Hot Import Nights LA 2012 Coverage…Part 1…

I never had any intentions on attending the Hot Import Nights event this year in LA. I honestly didn’t even know when the event was taking place. You saw coverage from me from last year’s HIN because it just so happened that May was out of town that weekend and I had some free time to go. HIN is a cool event…if you haven’t been around the import community for more than a couple years, then this is a cool event to go to. The ambiance is different than most and has more of a club feel to it. You go more for the environment than to see the cars themselves, you know? If you’re going to check out cars, you’re better off going to the other numerous events in Southern California because you’re bound to see many of the same cars. HIN is fun just to go check out and to chill, and well, to stare at girls. I say that it’s cool to go to for the younger people because if you were around in the early 2000s, you’re bound to be disappointed by the current HIN events. They just aren’t the same anymore. The economy has had a lot to do with it but the excitement isn’t really there anymore. The shows used to be incredibly massive, filling up an entire hall at the LA Convention Center. I remember one year when we did HIN where it was so packed at the show that we had to come back the next day to roll our cars in because they had to figure out where and how to arrange all the cars registered. Nowadays the show barely fills up 1/3 of the venue and the building is divided with walls to give that illusion that the venue is full…

After last year’s HIN LA, I didn’t really want to go anymore. I don’t want to say I was disappointed but it was what I expected. The HIN brand name has changed ownership so many times that it was going to be tough for it to pickup the momentum it once had in the past. I did manage to find some feature cars for the publications that I work for so that was one of the only incentives I had for going. That and I always manage to get a free pass into the show every year so it wasn’t going to be a total loss if I had spent some time at the show. Being that May just so happened to be out of town again this year, I decided to go see how HIN LA was this year. I have to say that the 2012 edition of HIN was much better than the year before, just in terms of cars overall. I went in with no expectations but was pleasantly surprised by who participated in the show. Many told me that they were invited to the event last minute, which makes sense, but I noticed that there weren’t too many “DUB” style cars out there. Maybe they just didn’t want to do HIN this year or maybe HIN wanted to gear their car audience back to the imports that made them known, I don’t know…but the cars were definitely better. I understand why the “DUB” style cars would be there too so I was totally expecting there to be a flood of them. Have you seen how much money these guys dump into their cars? Shit, if there was a core audience to make money off of at an event like HIN, it would be that crowd. In any case, I didn’t see that many so you won’t see too many outrageous rides there. Sad to say but Disgusted Batman won’t even be making much of an appearance if at all this year…

The event was small but I think it was good overall. I stayed as long as I could but by around 6:15pm or so, it was getting a little redundant so there was really no point in me being there. Plus there was a huge UFC PPV that I wanted to get home to watch so it was an easy decision to make to leave. I did exactly what I did last year. I showed up for the roll-in the day before and then I also arrived back at the venue an hour and a half before the gates opened to do coverage. If you guys plan to actually cover the event in the future, it’s a good idea to try to get there really early before the crowd gets in so you can shoot without interruption. I know many of you who tried to cover the event this year for the first time had trouble shooting in low light. HIN is typically very dark inside so it’s best to shoot with a tripod. Tripods can be troublesome with crowds and people walking in and out so it works best if you get there before hand. I usually shoot the car stuff before and then just spend the rest of my time there either hanging out with friends or taking photos of people and models. Another important reason why I made the choice to go to HIN was also to test out my new camera. This thing has been pretty confusing to me so far and completely new so I felt that HIN was a perfect event to try to learn how to use this camera body. The conditions were perfect and I really wanted to figure out how to shoot with low light. I’m very happy with the coverage and if you compare the photos this year from last year’s HIN LA event, you’ll notice that the differences are night and day…

Now, on to the photos. The first half today covers a majority of the vehicles that were there that caught my eye. I didn’t have as much time as I did last year because I got to the venue a little later than last year. I still got what I wanted even though I had to walk through it pretty quickly. Tomorrow will cover the rest of the cars as well as the models that were there. It ain’t Hot Import Nights without the models so I made sure to get some model coverage…

If you missed the roll-in coverage from the day before Hot Import Nights took place, make sure to click to check it out. There are some cars from that day that I didn’t bother taking photos of again during the event since I was short on time. Some cars you want to take a look at in that particular portion of coverage were a beautifully done Chevy El Camino SS, E-AT Civic, and a silver Sorcery widebody NSX that is well…pretty interesting to say the least. Make sure you catch that before moving on below…

HIN LA 2012 Set-Up Photos….

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Michael Johnson’s second gen. Acura TL from Team Praxis. VIP style TLs aren’t all that common and Mike’s is definitely one of the ones you want to take a closer look at. Love the flared fenders and rear quarters and how it sits on the VIP Modular VXS-310s… This car has come a long way and I’m happy to see that it is getting recognized now. He ended up taking home the 3rd place Mild 4-Door award at the end of the night…

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Parked right next to him at the It’s JDM Yo!! booth was Jay Borcena’s third generation Acura TL, also from Team Praxis. Jay’s is one of the more recognizable TL builds out here and it’s cool to see his and Mikes parked side by side. Not your typical Honda build but still representing the brand to the fullest….

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Eulises Torres’ S2000 on custom Work VS-TXs that you saw from our Spocom Pre-Meet Coverage…. This S2000 later ended the night taking home two awards; 3rd place Mild 2-Door class and 2nd place Best Static Stance…

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Michael Mao’s Acura NSX that you should all be very familiar with these days… We were a little worried about whether or not he would take home any awards that night since there were a couple of other pretty wild NSXs at HIN. Not only did he win, he actually took home three awards; “Hottest JDM”class, Hottest Acura class, and 1st place 2-Door Mild class… Congrats all around to this guy. 2012 has proven to be a great year for him so far….

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A shot of Mike’s NSX bay before they shut the lights off for the start of the event…

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A shot of the Wheelflip custom-built wheels…

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This was certainly different from the typical Honda build you would see on this site but fuck it, I can dig it… Looks like there is quite a bit of work done to this EG and you can’t help but stop to glance at it…. I can’t remember the last time I saw that front bumper on a Civic that was actually painted and in solid condition. Interesting work on the doors and side moldings too…. Didn’t get a chance to see what the interior looked like but it was probably the same nacho cheese color as the outside… Interesting stuff…

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Danny Yu’s Evo 8 on Work Meister M1Rs that was recently featured on Style Over Comfort… Peep the link here if you want to see some more photos of this Evo. SOC staff, you’re welcome for the hits…haha…

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Absolutely love this E46 M3 with Voltex aero and HRE wheels… Everytime I see it I stop to take a good look at it…

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2nd gen. Lexus IS bagged on SSR SP1 Professors….

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Evo on bronze Volk RE30s and Voltex body armor…

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TSX on custom gold-faced CCW LM20s…

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Matte purple 2nd gen. Chrysler 300C… Not my style but I can appreciate it. I am however, wondering about the baby alligators on the ground….

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Running into this Mustang was a straight blast from the past because I haven’t seen this thing since a Hot Import Daze show in San Diego from way back in 2006…. Cool to see that it remains completely unchanged minus the red splitter…. I remember it because it was the first Mustang I’d ever seen on Air Runner suspension. Oh, I actually found the photo of it from back in ’06 if you guys don’t believe me… Click here to see…

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R35 GTR from Godspeed Project… At this point I was still trying to figure out what settings to shoot with so I apologize if the photos are somewhat crappy. I promise they get better later on…

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Ken Suen’s FD2 Mugen RR converted FA5 Civic Si… He recently picked up a daily driver so he won’t have to drive this thing everyday now…. It’s cool to have street cred for driving your project daily but when it looks like a full blown race car and actually does track events, you probably don’t want to get caught up in this thing driving home from work…

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Chris Dunbar’s Subaru STI had to be one of the best builds at the show… There is an insane amount of work on this car and it was also featured in Import Tuner magazine in 2010…It has changed a bit since then and I have some more detailed photos of it in part 2… To check out the digital version of his IT feature, click here….

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One of the most significant changes since his feature is his completely shaved and tucked engine bay… One of the most extensively done bays on a STi that I have seen in person other than Joy Abdalla’s Subaru. Also has a pretty rare and very expensive Cosworth crate motor. I had a chance to chat with him for a couple minutes while he was setting up and he had some not-so-kind words to say about…well, to be perfectly diplomatic… a “Rywire competitor” aka “_____________”, haha. You can fill in the blank yourself if you know who I am speaking of…He said that he even shipped his car to “____________” and “___________” just left his car outside for months with the windows down. When “_____” finished the engine harness, it didn’t even work properly and Chris had to fix it and re-wire it himself. Quite a shame if you ask me but I’m happy to see that he was able to complete the project despite issues with this pretty well-known wiring “specialist”… This whole build just has to be seen in person to be appreciated. It event has air jacks and everything. Just sick…

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VeilSide Fortune NSX on VIP Modular wheels from R-Rydes…

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Black FD RX-7 on black SSR SP1 Professors from R-Rydes…

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Ryan DeGuzman’s yellow FD RX-7 on SSR MS1s… You probably remember these wheels on his other RX-7, a FC3S, which he recently sold. While I was taking photos, Danh Vo from Tanabe USA stopped to chat and he was telling me that Ryan plans to retire this RX-7 soon. He’s working on a new project and just plans to put this thing away for awhile so he can concentrate on the new build. I love this thing and I dig this guy’s sense of style on both his previous projects so I’ll be looking forward to the new build whenever he’s ready to debut it…

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Chrysler 300C representing Funkycold Motorsports. I wasn’t sure what that was all about so I looked it up and they actually sell this shoe display thing which you can see to the left of this 300C. It’s just a metal stand that you can mount to any brake rotor to display your sign or spec sheet. Very basic but cool idea….

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VW GTi hammered on Bentley wheels…

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Nissan S13 with GM LSx engine swap…

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One of the non-Hondas that you’ll see often here on The Chronicles… This is probably my favorite VW build this year and I take a photo of it every time I see it at an event…

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Infiniti G35 on HREs… Like the L.E.D. puddle lights…

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Nissan R35 GTR on Venaci wheels…

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Much like last year, Project G brought out a nice little group of Miatas….

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Second gen. or NB chassis MX-5 Miata slammed on Work Equip 03…

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NC chassis MX-5 on Volk TE37SLs…

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Another NB Miata, this one on classic SSR MK2…

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I’ve been planning to shoot this Miata for a while now for Super Street but have just been loaded up with work lately that I haven’t had a chance to…All of these guys’ Miatas are good builds so make sure to keep an eye out for their features in the future…

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Brian Wingco’s DC2 Integra with JDM front end conversion and Sprint Hart CP-Rs… The color and wheel choice in combination with the Status bucket seat reminds me a lot of Status Sean’s Integra from years ago… Very clean, simple set-up and a good looking Integra overall…

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Karl Johnston’s daily driven S2000 on super aggressive Work Meister S1s…

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Teddy Timoteo’s Civic with ARC wing and First Molding front lip from FX Auto Design….

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AE86 also from FX Auto Design rolling on some mint Watanabe wheels w/caps. From what Teddy tells me, the owner of this car is in his 40s and has held onto a bunch of Cusco parts that he bought brand new back in the day that they just recently installed on the car….

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Civic with non-matching bumper that FX Auto Design brought to the show to fill up an additional space that HIN offered them…haha… Nice progress though. Should be pretty clean once it’s all put together…

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Man, G35 builds have been popping up all over the place lately and they are pretty high quality builds. I’m sure you guys saw some really nice ones in our Wekfest LA coverage but you should also toss this one into the mix of really nice G builds…

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Not sure if the two-toned bay is intentional or not or if the car is just wrapped on the outside but the bay itself is pretty well assembled… This 4-door G35 is supercharged with a host of polished parts….

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Custom audio and everything… Just a very well-rounded build… Wish I would have taken a photo of the interior but I always miss out on some good shit because my mind is all over the place at shows…

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Subaru BR-Z from Forman Performance on display… Cool graphics scheme matched with the red Enkei NT03s…

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E46 looking just perfect on Work Meister S1s… As I have said all year, Work S1 wheels have to be the most popular wheel this year and it’s fitting because they just look great on every type of car…

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Infiniti G37 on SSR MS3s from BausAuto…

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Beefy widebody C63 AMG from RDB LA…

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Infiniti G35 coupe airred-down on Work Brombacher wheels…

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Check out the custom interior with re-wrapped Bride seats…

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I posted up a trivia question after uploading the roll-in photos from HIN LA where I asked people if they knew what car the “Bentlex” originally was… Well some of you were on point and some were way off. The Bentlex was actually a 2nd gen. Lexus GS300/400 before they added the custom Bentley front end and Lexus LS460 rear… The amount of body work on this car is pretty crazy and results in a overly bizarre-looking vehicle but hey, sometimes you need to see some stuff like this to remind you that there are other types of builds out there other than the ones we are familiar with…

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The dead giveaway was the original GS dashboard that has been redone. Interesting to see the dual sunroofs as well as the pillar-less windows…

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Again, not at all my style but I can appreciate the amount of work involved…

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That’s about all for today. I’ll be back with more tomorrow but I thought I’d toss this photo in today. I took a bunch of extra shots while walking around and decided to have a little bit of fun with this one in photoshop. I thought it came out pretty cool. It’s multiple exposures combined into one with blah blah blah blah, you guys probably aren’t interested… Click here for larger version (1400×933)

Thanks for looking, part 2 coming tomorrow….

3 thoughts

  1. “_______” deserves everything people say about him. Even up in Canada I know some people that have received garbage harnesses from him.

    Great coverage again Joey, I thought of the same thing about the nacho cheese Civic, that someone with that bumper actually has a show quality finish on it.

  2. Awesome coverage man, can’t wait to see pt 2! I wouldn’t mind a little more info on camera settings for future shoots, it’s interesting stuff for us aspiring photojournalists

  3. Sooo, why is there Mazda’s, Chrysler’s, TL’s, and a Mustang there? Mustang and Mazda are both owned by Ford and everyone knows Ford is made in the USA. The TL is made in Ohio, and Chrysler is made in Detroit. Why why are they in an event called Hot “Import” Nights? They’re not imports.

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