Editor-in-chief of Super Street Sam Du names his six favorite events you need to make a trip to outside of Southern California
- Wekfest San Jose
I’ve been hittin’ up Wekfest shows since their early days when they held shows underground in a dim parking garage in downtown San Francisco. Times have definitely changed and the Wekfest tour has become one of my favorite event series to attend, especially their bread and butter, hometown show in the Bay. Currently hosted at the San Jose Convention Center, Wekfest puts on an extrvagent display close to 500 cars and brings in 12,000-plus people. The cars are all curated so you know you won’t come across many wack rides. It’s also one of the busiest shows I’ve ever been to. People even wait over two hours at the door just to get in! Without a doubt, Wekfest San Jose show features the cream of the crop and you’ll most likely come across several Super Street feature cars.
- SpoCom Hawaii
Planning to go to Hawaii? Yes you can go anytime of the year and enjoy yourself at Waikiki Beach sippin’ Mai Tais each or eatin’ Loco Moco platters at Rainbow Drive-In, but if you want to check out the 808 state’s boomin’ car scene, you gotta get your ass to Neil S. Blaisdell Center in late August for SpoCom. I’ve been flying to Honolulu regularly over the last seven years and what I admire most is how the entire island comes out to support. You’ll find everything from the underground drifters, show queens, old school builds and even the local apparel/lifestyle brands out in full force. Don’t also be surprised to find a handful of cars that shipped from neighboring islands. You have to remember it is an island and no where near as big of a scene as California, so you’ll often find the same rides year after year, but builders do their best to freshen their projects up with new wheels or paint jobs.
- Monterrey Car Week
I’m no where near a millionaire, barely know a thing about vintage European cars, and I daily-drive a supercharged Scion FR-S… So what’s a guy like me tell you to check out Monterrey Car Week, one of the most expensive automotive festivals in the world? The answer is simple – I love cars, all cars whether old or new, budget or ballin’. Intimidated at first, I popped my Monterey/Pebble Beach Car Week cherry last year and realized Car Week was so much more. It’s a weeklong of automotive appreciation, from events such as Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance which focuses on the finest restorations of the world, to The Quail which showcases your favorite dream and super cars. There’s also my personal favorite, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, which features 400+ historic race cars at Laguna Seca. Can’t also forget that everywhere you go, whether at a Starbucks or the nearest gas station, you’re likely to run into some dope shit like Porsche racecar or million dollar Ferrari.
- Tuner Evolution Philly
I’ve been to my fair share of East Coast events but Tuner Evolution left the best lasting impression on me. Tuner Evolution has been puttin’ on some of the most popular shows in the East since ’06, and last year I was able to check out their 10th anniversary mega show. All I can say is…damn! More than 400 dope cars filled three halls of the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center and from start to finish, the show is simply full of energy; in fact, one of the few shows that draw a crowd thanks to other lifestyle elements such as breakdancing competitions, BMX stunt riders, RC cars and live music. They also manage to fly in every model you can think of like Dannie Riel, Marie Madore, Ela Passion and Janis True. Can’t knock that!
- Import Alliance Atlanta
I always thought I’d visit Atlanta to check out things like the Porsche Experience Center, Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta or Magic City, but a massive car meet open to all makes and models in early spring? Wasn’t on my calendar until I decided to check out the spectacle known as Import Alliance. It’s not a car show so don’t worry about awards, but it’s a two-day, chill and friendly get-together that draws over 10,000 enthusiasts from all across the Eastern seaboard, as well as the Midwest and the South. It takes place at Atlanta Motor Speedway, which funny enough, is the former venue of NOPI. I went in ’16 and found everything from stock Civics to bagged Scions, drift-ready 240s and $100,000+ GT-R builds. It’s a meet for the masses and I certainly had love for the folks that drove the distance get there, which happened to be many of them!
Since 19, I’ve only missed one SEMA Show. Now at 34, I’ve been able to wear many different hats attending the show as an enthusiast, photographer, car builder, editor at eurotuner magazine and now editor-in-chief at Super Street. Each year brings new memories, celebrations, reunions, drunken fairytales, late nights leaving the Spearmint Rhino, hours at the blackjack table and more. But one thing has remained the same throughout all those years; SEMA continues to be a major part of our community of modified cars. It’s the one big event that brings together Japanese and European cars, domestics and OEMs, hot rods and racecars…the list goes on and on. There’s absolutely nothing else in the world like this with the attendance hitting 140,000+ people and the area of exhibitor space used measure more than 1 million square feet. I’ll admit there’s a lot of dumb and cheap shit, after all there are 2,000+ exhibitors (many from China) and 1,500 display vehicles (many with just wheels and tires), but there are groundbreaking parts and significant car debuts that still make it the most elite event of the year. And if you didn’t find anything you liked, at least I can buy you a $20 lap dance at the Rhino.
Note: SEMA isn’t open to the public but if you’re in the industry, then just register. If not, ask a local shop or a friend who’s going to see if they can register you under their company. There’s always a way! If I could guess, there are thousands of general enthusiasts who attend SEMA, yet actually don’t work in the industry. Just don’t get in the way of people actually trying to work!
Editor-in-Chief, Super Street