The feel was familiar, as was the atmosphere and the people in attendance. If you're anywhere near Eibach's Corona, Calif. facility, you've either attended, seen coverage of, or heard about an event taking place in their gated parking lot. It's where the annual Eibach Honda Meet, now 13 years old, was first established, and there's been multiple Targa Trophy launch events, off-road gatherings, Mustang meets, Porsche and coffee morning meet-ups, and more. So it was only fitting that Ryan Hoegner, Eibach's Business Development Manager, and I go back to where it all started for a whole new event.
Admittedly well beyond the average age demographic for the import enthusiast market, Ryan and I, along with a large number of friends and associates, live and breathe '80s and '90s imports. It's not that we have anything against newer cars, we both own a few ourselves, but for us the '90s represent a special time not only in the enthusiast circle, but for the OEMs who were pumping out hit after hit, offering new cars that would help shape future generations of builders. Breakthroughs in performance seemed to be a regular occurrence, and the community vibe at that time - well before the social media boom - was predominately positive.
Knowing that many others felt the same way, we put together the Throwback Meet, a gathering based solely on pre-2000 era Japanese imports of all makes and models. Not a car show, so many in attendance would be street driven cars and trucks, though we did have some full-blown track cars and a few show cars join in as well. With about 250 cars on hand during one of the nicest days you're likely to find in Corona as the sun blasted down on 60-degree weather - a rarity in the Inland Empire. Along with the attendees that were able to join in on the event absolutely free were a group of vendors that included the likes of Mackin Ind., ICB Motorsport, Sparco, and others.
This initial satellite event served as a feeler and was as laid back as you might expect at a free event in SoCal, and with zero snags during the roll-in and vendor set up, the event was incident- and stress-free. With the enthusiasm from attendees easy to read, January 2019 will see part II of The Throwback and we expect to expand considerably.
Here are a few photos from the morning setup captured by newcomer photog Jonah Licata.
A husband and wife combo with a pair of nicely modded S-chassis
Both first- and second-gen. MR2 owners wanted in on the Throwback Meet. The mid-engine, RWD, two-seater was staple in the late '80s and well into the '90s, and today we're seeing somewhat of a resurgence in popularity as both chassis seem to be picking up steam.
You won't find many Cressida builds as clean as this pair. The one on the right, a '91 model, features a 1JZ swap and Advan RG II rollers.
Mitsubishi's 3000GT featured an AWD turbo V6 and seemed to be well ahead of its time. However, it priced itself out of the reach of most enthusiasts when it was new (between 1991 and 1999) and many flocked to its cousin, the Eclipse, to customize. Years later, you don't see many of these around but this pair looked better than new with immaculate paint and some nice details under the hood.
You recognize the name Chuy Navarro from a short write up we did on his USDM ITR, but for the Throwback event, he brought out his JDM ITR outfitted with a number of Spoon Sports additions.
Mackin Industries and ICB Motorsport set up shop near the entrance of the event and brought with them a group of cars that included this authentic S15 and Julia Duong's 240SX SE that you've seen before in the pages of SS.
Nick from Falken Tire made the trip to Corona in his recently completed RX-7 restoration. The clean champagne color sits atop Enkei wheels and (yeah, you guessed it) Falken Azenis rubber. In another lifetime the car sported blistered and faded red paint, but Nick was able to breathe new life into this '90s legend.
If you go to a pre-2000 meet and don't spot at least one Supra, something must be wrong. Fortunately we had seven on hand, one of which was this gorgeous white MkIV with a rather sizeable Comp Turbo under the hood.
Not to be left out, this blue Supra showed up with plenty of HKS goods on deck.
Enjoy the jolting sounds or pure unadulterated "brap-brap," do ya? This FC had more than enough and can be heard in the video posted below as it exits the parking lot.
Nothing says '90s like Honda's B-series. Built in every possible configuration, beat on to the bitter end without complaint, and one of the most popular swaps in import history in the States, it's still relied on for countless builds. This version, owned by Mike G, is sleeved and built to 2.0L status and in a constant state of change.