HOTstuff magazine issue #105
Published by HOTstuff Singapore
Cover Feature : Ben’s Trueno AE86 / Race Queen Valerie Lim
Other Features : Daigo’s Lexus IS-C / Jeslyn’s Pink Getz / Jan’s Colt VerR / Stephen’s Champion Montero
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“ …The past few months have been nothing short of excitement. I had the pleasure of visiting Thailand over the month’s weekends to attend exciting automotive events. Namely, the Bangkok Motorshow 2012, followed by the inaugural Bangkok International Auto Salon 2012 and the much followed D1 Grand Prix Drift Series: Thailand. These were very much the kind of exciting automotive shows that we had very much anticipated. Each event was a bustling hive of activity, excited crowd goers who wore faces that were obviously fascinated by the many sleek and unique machines that were presented to the public. There was a great mix of machines, built for various but specific purposes. Be it for time attack, street or cosmetic, there was something for everyone present. Cold steel metal aside, there was no lacking of photogenic race queens at each booth. The events were well thought-out and managed.
I respect the level of dedication and enthusiasm that the Thai people have. Even with the help of their Japanese counterparts, they are pretty much the people that I admire for their independent and resilient behaviour. Looking back at the past few years, the progress that they have made since then, is enormous. They have always been great hosts, as evident from the pictures that I have taken during the course of my trip, capturing the many smiles from both Thai and Japanese delegates.
We could learn quite a bit from them, for future automotive shows here in Singapore, which is becoming quite a rarity. Even though we had two major shows that passed not long ago, it still lacks that “taste”, that “flavour” that leaves a lasting impression in the mouths, that craving feeling for more excitement, a novelty event, perhaps a proper tuned car show for petrol-heads out there, like the Japanese Auto Salon. The usual knick-knacks that plague event setups and management aside, we need to find within ourselves that level of commitment; that undying spirit that boils within us, to provide only the best for fellow automotive enthusiasts, as well as extending a welcoming hand to those who have even the slightest of interest towards the automotive world.
We sincerely look forward to automotive shows of such calibre to come in the near future, as well as an open mind and a dedicated heart to achieve only the best for Singapore’s namesake, in car industry events and in the worldwide automotive community… “
Bangkok Auto Salon 2012
The Land of a Thousand Smiles has been invaded by the Japanese. Don’t get me wrong though. The country’s automotive scene just got an extreme dose of Japan’s latest and trendiest automotive culture instantly, with the introduction of inaugural Auto Salon to the South East Asian Kingdom.
The annual Tokyo Auto Salon is always a blast. It is that irrevocable bookmark in tuning enthusiasts’ holiday calendars. World famous tuning arms such as HKS, Tomei Powered, Bride, etc are omni-present, there to showcase to the world the latest in tuning technology. Although it may be every boy racer’s dream event to visit, the monetary requirements needed to visit Tokyo in January maybe a little too much for one to bear…
The Winning Formula
Fast forward the timeline. Put your crosshairs or cursors on the South East Asian country of Thailand. Insert ‘Inspire’ Entertainment Company and leading automotive magazines into the equation and there you have it; Bangkok Auto Salon 2012. The inaugural event is supported by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and various government bodies, making it also a first for both countries; the first time Auto Salon has left the confines of Japan and also Thailand as the first venue to host it.
Step aside critics, the hottest tuning industry scene has arrived, right here in the Kingdom, with over 30 of the hottest and fastest mean machines from Japan, along with glamorous race queens from both collaborating countries. The appetites of automotive enthusiasts continued to be whetted, with seven zones of exhibition space, packed full with cars and the latest merchandise from the Land of the Rising Sun, along with only the best that the Kingdom of a Thousand Smiles could offer. D1GP
Plenty Of Options Available
Of course there are plenty of options, but one could only choose a single Option. Here in this zone, visitors were introduced to the many spectacular vehicles that were featured on the prominent aftermarket tuner Option magazine. There stood the almighty BenSopra Trust GReddy GT-R, with its monstrous 1,000 horsepower, hidden beneath the recesses of its revolutionary one-of-a-kind body kit for the new Nissan GT-R R35. Then there was Garage G-Force’s Lancer Evolution X SST, a full-fledged Lancer Evolution with Mitsubishi’s first dual clutch automatic transmission and flappy paddle shift gearbox, made only better with Garage G-Force’s tuning, with 460 horses at command, built to multitask circuit racing duties as well as daily driving responsibilities.
Other notable machines included the awesome looking Veilside Supra, that many mistake at first glance for a Bentley Continental GT, Rocky Auto’s amazing Fairlady Z S30, with internals comprising of the rare RB30 engine in naturally aspirated form, completed with Solex trumpets. as well as the beautifully hand painted Sakura Cherry Blossom Daihatsu Copen and the new Nissan Leaf Hybrid.
More than often, eager motor-heads could literally shout the names of each displayed vehicle in individual booths, almost by instant memory. Top tuner brands such as Cyber Engineering, GReddy, J’s Racing, RE Amemiya, Top Fuel, Top Secret, etc. These award-winning cars were specially handpicked from the Tokyo Auto Salon 2012 that happened earlier this year. Loyal Le Mans fans had plenty to drool about, when they were greeted by the sight of the Mazda 787B, that followed the Japanese detachment down from Japan. Joining in was Toyota, who brought their Nurburgring Toyota FT86 test mule, along with their 2012 prototype, the GRMN Sports Hybrid Concept II.
Across The Continent… Across The World…
Not everything was sushi though. Continental fare was served to automotive fans, who were more than elated to find their favourite machines over at the ‘European’ Zone, with the booth participation of big brands such as BMW, Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, Lotus, Porsche and many more. New stock cars aside, renowned tuners such as AC Schnitzer and Tech Art, were present with the latest in rims, body kits and exhaust systems. While cars maybe the mainstream attraction at the Bangkok Auto Salon, there was something for bike lovers too. There were an assortment of tuned bikes, as well as brand new bikes and concept bikes for the year 2012 and beyond.
Showcasing Thai Talent
While Thailand maybe popular with many Singaporeans, little are we aware of it’s immense tuning culture scene. This was the Thais turn to shine, pouring every singular once of their contributions to the automotive tuning world, with plenty of locally tuned machines, each with their individual tuning styles and approaches. Visitors met with the familiar machines, namely the faces of RX-7s, GT-Rs, Civic Type Rs, Supras… well you get it. Cars aside, there was a wealth of the latest imported goods such as rims, coilovers, brake kits, engine parts and mufflers from Japan, as well as from domestic Thailand itself, including major lubricant company PTT, whose participating role played a big part in the event. Audio enthusiasts were not left out, as there were plenty of merchants, including distributors for major entertainment brands such as Pioneer, who was represented by the famous Rocket Sound and Alpine, but UDC Car Audio…
Not only were the Thais coming in full garage force, their show of strength was further represented by the various car clubs, such as the Swift Club, Civic Club, Mazda Club, Subaru Club and the list goes on… Each club represented the strong level and amount of interest in Thailand, with more than 200 vehicles in total attendance. Even so, the level of modifications each individual vehicle had was astounding. From heavily souped engines, turbocharged to extremely low-riders, it was an impressive sight to see, vehicles of the same type, lined up beautifully for a group portrait…
That said and done, there was plenty of eye candy for visual eye candy for everyone, especially the guys. The Thais sure know how to get the crowd going, with performances from Japanese race queens to girl pop bands, including what really teases the men; a topless car wash. Groups of scantily-clad models, doused the RX-7s and GT-Rs with foam and proceeded to tantilise and tickle the hearts of men as they washed the soapy suds away…
The level of success with the Tokyo Auto Salon earlier this year was clearly replicated by the thousands upon thousands who visited the Bangkok Auto Salon. Not only was it a success on the consumer end, businesses also thrived with the outcome of the event. The event was a smashing success not only with the appearance of the much-famed Japanese machines that swoon the crowds, much credit has to be given to the Thai hosts who made the debut of this event in Asia, possible.
[ Click picture to enlarge ]
Text & Photos By HOTstuff magazine