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Over the years I’ve been to a lot of car shows, and in those years it’s been amazing. I’ve been lucky enough to go from shows as small as big as SEMA, to shows that were small (with just a few cars). It didn’t matter how big or small the show was, but, if it offered up stuff that was awesome, that show instantly became awesome. After going to shows over and over, it takes a lot for me to be impressed. That may sound a little jaded, but, when you go to show after show, and see a lot of the same thing, it tends to get a little stale. That may sound pretty rough, but, as a fan of cars and the shows they go to, it’s something that really gets me going. I may sound like a bit of a douche saying this (and I just may be), but, if you go to stuff as much as our team and I do, you do tend to get a little less impressed every time that you go out to a show. The past few years has seen a shift in the way that car shows operate, and so, maybe it’s politics, or maybe it’s things outside of the control of the fans, but, it feels as though no matter what show that you go to, you tend to see the same cars, people and everything else. But, something happened (seemingly overnight), that changed the way that shows are run, and the way that us fans enjoy them. That change has been something that I think our industry needed, and something that has been pretty awesome to be witness to. That change is something that we saw (and were lucky enough to be part of) last year and couldn’t have been happier to experience. That change was a shot in the arm for car show fans, and something that I can’t be more excited for. We were part of that new movement (in car shows) with our debut at Clean Culture (Orange County).
So, you’re probably wondering what the hell I’m talking about. It’s hard to describe just how awesome that show was (and if you want to know, just check here), but it was something I hadn’t seen before down here. Clean Culture was the beginning of a series of car shows where the people that are running those car shows come from outside of Cali. That may not sound like a big deal, but, for a person like me, living in Sothern California, our home is the center of the car world. With the best weather anywhere for cars, we live in an area where cars not only can reside in, but, they can do so with very few worries. Unlike areas where it snows or the humidity is high, things like rust are almost an issue that we don’t think about too much here. It’s definitely a car friendly place to live in, and so, it’s not uncommon to see all types of cars on the road out here. SoCal is the perfect backdrop for cars to thrive in, and there is nary a weekend that goes by where a car show does not happen. A quick search in Google will reveal a minimum of at least 1 or 2 shows going on at any give moment. It’s pretty amazing, and even more-so knowing that this happens year-round. So, what would compel a show series to make the trek all the way out here and set up shop? It has to be some kind of chutzpah to want to do so, and there has been a number of shows over the years that have tried and failed. But, the world is changing, and nowhere is that more obvious than in the car scene.
Enter the Tuner Evolution Car Show (Series). This was a series that I had heard about for years and never thought too much about. It wasn’t because I didn’t care, but, mainly because all of their shows took place on the east coast. One of the biggest shows that they were doing (and the one that I had heard about the most over the years), was the Tuner Evo(lution) Philly event. It was a show whose reputation had spread all the way out here and one which I was curious about. Several of our friends (both models and show-goers) had been to that show and had nothing but positive things to say about it. It definitely sparked my interest and I wanted to check it out sometime. Seeing as how I don’t travel as much as I used to, it was something that I didn’t think too much about. This changed last summer though. At Spocom (in Anaheim), Tuner Evolution showed up with a booth and made their presence known. Location is everything, and sitting across from the model lounge definitely helped, and having the fantastically beautiful Marie Madore is always a welcome sight. Having heard of Tuner Evo for the longest time, I was really surprised to see them out here. I must admit, I did spend a minute or two oogling at Marie, I did learn that the reason Tuner Evo was there was to promote their upcoming show in SoCal. Yup, after all of the years of hearing about the show ripping it up on the east coast, we were finally going to get a taste of how those guys were doing things. And, it would be in a few months time. Or, we would see what it would be like just a few months out after Spocom.
While Spocom was it’s own monster, and garnered up all the praise that it deserved it was the thought of a new series of shows arriving in SoCal that peaked my interest. It helped knowing that the folks putting it all together were from out of town as well. A SoCal edition of one of the biggest tuner shows here on our coast. Sure, why not? Needless to say, it was going to take a few months for it to happen, and in those months a lot of things happened. But, with the new year just on the horizon, we were all ready to check this thing out.
Fast forward five months later, and the day for Tuner Evo had arrived. Not knowing what to expect (but, having high hopes for it), I took it as any other show. I definitely didn’t want to over hype the show to myself, or, even worse, have really high expectations. After all, with the state of the shows over here, I expected it to be just the same as any other, if not, worse. Sure, it sounds pretty bad, but, having done some shows out of town, I think that one has to accept that the logistics of putting on an event across the country is a lot harder to do than one down the street. It’s hard to haul one’s own shit, let alone a ton of shit on a car or plane. But, imagine having to haul a ton of it from one side of the country to the other. Pretty crazy methinks. So, I went into this show with open eyes and very little in the way of expectations. That all went out the window though, as soon as I arrived at the (Anaheim) Convention Center. Holy smokes. I had imagined that this show would be small, or at least, the size of your average show (with a couple hundred or thousand people, and a few hundred cars). And, taking place at the Anaheim Convention Center (just like Spocom), I had an idea of what it was going to look like. But, damn, I did not expect to see what I saw there. There were not just a couple of hundred people there, but, thousands. Hell, people were flooding into the show room floor all over the place. It was crazy. But, the craziest thing of all of that wasn’t the amount of people that came through the doors, but, the fact that people stayed for the whole show. Usually people stay anywhere between an hour to 3 hours, and very rarely do they stay the entire show. Tuner Evo (SoCal) though, offered up a few experiences that kept audiences longer than they probably would have stayed.
This show was something else. Unlike the typical layout with vendors and cars spread all around, and a main stage somewhere in the middle or at the end of the hall, this one was split into four parts. On one corner you had the ‘main’ stage, where the bikini contest and big announcements went down. On another corner there were turn tables set up for music and DJ battles/mixing. Opposite of that was a dance floor for breakdancing and breakdancing contests and in the middle of all of that were the cars, vendors and the rest of the world. It was pretty impressive, and I never thought I would see a set up like that. That setup alone, I think, is what kept people entertained, and wanting to stay at the show. Sure, all of those components by themselves are amazing, but, give people the option to party it up in four different ways (all of which are going on at the same time) and they’ll definitely stay for something that they’ll like. To be honest, the idea behind all of that is genius. Sure, there have been other shows that do things similar to it, but, none where the whole point behind it was just to keep the party going. I remember seeing the bikini contest going on, and there were people that didn’t seem to notice or care. Not because they didn’t want to, but, because they were having fun at any other number of places at the show. That was probably one of my favorite things about the show, and something I hope that other shows take note of.
The entertainment was definitely present at Tuner Evolution and so were the cars and models. Once again, there were a ton of cars there. And while there were a lot of familiar cars there, there were definitely a number of rides that I had never seen before. Randomly throughout the show you could catch a glimpse of a license plate or two from out of state. The same went for the models. There were a lot of models there, some of which we had never seen before. Having been to a number of shows just in the past few months alone, it was really surprising to see models that weren’t just from here locally, but, from places around the country. Hell, we even caught up with our good friend Brittany (Murata) at the show. She’s from Chicago, but, she had come in just for this show. The other models at her booth were from other locations just as much, and that was the recurring theme throughout the show.
And that is one of the big reasons that this event was one of my favorites of the year. Sure, it was only January when the show happened, but, boy was it something else. It’s often been said that variety is the spice of life, and it was definitely here in spades. From the opening of the show (with that rush of people that came through the main doors), to the bikini contest, dance battles and everything else in between, this show was packed full of variety and things that were not just SoCal-centric. It’s not often that we get a chance to meet car enthusiasts and models from around the country in one place (or at least, not so much so where they are participating), so, being a part of something as special as this show was really a treat. It was a real entertaining show, and having it take place here in Orange County, in the middle of SoCal was the perfect setting for it. I think for folks like ourselves, it was a real eye opener. Maybe we have become too accustomed to just making our local residents happy that we have forgotten that the world of cars is a big one. Incorporating all the elements into this show is something that for sure didn’t happen overnight, but, it was that vision that made it into something that we could all learn from. I’m happy to see events like Tuner Evo come on out this way and teach us to enjoy car shows in a way that maybe we haven’t done so before. It may have been their first show here, but you would never guess it was in the way it happened. I sure hope to see the next one sometime soon. If it’s half as fun as this one was, then I’m sure we’re all in for a treat. If you ever hear about Tuner Evo coming out to your hometown, wherever that may be, definitely check it out. I am a fan of the enthusiasm that they brought and I’m sure that they’ll do the same next time around.
Check out some of these shots (some of which were taken by our new photographer, Jarrod @s2bphotos) and enjoy some of the amazing things we saw there. It was a lot of fun, and spending the time with our friends, old and new was a real treat. Welcome to the fold Tuner Evo. You are definitely at home with us here.
Words and Photos By Daniel Navarrete
Additional Photos by Jarrod Coleman (@s2bphotos)
For more information on Tuner Evolution and any upcoming shows, check them out on their website at http://www.tuner-evolution.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.