Hot Import Nights Australia 2019 Coverage… Part 2…

I think that it’s incredibly important to have an open mind these days. If we just live in our comfort zone and do what we’re used to, life can get a little stagnant. It’s important to grow, you know? I found myself living like that for much of my twenties, just doing what I was comfortable doing, and I didn’t get anywhere in life. It wasn’t until I started taking on challenges and making calculated risks where I found myself really experiencing life. The Chronicles was very much a calculated risk. I wanted to start this thing but didn’t really know if it would work, I didn’t know how far it could go, or even the possibilities that came with it—but if I never started, where would I be really at this point in my life? It’s presented me with great opportunities so I try to keep an open mind when I approach things or when something approaches me…

Traveling almost 15-hours on a flight to Sydney, Australia for a Hot Import Nights event is something I never pictured myself doing. And trust me, it took a bit of convincing, but I saw it as an opportunity. I wanted to see something different, whether it be good or bad. If I saw a lot of really cool shit there, I’d be excited to come home and say that I got to see a lot of cool stuff I’d never seen before. If it was a bad experience, I can come home saying that it wasn’t necessarily the best time, but it made me appreciate even more what I already had at home. Whatever it was, it was an experience. I always tell people that whenever they are going through something or deciding whether or not to take-on any said opportunity. It’s life experience. Fuck whether or not its good or bad. Just experience it. You’ll take something away from it no matter what…

Soooo…was it a good or bad experience in Australia this year?…

Well, it was an experience. LOL.

I’m just kidding, it was a good time. Seriously, I had fun out there. It gave me a different perspective of their car culture that I hadn’t quite witnessed before, I saw some cool shit, got to eat some good food, hung out with some friends, made some new ones, and then I came home. I’d say it was worth it. I also got paid, which is always good, but that was a byproduct of the experience. I always find myself not really wanting to interact with people. It would never seem that way to most of you but to the people I keep close to me, I’m a very obvious introvert. To the point where I find it exhausting sometimes being around a lot of people. I think I’ve just gotten better at hiding it. The best part of the trip was actually interacting with people. Sam Du and I hang out for friend functions and grab dinner as a group normally, but this was actually the first trip where I traveled with him and we hung out with one another mostly. It was cool. Sam is a good dude. I see Constance Nunes at a lot of events and she even works some Wekfest events for us sometimes, but it was the first time traveling with her and her man, and that was also interesting. It’s nice to see that she hasn’t changed much since the beginning when she was a relative unknown to the car industry. Now she has her own show and what not on Netflix but she’s just gotten busier, her personality doesn’t seem to have changed much. Everyone else that I met during the trip was pleasant. There was one guy who I was particularly annoyed with but that’s just who he is, our personalities don’t vibe, and that’s cool. It is what it is. I appreciate the ones who were so thoughtful and helpful throughout the trip. Like, I never felt there was something I needed that I didn’t have or couldn’t get. And I also had the freedom to just roam around and explore if I wanted to. Even though it was a job, I didn’t feel restrained or stuck anywhere…

As for my thoughts on the show itself, well….I must say one thing. THE SHOW IS JUST WAY TOO LONG. For me, anyway. Just the idea of a show going from 11 AM to 9 PM is insane. That’s a long ass day for people who have their cars at the show. When we used to do HIN shows out here, they would start late, like no earlier than 4 PM. It is a Hot Import NIGHTS show after all. Why am I experiencing Hot Import Morning and Hot Import Afternoon as well? I’m joking for the most part, because it isn’t a stressful event or anything, it just seems to run a bit longer than I think most people would want, if you’re attending the show. Most of our car shows here at home are 5-6 hours. People already struggle with the full six most of the time. I understand that the event organizers want to get the most out of the money they spent on the venue and on production. It’s not lost on me, but I almost feel like the dollar amount for attendance wouldn’t vary much if the show were cut down a few hours or so. They’re probably just used to doing things that way though so its fine. It’s just an observation from someone on the other side of the world…

I will say that I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of cars at the show. Of course you’ll get some bad ones but for the most part, the quality was pretty good. I think it helps because this is probably the premier event in Sydney now so a lot of enthusiasts as well as shops in the area plan specifically for this show. When you have one big show per year, you gotta show out and that’s what happens at Hot Import Nights in Sydney. You get the most out of the car show scene with a mix of some really cool race cars that are active in the community out there. How does it compare to North America? Well. They have a handful of cars that I feel would be very competitive if they were to compete out here, but the rest are still lacking in overall fit and finish, most don’t have a whole lot of engine bay work, and many are more street cars than anything. To be fair, the stuff back here at home hasn’t been the greatest lately either but we have this huge gap of what we would consider to be top tier builds here compared to the rest of the pack, and those are the ones that I’d be comparing. I like how many of them still have this dedication to traditional Japanese tuning style. I feel like in the last few years the newer generation of car enthusiasts out here have lost that. It comes from them not having the proper examples to learn from because we’ve become this car community that has seemingly decided to take tuning style into our own hands. The younger guys just do their own thing now and it has dictated their own unique way of building cars which are leaning towards the very extreme end…

With all that long-winded text out of the way, I’d just like to say “Thank you” to the people behind the HIN Australia event and everyone who was around that week. Everyone was so great and I couldn’t have asked for a more eventful trip. Below are the rest of the photos I captured at the show that day. Enjoy…

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This FD RX-7 looked pretty menacing with a black on black motif wearing a TCP Magic front face paired with FEED front fenders and SSR Executor wheels. Turns out the owner is Adam Lawdor-Annesley from The Lowdown, a popular car culture website down in Australia…

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Hot Import Nights had a little bit of everything, which was pretty surprising to see. Up front under the picturesque domed hall of the Sydney Showgrounds was a white Chevy Impala Lowrider complete with gold Daytons….

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Mitsubishi Evolution X MR sporting a complete Varis Version 1 widebody aero kit and Enkei RS05RR wheels…

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Pretty cool to see some of the Australian car enthusiasts enjoying the tiny Honda S660 roadsters since this is yet another car we don’t get to have out here in North America. This particular S660 featured a complete Liberty Walk Performance widebody kit reimagined in a light blue tone…

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Speaking of cool little cars we don’t get to enjoy here in the States, here we have a gullwing Autozam/Mazda AZ-1 on old school Hoshino Impul wheels. If you’ve never seen one of these before, they were produced by Mazda for their “Autozam” line, which is similar to say… Scion to Toyota. They came factory with these gullwing doors and is powered by a 657cc 3-cylinder turbo engine…

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Sporting a “5ENNA” (an ode to Ayrton Senna obviously) custom vanity plate was this Honda NA1 NSX running a customized Marga Hills front bumper, Sorcery front fenders, Sorcery rear fenders, Marga Hills sides, and Advan GT wheels…

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Here you can see the Difflow rear diffuser with custom extensions added to each end, NA2 taillights, and NSX-R air intake scoop which mounts to the rear hatch. Overall a solid build but the only thing that really bothers me about it is why Roland didn’t bother to align the center caps with the logo on the spokes of his Advan wheels. Such a minor detail that makes such a huge difference…

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One of the builds that really caught my eye when I went to the World Time Attack Challenge a couple years back was this Toyota 86, built by the guys from Likewise. It features a Aimgain x Stancenation widebody kit, Volk TE37V Mark II wheels, Craftsquare mirrors, and not pictured is a Varis carbon hood…

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The absence of the hood must mean that there is something pretty good inside the engine bay and long gone is the factory Subaru Boxer engine. In its place is a 2JZ-GTE twin-turbo swap running a pair of Garrett turbochargers, some HKS bits, and a host of custom fabricated plumbing held together by Adel Wiggins clamps. The purple accents of the clamps, HKS cam gears, and crank pulley tie-in nicely with the resprayed purple engine bay…

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Kakzz’ AE86 Corolla Trueno with the carbon CBY flares that you saw in Part 1, now displayed right under the bright lights of the Hot Import Nights structure placed at the center of the domed hall…

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Right next to it was the widebody MR-2 Turbo that you also saw in the previous post with the Abflug front lip, Ganador mirrors, and bronze TE37V Mark II wheels…

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Perhaps the defining photo of my Hot Import Nights Australia coverage is this shot of a heavily-modified Australian-market Holden (HSV) Senator. We spotted it the first day we were at the venue during ‘bump-in’ and immediately noticed the fully-shaved engine bay hosting a GM LS motor, air suspension, and four Recaro seats which were reupholstered to match the rest of the custom interior…

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The Aussies love their Japanese classic cars as well so it was really no surprise to see this repainted first-generation Toyota Celica Liftback under the massive HIN display…

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HIN AU had both show cars and race cars, as evidenced by this floating Nissan Z33 drag car with its one-piece front-end removed to showcase its powerplant…

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Powering the Z33 is a RB26 swap with a large single Garrett turbocharger…

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Back in the other hall, I caught up with another Z33, this one owned by Chook Tran who was also involved with helping run the Hot Import Nights event out there. He just recently finished his Z which sports a full Rocket Bunny widebody kit, gold Rotiform USF forged wheels, and a twin-turbo set-up where the turbos are mounted on the underside of the vehicle back by the exhaust…

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Tucked away in the corner of the building was this Varis widebody Toyota 86 in white contrasted by black SSR Professor wheels…

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Daihatsu Hijet truck with Work Wheels, a full widebody kit, custom paint, and full custom interior…

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Subaru WRX STI on air suspension running a Varis widebody kit that you’re probably more accustomed to seeing on the Original Runduce democar in Japan…

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Undoubtedly one of the best builds of the entire HIN event was this black BNR32 Skyline GTR, better known to the Australian car community as “KLR32R”. The first thing that I noticed about it while walking by was the refreshed set of 18-inch Blitz Technospeed Z1 wheels. You don’t see very many sets of these around anymore and the owner has taken the faces and barrels apart for a new black finish. They went with gold bolts to match with the center caps of the Blitz wheels and it also ties into the color motif throughout the rest of the car. For the exterior, the OEM passenger-side headlight has been replaced with a fiberglass headlight duct while the front bumper itself is an OEM N1 front. The front lip looks to be a Fujimura Rocket Dancer lip paired with a Abflug splitter…

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Under the hood is an RB26DET wearing a lot of bronze anodize to contrast the black engine bay. The turbocharger is coated in black but up front filtering the air-in is a Blitz Advance Power Air Cleaner. The most interesting piece is the Hypertune billet valve cover and sitting above it is a thick MINE’S front strut bar…

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On this side we see a Hypertune intake manifold which has also been coated black to match the turbocharger but the Hypertune throttle body is done in the same bronze anodize to match the Blitz filter and valve cover. The owner also went as far as to coat the TODA Racing came gears to match the valve cover and other accessories. Overall just fantastic execution on this R32 throughout…

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One more look at the KLR32. Here you can see the OEM N1 sideskirts, Ganador mirrors, and N1 rear wing with attached Rocket Dancer gurney flap…

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Murdered-out long wheel-base BMW 7-series sitting on Work Meister S1…

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One of the many debuting builds to be showcased at the Sydney HIN event was this VeilSide Fortune Model FD RX-7 owned by Will from House of Stance. It’s nice to see someone execute this kit correctly as so many others have either just copied the F&F Tokyo Drift car exactly or figured out ways to not be able to get their wheel/ride height correct…

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Obviously it helps when you have air suspension to get the car to sit right, but more importantly, you have to take wheel fitment into account and how the car sits while its actually driving. It bums me out when I see the front wheels sitting under the front fender while the rear just pokes out way too much on some of these FDs running the VeilSide kit. The rear wheel is cutting it pretty close to having that same sort of look but, Will seems to have chosen the right rear tire for it. Overall the car looks great. Nice color choice and I like that he kept some parts of it black to highlight the body lines of the Fortune kit…

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Bao Le from House of Stance’s Lexus GS bagged sitting on Superstar Leon Hardiritt Ordens. No big body kit on this one, just a simple TTE front lip…

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Blown Outlaws brought their freshly repainted “FUKYEA” supercharged Ford Capri. They also have a Datsun pick-up truck that also has a huge blower set-up and matching paint dubbed “FUKDAT”

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By the late afternoon, I had already put my camera away to just walk around the show to chill and grab a snack but I saw Josh and Renel’s EK Civics with their hoods (bonnets for the Aussies) propped-up and decided to grab a photo…

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Renel’s Civic VTi-R with his full Spoon Sports set-up. He may be the only guy in the world running a windshield washer hose through his Spoon hood…

Alright, so after I grabbed a snack, I legit had nothing to do for the next four hours or so. The show was so fucking long that it was either we go get drunk upstairs in the private room they had set-up for us and the models, or I go walk around some more with my camera. They started doing the HIN ‘bikini contest’ portion of their Miss HIN Contest where they crown a new Miss HIN Australia for 2019 so I decided to just shoot some photos of it. The lighting was pretty cool and they certainly didn’t skimp on production so it made for good practice shooting in lowlight conditions…

I don’t really know any of the girls names unfortunately, I’m sure you can find out who they are on the HIN AU Instagram page or wherever so don’t expect details like how I would describe the cars. It’d be fucking weird if I did that anyway, lol. If you’re at work, I don’t know how safe these are for you to view because I don’t know where you work. If you get in trouble for looking at these, well, that’s your fault because you were warned ahead of time. It’d be an awful reason to get fired, I’m just saying….

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Constance and Gwendolyn were the hosts of each segment of the Miss HIN competition. First-up we have someone who appears to be named Brittany…

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I can confirm her name is Brittany as she does her best free-throw pose…

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They interview them and ask them what they like to do on their spare time or something, or whether or not drinking two Five Hour Energy’s gives you ten-hours of energy or doubles the amount of insanity in five hours…

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Constance Nunes saying something but nobody understanding her California accent…

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Eventually they got all the girls to come-up on stage one last time so the crowd could stare at them some more while the girl at the bottom of the second photo was just fucking screaming, like FUCKING SCREAMING, at them because she was either really excited for them, really bored, or just kinda wanted attention even though there were like seven girls on stage in bikinis. Like seriously, she was fucking SCREAMING. I have no idea why…

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First girl is like “Ummmhmmm”, second girl is like “YAHHHH”, third girl is like “teehee”, fourth girl is like “is that a bird?”

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Sam and Constance ready to go home after a long day…

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Eventually they announced the winners of the Miss HIN 2019. Honestly, I was wondering why it shouldn’t be a “Miss HIN 2020” because its already the end of the year, right? So whoever you’re crowning would be like the representative of Hot Import Nights for the following calendar year. Am I wrong? It doesn’t make much sense. That would be like the winner or something that is about to be over in a month. I don’t know. The photos came out great though so here are a few more…

I mean, dude, Miss HIN 2020 makes much more sense. But what the fuck do I know?…

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Sarah Adams was the winner of Miss HIN back here in North America so she was present to get a photo with the winners. For second place you get $1000 which is pretty cool. You just gotta bring this big ass check to a local bank and try to cash it…

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The coolest part about the entire production was that they had pyrotechnics and smoke machines so the show has all the pageantry you’d expect from a production like this. When they asked Sam and I to go on stage for us to be introduced as the guest judges, WE GOT NO PYRO. I was totally trying to live my WWE entrance moment but alas, it never happened…

Oh yeah, Brittany won 1st place. Congratulations.

My favorite photo of the entire event though, was the last photo you’re going to see…

With most victories, we forget the ones that didn’t succeed on that day…

With great triumph comes great defeat…

Sometimes you get the pyro…

…and sometimes you’re just the one watching someone else get it…

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Better luck next time…

That’s all folks. Thanks for looking. And more importantly, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!…

One thought

  1. Apparently that free-throw pose was for nothin’ but net. Fantastic commentary, however cruel it might have been. I agree with your thoughts on the build ‘philosophy’ of the younger enthusiasts these days, though. I’m not sure Instagram and YouTube are the best things that could have happened to the scene. Some positives have come out of social media, to be sure, but its own “gotta have it now” nature, combined with peoples’ craving for “Likes,” have translated poorly into the process of building cars.

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