It's the car show that isn't really a car show, but sort of is a car show and, if we're being honest, many other car shows should take a few notes. Confused? Let's start with the foundation.
If you live in San Diego, you're already familiar with 5&A Dime, the apparel and accessories store located downtown on the corner of 8th and G St., co-owned by siblings Jason and Darcie Huggins. What started as a coffee table book and specialty toy store morphed into a hub for highly sought after street wear as well as San Diego-centric apparel and accessories that help stimulate the already strong sense of pride locals invest into their city. As with most Southern California cultures, there's a crossover effect that quietly takes place and clothing and cars are no exception. Having so many friends and customers involved in car culture, the store's crew decided to throw an automotive gathering just outside their front door. With more eyes on the get together after a few years and a lack of space, the Motor Union show made its way north, just a few miles, to Greenflash Brewing Company in Mira Mesa.
Though it's dubbed a "car show," Motor Union isn't your typical shark tank. You're not going to see too many people staring each other down and that air of competition is muted by a laid back atmosphere that's more "Hey man, how's everything?" rather than "Too bad my car kills yours." Jared DeAnda, San Diego native, former TMR Magazine staffer, and longtime voice of Formula Drift, put his spin on it by stating, "This is a modern version of what TMR Magazine was all about back in the day. It's all of these different cars and cultures together in one place. There's just nothing like it."
Logistically, that simple roll-in procedure that's almost guaranteed to turn into a cluster in the early morning hours at other car shows in this case is avoided entirely. You see, where you park is determined by when you arrive and who's already in the lot. That means there's no VIP treatment and you might be positioned next to a car that, under normal circumstances, you'd never be parked near at any other event. That's the beauty; the diversity is in your face at every turn. I don't know many other events that would put a Civic, old-school Skyline, big body Continental, S-chassis drift car, and a dune buggy next to one another without a second thought.
Grab a beer, walk freely throughout the brewery, or make your way outside to the show parking lot and you're guaranteed to find something you'll like. The dance demos, freestyle vape competition, and balloon animal corral are nowhere to be found at Motor Union, as the focus remains on the cars and the people. Eventually awards will be handed out, minus the ill will and slow head shaking that accompany almost every award ceremony and everyone leaves happy. Call it the anti-car show car show. Whatever you want to label it, just make it a point to stop by for Motor Union 6, next year—same place, same vibes.
A 550hp RB26DETT packed into a '73 Skyline Kenmeri chassis is never a bad thing.
Walk around a bit and you're bound to run into some '90s heroes, like this MkIV Supra and 300ZX.
There's that diversity again ...
Raul Toledo's '72 510 is a thing of beauty. From the period-correct wheels, fender mirrors and Bluebird grill, to the Tomei turbo-enhanced, fortified SR20DET swap, you can say we were impressed.
Though the name and influence has spread throughout the country as well as overseas, you can't drive more than 5 blocks in San Diego without seeing an AutoFashion sticker, banner, or license plate frame on a modified car. Similar to 5&A Dime, the legend of AF began in San Diego and years later the group remains there, stronger than ever.
Love it or hate it, just about every build style made its way to the Greenflash Brewing Co. parking lot, including the extreme.
If this van's a rockin', don't come knockin'. It goes without saying if you own a van like this and don't have an ultra-creepy interior that includes green carpeting and plush bedding, you're doing it wrong.