Metro Toronto Convention Centre
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
August 25th, 2012
Each year in Toronto around the closing weeks of the tuner show season, there is one show which only the Biggest and Baddest come out to support – that show is none other than Import Fest. Once again held in the heart of downtown Toronto at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the event opened its doors at noon to thousands who have come across Canada and even the United States. Car teams, builders, and vendors were all on hand for what was to be an exceptional event bringing the biggest like-minded tuners together for an entire action packed day of glamorous models and fine tuned machines!
This Nissan 240SX (S14) is truly menacing with its black on black theme starting from the front aero to the Volk Racing TE37 wheels and it is surely powered by an SR. Whether it’s motorsport, street tuned, or purpose-built show cars, ImportFest always has it all.
A beautiful Toyota-white MR2 looking perfect on a set of white wheels and slammed just enough. It’s rare to see these mid-engine 90s tuner cars on the street, let alone the show circuit.
The crew at Restyle It had an incredible display of cars all vinyl wrapped showcasing their extensive experience. Just to give you a taste of the selection there was a late gen VW Passat, Mazda 3, Pontiac Solstice, the PAS Scion iQ (built in part by MT Motorsport), BMW M3, Nissan GT-R (R35), and a Mercedes-Benz CLS.
The Scion Canada Tuner Challenge (FR-S Edition) was out in full display with teams finishing projects the night of the show. This matte red / carbon fiber entry is from Top Tuner, while the other two more race car looking builds are from Swag Racing and VCMC. Be sure to check online for the challenge as they battle it out showcasing the FR-S’ brilliance.
Our friends at NextMod brought out another jam packed lot of incredible tuner cars from mild to wild, S2000 to GT-R, and everything in between. If you love all things JDM, this is the crew that you have to check out when at a show.
German tuner enthusiasts were also found around the convention center. This Mk2 Golf was drop dead gorgeous in a bright red paint, slammed to the floor and polished wheels with stretched tires!
The Rohana wheels booth looked awesome with this BMW 3-series coupe sporting a set of their RC5 wheels finished in black.
There were also plenty of two-wheel action scattered amongst the show ‘n shine cars. Two very different looking Suzuki motorcycles caught the attention of fans – black or white, you can’t go wrong either way.
The bad-ass and boosted 370Z from Team ImportFest found at the JVC booth. This car is sporting some Powerhouse Amuse, a GTM turbo kit, and Yokohama wrapped Vossen wheels among other things. Be sure to catch this feature out on the latest Performance Auto & Sound issue!
This year, Hyundai Canada presented ImportFest and without the support of such a major player both in front and behind the scene, our passion would fizzle down. Take their booth for example, bringing an assortment of tuner enthusiast Genesis Coupes and the Veloster Turbo – that’s what you call a company with their ear to the ground!
As always, the models round out the show – no pun intended. This year’s lingerie contest was hosted by Got Ass? and the ladies looked stunning representing a variety of countries post-Olympics. Jamaica, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Canada, which would you pick?
For those that remember the original ImportFest, this car should put a smile on your face. Yes, this car is in fact the grandfather show car of the Canadian tuner scene known as Widelude. It once began life as a Honda Prelude and then went under a transformation that includes a widebody conversion, Nissan Silvia headlights, and Nissan Skyline taillights.
The AMF built #ProjectFRST for Brimell Scion looked awesome sitting slammed and aggressive, catching all the looks as people passed by. A big thanks to our partners for making Stage 1 of this build possible for the ImportFest debut: Yokohama Tire (Canada), NEO Motorsport, MT Motorsport, NextMod, GT Custom Exhaust, Dynomite Dash, and C17 Media.
The awesome looking stretched Suzuki GSX-R600 turbo of Jason Antonucci (built by MT Motorsport) and putting down serious power. It competed in the motorcycle category, but ended up not taking a podium finish despite it being daily driven and not a show piece – oh well, you win some, you lose some.
The other highlight in the AMF booth was John Wakely’s Elite Class Subaru STi – as part of the newly formed Team AMF, this car will be all over the map at every major show representing. For this year the car got new paint job, full wire tuck in the engine bay, custom graphics, and some more performance modes.
No show is complete without some bootylicious models like these three gems from Got Ass? Brazil, Argentina, or Portugal – who would you pick?
One of the many track-spec S2000s in the NextMod section complete with carbon fiber goodies and J’s Racing aero components.
The always stunning Honda Civic from the Battleground Performance crew. If you’re a Honda purist, you’ll love everything about this car from its polished engine to poked-out BBS mesh wheels.
Even Domo was out to show his JDM support on this pearl white 350Z.
One of the cleanest Hondas from the Level One crew defining the term stretch and poke!
“Aqua” is no stranger to the tuner show scene. This AE86 Corolla is powered by a Honda F20 engine, yes the same engine found in the S2000 that puts out 240hp!
If you don’t have a crazy lip like this on your wheels, then you have a big step to make in your mod game. These Work VS-XX wheels were found on a mint Datsun Z that came all the way from the east coast of Canada representing StanceEast.
The always silly and amusing Jen Nguyen rocking her signature bunny ears pose on stage! Luckily, we featured her a few months back so be sure to check out her interview.
For those seeking some higher end vehicles, there were plenty of those too scattered about like this Aston Martin DB9/S from the AMS Motorsport crew and presented by AutoMotoFoto.net! That’s right, AMF brought you not only one supercar, but another found just behind – the Lamborghini Gallardo!
The awards were gleaming as always under the multitude of spotlights ranging from average sized to enormous. There were even some trophies which towered over the presenting models on stage during the award ceremony. The competition was tough, but the victors came out on top including some of the more notable names in the show scene.
Congratulations to Paul Tolson of Team EST for winning the Baddest Tuner Championship belt for 2012 and taking 1st in the Elite Class! His metallic green twin turbo Lexus GS400 is by far one of the best builds in the industry / scene and cleaned up at the show taking every major prize. It’s also worthy to mention that Tolson and his crew are based in the Midwest of United States. The group made the trek all the way to Toronto from the windy city of Chicago to show their support of the Canadian tuner scene and ImportFest – that is what you call loyalty! KUDOS to Tolson and Team EST!
2012 might mark the year that proves that the tuner scene is still alive and well thanks to shows like ImportFest and others. Despite people’s expectations of lower numbers due to the way in which the scene has changed from shows to car meets, truth is it rocked far exceeding anyone’s idea of what it could have been. Kudos go out to the iFest crew for putting on another great event, to the sponsors for making it possible, lastly to the enthusiasts for coming out and keeping our passion alive – without you, there is no show scene!
Be sure to check back in the coming days as we do more in focus recaps of the show, including the lovely models which made things just that much better!
For more information, please visit ImportFest
Words: Giancarlo Pawelec
Photos: Giancarlo Pawelec & Mark Harris