After a hiatus of I don’t even know how many months, HIN is back and, well, different than ever. For what the promoters are calling “the second coming of HIN” they have a huge schedule forecasted for 2012 and they even have a video game coming out according to their site. When I first heard that the biggest name in import car shows rose from the dead I knew I’d have to go down to the convention center and see what all the hoopla was about.
In desperate need of a HIN wing-man, I enlisted the help of the FNG at eurotuner, Neill Bachand, who had mentioned a previous interest in attending. I figured that with Neill being a HIN virgin (actually he did go to one a few years back but it sounds a lot better if we pretend that didn’t happen) I could more accurately gauge the show based on his enthusiasm or lack thereof. After picking him up from his apartment in Hollywood, we made a bee-line to the show driving directly through MacArthur park, despite Neill’s fear of being robbed and beaten to death, we somehow arrived at the car park in one piece.
Following a paper sign that said “Hot Imports” with an arrow indicating the direction for which all people enthused by such things should take, we gave a man exactly twelve dollars and proceeded to park our not-so-hot-import. Climbing several staircases would reveal the line for media where we would each equip our wrists with day-glow yellow wristbands that would not only allow us entrance to the event but also establish ourselves as professional automotive journalists rather than your run-of-the-mill perverts with cameras (the only difference is the wristband, trust me).
Upon entering the center hall’s doors it became quite obvious that this was not the same convention center that hosted the LA Autoshow some two weeks prior. No, this was a spectacle by all accounts, an attack of the senses if you will. Smoke filled the air and was intermittently backlit by some sort of Cirque du Soleil light show; all the while the floor is pulsating to the beat of god-only-knows-how-many-DJs. Tough as it was I kept my professional attitude intact at all times and got on with the job at-hand—photographing cars and girls like nobody’s business. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.
Neill on the other hand was losing his mind. I swear you should have seen him, total rookie. At one point he called a Corolla a 510, got lost in a corner and nearly bought a 8x10 glossy from a model that didn’t understand what “can I take a picture of you, it’s for a magazine” meant. That’s him wigging out in front of the stage spreading his wings by the way. To think that this guy used to work at the Fantasy Factory and he was still this amped up must mean that HIN is pretty killer.