Autofashion USA Grand Opening Coverage…

It seems like ages ago but I believe I first met Freddie from Autofashion back around early ’05 or so. Back then my buddy Kevin owned one of the first full Junction Produce LS400 demo cars in the U.S. and we would always go to events with Freddie and the Autofashion crew. He had roots within the San Diego Honda community too so we had a lot of mutual friends that knew one another and it was just kind of a natural to hang out. We would do shows together and even when I had my Accord, I would occasionally show with the rest of the Autofashion USA vehicles. Back then the VIP scene was still very green, undeveloped, and under-appreciated. People just didn’t understand it at the time and those who were fans, like me, couldn’t really afford to build a VIP themed car. You have to remember that parts were also not readily available as they are now and the stuff you could get a hold of was incredibly expensive. VIP parts in general are still very expensive today so imagine how it was 8-10 years ago. The GS, LS, Q45, and every other true VIP platform were also not nearly as affordable as they are now. Almost anybody can acquire and old LS or GS now but you had to be making pretty good money back in those days to be able to own one, let alone mod one. I remember one of the first Autofashion demo vehicles that they built for the shop back in that time was a Scion xA. Sounds kind of crazy but it was, to this day, one of the best Scion builds I have ever encountered. Freddie had a good eye for that kind of stuff and he has since built a ton of other projects, and in that time, the Autofashion brand name has grown immensely…

I’ve been a fan of VIP cars for as long as I can remember, dating back to the first time I saw a Japanese Option mag and discovered there was such thing as VIPStyle and VIPCAR magazines. It was probably over a decade ago and eventually, I moved on from Hondas and decided to build a VIP car for myself. Through the years I’ve always kept up with Freddie and have always supported all of his endeavors. The VIP Festival series of events he puts on annually is a must-go on my list of destinations and I’m happy to see how much the community has embraced Autofashion throughout the years. They deserve a lot of credit for helping push the VIP movement throughout the U.S. and I think people forget how long Freddie and crew have been doing it big. They believed in bringing the VIP scene over to the states and helping it grow and without Autofashion, I don’t feel like the VIP scene in the U.S. would be where it is today. A ton of shops have since spawned after but Autofashion USA is most certainly one of the original premier VIP spots in our country…

When I heard that he was moving to a new location, I was a little surprised. The shop has been in the same spot in all the years that they have been around and it has always been one of the nicer shops that I’ve visited. Freddie felt the need to expand to a bigger and better location so he planned to have a grand re-opening in 2013. By late December he had already told us that the shop was coming together and by the end of January, everything would be in place. The whole time, the business was still up and running so it took some time to move everything over to the new spot. The new location also had to be completely renovated so there were also some delays in getting everything ready in time. Last weekend, all the work that they had put into the new shop had culminated into a grand unveiling event. Though it was a busy week for me, I had to make it down to San Diego to show my support and below are some of the photos from the event. I’m not gonna lie, I wasn’t really in the mood to shoot much that day. After a busy two weeks trying to complete a bunch of work for various magazines and having to travel to Seattle, I was a little burnt out on shooting. I did manage to get some photos though so that’s what we’re gonna look at today. It’s not terribly in-depth but I think it captures the essence of that day. It was fucking hot randomly that Sunday too so I spent a lot of time just trying to stay out of the blazing sun….

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We met up early in the morning at Rywire because we were all supposed to caravan down to San Diego. Our buddy Takeshi from Japan was also in town so I brought him along for the ride in my Odyssey and we set off on our journey. I had a family function to go to in the evening so we all wanted to get to Autofashion early to have enough time to hang out and see everything. When we arrived, it was pretty packed already with parking spilling over to adjacent lots…

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The Autofashion USA booth and their DJ set-up right in front of the new storefront. It wouldn’t be an Autofashion event without Bubba’s Asian BBQ so of course they were on hand to serve up some of the best BBQ in the biz…

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My favorite stateside LS430 build, which you can see in the current issue of Import Tuner magazine…

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Junction Produce themed GS400, complete with JP Scara wheels…

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Gilbert Susana’s amazing Datsun 510 build with SR swap…

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Techno Phantom wheels on the 510…

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Skyline Mikey’s Hakosuka looking good as always…

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On the other end of the Skyline family line was Slow Kuruma’s white GTR on Takata Green TE37SL…

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Maybe 15 minutes or so after we arrived, it was time for the official ceremonial cutting of the black tape. Freddie admitted that it wasn’t really necessary since they were just moving locations but it was a cool way to kind of bring in the new era of Autofashion USA…

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Elroy, the main man behind the scenes of Autofashion over the years, passing along some kind words for everyone that attended. If you guys don’t know Elroy, he’s not much of a talker unless you really know him or happen to be around him when he’s incredibly drunk, haha. It was cool to be able to witness a moment where he’s speaking to a large crowd of people…

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Kevin, Freddie, and Elroy during the cutting ceremony…all stood far enough apart to ensure that nobody touched scissors…

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With the tape cut, it was time to go inside and take a peek at the new AF…

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Inside, you can see the new showroom area, which will serve as a “gallery” style storefront where there won’t be a whole lot of product on display. Instead, you’ll see a demo display vehicle inside and employees will help you with any inquiries you might have…

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The vehicle currently on display inside the showroom was Dennis Kiyan’s Infiniti M…

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Upstairs in the back was an area reserved only for family and close friends of the Autofashion crew. We walked up there to see what Freddie had going on and he showed us his office as well as the lounge area…

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Freddie, Big Mike, and DPK David discussing the new Vaping trend that’s taken over Socal lately…

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Here you can get an idea of how the lounge area looks with the couches and all…

We chatted for a few minutes before heading back down to see some cars…

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Big Steve from Falken Tire brought out his LS400 on newly refinished SSR MS1 wheels featuring a grey lip and Mag Blue face…

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Autofashion’s GS400 that they’ve dubbed “Chicken Little” on Wed’s Kranze Bazreias…

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Silver Infiniti M from Squad One…

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Michael Johnson’s custom VIP-styled Acura TL build on aggressive VIP Modular VX-310s…

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This was kind of a cool photo for me personally because these are friends of mine who I all met at different points in my life that all happened to be united by this automotive hobby. Some of them didn’t know each other until they were introduced by me and some just happened to meet somewhere along the way and they just happened to be mutual friends of mine…I’ve know some of these guys for over 10 years now and it is because of our love of cars that helped developed lasting friendships along the way…

After rounding the troops, we decided to get out of the hot sun for a bit and grab some lunch. Every time we head to San Diego for any event, I always make it a point to stop by my favorite Mexican food spot, Lolita’s Taco Shop….

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Lolita’s was packed inside because it was lunch time but we managed to find a big table outside…

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Big Mike ordered the massive Pollo Asado Chips…

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I got the California Burrito with Guacamole…

I wanted to get more photos of what everyone was eating but I was pretty hungry so I put the camera down to eat. I think we stayed at Lolita’s for maybe an hour or so before heading back to the meet…

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First car I stopped to look at was this Y34 Infiniti M on Volk TE37SL. Interesting to see the use of SLs on a VIP platform but I think it makes for a good sport-themed VIP build…

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Sam got the day off and spent the entire day down in San Diego with his Civic…

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Lexus GS on Work Emitz wheels…

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Bagged Lexus LS400 on Wed’s Kranze Rapiers…

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Luigi Arroyo’s S2000 recently redone with J’s Racing aero and green Volk TE37SL…

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Infiniti G35 coupe on gold-faced Amistad wheels…

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Clean BMW E92 M3 coupe…

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Aggresive set of white-faced Work VS-XX wheels on this SW20 MR2…

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I liked this S13 coupe with JDM Silvia front end and Volk SF Challenge wheels…

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Bagged BMW 3-series sedan with CCW wheels…

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It’s almost becoming a rarity these days to see a FA5 sedan that hasn’t been converted with the Japanese FD2 front end…

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JZA80 Toyota Supra with rarely seen Recaro Tomcat seats and SSR Professor SP1…

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One more of the Autofashion GS400…

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Slammed S2000 with a more VIP-themed look on WED’s Kranze Bazreias…

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Work Schwert wheels on this dumped 8th generation Accord coupe…

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I walked over to the adjacent parking lot to see what cars had spilled over to the overflow lot… One of the cars that I spotted was this BB6 Prelude with Work VS-XX wheels…Rear wheels were bursting out of the rear quarters…

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Airrunner equipped 8th gen. Accord sedan…

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Linea Corse wheels looked good on this BMW M3 coupe…

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Simple, stock-body FD3S RX-7 also parked in the other lot with some gunmetal Volk TE37SLs…

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Closing out this photo set with my boy Tony’s 1st gen. Lexus GS300 with full Job Design aero bagged on Work Varianza D3S wheels….

That’s a wrap. Big thanks to Freddie and crew for the hospitality and congratulations on the grand re-opening…

6 thoughts

  1. Pingback: Exclusive Content: Model Julie Mai Takes Us On A Tour Of The NEW Autofashion USA… | The Chronicles© - No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

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