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Last year was a crazy time. The whole year was a back-to-back exercise in managing time and information. We had shows going on from one week to the next and a lot of places to go. It was busy, but, in our line of work, that’s a good thing. There’s always something going on with us, and we always looked forward to the shows that we did then and now. But, as crazy as last year was, we decided we would regroup this time and take it easy. We were planning on 2018 being an even bigger year for us, and so, with Winter Drive capping off our show season last Christmas, we were wondering where this new year would take us. Needless to say, the plans we had for regrouping went right out the window the moment the year kicked off. While I had been planning our schedule for this coming year, there were a few shows that were unknown to us. So, when I got the message that HIN was coming back to SoCal, and it wouldn’t be in San Diego, but, would be a return to the streets of San Pedro, I was freaking excited! Yes folks, the show that did not make an appearance on the 2017 calendar, would make its triumphant return to the lineup not near the end of the show circuit, but right at the front of the line. Holy smokes, when the news hit me, I couldn’t have been more stoked. I have always loved this show, as has the entire team. Not to mention all of tuner fans that love the show as well. And just like that, we knew where we were going to start off the year. Yes, just like that, I changed our plans for where we were kicking things off. Just like the resolutions that I had made a few weeks earlier, that went right out the window. I had planned to lose some weight and put on some more muscle, and take the year early. Oh yeah, that didn’t last long. But, this was for a good cause, and it gave me a good reason to break my diet prematurely. That’s a double-win for me!
Hot Import Nights San Pedro is a show has a special place in my heart. It was the first show that we ever did on our own as a team, and it was one of the funnest. We sat right next to our friends from the World Wide Lancer Club and right next to the main stage. It was the biggest show that we had ever been a part of, and doing it with our friends alongside us made it the most memorable show we’ve ever done. Well, the show was awesome, but, locking my keys in the trunk of my car was a whole story all together. Maybe one day I’ll write about it, but, the drama that came from that happening was both terrifying and hilarious. But, whatever the case, San Pedro has always been a show that I looked forward to. It was a bit of a bummer when they scratched the show from the list last year, but, we had heard a few rumblings that it would be coming back. Well, it did, and boy, was it crazy.
Yes, if you’re reading this, then you know that this show did indeed come back, and not only was it back, but, it was nearly twice as big as it was before. I never thought after the cancellation of the show last year, that we would see the San Pedro show again. For months leading up to September (when the San Pedro show usually had taken place) there had been rumors going around as to the status of the show. I had heard one thing from here, and another thing there. There were so many things being said, that I didn’t really know what to believe. I mean, no matter what was going to happen, it was going to be great. At least in my opinion. Take it for what it is, but, we have always enjoyed coming out to a HIN show matter where it ended up. So, while the San Pedro show didn’t end up happening like we thought it would, the substitute show was just as fun. We wrote about it a while back, and had a great time there. It was a smaller show for sure, but, it felt like a more intimate setting. Sure it took place in downtown LA, and there were a lot of people there, but, it was the fact that it was more compact that made it feel like a more ‘homely’ show. You can read about that show here.
It was while at that show though that we heard a few whispers about the idea of HIN going back to San Pedro. After all of the stuff I had heard about that show going into HIN Los Angeles, I didn’t really know or care where the next SoCal show was going to be. As long as our team was with me, and the great staff at HIN was there, we would definitely have a good time. At least, that’s what I thought. I was a little cavalier to think that I would be okay to do the show where it was. Then came the beginning of the year. Then came the announcement that HIN would kick-off the beginning of the show year with a return to SoCal. Not only would the show not be taking place in San Diego (where it’s been the last few years), but, it would be coming back to San Pedro. And, not only would it be back in our backyard, but, it would be twice as big as last time. Holy moly. Let’s just say the news hit me like a sack of potatoes. Yeah, the news was awesome, and I was so excited to tell everyone on our team what was coming down the pipeline. They took it just as well as I did, and for the veterans we have on our squad, it would be a return to where we had began. It was the perfect way to start the new year, even if it was a two months in.
When February hit we all knew what we were in for. If it was going to be anything like it was the last time around, we were sure to get a massive block party. We expected it to be big, and we were definitely not disappointed. Just as it had happened before, the finest tuner cars would be making an appearance. It’s what they’ve always been known for (the cars), and once again we weren’t disappointed. Whether it was the sweet, wide-bodied Nissan GTR that graced the main street (take a look in the pictures here), or it was the slick and slammed LS430’s of the Liberty VIP Car Club, there was an awesome array of cars. It’s always been the hallmark of the show, and HIN is known for having a good eye when it comes to the more flashier cars. This show is the perfect showcase for cars that have that extra bit of flair. After all, when the lights flare up the stage is set for the second half of the show. That second half of the show is a completely different beast, and one that has to be experienced to be understood. It’s not every day that a street is closed down for a car show. Let alone one that’s as bonkers as this one.
I don’t know what it is, but, when those lights come on, the entire show takes on a different personality. The cars come to life with a copious display colors and light bouncing off of their bodies. The music starts to blare and the vibe of the entire show begins to hit new heights. It’s a different show without a doubt. Maybe it’s true what they say. Maybe, just maybe, the freaks do come out at night. Hell, I know I’m one of them, and celebrating this show with our team made it a worthwhile time to take in the sights. We were lucky enough to be situated right by the main stage, and so there were plenty of sights to be seen. The music was came at us from a variety of artists and all of the contestants for Miss HIN San Pedro were up on stage making the audience cheer their butts off. It was exciting to say the least. This cast of beautiful ladies was a lot of fun, and it’s one of the shows that I can remember the audience yelling and really getting into it the whole time. I know they loved it, and when the winner was finally crowned (the beautiful and really funny Rosette Hing) the place went nuts. I don’t know if it was her bubbly personality, or if it was the stunning red dress she wore, but, she had won her crown that night for sure.
It was a great moment, and even better knowing that this whole show was taking place in the middle of an intersection! Yeah, that’s freaking nuts when you think about it. Not too many shows can pull something like this off. Let alone do it in such a way that brings all kinds of people together in the way that it does. I can imagine just getting the permits for this show must be a nightmare (I deal in getting dig permits for construction, so, throwing an event as big as this one is above an beyond what I normally deal with) to get. But, the results are well worth it. This is a show unlike any other tuner show you’ll go to. Sure, you’ll see cars, models and music at any number of shows throughout the year. But, it’s a completely different experience when it’s in the middle of a (busy) downtown area. It’s pretty cool. I love the fact that none of the local businesses close either. You can go check out some sweet rides one minute, go to grab a drink the next (at any number of local bars) and then buy some military surplus equipment. It’s pretty crazy, and one of the most unique experiences you’ll have. Best of all, the show is free to the public. So, the only thing you need to worry about is finding parking and getting to the show. Located right down the way from San Pedro fish market alone should be worth the price of admission. I’m a fatty, so, put me near food any day of the week and I’ll be one happy camper. But, it’s like I always say. You don’t have to take my word for it. Check out just some of the craziness we saw at this past show in the pictures below. I’ll be honest, as much as I could sit here and describe it to you, you’re better off just going the next time the show comes to town. We hope to see you there!
Words and Photos
By Daniel Navarrete
For more information on Hot Import Nights and any upcoming shows, check them out on their website at http://hotimportnights.com/
This article was prepared or accomplished by Daniel Navarrete in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Spektrum Magazine, or its affiliates.