2012 Hot Import Nights Los Angeles: Kicking Off the Summer in Style

EVO s2000 honda

As you may know, Hot Import Nights was the first big event of the summer, and it was a mishmash of all different types of cars, tournaments, and models. The first thing I was rather surprised by was the collaboration with IGN to host a Starcraft II tournament in the convention center. There was also a wrestling tournament in the corner of the building, which looked a bit odd taking place next to showcars. However, it was great to see more types of people come in through the doors, hopefully exposing their eyes to the greatness that is the SoCal car scene.

Getting to the cars: there were cars from all across the board — European, American, Asian — you name it. I remembered HIN to be an essentially exclusive meet of JDM tuners and models, but things have changed. That is a good thing, of course, as more variety stirs things up. Now, before I show you the pictures, I apologize for the excessive noise, as the lighting conditions were less than ideal.

I'd like to start off the coverage with one of my favorite cars of the event, an Alpine White turbocharged E46 M3.

Being one of the most well-rounded cars BMW had to offer, and the last of the M's to feature a high revving Inline 6, some may consider this Bimmer to be the last "pure" BMW. 

This example was very well modded, wearing tasteful carbon fiber ​Voltex​ carnards at the front…

…and sitting on 10-spoke HRE ​wheels, reminiscent of some Hartge vintage wheels of yesteryear.

The 3.2L S54 powerplant of the E46 M3 was outfitted with a custom intake manifold to handle the centrifugal supercharger and a carbon fiber valve cover for maximum form and function. (Pic is from another M3) 

The BMW's weren't the only Germans to show, however.

Don Lyson's Porsche 911 SC came to visit as well.

Every time I see this car, the trunk is always open to showcase the beautiful velocity stacks laid out in an unconventional way. I'd love to hear the roar of this rear engined monster.

Miatas seem to be gaining lots of popularity these days, and for a good reason. Cheap, reliable, tossable, huge aftermarket support, rear wheel drive, convertible… and the list goes on. Every event I go to, the numbers seem to be growing. There were none at the first HIN, one at Motion Auto Show, and now there are 4 of them, brought to you by Project G. This red Miata caught my attention because of the rolled fenders and aggressive stance…

…but mainly because of the unique soft top. I first saw this type of top on a Boxster Spyder, and later by Miata for their NC roadster concept, but never on a street car. I gotta say, it really lightens up the car visually, and gives the 20-year old NA a breath of fresh air. 

Included in the lineup was an NC with a set of beautiful, genuine gunmetal ​Volk TE37s ​with a red accent. I had no hope for the bloated NC, but seeing this car made me a believer. A perfect combo, and a functional one at that.

I found a SW20 MR2 with some interesting scoops.

I was more than glad to see the Scion FR-S make an appearance. The car looks great in olive green!

Of course, its twin brother, the Subaru BRZ was just as stunning. It's interesting as a simple bumper swap could so drastically change the look of the car. The BRZ looks far more composed and refined due to the straight lines on the front fascia.

A Veilside body kit completely changed the look of this NSX.

It almost looks like a Noble supercar from the rear.

A full carbon fiber RX-8, looking ready to jump at any moment.

It's a shame Mazda has stopped producing Wankel engines, they truly brought innovation and soul into the industry, where all others were too afraid to take the risk. I feel like it could be of great use for lightweight sports cars due to its high revving nature and simplicity in design. 

Surprisingly, there was a fairly rare Mazda RX-3, which was powered by a 2 rotor Wankel motor. The period-correct foglights and dam were nice minimal touches.

Note the recurring triangular theme, from the logo in the front grille to the muffler in the rear. 

A sick Datsun Bluebird 710 showing off a tasteful wheel fitment. They look to be bronze Watanabes, which are a perfect universal match to any older Japanese car.

This Ferrari F430 stood out, especially with its signature red paint.

Mr. Dunbar's WRX with HRE wheels wrapped in Falken Azenis RT615. Man, those HRE's are really in nowadays, aren't they?

I've never seen this color before, but it looks great on this WRX.

The fender flares give it an enhanced presence and also looks like it could take on any turn in its way, pavement or gravel.

I found a blacked out hardtop S2000 devoid of any stickers and a berserk powerplant.

Not only is the fantastically potent F20C ​turbo'd, but the exhaust and wastegate were routed straight out of the hood. That's gotta be one of the shortest exhausts ever, coming in close to Bisimoto's twin turbo 964.

Speaking of power, Corvette engines are becoming ever more popular these days due to the simplicity and price to horsepower ratio. There is not a single motor out there that could match the ease of use and the sheer, thumping all-American power. There is an old saying in the community that goes, "Cheap, fast, or reliable, pick two." Well, the LS motors seem to be really close to be an exception. 

Seen here is a supercharged Z06, and good lord, that is a gigantic supercharger. Crazy forced inductions aside, this is actually a very clean job with most of the factory parts looking intact.

This Kouki S14 drifter was getting a lot of attention, and rightly so. It had vents on the trunk to cool the rear mounted radiators, as you can see by the fans in the trunk.

Also worth mentioning is that there was an LS motor in there, which is a significant upgrade over the usual SR20DET. Almost double the horsepower, with room to go forced induction in the future. And all that torque should help getting slideways easier…

Here's an oldie but a goodie: the High End Top Secret Supra, reunited with its original 2JZ motor…

…this time with a double snail setup. It's amazing the amount of abuse the 2JZ motor can take, every example I see seems to be pushing 500+ HP. Toyota fan or not, you have to at least acknowledge that they make some kickass motors.

I'd like to wrap up this coverage with an interesting sticker I found on the Supra.