Exclusive Content: Hot Import Daze 2004 Coverage…Yes, 2004…

Gonna blow this whole “Throwback Thursday” concept out of the water today by posting up some very good photos from Hot Import Daze 2004 San Mateo. These photos are almost a decade old but I was able to salvage them from an old CD that my buddy Gene Tjin mailed to me a couple years back. Gene was actually the man responsible for shooting these photos and the only other time where you would have been able to see these was in an issue of HCI magazine, which as you all know, is long gone by now. The magazine folded years back but Gene was one of the centerpieces of that publication and as such, had really good camera equipment to shoot with. Back then he was not only covering events, but also shoot feature cars for the magazine. I really wish he would have been able to salvage all that stuff because it would be virtually new content to the new generation of enthusiasts but dated technology tends to fail and he did lose a majority of it. He just hit me up a couple months ago actually to let me know that he might have an old hard drive that had a ton of photos on them but when he went to check, the drive was corrupted. Kind of a bummer because his photos were really good at that time and he was shooting with the equivalent of the top tier dSLR body today. I went through and cleaned up the photos and did minor adjustments to them but honestly, if you didn’t know the date of these photos, you wouldn’t even be able to tell if these were from 2004 or from last weekend. The only real way you’d know is by the cars that were photographed and even many of those had a timeless quality about them that would still make them very relevant today…

I didn’t have the resources that I do today to just travel all over California for car shows and events back in ’04 but it is cool to be able to go through these photos now. Luckily Gene Tjin was and did a great job of documenting what he saw at shows. I can’t believe it’s already been nearly a decade since this event happened… Enjoy….

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Top Fuel-themed Acura Integra with JDM ITR front end conversion and C-West aero from Team Hokori. This was one of two really detailed Top Fuel “replicas” in North America during that time. The other was Junko’s Integra that was revived for my GENERATIONS line-up last year at Nisei Showoff 2012….

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This SW20 MR-2 Turbo from Endless Projects is actually still around today and looks virtually identical to how you see it in this photo. Pretty awesome that the owner decided to keep the car in this state after all these years. Truly a timeless build…

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Recaro Tomcat seats are baller even by today’s standards so imagine how much they were back in 2004 when they were even harder to acquire…

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3S-GTE turbocharged motor with a nifty carbon fiber fan shroud…

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John Liwanag was one of the key guys in helping to introduce Junction Produce and VIP style into the U.S. car scene and this was his JP Lexus GS400…

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Like the MR-2 from Endless Projects, John who is also an Endless Project guy, also still has his GS400 today. He’s made minor improvements to it but it is still a Junction Produce-themed build…

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A couple shots of the Fatlace S14 240SX back in its “Drift Unit” stage with Version:Select aero and green JLine wheels…

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BB6 Prelude with GReddy front lip and gold Advan Racing RG…

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Clean Subaru WRX wagon on Magnesium Blue Volk Racing TE37…

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Leonard Yee’s Civic was one of the most recognizable EK builds of that time because of its mixture of bright colors and really high quality parts from Japan…

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Yee’s bay was tucked and shaved back then but it would look a bit unfinished by today’s standards. A custom fuel set-up and new brake lines could have made a huge difference. You also rarely see Comptech air intakes and headers utilized on Hondas these days…

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Red-faced Work Meister S1 wheels with Endless big brakes up front…

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Zeal bucket seats with a half-gutted interior…

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The rear of the hatch was filled with a plethora of EM Racing bars…These were a hit back in the mid-2000s before everyone started getting roll bars and full cages built into their chassis’…

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AP2 S2000 with the Endless Jaguar draped on each side. This S2000 had a carbon hardtop, Endless brakes front and back, Mugen air intake, J’s Racing valve cover, and Volk Racing wheels. Hard to see but the trunk also had a custom audio enclosure featuring McIntosh audio components which are the best of the best…

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Exedy Racing Clutch-themed Nissan S15 Silvia…

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DC5 RSX from Team Hokori wearing INGS+1 aero and sitting on Advan RGs…

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RS*R drift-spec Honda S2000 demo vehicle…

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RS*R Lexus IS on silver Enkei NT03s with C-West aero…

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Completing the trio of RS*R vehicles is this Kouki S14 wearing a matching graphical livery…

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Vertex-equipped Lexus GS400 on Blitz Technospeed Z1…

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PlusOne Randy’s old turbocharged EG Civic back when it had a complete Mugen theme…

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Loved how these Candy Red Civic looked later when it was on rare Joustmeister wheels…

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Civic coupe on a set of SSR Shumacher wheels that you never see anymore in 2013…

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Black DA Integra on silver Mugen RnRs…

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Boosted rootbeer-colored Civic from PlusOne with a Spoon Sports carbon lip and SW388s…

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EF Civic on SSR MK2Rs…

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This S2000 had an amalgamation of parts from all over including a Mugen SS front bumper, Black Racing wheels…

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Mugen air intake, J’s Racing valve cover, J’s cooling panel…

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…Cusco cage, Spoon steering wheel, etc. Just a whole lot of parts put together on a car without a central underlying theme. Cool car for it’s time just based on the parts used but man, it was kind of all over the place. Also notice that the owner was chalking his tires back in ’04, a style that has just gotten more popular in the last few years…

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A completely timeless AE86 Corolla with RS Watanabe wheels and individually throttled 4A-GE motor…

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The Tjin Edition Scion xB was one of my favorite xB builds of that time. Sadly, the car was later burned down in a house fire after they sold the car….

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Kelvin Bulda’s EK back when it had an Airwalker front bumper and silver GAB Sport wheels. Kelvin actually got into a major accident and had to repair this Civic some time after but still has the car up until this very day…

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One of the most dominant forces in the car show scene during those years was Dara Sodano and her Infiniti G35 coupe which was sponsored by Havoline Oil. The car was probably the first major import build that was sponsored and funded by a major oil company. First thing that grabs your attention right away is the paint job that was done by world-renowned airbrush expert Mike Lavallee. He is the master and doing these types of flame jobs and it helped make the car instantly recognizable…

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What was equally impressive as the exterior was the stroked motor and twin-turbo set-up featuring the custom fabricated intake plenum that you see pictured. Not only did the car look great, it also made power….

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Custom suede interior and painted trim…

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A multiple award-winning show car wouldn’t be complete without a full custom audio enclosure to match…

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Though her car wasn’t necessarily the most accepted or popular build, especially in the mind of the JDM-minimalist who was all about subtlety, Dara was definitely a ahead of her time and her car was a fucking beast. I appreciated it for the amount of work that was put into it and I still remember how shocked I was when I first saw it at a show back then…

Well, that concludes our look into the past. Thanks for looking and back to 2013 we go!…

8 thoughts

  1. Damn, it almost seems like I knew what I was doing.

    I’ll have to see what else I have, I know I have a ton of CD’s from the HCI days so I’ll have to find them and send them over.

    Also, make Ken get you the pictures or spreads from the SXY Magazibe days… these kids need to see Ben Ma’s Civic!

  2. LOL the ssr schumachers comment. You still see one tuner on them. That loud mouth with the blue 4door integra that never does anything new with his set up. Just the same old chrome dipped parts on a flashy show queen integra.

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