The Archives: Import Showoff EXC 1999 Coverage… Part 2 of 2…

Man, I honestly couldn’t be happier with the general response I’ve received for these throwback photos. I didn’t think people would be into it but then I remember that my core audience is 25-34 years old, at least that’s what Instagram tells me, which means that most of the people looking at my content is right up there in age with me. That also means that you were probably around during these times and all of this is just a glorious look back into your childhoods and not some inter-dimensional time warp into a strange, parallel car universe where body kits are massive and your favorite taillights are on different cars than what you remember. No, this isn’t some shift as a result of the Mandela Effect, this is all film content turned digital from the beautiful year that was 1999…

Hopefully you guys got to see Part 1 of this coverage, otherwise, this may all seem very weird to you. In Part 1, I explained exactly why I was doing all this and flooding you with cars that 90% of you today would deem as “rice”. I think the important thing is to admit and understand that this was definitely a strange time in our automotive tuning community, but also a very necessary one. It was probably the most creative time period I think, and a time period of car modding before the big “Fast and Furious” boom. Japanese Domestic Market parts seemed like a fairy tale to many, with only a small group of enthusiasts really diving into that style and everyone was pining for a way to stand-out in a community where it only seemed like Hondas and a small gathering of Nissans and Toyotas existed. I think at that point the older car guys from the late 1980s and early 90s were really tearing Toyotas and Nissans apart and Hondas were more of a young kids’ game. Interesting to think that many of the guys who are involved in the car industry today started out with Hondas and some are even getting back into them. I just recently saw Kenji from GReddy building his EF Civic, which is a little mind-blowing considering how much he’s been involved with all things not Honda-related that past decade or so…

Anyways, I gotta catch a flight to New Jersey in the morning so I’ll leave you guys with these photos from the 1999 Import Showoff EXC “Exclusives” event. Click the link below to check out Part 1 if you missed it. It sheds some more light as to why you’re looking into old film photos in the summer of 2017…

The Archives: Import Showoff EXC 1999 Coverage… Part 1… 

Once again, a huge, huge thanks go out to Terry Suvonnarith who entrusted me with these nearly 20 year-old photos. I’m still in the process of going through the rest of the photos he sent me and trying to collect the best photos he has so I can scan them and clean them up for you guys to see. It’s guys like him who are helping to keep the scene alive by showing some of its history that many of you younger folks might have missed out on. There’s a bit of reading in the captions so dive-in and enjoy!…

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I couldn’t tell you which exact issue it was but I distinctly remember this del Sol being featured in one of the earlier issues of Import Tuner magazine. It was a full Tenzo-R sponsored vehicle and the brand was just plastered all over the car. The del Sol featured a Street Fyghter II kit, the entire car resprayed in this dark blue and sat on one of these most popular wheels of that era, the Racing Hart C5…

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Pretty clean engine bay even by today’s standards with much of the extras removed for a cleaner look, though guys didn’t know too much about wiring at the time so the harness remained intact and just dressed-up in yellow loom. The valve cover, exhaust manifold heat shield, and intake manifold are all polished for that mirror-look…

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Check-out the wing that’s attached to the roof of the del Sol and the custom integrated Sparco gas cap into the body, which was incredibly popular during that period. MR-2 side vent is also tightly molded into the body near the door…

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Custom black and yellow interior of this del Sol, which oddly enough, retained the factory steering wheel…

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This DB2 Integra GS-R looks like something that you might still see today, running a Xenon front lip and Zepter mesh wheels. I guess the owner really knew what he had at the time considering how rare DB2 GS-Rs were and are. I wonder what happened to this and whether or not the owner held onto it after all these years…

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No crazy custom vinyl interior here or anything, just a MOMO steering wheel, Sparco seats, and Sabelt harnesses…

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Chameleon-painted Integra from Devine Wind car club, running a Mugen (or Mugen-style) front bumper, molded-in sideskirts, shaved moldings, shaved door handles, and Racing Hart C2 wheels…

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No engine bay shot but through the opening of the Mugen front bumper reveals a front mount intercooler, meaning this Integra probably ran a Drag turbo kit or something similar…

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Integra GS-R looking pretty clean considering all the crazy body mods of that time period. This one just wore a simple Wings West lip kit, wing, and Axis Mach5 wheels. Despite the simple exterior aesthetic, this Integra still had a custom two-toned Car Craft interior…

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Team Stryker had some pretty cool builds back then, this one being a full Mugen-kitted Integra complete with JDM ITR front end conversion and Racing Hart Jackknife F24 wheels…

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Not sure what rear bumper this was, but I can understand why it was used to flow with the huge Mugen sideskirts, especially since Mugen never made an Integra rear. This build also was complete with a Mugen Gen. 1 rear wing…

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Though we like to look back at this time period and try to appreciate all that it had to offer in terms of bodykits, even stuff like this was pretty unbearable when we saw it at shows in 1999. I am not sure who decided this was a good look or where the inspiration even came from, but this was just downright odd. Still, this Accord rode on Racing Hart C2 wheels…

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Wings West Aggressor kit on this BB6 Prelude with full graphics from Modern Image Signworks…

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Custom red/black interior with a carbon fiber trim kit, and pillar-mounted gauges…

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One of my favorite cars back then was this white Civic coupe on huge Volk Racing Evolution III wheels. I like how the car had molded-in fender flares and the wheels were actually spaced properly to fit. The Civic had a Buddy Club (style) front bumper, molded-in Buddy Club (style) sideskirts, and color-matched vented hood…

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White/gray interior inside for the EJ1 coupe with a MOMO steering wheel and let’s not forget the white-faced gauges, which were hugely popular back then…

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Buddy Club (style) rear bumper and huge wing in the back. The coupe also had shaved-moldings…

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Iridescent purple to green painted Honda CR-X featuring a JDM DC2 ITR front headlight conversion along with a customized Wings West front bumper…

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The purple interior of the CR-X was pretty crazy, considering how pretty much EVERYTHING was reupholstered in purple fabric. Even the door handles and window crank handles are painted purple…

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The rear matches with everything reupholstered in the same purple fabric with a single Kicker Solo-Baric subwoofer in the trunk with two Alpine V12 ampfliers…

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The Wings West sides were molded, along with the rear Wings West bumper, and the centerpiece of the rear was the popular Supra taillight conversion…

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STR-sponsored Integra sitting on MHT wheels with the front bumper of the ITR conversion removed to display the front mount intercooler…

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Team Wizdom had great cars during that time, especially with someone like LJ Garcia on the crew. This Civic sedan had just about everything, including a real Buddy Club front bumper and Mugen sideskirts. The sedan was also turbocharged and had a interesting tilted-hood set-up…

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One of the most popular front bumpers of the late 1990s was the “Showoff Ciel” line, produced by the guys that created Import Showoff, hence the namesake. The Ciel bumper for the Integra can be seen in the white DC2 above with its large round openings on the bottom with two square openings and vents on the side. These were eventually copied as well but the real ones had the “Showoff” logo engraved into them, as you can see below the side vent pictured if you look closely…

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MX5 Miata running VIS Racing aero and MHT Hyper-Lite wheels…

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I have absolutely no idea what kit pieces these where on this white Civic, but they do look awfully familiar. The wheels as well, but nothing really that notable about this Civic…

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DA Integra in lime green running a Wings West Aggressor front bumper with shaved door moldings, door handles, molded-in MR-2 side vent, and popular Saleen double-deck wing…

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I don’t remember who owned this crazy build but it was one of those cars that consistently won at events during that time period. I mean, look at the fucking thing. It’s crazy. Molded Wings West kit, even the front, Integra Type R headlight conversion, shaved everything, custom interior, custom paint, full display. It was nuts. Builds like this were more catered towards something you’d see in “Lowrider Euro” magazine, which was a magazine under the Lowrider title that catered specifically to imports. In our world, they were imports, tuner cars, or sport compact cars, in the Lowrider world, they were known simply as “Euros” for whatever reason. I don’t know where that distinction came from but I’m sure someone in the magazine industry or who was associated with the Lowrider scene back then can elaborate…

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This was probably one of the first instances where you saw full-built show cars that were created simply for display purposes and were never driven. There are many now that aren’t nearly as done-up as this Civic that are never driven, but back then, it wasn’t really common. The cars we put together then were driven and they were most likely even daily drivers because everybody was in the 18-25 demographic and didn’t have the resources to have multiple cars…

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Here’s a glimpse inside the interior with everything reupholstered in white. Even the rear trailing arm and brake drums were chromed but the car still sat on Ground Control coilover sleeves, how interesting. You can barely see it here but this Civic also had a Supra taillight conversion but the taillights were flipped upside down to flow with the straight edges of the rear hatch. Also you can see how the car has molded-in fender flares but we have no idea if the wheels were built and spaced to fit because they were never on the car….

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Check out this Mugen-themed DA Integra with Mugen front bumper and sideskirts. It also had a B-series swap, unless it was an original DB2 Integra. Hard to tell because the car has been repainted and there are no side moldings anymore. Wheels are SSR GP-O and the factory headlights have been replaced with the Japanese one-piece versions…

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At a glance you wouldn’t really think there was anything crazy done to it, especially since it seemed relatively simple with just some Japanese-inspiration. Take a look at the rear however, something just doesn’t look right…

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…because the factory taillights have been removed and a set of SW20 MR-2 taillights know reside in the rear, with the trunk reshaped to fit the curved ends of the MR-2 tails…

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The headlight and taillight retrofits don’t end there, because this CR-X from JT Autobody had conversion on both ends, with BB2/BB4 Prelude headlights shaped into the front, paired with a Street Fyghter II front bumper and FEEL’S-style wide fenders….

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The rear has also been widened with the sideskirts molded in along with the rear bumper. MR-2 taillights like the ones from the Integra above have been shaped into the rear of the CR-X but the owner even went as far as to chop the turn signal section of the MR-2 taillights off to give it an even more unique twist. Wheels are lightweight Team Dynamics wheels…

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The crazy looking front bumper on this lime green Integra from Wizdom was appropriately named the “Xtreme” front bumper because, well, it was indeed EXTREME in styling. Vents up, down, and all around, with the openings for the bug-eye Integra headlights more angular for a more EXTREME appearance….

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The interior of the Wizdom DC2 is a yellow/black custom vinyl set-up with matching steering wheel…

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The “first lady of IDRC” Lisa Kubo’s then-new Extrude Hone turbocharged Honda Civic drag car, which made roughly 600HP and ran 9s in the 1/4-mile back in late 99/early 2000. It looks a bit like a street car here on the RH Evo C2 wheels but the following year it would appear on the cover of Turbo magazine with its full drag-slick set-up…

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Lisa Kubo’s B-series turbo set-up…

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Rear wheelie-bar set-up with a glimpse of the cage inside and clear taillights for style points…

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This white Integra LS featured a Street Fyghter 1 front bumper, Saleen rear wing, and a custom rear vent set-up which runs into the door, styled to look a bit like the side of an NSX. Interesting to see that the rear of the sideskirt has been molded but not the front. From the looks of it, it also has a “Combat” rear bumper and sides….

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White Civic coupe with Buddy Club (style) front bumper, molded-in Buddy Club (style) sides, shaved moldings, shaved door handles, MR-2 side vent of course, and even the rear wing has been molded to the body. Wheels are Axis Mach5 and the interior has been reupholstered to match the white/blue exterior…

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The rear of the coupe features a Lexus 2GS taillight conversion with the entire trunk reshaped, filled and shaved, with the inner tails of a Lexus GS also shaped into it. Since the license plate area has been filled and shaved, and the rear bumper without a license plate section, the plate is just screwed into the bumper…

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One of the wilder Integra sedan builds was this DB8 from Team Hybrid on Volk Evolution wheels. The entire car has been repainted a chameleon color-shifting tone and a set of Lexus SC300/400 headlights have been fitted into the Street Fyghter II front bumper…

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I don’t know why there aren’t more photos of this, but another really popular mod back then was the DTM-style rear wing, which you can see on this Integra…

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All-white vinyl interior with custom floormats included and four Sega Dreamcast controllers so everyone can play on that small double-din head unit in the dash…

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Matching the front Lexus SC conversion is a SC300/400 taillight conversion in the rear of the Integra….

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One of the cars that I always found incredibly fascinating and ahead of its time was Non Fujita’s S14 build. Non had his own shop, Enonvativ Force, as was helping to produce some pretty great builds at the time. He had one of those cars that would probably still be competitive today and one of the unique things he was known for was reshaping an OEM R33 GTR front bumper to fit an S14. This eventually went on to start an entirely new trend after the Buddy Club craze where any and everyone was running an R33 GTR-style front bumper on their cars…

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Mike Livingston’s Civic coupe was one of the first photos I posted about a week ago when I initially dived into the whole idea of seeking-out old photos. His Civic is also one of the few builds that I really remembered inside and out because I distinctly recall looking through his Import Tuner feature. I actually still have the magazine I think in a box somewhere in my office…

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I posted about his car last week where I discussed the specific styling cues of it and how it was big during that time. Allow me to paraphrase:

“The popular “Invader” front bumper of the late 90s was actually an adaptation of the Veilside RX7 C1 front that was also popular in Japan during their Tokyo Wangan era (hence the name “C1” derived from the highway system). Most of the bumpers of this style had the indentation above the vent, which was for the original FD3S turn signal light. Like the Buddy Club bumper that came soon after, it was also retrofitted to many other cars, but the EG/EJ/EH was the truest to original Veilside form when it was copied. This orange EJ Civic encompasses many of the most popular trends of that time, Acura CL headlight conversion, MR2 side-vent molded into the body, shaved moldings and door handles, two-toned vinyl interior, custom metallic flaked/pearlescent paint, and the often forgotten Mustang Saleen double-deck wing. Many of the cars at these shows were often sort of “raked” in ride height as well with the front being much lower, since many would adjust their suspension or disconnect the drop fork altogether so the cars would be lower. Bags and hydraulic suspension weren’t too popular at the time and people would do whatever possible to be lower including heating or cutting springs, etc. Also on this build was one of the most popular wheels of its time, the Racing Hart C2, or what many people thought to be Racing Harts. You could not go to an event without seeing multiple sets of Racing Hart C2 or C5 wheels. Later, DAZZ (the U.S. distributor) even produced more affordable, cheaper, variations of it introduced as the RH Evo line, which many don’t realize, was never truly a part of the legitimate Racing Hart brand in Japan. The ones are this Civic were of the RH Evo variety. I honestly really liked this build at the time, it was pretty well executed even though it may look incredibly strange by today’s standards. Kinda looks like a bird, lol… And that is your import tuning history moment of the day…”

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The cool part about this whole thing about posting up old photos is that the owner of this Civic actually commented on my Instagram post. He actually said he kept up with what was going on in the scene currently and how he was glad that I looked back on this time as nostalgic instead of tragic like some do. Above is the rear of his Civic coupe with the MR-2 taillight conversion and the reverse lights that have also been integrated into the trunk lid…

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Another heavy-hitter at that time was this BB6 Honda Prelude from Team Techna. Just by looking at the front end of it, you wouldn’t even know it was a Prelude because there had been so much work done to it…

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The front end sees a Integra Type R headlight conversion, Invader front bumper, custom vented hood with some additional sections molded-in, custom front fenders, widened rear quarters with huge Ferrari Testarossa-like vents, and even a scoop molded to the roof of the car. Definitely a bizarre-looking car by today’s standards but one of the wildest of its era. I remember the first time I saw this car in person, I had to look at it a couple times to really understand all that was going on. It eventually became yellow too when it was featured in Import Tuner magazine…

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Here’s a look at the rear end of the car, featuring a roof wing, Saleen-style double-deck wing, and molded rear “Xtreme” bumper…

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With all this work you’d think there would be a taillight conversion of some sort but this Prelude stays true to its OEM taillights. Perhaps it isn’t a Prelude at all, haha, who knows?… Just kidding, it’s definitely a Prelude…

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Oddly enough, even after being in the car scene for some many years now, I still remember some of the simpler builds and this Civic hatchback, compared to cars like the Prelude above, would definitely be classified as a “simpler” build. It’s pretty clean to be honest, with the popular Wings West kit molded in place, shaved moldings and door handles, on Volk Racing wheels with Car Craft custom interior…

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You can’t see the taillights from the side anymore because that entire area has been reworked to house Supra taillights, an incredibly popular style for 88-91 Civic owners at the time. Because of how square and linear the body was, you could pretty much fit anything into these cars, and the Supra lights just happened to be the coolest conversions because well, not everyone could afford a JZA80 Supra back then, maybe even now, but people could definitely save-up enough to get some Supra taillights….

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The man you see above is the guy we gotta thank for these photos, Terry Suvonnarith, back in his OG mack daddy phase holding two import models in his arm while leaning against someone else’s Ferrari, haha. The 360 Modena actually belonged to the owner of Axis wheels and I think all of his (many) cars at the time were all yellow. Terry doesn’t even look too different these days. He just has a cooler car, amazing hair, and less baggy pants.

I guess that’s it for now. Import Showoff EXC “Exclusives” photo coverage finally completed and displayed 18 years later. Crazy right?… Time to head back to 2017 everybody. Thanks for looking…

6 thoughts

  1. This truly takes me back. Being a 90s kid I remember getting my first car (1997 Integra LS sedan) and my brother had a 02 EP3.

    Body kits, conversions, creativity galore. It was a more extreme time in the car scene for sure. But I remember it fondly like most of you born in the same era. I had a subscription to import tuner and loved seeing the builds and reading the mod lists.

    Times have definitley change and my favorite period is the early 2000s when JDM style was just becoming mainstream. Not so much into the rocket bunny/liberty walk/stance style of today. Thinking about it, stance today is the modern rice.

    Damn I feel old, but I am glad to have been borm in that time. The car scene just seemed friendlier back then, and creativity was welcomed.

  2. fun facts:
    1) Red miata had motorcycle side view mirrors. This look started the turn signal on side view mirror craze. Now OEMs do it as well.
    2) Green EK sedan from Wizdom was previously from Autobots. At the time, autobots complained about not being featured in any car magazines. This car was then featured in superstreet (when it was still blue) after several members wrote in. It was featured in superstreet right when the owner quit autobots to join LJ and Wizdom.
    3) Leonard Yee took direct inspiration from that kandy EF. That EF used to be baby blue (which was the first color leonard had on his EK). Leonard later painted his car the same kandy color the EF had on the pictures above.
    4) the owner of the kandy DA integra next to the kandy ef is the reason why showoff stopped coming to norcal. he threatened ken miyoshi after losing. later, jdm theory collaborated with mainstream prod and brought showoff back to norcal after several years.

  3. Great series of photos, thanks Terry for providing them and thanks to this blog for cleaning them up and posting ’em!

    Wish there were some Hybrid Hunniez though lmao.

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