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2005 Hot Import Nights: Chicago

McCormick Convention Center Chicago, IL June 11, 2005

Dave Pankew
Mar 19, 2009
Photographer: Joe Magro

H-totha-Izzo-N-totha-Whizzo or something like that, is one insane vibe that continues to conquer the US, the UK and eventually Canada. Those who frequent the HIN shows know that it isn’t all about the machines (which have improved dramatically in recent years) but rather hanging with your kind and meeting new people. And then before the HIN staff sends out a memo to mention this, I can’t forget loads of activities and free give aways.

Did I mention free?

Hell, even as you enter the door, you are greeted with schwag like a free Valvoline Synpower Drifting 101 DVD starring international Playboy RJ deVera and his faithful sidekick Rodeo Kazama. And it really doesn’t stop from there as each vendor tries to outgun the next one by snatching attention away from the others.

McDonald’s did a decent job of this by holding an open-air car show at the main entrance of Wrigley Field on Thursday. With some hot promotions and airplay, the tuners answered the call and those who didn’t really missed out. Because they could have been the first to see Best of Show-madman, Jay Laub drop his new weapon. Even I was amped about this one, and were totally spoiled with world debuts over here but Laub really upped the ante with his VeilSide Fortune Maisty NSX. It was kind of surreal to see this thing roll off the trailer and even more monumental to see the faces on the crowd.

Back at the show, the tracks were bumping, girls were (well if I get into too much detail here I’ll have the FCC all up on me) and the crowds continued to flood in. If you can’t groove on everything at the show, you’ll still be grippin’ something at HIN. I met one Skyline owner who was actually wearing earplugs at the show just to see the multiple Skylines that were there including the AutomotiveForums.com R34 racecar but just not the music. Proof that there is so much happening at HINs, that elements of the show will draw all kinds of ages, tastes, backgrounds under one roof to wind it out and get stupid.

I also alluded to the trend that the caliber of the HIN cars have improved. Dwindling are the trailer queens and many street bullies with forced induction are supplanting the shells that rocked chromed rotors and clear acrylic hoods. There were rows of built EVOs, STis, a 1500hp Supra, the Endless FD, the RS*R racecar, not to mention the range of VIP vehicles from the streets of Chicago there to represent.

It’s been a while since I have had a clearing in the schedule to hit up an HIN, some babbled that they were becoming repetitive but it couldn’t further off because I barely recognized it. There is a reason why HIN is number one and sponsors continue to get in on the action. Did I mention free stuff?

By Dave Pankew
5 Articles

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