“Y’all traveled all the way from New York for some cars?” is the first thing we heard from our astonished server at Waffle House when we tried to explain why all these “tuner cars” were invading the streets, hotels, and gas stations of Nashville.
A 16-hour drive is not an easy feat. I learned that firsthand when I hit the rumble strips on the side of the interstate highway as my eyes slowly closed from lack of sleep. My two copilots and I were set on going to the famed summer Import Alliance meet, and to say it short and simple, it was everything we expected it to be and more.
There’s no feeling like driving around and hearing exhaust drones, turbochargers spooling, front lips scraping, and tires rubbing against fenders everywhere you went. Being in the same vicinity as other like-minded people and enjoying what each person has to bring to the table is what this event is all about. It’s the biggest grassroots event in the western hemisphere, and this year 10,500 people were in attendance.
As we sat at the Waffle House tired, sweaty, and dirty, we answered the server by saying that we traveled because of “our dedication and love of cars”. After a quick three-hour nap, car wash, and shower, I really thought about the thousands of miles we traveled by car, and if it wasn’t for our passion for cars, we would have to be crazy. No person in their right mind should make the long trip for a mere meet, but it’s the same mentality that we had, that brought 5,000-plus cars to Nashville. The drive isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s definitely something any car enthusiast should experience.
Cars of all types were in attendance—from Civics, Integras, 350Zs, Silvias, Skylines, RX7s, and NSXs to M3s, Mustangs, Golfs, Camaros, and Mustangs. Some were stock and some, well, you couldn’t tell what kind of car it started out as, but most were quality builds. Picture Nashville Superspeedway with thousands of modified cars; it was automotive heaven.
Originally the meet began as a Japanese import meet, but it’s turned into an all-around car meet. People came from all around the United States and Canada, with some coming from as far as Oregon—now that’s dedication!
Big props to the organizing committee for the Import Alliance meet, because an event this big would have been bound to turn into a burnout competition very quickly without the proper organization and security. Until next time, I’ll be patiently waiting and controlling my cravings for Cracker Barrel and Waffle House. www.importalliance.org