I woke up one February morning with the sudden urge to go to Atlanta. Pretty random thought considering I've never spent anytime in the Peach State, nor had I had much desire to go (besides maybe a lap dance at Magic City or eating some authentic barbecue). But that one February morning, I remembered a certain event that drew thousands of enthusiasts including many clean project cars, some of which we've featured at Super Street. Perhaps deep down inside, my mind and body was telling me that it was time to pay homage to the East. So later that morning, I sent an e-mail to Don Napier of Import Alliance (IA), and within a few days my flight was booked. I was ready to pop my IA cherry!
IA is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. '16 also marks its 8th year hosting a major event in Atlanta, IA's bread and butter. The weekend get-together spans across two days at Atlanta Motor Speedway (former venue of NOPI for you veterans out there), and for the last couple years, organizers added a drift exhibition to offer a little more spice to the event, some demonstrations including pro driver Nate Hamilton. Everything looked good on paper, but would it live up to the expectations?
If you like a friendly, chill, happenin' environment with enthusiasts from all over the East Coast, Midwest and South, Import Alliance is your cup of tea. As opposed to most things I frequent on the West Coast, IA Atlanta is not a judged car show. It is, as grassroots as it gets; a place to cruise together with your buddies and a chance to meet guys you know by their Instagram name. Whether you drive a stock Civic, bagged tC, drift-ready 240 or a $100K GT-R, the masses come together without any drama. Some things I really appreciated were the number of cars that drove from long distances, and how long people stayed. In California, we tend to be spoiled and rarely drive more than an hour to a show; however for IA, most attendees I talked to averaged 2-4 hours to the Speedway. I ran into a several fellas from the Midwest with 10-to-15+ hour drives. And for a grassroots meet with no award ceremony or agenda of activities, people stayed for hours, soaking in the incredible phenomenon that has become Import Alliance.
Kudus to the gang at IA – Don Napier, Omari Winbush and Ron Cartmell. While the three founders are based in Nashville, Tennessee (not exactly the epicenter for modified cars), they've repositioned their event to Atlanta where it has become one of the tuning community's largest spectacles. Enjoy our first gallery here, but we'll have more coverage from IA Atlanta in the coming days!