Article and Photography by Cooper Naitove.
It’s not often a car show puts the best of the East Coast against that of our neighbors in the Great White North. Import Expo, a Canadian import show series, and SNTRL, a US-based tuning culture website, did just that at the Atlantic City Convention Center this past weekend. You can never be sure just what to expect from a brand-new show like this, so we were a little weary on our journey to the event. Could they really pull off a fusion of Canadian and American car culture? True to their tag line of "East Coast, We Go Hard,” the answer came the second I walked through the door.
Not only was the show massive in size, but also all the cars were well organized by team and genre. Most importantly, the caliber of car at this event was second only to huge events, such as SEMA. Almost every aspect of the modified scene was represented—widebody NSXs, every modern GTR (R32–R35), a crew of modified Ruckus, vintage Datsuns, and all the frame dragging you could ever want—but you didn’t see just trailer queens. Several full-on race cars were also there for those who like more go than show. The most interesting cars, however, were those with unusual engine swaps—Silvias with LS1s, RX7s with 2JZs, and even a Civic hatch with a V6 that protruded 6 inches above the fenders.
While the show was meant to be an East Coast showoff, the most highly regarded teams from all around America and Canada were represented at Import Expo. Team Emotion was the most decorated and walked away with more than twenty trophies, including Best Honda, Best Subaru, and Best in Show, with their insane Subaru WRX. This result was to be expected, though, as they really do have some of the best-built cars the East Coast has to offer.
Apart from the cars, many high-profile vendors were also present, such as "Eat, Sleep, Race” and Canibeat. And, not one but two vendors were selling pocket-sized electronic hookahs, a new fad that swept the show and had nearly everyone "smoking” one by the end—definitely a first at any car show I’ve seen. All and all, this event was a great show, and everyone should be on the lookout for the next one from these guys.