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AutoCon LA

May 30, 2018

A few weeks ago, I got the itch to escape from NYC for a bit. This happens from time to time due to the daily pressures of living in this metropolis. I’ve found over the years, you can’t ever go wrong with spending a weekend in L.A. This desire to take a break from the East luckily coincided with predetermined plans to hit up AutoCon LA.

Their East Coast NJ show was decent last year, but as always, after an initial attempt, there is always a desire to make it better on the next go around. 2018 marked the 9th year of AutoCon in LA. Meaning they pretty much have this event down to a science at this point. Seeing coverage from the previous AutoCon events and how crowded and hyped they were, I’ve always wanted to stop by and check out the vibe in person. The interesting concept of having a host/MC and full stage to feature builds worked in New Jersey, but seeing it in LA was always very intriguing.


Arriving at the event, I witnessed one of the largest lines I had ever seen for a car show. A massive sea of humans waiting to enter the main event hall. I started getting excited, and worried, to be honest. “Man, all these people are going to be in front of my shots” is what I immediately thought. This being my first ever outing to a car show in the LA convention center, I didn’t realize how big the space actually is. More than enough space to capture the action. The shot below is only one-quarter of the main hall, late in the day.


AutoCon had hundreds of cars, I’m sure I missed quite a few but I tried to capture as much as possible as I walked through the hall.


The first car that captured my attention eye was this 997 rocking the Old & New slant nose conversion body kit. I’m sure many of us have seen photos of this kit online, but in person, it really has a dramatic presence. The kit goes for around $14K, parts only. You would then need a reputable shop to put this together. Considering this car was part of the LTMW section, you better believe it was executed perfectly.


Even the kids were loving it!


This Liberty Walk 458 was nearby as well. Still one of the best LB kits in my opinion.


Amazing full catalog Varis R35 build. Love the Advan GT choice as well. Perfect.


Another interesting Porsche, this time with an updated take on the Apple Computer livery for the modern chassis. This would look great with the Old & New kit but looked incredibly good on this wide-body 997 by @sleepersspeedshop



Being an FD3S fan, it was really great to see @cmudge_fd‘s car in person. Loved the clean approach both inside an out. The teal and white color scheme went perfectly with the Air Max 270’s he was wearing. Had to capture that.



This Varis Kamikaze FRS from the Evasive crew was straight out of the Tokyo Auto Salon. Probably one of the only cars with this kit outside of Japan. It’s wide and ready to eat air with all of those canards. It ended up taking best of show at the end of the day. So many choice parts. I spent some time capturing a few details of this very well executed JDM build.



Right beside it was this Artisan Spirits LC. One of the nicest looking cars on the road right now made even better with this kit. The overall design matches the sleek and contemporary OEM lines rather well.



My overall favorite car at the event had to be this Fairlady Z owned by @dnicle. Beautiful restoration, swap, and titanium everywhere. Definitely my pick for best of show. I bet anything Pravan would pick this one too.


I finally caught up with the homie Jonny aka @trmnl7. Jonny and I go back a few years. Good memories of random Tokyo hangs. Back then, his FD wasn’t at the state it is in now. He had mentioned plans to bring it to its current form. On the exterior is the full Total Car Produce Magic aero along with a few other tastefully done mods. Absolutely loving the results. This was the last show for the current state of this car. His next plans are to update the tune and a few other areas for track use.


Jonny also had his recent SEMA build on display. I believe this was the first Rockbunny RX8 build in the states. The Rocket Bunny kit really accentuates the design of this chassis. Jonny would end up winning awards for both builds. Nice work!

One of the unique aspects of AutoCon is the stage. The concept of driving a car to the stage and having the owner describe the build is such a great idea. Definitely keeps the day interesting for spectators and other competitors. Justin, an owner of AC, designed a new city backdrop for this year, which fit pretty well.


Big Mike was the main host, which was an excellent choice. He was dropping tons of knowledge throughout the day. I didn’t spend too much time near the stage area but I happened to stop by when the hero car for the latest fast and furious movie was on display.


Just makes you think how far away from the original concept the fast and furious movies have gone.


A wild vehicle, with respect to the builders, is this even a car any more? Kinda wish we could go back to the FF1/Tokyo Drift style cars and calm down with the submarine missile kicking stuff.


This Prelude from Nemo’s Garage is definitely the best version of this model I’ve ever laid my eyes upon. I have never seen so many ARC logos on a car. Despite ARC not making parts for this BB4, he retrofitted a slew of parts from other cars to make it work. On top of that, a rare Jackson Racing supercharger, Kaminari kit and countless other bits. Just imagine the amount of research and work that had to be done to source these parts. One of the top 5 builds of the show, easily.



I love this S14. It’s currently my desktop background at home. Definitely an inspiration for my own car which will be done at some point, or never. The actual MAG TE’s really set it off well.



Another clean S14, with a similar look, lurking nearby. Equally as clean. Vertex Lang aero is such a good choice for the JDM street cruiser vibe. Just goes to show not all S14’s need to be drift cars.


An older brother of the signal green S14, was literally only a few feet away. Same color code? I wonder if the owners knew each other. This 180sx went a different route with the Rocketbunny Aero and fully gutted interior. So clean yet so aggressive.


The 180sx was part of the Pandem/Rocket Bunny section at the show. There about 20 or so cars fitted with aero products from the Kyoto based shop. Miura-San himself was in attendance with his own freshly built Pandem E30, which he debuted at the event.



LA’s VIP scene is said to be the biggest in the US, so I was looking forward to seeing a few at AC. I was in luck. Some of the West Coast Liberty VIP members were in the building. I was especially into the Nissans in the crew. Black is always so good for VIP. Seems like everyone had a K-Break kit on their cars as well.



On the vintage side of things, I’m sure there was a lot more to be captured, but I only ended up coming across these Nissans. The first, a beautiful HAKO.

The other, a spotless S30Z over at the Superstreet booth.


Are AE86’s old enough to be considered vintage yet? If so, count @runfreeae86 in as well. I loved this car from front to back. I had to stalk him a bit towards the end of the show so I could get the open headlight shot. Thanks for not calling the cops on me!


Loved Acura legend I spotted. Perhaps it’s because I’m getting older, but seeing cars like this in pristine condition always gets me nostalgic. The cars themselves look great but I usually put myself in the owner’s shoes, thinking about their vision and the history of the build. This Acura, in particular, reminds me of the Bronx in the 90’s. The “it” car to have back then.



I think this is a good place to wrap things up. I captured a few more shots of the day, rollout and after show antics. Bulk of the shots below, enjoy!






I must say, I had a lot of fun at AutoCon LA. Great to see these insta-famous builds in person but even better to meet the owners. Catching up with friends and making new ones is always a good result of travel. Big thank you to everyone in LA for making me feel like a local.


AutoCon is bringing their show to NYC this year. This is the first time in a long time a custom car show is actually being held in the city for once. Usually, show’s claim to be in NYC but are always either upstate or NJ. So this is big. I hope they have a successful outing this year. LA was excellent and there’s no reason NYC shouldn’t be the same.

Thanks for reading and looking at the shots. Always appreciated!

Born, raised and living in NYC. Love cars, Japan, graphic design, bass music and chillin'. Digital production at The New York Times. PRIME, Bulletproof Automotive, Fatlace and east cost/global car life. Tokyo Extreme Racer and Bronx street racing was where it all began...