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Lighting Up the Bay at HIN San Jose 2017

All / Art / Auto / Fashion / Lifestyle & Culture / Travel / July 8, 2017
Party in the Bay

Party at Hot Import Nights San Jose

 

  Last year our team made a little road trip up to the Bay Area. It was the first time that we were going to do an event on the road and one completely out of our area. While we have done a lot of shows down here in Southern California, we had been wondering what it was going to be like up there. It’s a bit of an undertaking to make a trip our to an area that we had never been to, so, we took a leap of faith and made the long trek up there. The show was Hot Import Nights, and was one we were pretty familiar with. Every show we had worked with those guys had turned out awesome, and they have been so helpful to my team and I that we knew when we decided to go up that way that we would be in good hands. As it turned out, that show ended up being one of the funnest experiences that we would ever have. It was an all new area for us, and we really wanted to see how they partied up in the Bay. I had no doubt in my mind that it was going to be fun, but I never expected that the experiences that we had on that weekend over a year ago would carry over to the next show a year later.

  A few years ago I had the chance to go to Hot Import Nights in the Bay Area. The show took place in a town called Pleasanton, and as far as I can remember, it was the first and only show that they ever did there. A buddy of mine and I made the trip out there to see what it would be like compared to the shows we were doing down here (in SoCal). I knew at the time that HIN (Hot Import Nights) always knew how to throw a party, but, I didn’t know how it would be up there. By the time we got there we knew we were going to be in for a treat. There were a ton of people, cars, models and even some big name acts. It was freaking nuts, and proved to me that anytime HIN had an event, that you were sure to have fun at it. But, that was 2009, and as crazy as it seems, I had never been back to any shows up there since. I was thinking that things may have changed a lot since then, or, that since this show was going to be in San Jose and not Pleasanton that things might be a little different. So, when we decided to head that way and set up shop, we went in with little idea as to what we were going to see.

 

Miss HIN winners from around the country

Miss HIN winners from around the country

 

 

Our lovely friend @_azurebaby with one sweet Lotus

Our lovely friend @_azurebaby with one sweet Lotus

 

Gorgeous and both a talented driver and mechanic, @swazilla (with her chariot)

Gorgeous and both a talented driver and mechanic, @swazilla (with her chariot)

 

  All of our worries went right out the window once we got to the show. If you have read our article from the show in San Jose, then you know that the show was a load of fun and one that we will never forget (read that article here ). One of the things that I most remember (and cherish) were the new friends we made at the show. When we were a the show last year our booth happened to be next to two motorcycles and a few people manning the booth there. One of the people at the booth was someone that was pretty hard to ignore, especially when we found out who she was. The person there was a gorgeous girl named Lupe and one of those motorcycles was hers. Lupe is an advanced motorcycle rider who not only owns and rides her bike, but, she tracks it and is pretty damned good at it as well. At HIN her and her friend were there showing off their bikes and were also repping a company named Wrench Works. We knew when we saw her that we just had to go talk to her and find out more about her. I was really impressed when I saw some of the photos that they had on display were of her zooming around Laguna Seca and a few other tracks. It was awesome and from that day forward we kept in contact throughout the year. It also helped seeing her on our Instagram feed (of which I recommend everyone follow) and seeing her adventures in the moto world and being beautiful.

  We also had a chance encounter with a guy and girl before that show had even kicked off. I remember waiting for our team members to arrive and we had about an hour before the show was about to begin. It was in during that downtime that a pair of show go-ers came up to our booth. They told me a story about their friend that was a car enthusiast and driver who was working on building a track car. They gave me a spec sheet with some of the mods that had been done to their friends’ car and what they were planning on doing in the near future. I have always been a fan of people turning their own wrenches (when it comes to doing their own maintenance and performance mods) and especially this time around knowing that this person was also tracking their car. Sadly the owner of the car and the friend that they were there to promote wasn’t there that day, but, I never did forget the conversation we had. Not long after the show I ended up looking up Suzy (who is the driver that I am talking about) online and kept in contact with her. I think even if I hadn’t been introduced to who she was I would have been interested in following her pages. I loved seeing her dedication to her craft and how intricate her build was becoming. It was awesome, and I was a fan from the get go. You don’t see too many female drivers on the track (a trend I think should be changed), and I was intrigued to see where her enthusiasm was taking her.

  It was these two chance encounters from last year that would carry over to the San Jose 2017 show. We are very fortunate that we get to do shows, and even more fortunate that we get to work with the folks at HIN. This would be the case once again when our team would make the trip to the Bay and once again take part in the show that we had been to a year before. We were so excited for this show that we were planning for it months in advance. This time we would be going up with a few more team members and we would also know what to expect at the show. It was always going to be a party (and especially when our team is partying together), but doing it on the road and with our friends from last year it was going to be epic. Yup, you read that right, Suzy and Lupe joined us for this show and we couldn’t contain our excitement. After a year of talking and communicating, both of them came out to HIN and set up shop right next to us. Man, oh man, I thought that they were awesome before, and I couldn’t have predicted that they would be even more of a joy to be around the next time around.

 

Our newest members Kena and Teresa with our friends Lupe and Suzy. Aren't they wonderful?

Our newest members Kena and Teresa with our friends Lupe and Suzy. Aren’t they wonderful?

 

Before the sun went down at HIN

Before the sun went down at HIN. Gotta love those chillaxing vibes

 

Jargon amping up the crowd at HIN San Jose

Jargon amping up the crowd at HIN San Jose

 

  This show started out with us leaving up to the Bay on Friday afternoon. Five of us would be making the trip to HIN this time around. That included Brandon “Gee”, Brandon “B” and our two newest members Teresa, Kena and myself (and in the background our sponsor 360 Products, of whom we cannot thank enough for their constant love and support). Our trip started out crazy (with me having to work that day and with everyone converging from different places to my house) and could be a whole story unto itself. Maybe one day we’ll go over that, but, I’ll have to save that for my memoirs in the future (haha). Let’s just say we hit a lot of traffic, and a drive that should have taken us a little while to do, ended up taking us a lot longer. We arrived at our hotel around 2am, and were a little worried about the next day. Thankfully, this is Hot Import Nights that we were going to, and unlike most morning car shows (which are really hard to do for me), we had a little extra time to get ready in the morning and prep for the show. You would think we would be a little groggy from that long drive, but, that wasn’t even close to the case. Being around our team, I am always amped up, and knowing that we would spend the day together at a show is something that we had been looking forward to. You have to understand that we all come from completely different counties and areas, and so, for us just to be together is always a huge undertaking. That was especially the case this time around, because we were nearly four hundred miles away from home. We don’t go that way very often so it was exciting for us to be in a new place.

  That morning we had a simple breakfast at Micky D’s (not a gourmet breakfast by any means, but, when you want something quick and simple, and it’s next to your hotel, why the hell not) and took the fifteen-minute drive south to the Santa Clara Fairgrounds. We expected the scene to be crazy, as it normally is at most shows and were anticipating a barrage of cars and people. I don’t know what it is about this show in San Jose, but, the last time we showed up to it, it was something that we did not expect. Unlike pretty much every show we go to the roll-in was smoother than a babies bottom. I mean, it feels so weird to get there at the time of check-in and see tons of cars and people, but, everything goes really smooth. All of the vendors are able to get to their spots quickly and within a reasonable amount of time, and all of the show cars get to where they need to go with little to know fuss. I can only speak for us, but, when you see everything going smooth, and no one stressing out over getting to where they need to, it’s incredible. That is great for us to, because I always like to do a quick walk-around prior to the show to see some of the cars that are there. That makes it easy to shoot also when you have some room to move around in.

  We were excited from the moment we got there, because at the near moment of us getting inside the show, Suzy had showed up. She had arrived with a truck and her car on a trailer. When she pulled up, I remember seeing a huge smile on her face and her enthusiasm for being there was just really heartwarming. I was especially excited seeing her car on the trailer. After a year of hearing so many things about it and seeing the progress the days leading up to the show, I couldn’t help but be enthusiastic to see it in person. Having Suzy there (and her friends as well, who showed up to lend their support and companionship) to introduce us to her car was a real treat for us. I have to say as well, while we had spoke for a while, and I had only seen glimpses of her online, I never expected her to be so nice and so charming. I’m not saying that I expected her to be anything less, but, the way we saw her around us and with her fans that day could not have been more fun to witness. Not to mention, for any girl to be turning wrenches and getting dirty, and look as beautiful as she does, she made all of us look bad. haha. We helped her to get the car into the show floor and line up at our booth. We opted to move it as much as we could without starting the car, but, ended up having to do so to get it into final position. But, whether we wanted to or not, we had to fire up the car and move it. You could not imagine the look on Suzy’s face when we said we had to do that. The look of joy and the glassiness in her eyes made me smile like no other. What a lot of people don’t understand is that there are a lot of cars at shows that are still have finishing touches going into them all the way until the point of the show starting. That was the case with Suzy’s car, as it was earlier in the wee hours of the morning that her car had finally fired up for the first time in months. The joy she was showing us was the joy of not having had her baby completed until the moment of, and hearing it wail (and boy, what a sound that thing makes) was something that made all of us take notice. In fact, it sounded so awesome, that in the two times she fired it up that day, everyone withing a mile radius turned their heads just to see what was making that sound. Pure sexiness.

 

A car near and dear to my heart, the Nissan 300ZX

A car near and dear to my heart, the Nissan 300ZX. This is one fine Steve Millen-inspired example

 

Check it out. This car had a waterfall in the backseat. Holy moly!

Check it out. This car had a waterfall in the backseat. Holy moly!

 

Miss HIN San Jose winner Courtney Riggs

Miss HIN San Jose winner Courtney Riggs

 

  Then came the start of the show. If you have never been to the beginning of a show then you wouldn’t know just how crazy it is. The set-up and building of everything you see, including the show car parking is the most dynamic and busiest of all the moments at an event. The only time that rivals that is the moment of show start. Like a tsunami hitting the coast of an island, the wave of people coming through the doors of the main hall is something that has to be seen to be believed. Within minutes of the main gates opening, people start to pour in through the multitude of doors, and all around you, there are car enthusiasts ready to be wowed. I love it. I love seeing people going over to their favorite cars, models or even food booths/trucks and just dive right in. The music starts to kick in around that time, and all around us there is an audio/visual feast for your senses. Maybe that’s the thing that I love most about HIN. I love seeing just all of the things going on at every turn. If the main hall doesn’t have what you are looking for, then the main stage should grab your attention. If it isn’t that, then maybe it’s all of the multitude of cars on display, and if it isn’t that, then maybe it’s the various food trucks. There is a lot going on, and for someone that is attending for the first time, I recommend that you just soak in the scenery and enjoy it. That’s what I try to do now when I go to shows. Yeah, we may have had a booth there this time around, but, if you don’t at least sit back to enjoy the moments, then what is it all about? As a longtime fan of the scene, I wouldn’t want to do it any other way.

  The stage is always the heart of Hot Import Nights, and when it comes to the show, it’s where the most action happens. It is there where the car awards are given out, announcements are made, musicians perform and the Miss HIN contest takes place. This time around the focus was on Miss HIN’s from the past, present and future. In fact, from the moment I walked out of the main hall (where our booth was) things were already popping off. With very little competing sound, I overheard an announcement calling out everyone to the stage. During the hustle and bustle of a show, it’s easy to ignore  any announcements that come from the stage. But, it’s pretty hard to ignore when you have two beautiful go-go dancers with bunny ears calling towards you. If you can’t tell, I’m grinning from ear to ear as I type this, but, what can I say, lovely ladies are hard to ignore. I wasn’t the only one that fell under the spell of Jeri Lee (one of the hosts of the show), and a ton of other folks heard the same sounds calling. All of us were instantly drawn to the stage and couldn’t help but see what was going on. 
  Jeri Lee was there looking pretty as ever, as was her partner on stage, Jargon. Significantly less pretty, but, no less entertaining. Together those two would do a bang-up job of hosting the Miss HIN contest for San Jose. I loved how they kept the flow of the show going and got the crowd involved. My favorite moment was when they brought out previous Miss HIN winners from around the country (Miss HIN from Hawaii even made an appearance) and introduced them to all of us. It was really nice to get to know more about all of them and to see what their personalities are like. But, when a fan from the crowd was invited on stage to take a picture, the place went wild with volunteers. I mean, who wouldn’t love to take a picture with all of those beautiful ladies? Well, in the funniest move ever, the person chosen to come up and take a snapshot turned out to be a pre-teen kid. If you have never seen happiness expressed on someone’s face, all you had to do was check out the look on that kid had when he was called up. Holy moly, that kid was so happy, and I don’t think there wasn’t a person in the crowd that wasn’t cheering him on. To make it even sweeter for him, Jargon tossed him to the fans to do a little bit of crowd surfing. What a lucky kid. I had a chance later on to meet him and talk to him about his little adventure. This was hours later and he was still smiling. When you have a dynamic duo like Jeri and Jargon (J&J), there’s sure some fun to be had. 
The luckiest kid at HIN is about to crowd surfing

The luckiest kid at HIN is about to crowd surfing

Look how much fun he's having. So jealous!

Look how much fun he’s having. So jealous!

One fine Infiniti G35 from HIN San Jose

One fine Infiniti G35 from HIN San Jose

  This show was a great time, and we could not have been more happy to be a part of it.  Working with some awesome friends from last year and a few new ones, this show brought about a whole host of new experiences. I also loved working with our sponsor and partners 360 Brazilian Products. We have been working with them for some time now and this time around we raffled off and gave away a lot of products. There’s nothing like seeing happy people, and having the opportunity to give away the best detailing supplies around (believe me when I say I know. I used to make it a point to try new detailing products and found that these by 360 were by far the best) was something that folks were happy to be a part of. That was the theme of the show though. Seeing happy people all over is something that you have to expect when going to these shows. The crowds up in the Bay are an enthusiastic bunch and you could tell that they live for events such as these. HIN has been a fixture in the car scene for over two decades now, and their reach extends to all states across the union. I loved that show in Pleasanton many years ago, and this one made me remember why that was the case. With a combination of some the best cars from the Bay, the most beautiful models from the area and some of the most enthusiastic crowds I have ever seen, this was the most fun I have had at a show all year. The only bad part of the whole thing was knowing that the next day we would be making the trip back down to SoCal and leave our friends. Those connections are ones that we don’t plan on forgetting anytime soon and we hope to be back for another crazy time. Who knows, maybe that next go around we’ll go out that way with our whole team. Now that would be an adventure. Until the next show folks. Take a moment to check out some of these snapshots from this last event. It only tells part of the story that San Jose had for everyone that was there. Fun times indeed.
  I just wanted to take a moment to give a big thank you to our team and our friends (Kena, Teresa, Lupe, Suzy, Brandon “Gee” and Brandon “B”) for being there that weekend, and to anyone and everyone that we met at the show. You made what was already an amazing show even better. The love we received from the Bay was so overwhelming that we cannot wait until the next time we make a trip out there. Thank you once again to you. And, we want to thank HIN for being awesome. You know who you are! 🙂
The winner of the 360 Products bucket. Woot woot!

The winner of the 360 Products bucket. Woot woot!

Miss HIN Hawaii Gracia Berkley says hi to the camera

Miss HIN Hawaii Gracia Berkley says hi to the camera

Another look at Suzy's track-ready car

Another look at Suzy’s track-ready car

DJ pumping up the crowd and saluting us

DJ pumping up the crowd and saluting us

Miss HIN 2016 Vicki Li loves the crowd and they love her

Miss HIN 2016 Vicki Li loves the crowd and they love her

Nissan Skyline GTR-34 looking fiiiiine!

Nissan Skyline GTR-34 looking fiiiiine!

Beautiful HIN go-go dancers with bunny ears

Beautiful HIN go-go dancers with bunny ears

 

The folks behind Carporn. They are so awesome

The folks behind Carporn. They are so awesome

Check out the booty from this Nissan 370Z

Check out the booty from this Nissan 370Z

Lexus with some nice carbon fiber pieces

Lexus with some nice carbon fiber pieces

A lovely fan walks the main hall at HIN

A lovely fan walks the main hall at HIN

Our crew for that day with their bottles of 360 Products

Our crew for that day with their bottles of 360 Products (and Suzy’s car in the back)

Gracie dropping the shaka for everyone

Gracie dropping the shaka for everyone

Like I said before, the luckiest kid at the show

Like I said before, the luckiest kid at the show

@Miss_mackin at the model lounge

@Miss_mackin at the model lounge

One of the happiest models at the show

One of the happiest models at the show,Vita Victoria

One crazy modified Honda S2000

One crazy modified Honda S2000

Lupe looking absolutely gorgeous at HIN

Lupe looking absolutely gorgeous at HIN

The venerable Nissan 300ZX from the front

The venerable Nissan 300ZX from the front

Team Speed Element was there in full-force at the show

Team Speed Element was there in full-force at the show

One more car from Team Speed Element

One more car from Team Speed Element

You can't rock out on stage without a selfie

You can’t rock out on stage without a selfie

Spokesmodels from staytoonprint.com

Spokesmodels from staytoonprint.com

Suzy parking her car at the beginning of the show

Suzy parking her car at the beginning of the show

Lupe next to one of the craziest cars at the show

Lupe next to one of the craziest cars at the show

Lupe and the owner of

Lupe and the owner of RCKN II. Love them!

Probably my favorite picture from the show. haha

Probably my favorite picture from the show. haha 🙂

With a Lotus

With a Lotus by @keleent

Words and Photos By Daniel Navarrete

-Spektrum Magazine

LOGO-1

For more information on Hot Import Nights and any upcoming Shows check out 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.

 


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