doing what you could to stand out. The more wilder the conversion, the better. There was no flood of knock-off parts either. Nobody had fake garbage wheels and faux-JDM parts because there was no such thing as a mainstream “JDM” scene. People did whatever they could to acquire quality products and though you will see all kinds of crazy body kits in the photos to come, make note of what wheels these cars were on. Even with the crazy body modifications, basically everybody had real wheels and parts. The closest thing we had to anything that was a replica, knock-off wheel came from Axis and Konig. Thinking back now, I would still take the ridiculously over-the-top body kit era over any of the garbage you see today. Sticker-bombing cars, fake parts, and unused bike racks are a bane to the import community. At least back then people used creativity to stand out and didn’t take short-cuts to make themselves “cool” and subsequently call everyone “haters” if they didn’t agree or called people out for the short-cuts they took to be the next bandwagon trend hopper. The scene was very different back then but that is what people had to work with. They made the most of it and created whatever else didn’t exist then. Now you have an endless variety of options and the enthusiasts of the past have paved a road for the future generations. A lot of people spend more time trying to justify why they rock fake shit these days instead of spending their time building their cars. “I don’t have the money to afford baller stuff” wasn’t an excuse either. There were a majority of people that couldn’t afford shit back then either but they grinded and hustled and did whatever they could to build their idea of a dream car.

I personally am happy that I was able to see all the stuff from back in the day and see how much we as a community have progressed throughout the years. Things are WAY different now and are moving at such a fast pace that major innovations are coming almost every year. Even so, it is cool to take a trip down memory lane to see how things were back then. If you are still new to all of this and are relatively young, check these photos out of some of the cars that paved the way to what you know now as “the import scene”…. Thinking about how things were a decade ago, it is really remarkable to see how quickly the community shifted when the whole “JDM” craze took over. There are a couple cars in these photos that would still be relevant by today’s standards but mostly these cars were specific to that time period. If you think these cars were ridiculous back then, just imagine five years or so from now when you look back and think about how stupid all these overly stanced-out cars look. Yes, if you haven’t noticed, wheel fitment and stance this and that are the new “bodykit era”. People doing whatever it takes to stand out in the crowd, going way overboard with their builds, all the while not realizing that they are just hopping into an overly-crowded bandwagon. Sound familiar? In the group of photos you will look at 5-10 years from now, on a Throwback Thursday in the future, you will see a collection of cars that were way over done and a select few that are just timeless. Again, does that sound familiar to you? I am not “hating” by any means. Like the body kit, head/tail light conversion era, I embraced it, just as I have embraced the current style of modification. I don’t agree with all of it now but I didn’t agree with everything back then either, you just have to have a good understanding of what people were thinking and what they set out to do. There was no “rice” back then but you would consider what you see today possibly as “rice” or uncool by current standards. Hella-stanced-out cars, fitment this and that, are not considered “rice” or uncool by today’s standards.  How you will look at the current state of things when you think back in the future….well…Let’s just say that history has a way of repeating itself…As long as you can look back and laugh at yourself like these car guys from the past do now, you can do no wrong…

I just love cars. With over a decade and a half of being apart of this wonderful community, I can honestly say that I have seen and learned quite a bit. Do whatever makes you happy to your car. This is your world, I’m just here to document whatever I can and be a witness to your lives…

The photos are mixed-up but are mostly from old car shows that I attended back in San Diego, CA. These shows include Import Showoff 1999, 2000-’01, as well as Hot Import Nights 2000, and two Extreme Autofest events back when they were still import shows. I have a lot more photos but they are dark and they just don’t come out correctly when scanned. These were all shot on my mom’s old camera and shot completely on 35mm film. I had to take these to a local VONS supermarket by my highschool and have them developed. It wasn’t fast either. I had to drop them off in the morning and then pick them up after school. It took quite a bit of time to scan these too and I did whatever I could to bring out more detail in the photos. With that said, let’s get started…enjoy and look at these photos knowing that things were different back then and not representative of the Honda/import community now in 2012. This was 13 years ago, some of you reading this site probably hadn’t even hit puberty yet, haha….


This car was important to me back then and now because it was the first R34 Skyline that I had ever seen in person. The only thing even remotely close to a Skyline back then were the lights that people were molding into their cars. This is the original Blitz R348 Skyline that was sent over to the states to compete in the Nevada Silver State Challenge. The goal was to hit a record top speed but it failed to do it that year because it ran out of gas… Pretty amazing car for its time and still one of my favorite builds ever… Additionally, Blitz Technospeed Z1 wheels will always be a favorite of mine, even though they weighed like 18-20 pounds each…


I didn’t really know much back then so I didn’t even know what I was looking at other than the fact that it was an R34 Skyline GTR… Make note of the time stamps in these photos because they are all correct. I shot these photos with a crappy camera back in October of 1999….


I used to always see this Civic coupe at shows in my area… He was from a crew known then as “Powerban” and would always park next to that pink Integra in the background… This baby blue coupe was on Racing Hart C5 Evos…


The pink Integra that was with him was owned and built by his girlfriend. I don’t know them personally so I don’t know if they ended up together but back then, they were always parked side by side. I don’t know what kits these were back then because they weren’t used as often as other fiberglass kits. Knowing them they modified them in some way to make them different. Note the Supra headlight conversion and the Volk Racing TE37s….


Signal Auto’s chop-top EK Civic drag car…. This thing was nuts for its time and something that no one had seen before. Signal Auto was still a fairly new name in the U.S. as well. I don’t think they made their way over to America yet where they later opened up a U.S. division. All Signal had back then was this Civic and a very, very fast Skyline drag car. Drifting wouldn’t hit the U.S. for a couple more years so they were known mostly for their drag racing stuff. If I remember correctly, this Civic later had a NSX engine swap as well…


DPK David’s coupe back in 1999…haha, just kidding. If it was it would probably look something like this I am sure… “Goldcrest Autobody” as seen on his windshield was a huge shop at that time that was known for doing wild conversions. They later painted both my cars…. Peep the Volk III wheels on the white coupe in the back..


Does anyone remember Alley Baggett? She was Miss Import Showoff back in ’99 and I remember looking at her old Playboy photos online at night on my crappy dial-up internet connection on my 486DX2 IBM computer… It would take like 5 minutes just to load up a full size nude shot of her and if anyone decided to pick up the telephone, the photo and your internet connection would cut-off… I was all about Alley Bagget back then and she was one of the hottest females I had ever seen… sadly, she didn’t do much after that and is still doing internet modeling today….


How about a shot of Francine Dee back in 1999? She hasn’t really changed much over time and her tittys will never have the ability to sag so we are good…haha…She is still doing her thing as well and having stared at her meat flaps over time, I can tell you that her vag has gone from Flame Broiler, to Yoshinoya, and now to a #1 super bowl at your favorite Vietnamese Pho spot…..No matter what though, Francine Dee will always be a staple in the fabric of our import community and I will always be a huge fan of her and her wizard sleeves. I still remember the days when she had no implants and was rocking the blond hair… I may or may not have fapped to her so many times in my youth that my penis is on some grandfather plan, haha…


Does anyone remember Speed Options and International Allstars? Haha, back in those days, if you had a Speedoptions banner on your car and it was photographed, you would get paid for it… If you remember Speed Options, then you probably remember Rowena Galam and Jynki Cruz… I don’t remember the name of the girl in the middle…. Random but I think Rowena Galam is a dentist or orthodontist these days…


This was shot earlier that year at an Extreme Autofest event, but as I said before, headlight conversions were all the rage…this was an Integra from 935 Wiked Draggers with an Eclipse headlight conversion…Turbo B-series too, as were many of the show cars back then…


This coupe was from Team Techna and had shaved moldings, molded-in sideskirts and an Accord headlight conversion…that wing on this coupe was a “DTM-style” rear wing that was also very popular…


Tucked bays are a standard nowadays but what about back in ’99?….


FD RX-7 from Team Bosozoku with a VeilSide Combat kit…


Random unfinished cars would occasionally show at Import Showoff then, because these shows only came around once a year… This DA Integra had a R33 Skyline taillight conversion that hadn’t been completed yet…


I remember seeing a lot more Accords at shows back then as well…This one had a R33 Skyline front end conversion that honestly didn’t look half bad…Check out the “WWF Attitude” graphics on the car in the back, haha…


Stephan Papadakis’ legendary AEM H22-powered Civic drag car in the Import Showoff booth…


Right hand drive Prelude INX on Racing Hart C5s, chameleon paint, and a retro-fitted DC2 Integra Type R front bumper….


RJ de Vera’s mom was a huge hit in the import community back then because she drove this turbocharged Honda Odyssey…



All kinds of stuff was done to this Civic coupe that I spotted at Hot Import Nights in 2000… Notable stuff is the Saleen style wing, Acura CL headlight conversion, MR-2 taillight conversion, MR-2 sidevents, shaved moldings, door handles, and Racing Hart C2 Evos…Also had orange and grey two-toned vinyl interior… I think this thing ended up on the cover of an issue of Import Tuner later that year as well…


This BB6 Prelude was the flagship vehicle of Team Techna back in 2000… You probably know the owner of this car now because I believe he is one of the head guys over at Auto Explosion, a body shop here in LA that is still in business today… I couldn’t even name all the things that this car had on it. The amount of bodywork was just insane… He later painted this car yellow and then showed it for a couple more years before selling it…


Elaborate show displays were a standard back then and often rivaled the stuff you would see at Lowrider shows…


Widebody CR-X on Axis Touring Cup wheels and an Integra front end… When was the last time you saw a pair of Momo Corse reclinable seats?…


You won’t see too many first generation Acura CLs these days because enthusiasts in 99-2000 were too busy robbing them of their headlights for conversions. CL headlight swaps were crazy popular then and were referred to as the “Cali Type R” conversions on Integras. Here you see a pretty clean CR-X on OG Racing Hart C2s and a CL headlight conversion…


A couple of young ladies (who are probably moms now in their early 30s) posing in front of a Civic from 935 Wiked Draggers. This one had Feel’s style fenders and a front bumper from a company known as Street Weapon. Strange now to think back because these bumpers were called Street Weapon “Drift” bumpers and drifting hadn’t even hit the U.S. yet… Happy early Mother’s Day to the two ladies up top, haha… Shit, maybe they were already mothers back then…

If there is one thing that is completely different about car shows back then and now is that shows then still had a very “underground” feel to them. There weren’t very many corporate sponsors, if at all, and you had a lot more freedom to do things without worrying about rules and regulations. These days, police presence is heavy at car shows and show promoters are very weary of what they can do at shows because they have to follow strict rules. Nudity is something you will never see in a bikini contest or whatever today, unless it happened by accident. We call them “wardrobe malfunctions” now but back in those days, we just called it “getting naked”…haha. Below are some NWS images of some females from a bikini contest at Extreme Autofest 2000. If you can’t view them, I would suggest scrolling 4-5 images down to get back to the car coverage. These photos are so old now that you probably wouldn’t get in trouble for looking at them, they are just moments in history now….


Today’s car show bikini/”hot body” contests are a lot like this… Girls with clothes on with a little bit of cheek showing… Tame but safe, cops wouldn’t be all over your ass about getting naked because you weren’t doing anything crazy…

Bikini contests back then, were more like this…


…and also like this…


Girls did whatever it took to win back then… fuck a bikini contest, they just wanted some good old fashion attention… Look at the dude’s face holding the video camera, haha…


You didn’t have to worry about offending families and old people or kids because they weren’t present. The demographic wasn’t as wide spread and commercialized as it is now… If you popped a titty out these days, you would get a hefty fine. Back then, showing a titty or two was just fine….haha…


Imagine if somebody knew this chick now and saw her in these photos…haha… if you are in this photo and you are also now a mother, happy early mother’s day. You are a vital part of car show history… You can now officially look back with regret..

Those two girls thought they were going to win by showing their titties…


…and then the white lady comes in and starts doing this type of stuff… Eating her own titty milk and shit… Grand prize was like $500 or something so girls went to work to try and win…


At age 18, these were like, the best titties I had ever seen then..haha… I should also remind you that these were shot on film so a VONS supermarket employee had to develop these. Imagine going through photos and seeing something like this…haha…oh man… I don’t remember who won this but there was also a girl that was doing the splits in a g-string and shit and all kinds of stuff was showing…

Anyways, back to the cars…


This turbocharged Mugen-everything Integra was WAY ahead of its time… Art-n-Motion was the crew to beat back then and they had a bunch of really amazing builds like this. I didn’t know too much about Mugen stuff back in 2000 so I took builds like this for granted. I look at it now wishing I had known better and I would have studied this car inside and out…


Another look at the Supra-headlighted Integra from Powerban… this was taken a year or so later I believe. Fucking car was on clouds and shit with a diamond structure around it…


I remember around 2000-2001 being a time when the Buddy Club front bumper just took over car shows. Every car had it and it didn’t even have to be a Honda. People would just take the bumpers and make them fit onto their cars. This was a pretty clean example with some 5Zigen 5ZR Copse wheels…. I remember I almost bought a set of these a couple years later because I worked with a guy who was friends with someone who worked at the company that was distributing 5Zigen stuff. The company was called ATK or something. The dude would just back door the wheels and make all kinds of money off of it. That’s probably one of the reasons why that distribution company went out of business… I ended up not buying them because I didn’t want that shit to come back to haunt me and I’m glad still that I didn’t…


White vinyl on anything color interior was popular in those days… here you can also see that this guy was super ballin’ because he had a Playstation and a Nintendo 64….


Prelude from SIK with some ghost flames and SSR GP-O wheels… this particular front bumper was very popular among the Prelude crowd. You’ll see another one later that also has this bumper. Like today, there are still random idiots that will bring a completely stock Saturn into a car show (as seen in the background)… This Prelude owner had all white interior, meaning he couldn’t even walk outside without having to wrap himself in trash bags before getting into his car…


This RX-7 from Rotary Xecret 7 has to be one of the best builds EVER… FEED Type II aero on some legit Volk Racing TE37 Mag wheels. I don’t mean “mag blue” color either, I mean these were real magnesium TE37s. Back then, these wheels were the type of stuff you only heard about or saw in the Volk catalog… This build was just incredible and way ahead of its time…


Another sick RX-7 build, this one with a full Mazdaspeed kit on some rare (because nobody wanted them) Volk Racing Daytona Speed wheels…ANother car that I just totally took for granted back then because I didn’t know what I was looking at…


The first strawberry face S15 conversion I ever saw in person from PJ Bonifacio…


Speaking of cars that were ahead of their time, check out this BMW M3 from Techna on Blitz Technospeed Z1s. If this car was still around today with this exact same set-up, it would still be a hit… This M3 also had Sparco Milano seats, which were like, the top of the line seat to have because it had Alcantara leather. Now we hear Alcantara leather and run as fast as we can because it is so often associated with fake Bride seats….


Another car that would just shit on people today… Authentic Blitz Supra aero with gold faced Blitz Technospeed Z1… Just lovely. I look at cars like this and really kick myself now for not paying more attention to them…


I used to run into this del Sol all the time wherever I went. I thought it was ugly as fuck back then too but I always appreciated the work. It was just way too much for me but the quality bodywork was there. Racing Hart C2 wheels, custom gold paint, BB6 Prelude headlights, and Feel’s front bumper…. Also notice the first gen. Eclipse behind it with R33 Skyline taillights… This was around the time when 935 Draggers were a really well-known car crew and they recruited a lot of new members….


While on the topic of Eclipses, this was one of my favorite builds back in 2000 and it was the sole reason for me knowing what “Bride” seats were. I loved the Bride gradation livery on this Eclipse. I remember reading the magazine feature on this car and it wasn’t a GS-T model Eclipse. The owner actually turbocharged it after he bought the car. You should have noticed by now that Racing Hart wheels were the most popular wheels to have during that period of time. This Eclipse is on Racing Hart C5 Evos….


Here is a better shot of the turbocharged Mugen DC2 Integra from earlier… No time stamping on the photo indicates that I took this photo around 2001. I don’t remember how I did it but I managed to turn that feature off….If this car were still around today, it would still be totally relevant…


This car needs no introduction. L.J. Garcia’s FEEL’s Civic was and still is legendary. It was the first to have a complete FEEL’s aero kit and at this stage, Garcia had already repainted it yellow and added all the Ichibahn stuff to it. I think the engine bay had like TVs and shit too. Also one of the rare Civic builds to be on air suspension. I loved it before the makeover when it was still blue and had less stuff on it. One of the greatest things about this build back then was that L.J. actually took wheel fitment into consideration and ordered custom Racing Hart C5 wheels to fit correctly with the widened FEEL’s fenders… This car helped to make L.J. a household name in the car show scene… The Import Tuner issue that it was featured in alongside Francine Dee is probably the most remembered issue in the publication’s history. That issue not only made L.J. and his Civic known to the world, it also made Francine Dee a star in the import auto industry…


Complete legit C-West aero on this Integra… Don’t quote me but I think I remember this Integra being a legit R…I like the front splitter and the Advan AVS Model 7 wheels…Another build that would be pretty relevant now, especially now that body kits (legit Japanese aero) are becoming acceptable again…


Widebody Integra with a R33 Skyline-styled front bumper (Sinsei kit I believe) with kouki S14 240SX headlight conversion…


BB6 Prelude taillight conversion… Wheels were made by Gewalt…  By the way, does anyone remember Sprewell Racing? It was a shop that was owned by former NBA basketball player Latrell Sprewell, who was a huge car head. The shop was around until like ’06 or ’07 and I never heard one positive thing about them…


This Lexus IS300 was one of the first heavily-modified ones that I could remember. It was built and owned by a female member of Techna and another build that would be current today. Full C-West aero, Advan AVS Model 5 wheels, Recaro seats…just very well done and great execution… I’m pretty sure May still remembers this car because she was a member of Techna a couple years later with DPK J.P….


Erica Lam’s Accord was the car to put back then… it had an insane amount of work done to it and I always remember her winning top honors at Showoff, HIN, etc… I think this photo was taken before it had air suspension. I actually wrote a small piece on it in 2008 when The Chronicles was just a couple months old… click here if you are interested…


As you may have noticed, baby blue paint was very popular during that time period. The baby blue would then be combined with any sort of flake or pearl tone and people would be all over it….


Widebody Accord with a Lexus IS300/Toyota Altezza headlight conversion…widebody as well with custom magenta paint with red pearl… Again, Racing Hart C5 3-piece wheels…


It wouldn’t be a throwback without a Cali Type R conversion… This was the typical front bumper that usually came with the CL conversion. I never understood the purpose of having that upper grille on this bumper. The CL headlights weren’t supported very well either and they just kind of sat in the bumper. If you hit a bump hard enough the headlight would probably fall off, haha….


Every now and then you would run into a modded Toyota pick-up at a car show… this one had Axis Touring Cup wheels and the Street Weapon “Drift” front bumper that I mentioned earlier…


Autocannon was a huge motorsports clothing line  in 2000. The only people you will still see wearing their stuff today is Loi Song from Sportcar Motion. I think this guy bought all of their merchandise before they went out of business. When I used to go to Sportcar to go have dinner with Loi, he would go into the stock room and pull one of these shirts out brand new in the bag and put one on. Probably still has them today… This Civic was one of their sponsored vehicles and had a chameleon paint job, Buddy Club body kit, and Racing Hart Tracer wheels…. Oddly enough, the Autocannon site still works, you just can’t actually go into their online store… http://www.autocannon.com


Turbocharged Prelude with NOS…NOS bottles were important show pieces to have on your showcar. You didn’t even have to actually have a NOS system installed. As long as you had the bottle laying somewhere on the car that was all that mattered. In the year 2012, NOS is more of an energy drink and at car shows, empty NOS drink cans are just fucking EVERYWHERE….


I remember really liking this 4-door Civic when I spotted it at Extreme Autofest 2000. Probably because it was a rear sight to see a Civic with Civic headlights on it, haha…It was one of the first Civic builds that I saw with a Bomex EK front bumper….


It didn’t have a Bomex rear bumper or side skirts because they didn’t make one for the 4-door sedans… I don’t remember the brand of the mufflers (either Bomz or Hayame or something) but I do remember them being loud as shit…. Racing Hart C2 Evos wheels on this 4-door…


Max Boost!-themed Civic with CD Accord headlights and MR-2 sidevents. Max Boost!, for those unfamiliar, was a monthly short comic that was included in the pages of Import Tuner magazine in its early days…


Crappy photo (aren’t they all?) but this 300ZX is significant because it was the first Z that I ever saw with a legit VeilSide body kit on it (Minus the ugly ass hood, which isn’t from VeilSide). I used to see this car all the time after school. I believe the owner of this car’s name was Lawrence Gayoso. He was one of the founding members of 935 Wiked Draggers and was also one of the first guys to shoot “import models”. He’s the brainchild behind sites like Finestmodels.com, Finestallstars.com, etc. These sites were the first to feature risque, sometimes nude shots of popular import models then. The site actually still works but you can’t access anything. You’d be surprised who is on there and who is still around today…. The guy made a shit ton of money running these sites because no one else was really doing this type of stuff then… Unrelated to naked models but his wheels are from a company called Manaray Sports, which is a Japanese wheel company that is now extinct. Anyways, these dude made all kinds of money charging people to look at “implied nudes” of import models. You could see like the occasional nip slip but everything else was usually strategically covered by hands or bubble bath soap…


If you haven’t caught on yet, the popular trend was Buddy Club kits and Racing Hart wheels. The Racing Hart C5 was probably the first and most popular copied wheel. These were so popular that they were later knocked-off but all kinds of different wheel companies. One of them was a company called Katana and they made a copy and called it the Concept 5…You can probably still buy those motherfuckers too…


Ever seen a EF headlight turned into a fish tank with real gold fish in them? (R.I.P gold fish because they probably died a couple hours later) ….Blatant placement of the neon light too…


CR-X on Racing Hart C2s, ITR headlights, and suicide doors… two of the three companies represented on this car, oddly enough, are still around today… Carcraft is long gone but JT Autobody is still in business as well as Raceline USA. I’m sure Elton from Raceline will be happy to see that his business survived post vinyl interior, suicide doors, and headlight conversions…


In 1999, we didn’t even have Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions yet and the closest thing to having one was purchasing the complete conversion kit from VIS Racing…


I wish I had a better photo of this car but this was fucking bananas in 2000.  Turbo monster of an EG on Volk TE37s…

Well, that’s pretty much a wrap. I hope you guys enjoyed this look back because it took me a lot of time to put this together. I’ve been wanting to do something like this for awhile now but I haven’t been able to connect my scanner to my PC until recently. It seems like so long ago and it’ll be interesting to see how things change in another decade or so. I’ll be an old man by then but I hope I’ll be able to look back on this hobby and be proud to tell my kids about it. Thanks for looking, now let’s return to the year 2012….

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  1. Way to make me feel old, I graduated HS in ’99. Unfortunately I lived in farmville Washington and there were no such things as car shows >_< Thanks for the reminder of how "awesome" the culture was back then.

    • That pink integra was featured in Super Street in December 1998. It was before the Supra headlights though. I got the issue in my room at the moment

  2. Damn it, wordpress ate my comment >_<

    Anyway, thanks for the reminder about the car "culture" from the day. I graduated in '99 in farmville Washington, no such thing as car shows in the area :-/ Amazing how things have changed over the years.

  3. That Mugen DC2 was owned by Thanh Duong I recall correctly. I remember loving that car when I was 13 LOL and definitely a timeless build. LJ’s Civic and Erica’s Accord were my dream cars back then too. I definitely feel old looking at this post, but definitely brings back awesome memories.

    Thanks for these awesome old school posts!

  4. That was kinda fucked up. I mean I enjoyed it and remember shows around here being very similar but fucked up all at the same time.

    Aquarium headlight is… wow.

    I am impressed of the lack of wavy ass body panels though, and on the topic of putting kits on anything:


    This was early 2000 I think….

  5. Joey i found myself laughing so fucking hard man…those funny ass shit u said about those old skool import models…import? Lmfao…and showing them titties and shit…fuck old memories and all those cars oh so familar…and funny ass comments aboyt francine dee..hahahahahahaha

  6. ah, shit…if you guys feel old looking at these photos then I feel even older…I was 14 when I went to my first car show and that was back in 95 I think. I’ve seen and remember all of these cars and saw them in person as they changed every year as I was close to a lot of them and regularly hung out at these shops after school and during the weekends. I remember when getting JDM parts was more than just getting online and clicking on the buy button =P Good stuff. Thanks.

  7. blitz r34, chameleon accord with integra front conversion floating in the air, and rotary xecret rx7 are all still dope to look at today

  8. Titties, Gaudy Body Kits and bright colors with terrible Lighting. One of the BEST posts Ever Joey..Congrats!

  9. I cannot begin to say how much I enjoyed this post. Hahahaha. I love it. That was what the scene was and we all loved it back then. So many memories!!!

  10. Best post ever!!! Brings me back to a different time and many good memories! Good Job Joey!

  11. I remember all those shows and going way back since 1994! I remember my Civic was at one of the BOTI events and at the 1999 Showoff (I think it was 99), no one paid attention to my car lol, it was too plain for that era. Love the post Joey!

  12. i remember everyone bumping Alice Deejay’s better off alone back than too lol

  13. Fantastic post. Thanks for bringing back my childhood. I remember some of these cars. I took a nap in Mommy Charlotte’s van as a kid at one of the HIN events and LJ’s civic was my dream car.

  14. Bumping Alice Deejay? Damn, Austin, I think you’re younger than me and some of the other fellas here. Nah j/k. I remember the days of Eazy E and those before it…or Vanilla Ice anyone? Lolz. Just wanted to throw the Ice out there thats all. Don’t know why. Just had to. And Kanes Civic is going to be a classic even another decade from now. It would still hold its on. They say all things go in circles. Are we going back to where we started? Lolz. I hope those guys in Japan reading your post now don’t think this is the new USDM style and go doing shit with Veilside on Hondas again. Lmfao. That would be wack!

  15. Did anyone else fall of their chairs reading this shit that Joey wrote? “How about a shot of Francine Dee back in 1999? She hasn’t really changed much over time and her tittys will never have the ability to sag so we are good…haha…She is still doing her thing as well and having stared at her meat flaps over time, I can tell you that her vag has gone from Flame Broiler, to Yoshinoya, and now to a #1 super bowl at your favorite Vietnamese Pho spot…..No matter what though, Francine Dee will always be a staple in the fabric of our import community and I will always be a huge fan of her and her wizard sleeves. I still remember the days when she had no implants and was rocking the blond hair… I may or may not have fapped to her so many times in my youth that my penis is on some grandfather plan, haha…”…..fcuking funniest shit of the day!

  16. Thanks for the NSFW heads up. Shit, dude.

  17. Wow I have a lot photos of these cars too. We must of went to a lot of the same shows. Lol. Funny how they r actual photos n not digital pictures like now adays.

  18. Ha, that was awesome (less the bikini contest) and I’ve got the import tuner #2 with LJ’s civic and Francine Dee. I’ve got pictures from Nopi Atl ( the only one at that time) from 2000 that manage to take me back any time I look at them. i.e. “Look, it’s a Cali Type-R!”.

  19. I think Manaray is still around? Unless it’s a diff company?

  20. Great stuff. that Mugen DC2 on the cover of iT set me on my path of honda tuning. Then I discovered the FF Squad and was hooked. pieced together a jdm front end right after that. I bought all the parts seperately from local jdm wreckers who had no idea what they had. Now they are hip to the game. Max Boost cartoon FTW!

  21. this was a great read! thanks for posting!

  22. Just wanted to let you know that even though i RARELY read car blogs, i enjoyed every second of this post… GREAT JOB dude!!

  23. the craziest thing about all these pics is that I remember taking pictures of these exact cars at these exact shows. Even that exact bikini contest lol I’m sitting here trying to recall if I remember seeing you then lol Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  24. Thanks for posting these; definitely a flashback in regards to how California set (and still does to some extent) the import scene. It’s amusing, pre drift and VIP days, haha, well that’s evolution for you. I feel like digging up my early Modified Magazine and Super Street magazines 🙂

  25. classic sir! bringing back all the memories 🙂

  26. i was just as interested in imports back then as i am now. wow, that was so long ago, i was only 9 back then, i remember i actually had to with grocery shopping with my mom, and sneaking in an issue of super street and sport compact car, and TURBO into her shopping cart. those were the days. however back then, in kansas not many people were into imports, let alone drifting. i can remember back in 2004 i went on vacation to long beach ca with my grandparents, and i absolutely had to go see MOTOREX. well, after a ton of searching, we found it, and let me tell you, as a 14 year old kit, it blew my mind. they gave me a tour of the shop, and let me sit in skylines. ill always remember that. and that BLITZ R34 was just casually sitting outside. i might be into BMWs now, but ill always have a soft spot for the imports

  27. Really bring back memories, indeed!


    The white BB6 Prelude was owned by Mark. I forget his last name

    The orange Civic coupe was owned by Techna co-leader, Mike Fouty.

    The Lexus IS from Techna was owned by Connie Lam.

    The (Techna) blue E36 M3 was owned by a dude named “Ta”. That’s him sitting in the chair with the blue shirt on next to Connie’s Lexus.

    The Rotary Xecret-7 FD was owned by Tony Yeh.

    The Bride themed Eclipse GST was owned by a dude named Joey. He was Thanh Duong’s buddy.

    The silver FD was owned by Chris Chee.

    The strawberry face S14 is Ricky Chu’s. I think that’s him taking a pic in the background.

    The 4-door Civic from Tribunal was owned by the guy with the hat on. His name is Jose.

    I forget the name of the guy with the black Blitz Supra. Everyone though it was cool until they discovered it was an automatic.

    I never attended any of the San Diego shows but these guys above were local to me.(Socal)

    • All are correct except for the strawberry face S14. Ricky’s was blue. The silver one, which came before Ricky’s if I remember, belonged to William Law who works for DC Sports now…

      • Actually I owned the TECHNA charcoal civic with the accord headlight conversion (me is mike fouty) the orange TECHNA civic was owned by purple aka mike Livingston. If you have any more pics of the civic I would love to have them.

      • That’s all I got man, sorry.

      • thank u for posting this! it really is a throwback and I honestly love this style sadly it died out later on but trends always come back…. so ya never now

  28. First time poster, long time reader. Damn Joey you took me back down memory lane! I graduated from HS in ’97 and I was in the Import Scene since ’95 when it was young and fresh and parts availibility was scarce. I began drag racing for a few years and by 1999 I decided to go all out and put my car in a shop in Stockton to go through the same transformations you talk about. Right before I started the build the JDM crazy started to hit and I was on the fence about it. It took about 7-8 months to build my car and by the time it got done I wish I had gone the JDM route, but instead I put Integra and Prelude lights on my CRX along with a molded body kit and all of the above. LOL The scene has changed so much in many different ways and I really love where it sits today. I enjoy reading your site and watching folks continue on with their passion of building these awesome cars you capture.

  29. wow man what a throw back. made me think about reading all those import tuners in math class in 7th grade. Max Boost! lol i remember reading up on that always trying to draw that green EK

  30. WOW, time warp. Car shows were funner back then. My ride was sub par to say the least. “Phaze One” I was ust happy if someone looked at my car. great post!

  31. Dude I was at all of these shows. I need to find my boxes of photos from back then. I still have some of the free shit and stickers they were giving out somewhere too.

  32. thanks for the pics and memories.
    Like the others I graduated HS in 96 these pictures are a blast to look through.

  33. You have had a lot of stellar posts and a lot of coverage of cool cars and interesting shows….

    But this is probably your best! I am not from California or anywhere these shows eventually traveled through so I only remember these cars from magazines, but I remember them clearly still. I read this while killing time before going to the drag strip with some buddies, and all I could think of afterward were all the “How to not look like an idiot at the drag strip” articles the magazines were running back then. Pure nostalgia.

    Thanks for bringing back memories and not letting us forget about Erica Lam’s Accord, L. J. Garcia’s Civic, Racing Hart C5 wheels (I still HAVE my 1:18 diecast Hotwheels Civic with those on it), Playstation 1s in the car, clear taillights, minitruckin’, the turbo Odyssey, the chop-top Signal Civic, and of course, Alley Baggett.

    Great work, man!

  34. You have posted a lot of great articles over the years, with great car and show coverage…

    But this is probably the best one. It really brought back memories. I never got to attend these shows because I am not from California or from anywhere these shows eventually traveled to, but I did get all the magazines and I do remember these cars as clearly as they were yesterday. Thanks for not letting us forget about Erica Lam’s Accord, L.J. Garcia’s Civic, Max Boost, minitruckin’, Racing Hart C5s (I still have my 1:18 Hotwheels diecast Civic with those on it), clear taillights, Playstation 1 up in the ride, and of course, Alley Bagget. And that Mugen Integra – always has been and always will be one of the most inspiring cars I’ve seen.

    Sincerely, thanks.

  35. Read through this other day Joey and came back again because it was that good! Your posts are always interesting, informative and usually have some humor somewhere, but this was a awesome post my friend. Very well put together and thanks for taking alllll the time to scan, upload, edit, watermark and share.

  36. Ahhhh, the good ol days

  37. Living in KC I never saw any of these cars in person but I remember many of them from magazines. I still had every single one of those magazines up until a couple years ago when my parents moved and I didn’t grab them from their house before they threw them away (sad panda.) I was a senior in High School when those first pics were taken, this post reminded me that I’ve now been driving just over half my life now and have been into cars for the better part of 20 years. I still remember the first Honda I saw that got me into imports, it was a Barney purple EJ1 w/ the classic all clear/white taillights and some chrome Niche or Neeper wheels. Those were big around here back then, a lot of people had the chrome tri-star wheels too. Anyways, this was an amazing blast from the past and I definitely remember these days fondly. even though we had much less to work w/ in terms of available parts back then, the comradery between everyone in the community blows away what we have today.

    “At least back then people used creativity to stand out and didn’t take short-cuts to make themselves “cool” and subsequently call everyone “haters” if they didn’t agree or called people out for the short-cuts they took to be the next bandwagon trend hopper.” – What you said here rang 100% true to me. Keep on writing, man, because I love to read it!


  38. I loved looking at these images. I wish there were more! Shows back then were so much more fun, and the colors were so bold. JDM this JDM that. I miss the old stuff sometimes.

  39. This is amazing, im still a kid, graduated hs this year, but ill have to say i love 90’s cars with a passion and dont mind how they were modded back then at all. i was really happy when i saw the e36 cause i own one myself. I still kind of want those rims today! Regardless thank you for posting this, it was nice to learn and see everything from back then.


  40. Great stuff – I”m older than you guys and was able to see things from the get go – over all great description and hope we can enjoy this culture for the next 10 years strong.

  41. I wonder what became of most of these cars, especially that Mugen DC2. That is a perfect example of a timeless build. I doubt that its still in one piece but a back story would be awesome!

  42. That gold mugen integra is an icon and I still have the magazine feature to this day.

  43. That gold mugen is a timeless icon.
    I still have the magazine feature to this day.

  44. Rad post, such classic stuff. I also hit the HIN scene back in 98/99 and saw many of these same cars in person…and have some pretty sweet disposable camera pics that I have yet to share with the internet world.

  45. Hey Bro, excellent coverage, it was like traveling back in time, i miss the good old days of the Import scene, the 20/20 Autobody’s, Carisma, Pit Crew, RoboCar. I was looking for any coverage of Import Nights 1999 in Long Beach if you know of it, I wanted to see if there was any shots of our booth Protosports Autowerks/Kensa Tuning. Let me know if you have any links to that show cool? Keep up the great coverage “MAX BOOST” Forever!

  46. just plain awesome i to was a junior in high school around this time. thanks for the walk down memory lane…

  47. Damn those pics bring back memories. Oh and the girl in the middle of Rowena and jynki is Anne Phan. I tried hollering at her.

  48. The second paragraph is spot on! It speaks so much truth.

  49. Wow. First time I saw this article. But it brought back SO many memories. Francine Dee, LJ Garcia’s FEELs civic, and THAT issue of Import Tuner. Wow. I can still picture it in my head. Beautiful article. It’s so much appreciated through and through.

  50. the supra was na and looked like an interfooler judging by the intake filter straight to the over engine t/b.. :/

  51. Awesome post! I also love how everyone’s shirts are like two sizes too big.

  52. RIP Nah-Cream. You were my boy. Never forget 5.8.13.

  53. Am I the only one who’s very glad the car scene today doesn’t look like this?

  54. This brought back tons of memories. Ive got pics of a lot of the same cars. My fav. model from back then was Sasha Sigleton. The pocs I took with her.

  55. I was only 11 when all of this was happening and its seriously a trip down memory lane through my childhood. Growing up in the Valley in SoCal and having older friends and cousins in the import community got me the opportunity to the culture has grow into a major industry now. LJ’s Feel’s Civic was my favorite car and will still be a timeless classic. Just like many peeps in this thread, I got the same pics of the same cars. I’ll never forget the time my dad took me to one of my first shows and we passed by the Wet T-Shirt contest while it was happening. haha awkward. I really appreciate this post. Makes me wanna browse through old pictures.

  56. Reminds me of the days when I used to drive almost an hour just to play pool at Varsity Billiards and “One and one” or “Children” by Robert Miles plays over and over on the jukebox. Then head back to kick it after-hours at A&A Autobody sanding down bondo and wiring up some city-lights and rear amber lights. I give much props to the Civic with gold fishes in the headlights. That was some original creativity.

  57. Amazing post! Good to see and remember how the Import Tuner scene was back in the days…
    Most of the cars back then like those on the pictures looked ridiculous, but otherwise there was a lot of work done right there, Respect to most of them! (the ones with the head- tail-lights conversions and so on…but still looks kinda shitty… )
    Then there were also a lot of cars that actually looked good and quite simple (granted like stickydiljoe said on a few pics) and even today would be pretty relevant! (like the MUGEN Integra, the C-West blue Integra on Advan rims, the white IS300/Altezza, the dark purple BLITZ Supra and a few others)
    These cars looked at least JDM-style and not that flashy paintjobs (it also depends on the color and finish, few look good, others just awful), exaggerated bodykits with conversion lights of all kind of car models, neon lights, etc…
    As an example: The CR-X Del Sol with a complete Civic 6th Gen front end, looks really good at the other hand, and if you keep it simple (without crazy bodykits, big ass spoilers etc.) it’s even better!

    I think it’s a matter of taste and the way you look at it 😉

    If you see the Tuner scene today, it’s all about stance, fitment, and so on. In the other hand, the bodykits kinda come back, if we take a look at the LB-Liberty Walk & Bunny wide bodykits from Japan. Also the decent looking bodykits are acceptable.
    In my opinion, this are all trends that come and go by the time. There’s two options I think, either you do it your style (like, if you prefer the JDM-style with all those japanese parts, etc.) OR you follow the trends and are like everybody out there. It’s your choice 😉

    I found it interesting to see all those pictures from back in the day and found the text really entertaining to read! I kinda got some Hate and Love for this Tuner style from back then… (but more Hate of course…) Hahahaha

    Thanks 😉

  58. this page took me back. i remember most of those cars. gawd, time flies. thanks for taking the time to post (i know it can get tedious w/ all the pics)

  59. Damn man…. I was trying to tell my co-worker about how car shows back in the day and i google my car club (935 wiked draggers) and found this article. This was so awesome to read man, thanks for posting it, and i mean all of it. The stuff about Francine Dee was awesome! And damn… i remember that car show with the bikini contest where the chicks were “getting naked”! The winner was the blonde chick that had the American Flag bikini and the announcer called her “Captain Tig ol’ bitties” . Damn.. i feel old as shit though after reading this! Thanks for the trip down memory lane man!!

  60. I never got to see the car show but I did get to purchase the “Bride” sponsored eclipse, no longer has the Racing Hart Evo’s or the bride seats but hopefully I can get it back the way it was.

  61. Yes, I use to work as a technician at Sprewell Racing. After his NBA tanking, the shop did as well. Later on the shop was under new management under Cecil and then Latrells brother Teran. Wonder what’s he up to now…

  62. Wow, That Mugen Integra absolutely KILLED everything else and I bet nobody took a second look at it (at the time). Amazing article.

  63. Great write up, this took me back. Still love all of them!!

  64. I still have a copy of the Import Tuner Magazine that Mugen Integra was a cover on. Totally ignored it back in the day too!

  65. I see my old Integra GS-R in the background of a couple shots at EAF San Diego. Crazy!

  66. Do you ever remember the JDM Real Inc Starform wheels?

  67. “GOLDFISH IN THE HEADLIGHTS” Back in those days, I could only dream of having a shot of my ride in any magazine, even if it was just part of a fender or far in the background. Just so I could, at least, show my grandkids that their grandpa was cool back in the day. A last minute, twacked out idea just got me in the pages of “Import Tuner”, “Super Street” and many other sites online. Thanks Joey for the post!

  68. Thank you again for these throwback posts. I hope more old photos continue to show up.
    Does anyone know the meaning of the decal on the quarter window of the red widebody crx?
    It looks like it says 550 (with the 935 font).
    I miss that era so I kind of obsess over learning all the details, teams, etc.
    Thanks again for sharing these.

  69. This whole page is beautiful. Thank you.

  70. I was at these shows in the pics and saw these cars first hand. Team Powerban and 935 had some of the best cars.

  71. As a guy in my 40s now, this post brought back ALL the memories. In “honor” of Asian American Heritage Month, I’m writing an article on “The History of the Japanese Import Car Scene” for my company and my colleagues out here in New England (I was originally born and raised in NorCal). I would like to use a picture or two from your post, and will document you as the source in my blog. Please let me know if you rather not authorize this. Thanks for the jog down memory lane.

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