I’ve been photographing/writing for Spekture magazine for only a short amount of time now but it has already afforded me some great opportunities to check out some car shows and cultures that I haven’t been too familiar with. Last week I drove to Miami to check out Festivals of Speed, a high end exotics car show, this week, Tampa for an import tuner show. I grew up going to classic car shows, ogling over Mustangs, Camaros, GTO’s and Chevelles, looking at the promotions for HIN, I realized this was going to be a show like I’ve never been to before. Excited to check it out, I made the 1.5 hour trek to Tampa.
When I arrived I grabbed my press pass and was able to get in about 15 minutes before the long line of attendees who had been waiting patiently outside for the doors to open.
As soon as I walked in, I was a little overwhelmed, cars slammed wall to wall, flashing lights, smoke machines, go go dancers and the bass from Lowk3y pulsing through the air. It felt like a scene out of the “The Fast and The Furious” movie franchise, except held inside a nightclub, pretty cool first impression. Once I scanned the room and got a layout for how the show was setup I started walking around.
One of the first things I noticed was this large net like cage with a lot of vertical neon poles with a brand new GT-R sitting in the middle. Upon further look I found out this is where the drone racing was going to take place. The neon poles acted as the track the drones had to follow. This wasn’t some NASCAR style oval track, there were obstacles you had to fly through, around, and attempt different levels. The pilots of these drones wore goggles that had a live feed from the drone so they could get a first person feel for what the drone was doing, the video feeds were also displayed on large TVs on the outside of the arena so that spectators could also get a first person point of view.
After watching that for a little bit I started walking around and checking out the rides. Looking at the resemblance of street cars you’d see every day but after they have been heavily modified with wide body kits, lowered suspensions, rims and neon lights they take on a whole new look.
The cars that had their hoods open or completely removed all had large turbos to take advantage of every cubic inch of the smaller power plants, putting out more horsepower than most of the American big block motors we are used to seeing at car shows or even the race track.
Making my way half way through the show I ran into the model lounge. These beautiful ladies were taking pictures with the guests and selling signed posters and t-shirts in between rounds of the Miss HIN Competition. I grabbed a few of them when I had a chance and had them pose in front of a few of the rides. Amber Fields and Sam Mathias ended up as the top 2 picks by the crowd and judges.
After making it around the show floor for the last time and taking photos of my favorite rides and some of the vendors, it was about time for the show to end, but first we attempted the mannequin challenge, check it out below. The awards portion started right after, but I was exhausted, so I headed home from there.
HIN is a year long car show event travelling the states in 16 different cities all over the US. For more info on upcoming events, make sure to check out HotImportNights.com.