With a background in the classic and collector car segment, I would often hear classic car owners complain about “the youth these days” and our lack of interest in cars. For the hundredth time, the youth is interested in cars – we just can’t afford the ones you have and want to do more than just sit around and look at it.
Recently I attended the Spocom Anaheim show held at the Anaheim Convention Center as well as Raceworz which took place at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. Both shows are targeted towards the Import enthusiast, but over the last decade the car show industry saw quite a few casualties due to the volatile economy. Many shows have since been ended but a few have seen a rise in the number of registered cars and attendees that also incorporate a state-to-state tour.
For the last 12 years, Spocom has served as a staple “must attend” event among the shows and meets that fall seemingly back-to-back during the summer months in southern California. Raceworz, the Interactive Motorsports Experience, is on its 5th show season and includes an international stop in Norway. Fontana marks the second stop of the event schedule.
While each show may seem completely different, they shared a few factors.
While the display vehicles ranged from average to incredible, each show had a number of vendor booths and a section of ladies signing autographs.
At Spocom, this was not far from the stage that catered to the urban dance competition and bikini contest and DJ.
Of course, where there are models, there’s sure to be socially awkward photographers on hand for a variety of uncomfortable situations that we tend to steer clear from entirely.
What I loved most about Raceworz was that I saw quite a few of the same cars as I had the week before at Spocom, like this slammed Sienna minivan. Slammed minivans have been all the rage in Japan for quite some time but this one was hard to ignore with its slammed yet tasteful stance, well thought out exterior theme, and most importantly its supercharged engine setup.
Designed by HKS for use with just about any Toyota using a 2GR-FE for motivation, the kit relies on a Rotrex supercharger and a top-mount intercooler that makes for versatile packaging into most bays
What had surprised me about Spocom was the number of high-performance cars in attendance. I expected to see an array of static show cars without anything under the hood, but was pleasantly surprised to see a few purpose-built cars that were clean enough to not only hold their own at a show like Spocom, but able to stand out considerably.
Spocom had a few more booth display vehicles like the SSR-equipped LS 400 on display with the AutoFashion crew. Along side it sat the Mode Parfume Ga Mu aero S2000 that made its debut at SEMA Show last year and had recently hit the track for some seat time.
Other highlights and noteworthy cars from Spocom inlcuded the well-known Auto Concept Elite “Top Secret Supra” and the “Kazama” Mazda RX-7, an MkIV Supra that had some serious hardware sitting in its bay – rumblings of well over 1,000hp could be heard. Additionally, the Meguiars booth had a few heavy hitters such as Jonsibal’s RWB Porsche and Dana Balthasar’s Widebody Lexus RCF.
I also loved the 1973 Datsun 240Z found in the Naked 100 E-Liquid booth. The exterior has a Pandem aero kit with a BRE (Brock Racing Enterprise) inspired livery installed by Auto Tuned. A set of Rotiform LHR wheels combined with Nitto NT01s match the modern take on an old school chassis.
What drew me to the car is the bright red RB26 with an offensively oversized Turbonetics turbo. The swap was done by JER Development, who also retrofitted electric steering. The car is street-tuned at a healthy 480 horsepower. The Naked 100 representative said that the car will hit the track soon.
What Raceworz does well is that it combines cars from the import, domestic and Euro scenes with drag racing and puts show cars to the test.
The drag racing ranges from fun runs to extremely competitive bracket racing with cash prizes. All makes and models are able to participate including trucks and motorcycles.
Photography by Nicole Ellan James