There is a show that takes place every July in Anaheim. This show hasn’t been around for more than decade, but, the impact that it has made within the industry is unbelievable. From the first show that I had ever been to (in Anaheim), to the most recent one, every show has been action-packed, and full of everything that makes the car scene that much fun. While this article has been a long time coming, the memories of the show have stuck in my mind. Spocom has always been a show I look forward to, and this last one was every bit as anticipated as the last. But, unlike some of the last ones, the people and the cars at this one were a little more than I would have thought. For that and many more reasons, this show proved to me what it meant to be a fan of the genre.
Spocom comes but once a year here in Southern California, but, that doesn’t mean that it’s impact isn’t felt across the country. For those of you that live here, you know that cars are as much a way of life as a glass of water. No matter what you do, or where you go, the impact of cars hits everyone of all social classes. So, it’s no surprise that nearly every week throughout the year, car shows and events take place. Spocom is one of those shows. It wasn’t the first in the import scene, but, in the wake of a whole host of other shows, Spocom has proven to be one of the biggest and baddest. This didn’t happen by accident though. And, now, a show that has only been around as long as some of the people that attend it, Spocom has proven to be one of the shows that everyone as a car and import fan has to attend. But, how can this be? How is it that Spocom became as big a show that it is, and still manages to hold the grip on its audience year after year?
The truth isn’t that easy to find out. The truth is a complicated mix of many things from different places. It’s hard to believe, but, this show was something that I never knew about several years back. Back when the scene (the import car scene) exploded, it hit the world by storm unlike anything I had ever seen. From the moment that the Fast and Furious was first released, an import car fascination swept across the world. It had been around Japan for many years prior, and those that were in the know, knew about the potential of the cars that were being imported. But, when that movie hit, kids everywhere (including myself) caught the tuning bug, and anything to do with the scene instantly became popular. The demand was huge, and one thing that people wanted to do was to express themselves within the scene. So, it was pretty natural, that fans of the genre would begin to fix up their cars and begin to meet up. This happened so much that there was an even larger demand to have shows devoted to the scene. One of those shows is one that, surprisingly, is still around. Hot Import Nights may not have been the first, but, it was one of the most promoted and biggest shows that was around. This year, Hot Import Nights celebrates its 20th anniversary. For two decades, this show has been one of the a staple of the industry, and a place where people can go to, to see and experience the lifestyle of the import car culture.
While the show was one of the first, it certainly wasn’t one of the only ones, and within a few years (some actually happened even sooner), there were other shows gunning for their audiences. One of the shows that was born in the wake of Hot Import Nights was Spocom. Spocom was a reaction to the constant demand for shows, and high quality entertainment. But, more than that, it had to be by the people and for the people. It was just one chain in the long chain of car shows, but, unlike the others, it got bigger and bigger every year. It was one show that took advantage of the growing influence of social media and word of mouth, and, really did bring together all of the powerplayers with it. If you have ever been to Spocom, then you know exactly what I am talking about. It’s something that has to be experienced in order to fully understand, and even moreso in this age of social media. As much as I could describe this show here within this writing, it is to your own credit that you take the journey to one of the shows and experience it for yourself.
But, what does that mean? I’m sure you are probably thinking that I am making it sound like something of a religious experience, and to some folks, it just may be. But, for myself (and I can only talk about it myself), this show is just so much fun. There are lots of shows that are fun, and if you are a fan of anything to do with the automotive world, you are sure to find a place where you will welcome the audience. But, the thing that makes this show special, is just how the organizers do anything and everything they can to find the best of everything. Whether it is the best looking cars, or sometimes even the fastest, they are there. The hottest and brightest models from around the country (and sometimes even from abroad) make an appearance at this show, as well as some celebrities and incredible talent. Unlike most shows that do this for days, or even weeks at a time, this show pulls together everything that you love about the culture for one day. Yeah, it really is a monumental feat, and being there I could totally understand the task that it takes to put together such a show. In fact, while I (and I am sure that a lot of people do as well) go to the shows with an open mind and ready to experience whatever is there, Spocom has had the uncanny ability to attract a lot of big name models. Those models you tend to not see at any other shows or anywhere else. The only exception being SEMA, where every model under the sun tends to show up to. But, at Spocom, they are just everywhere, and definitely bring in a legion of fans all on their own. It’s pretty amazing and that alone would be a reason for people to go. This time around I even saw our newest team member (at the time of the show) there. Gladys hadn’t even done a show with us yet, and lo and behold, she was there. Needless to say, Spocom has the model lounge and anything model related on lockdown, and I am sure with the upcoming show that we are sure to see the modelling cream of the crop show up.
This last show reminded me what it was to have fun at an event as a spectator. And, especially this time around because we weren’t exhibiting and I was able to go and take in the show and its many fruits. I have always enjoyed checking out this show and this time around, I went in not really expecting to have anything other than a good time. I definitely found that going in to the show as an attendee is a pretty pure experience. While I did go to check out the show and mingle, I wanted to see if the charm of shows past would be there. Of course, you have to expect awesome cars at every one of these shows. I think that Spocom has a pretty selective process in choosing the cars to be at their show. But, I am always excited to see what kinds of cars will be there. While the show centers on imports and jdm cars, it’s not totally out of the ordinary to see some domestic cars there. Sometimes they are muscle cars and sometimes they are some of the rarer exotic cars, but, they are always something that you are sure to find interesting. I’m sure that you can see in some of the pictures the wide selection of cars that make it and the quality of the builds that there are. This isn’t to say that you will see every car in the scene however. A lot of the home builds and grassroots cars tend to not make it into the shows. For some shows this is par the course, and Spocom isn’t alone in making this type of decision on their own. The one good thing that comes from this is the fact that every car there is incredible, and I am sure that anyone going is sure to find something that they like.
This show in particular was a fun time. Having gone to many shows over a period of several years, I always enjoy going to the shows. I love the atmosphere, the cars and of course the girls (hell, I am a single guy, so, say what you want, but, I always look forward to that aspect of it). But, the one thing that I love more than anything else, and something that I am sure any fan of the genre will tell you, is the sense of community. Spocom is a show that you can tell has a loyal following, and anytime someone hits the stage there they are met with a wave of applause. That support flows throughout the showroom floor and the general level of excitement always remains high. That was the case this time around and in years past. So, it was no surprise this time around that I would see people just as happy as I was to be there. Spirits were high and with the music pumping in the background of the show, we were all treated to a good time. I loved the show for what it was, and even though the next one is less than a month away, I always felt like I wanted to highlight this last one. It’s a shame that for us out here, this show comes but once a year. With all of the hype surrounding it, it feels as though it is gone before one can even begin to soak it all in. But, it is a lot of fun, and a show that no one in the SoCal area should miss. Thankfully with all of the success the show has had down here, the show has now gone on the road and fans that cannot make it to the SoCal show can check it out for them in their own areas. I know I am excited about this next show and am looking forward to seeing more of what I love about this scene. Not to mention what lovely models will be there this time around. Hope to see you all there and what difference the 2017 will be. If it’s anything like last year, we are sure to be in for a real treat.
Words and Photos By Daniel Navarrete
For more information on Spocom and any upcoming Spocom USA Shows check out their website at http://spocomusa.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.