It felt like I'd just hopped into a time machine and set the year to 2001. As I walked into the third annual Hot Import Nights Australia show last week, I was greeted with dim lighting, loud hip-hop 'n techno music, girls posing next to cars and the occasional go-go dancers on stage. It felt a bit weird, but then I let it sink in and realized the Australian car community still appreciated and enjoyed the old school import car show environment. Of course, I got a kick out of it too, and as I started perusing the show, my doubts and hesitations about HIN Australia went away because there were more than enough sweet cars to take in!
I was asked to help judge alongside Joey Lee of The Chronicles. With 200 cars on display, it wasn't overwhelming and I was really looking forward to recognizing some well-built cars based on what I look for in Super Street feature cars, not cars that simply check the most boxes on a scorecard or those that try too hard to stand out. It's all about being tasteful, paying attention to detail, and following through with a well-thought-out theme. There was an enormous mix of cars from Hondas to Holdens with a ton of Nissans in the house but here's a look at my top picks from HIN Australia 2019 - stay tuned for more notable rides in part 3 of my coverage.
While it might not wow you from afar, the details and quality of work in this BNR32 Skyline GT-R was a 10 out of 10. Well done Dahtone Racing. We'll have a full feature on this immaculate GT-R soon!
Taking the third-place overall trophy (and probably my second favorite car of the show) was another BNR32 Skyline GT-R. It's so understated, but once you check out its details, plus factor in things like the custom Blitz wheels and immaculate black paint, there's no denying how stunning this GT-R is.
There was a shit load of S-chassis at Hot Import Nights but the best crafted and most functional example is this S14 with an RB26 swap.
This is one of the cleanest S14s I've seen as of lately and it won the "Cleanest Car Award." Should we feature it? We think so!
The amount of Honda builds didn't quite match up to the level of the States, but here are two of the top cars that could've easily held their own at a Wekfest show or Eibach Meet.
There were a decent number of Subaru project cars but this wagon was so nicely done that it was a no brainer it should've won "Best Subaru".
This Chaser and S13 were matching and both sick as hell. The Chaser won our "Best Static" award and we also learned that he often takes it to local drift events. Respect!
Millennium Jade is an epic color and works well on this S13.
Hands down, the best female-built ride!
After walking by this Toyota Crown at the beginning of the show, I already knew it was the "Best VIP". Looked like something straight outta Osaka!
There wasn't an award for Best Suzuki, but if there was, this Cappuccino would've been it.
Varis kit, Work wheels and air ride... Show stopping formula!
One of the finer old school builds was this Corolla. A tad rough around the edges (even retaining the original paint!), but a sweet ride nonetheless.
Two dope Toyotas - the AE86 won Best JDM and the MR2 was awesome on so many levels.
"Best Old School" belonged to this Celica. The paint, interior and overall finish were out of this world!
You can't go wrong with this formula... Porsche 911 slammed on BBS.
Finished just in time for the show, the lines of the Veilside RX-7 aero remain iconic and still look as dope today as it did back in the day, especially with this subdued color and wheel combo.
Last but not least, here is the Holden Senator that won "Best AUDM" and "Best Engine Bay". This car felt a bit like a '90s/'00s show car but was still bad to the bone despite looking a little old school.