Probably the biggest difference between last year's first Tuner Evo SoCal and this year's follow up was the actual size of the show hall. We're pretty sure organizers got a little bit more room to play with from the Anaheim Convention Center management this year, which meant more space for everything—and in the case of TE, that means more than just additional breathing room for the car show. The crowd absorbing the breakdancing didn't impede with the show walkers, or the RC car area, and the BMX and skateboard "jammers" received a space all their own, too (although in truth you still had to watch out for those guys—they were flying around all over the place). This is what comes with a TE party—almost everything.
It's been an unusual "off season" for the tuner community here in typically sunny Southern California. For the first time in forever, we had rain, and lots of it, over and over and over again this winter. A lot of people got to experience for the first time what many in other parts of the world have to endure all the time, and that is forgoing driving because the weather is crappy (yeah it's not snow or "real" winter in SoCal, but still not great to drive your lowered car in). So the indoor Tuner Evo was a godsend to the region's enthusiasts; it just so happened the weather turned out to be great for the event, but even if it wasn't, it didn't really matter because TE had a place to hold proceedings unaffected by Mother Nature.
Pretty much the first car to stop us in our tracks at TE was Aaron Ngo's 1995 Mazda Miata M-Edition. We have a soft spot for the small roadsters, and Ngo's turbocharged, Meister S1'ed, Merlot Metallic machine has one big, really cool accessory: a custom trailer. The scaled-down toy hauler rolls on a pair of cambered rims, and at the show it was laden with the NA Miata's hood.
We ran into Jonny Grunwald early in the show, our punk rock boyfriend and owner of two SS feature cars: the TCP Magic FD3S Mazda RX-7 that landed on the cover, and from more recently Grunwald's Pandem widebody, Renesis-developing RX-8, which is in our 2019 calendar with Toyo Tires. Jonny is a pretty rare gem in this scene, blazing his own distinctive trail but very much wanting to raise the profile of the entire subculture (and not just his own), and his cars were not far from others he's partnered on in the not-too-distant past, like the Pandem ND MX-5 collab with TommyB, and the Lucky7Racing FD3S that was actually in the SS Garage booth.
There were other showstoppers we were stoked to see dust off the cobwebs from the off season, like David Macias's slammed white Z31 from 2018's JCCS, the Leopard-converted Infiniti M30 we keep seeing showing up to Nissan/Datsun events in SoCal, @illest_cory's clean Integra, which traveled all the way from Modesto to attend Tuner Evo, and others. So was TE SoCal better this year than last? We think so, but you be the judge—dig into our second beefy gallery from the show.