ImportFest 2015 | Presented by Vossen
Metro Toronto Convention Centre
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
August 22nd, 2015
As Canada’s longest running tuner car show, ImportFest has become the benchmark event of our tuner scene. Car enthusiasts from across the country and even the United States make the trip to display their prized builds – be it show-only or daily driven. For those that haven’t had the pleasure of attending, hopefully this coverage will be enough of a reason to go next year. This year’s show brought out some of the very best cars in terms of quality and rarity, as well as incorporating more lifestyle elements like a B-Boy battle, DJ competition, and RC drifting. For those loving the eye-candy (models), Miss ImportFest Dannie Riel was on hand meeting fans throughout the day along with many other beauties.
As a first for ImportFest, the hall was expanded to include even more room for the influx of registered car show competitors. One of the largest sections was from our friends at NextMod boasting well over 25 cars and according to a posting online, valued at about $1-million. The selection they brought ranged from the infamous Liberty Walk Ferrari 458 Italia to various track-spec S2000s and GT-Rs to some VIP style sedans.
One of the highlights of the show was this Nissan 240SX in the NextMod section. It has been kitted out with the Rocket Bunny widebody V2 “Boss” conversion and had people stopping in their tracks all day long. This kit takes an ordinary S14 and makes it extraordinary with its mashup of American muscle car (’70s HEMI ‘Cuda front-end look) and Japanese tuner style (widebody S14 rear with duck style spoiler).
There were also plenty of VIP style cars present at the show including a handful of Lexus GS models, like this slammed white 2nd generation.
Honda fans rest assured that there were plenty of awesome builds as well. This Civic coupe was beautifully built with a clean engine bay and a boosted B-series engine, unlike most nowadays going the K20/24 route.
Back for another year with their over-the-top show cars was the Gran Turismo Auto Club hailing from New York. These gents brought some mean machines out including a stunning Lexus GS and Mitsubishi Evo X.
No stranger to the Canadian show scene is Jason Gale’s #GaleForce370z, a mean Z fitted with the latest and rarest of parts and all done in a tasteful manner. It’s been some time since we’ve seen the Nissan Z model come strong on the show circuit, but Gale has surely put the platform back on the forefront.
Fans of the modified mini bikes like the Honda Ruckus would be pleased with this mint and white example. Although this show doesn’t focus on the two-wheel variety much, it’s great to still see them being showcased.
No show is complete – especially one that we’re exhibiting at – without models. This year, we went for the alternative look and brought out Kristy Seguin to meet fans and sign posters. If you didn’t get a chance to grab one, you can still get them (while they last) by emailing us firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the many amazing Team ImportFest cars parked in the photography studio awaiting models to grace its presence. We spotted this Lexus RC350 earlier in the month at the ImportFest x Vossen pop-up meet.
As a main sponsor, Subaru Canada had two of their sought-after vehicles on display – the sporty BRZ and rally-inspired WRX STI. Either choice, you can’t go wrong with a powerful boxer engine up front, Japanese engineering, and a long-standing motorsports heritage.
Lexus Downtown was also on hand as a fellow sponsor and showcasing a myriad of their F-sport models, from their IS350 model to the sporty RC350 coupe and RC-F sportscar.
The one car which brought much attention from show goers was the Rocket Bunny Lexus RC-F, part of Team ImportFest and finished in a minty-green wrap.
For those wanting to check out the latest wheel offerings, there was also plenty of rim / tire shops exhibiting at the show. Our friends at Tire Connection had a great setup as always that included some German builds like this $300,000 Brabus Mercedes-Benz G-wagon! For those that know the G-wagon it’s one of the most capable off-roading vehicles of its kind, but thanks to German tuner Brabus it now packs 700-horsepower and even more performance.
Wham! Pow! Crunch! Yup, it’s the Batmobile – more specifically, Toronto Batman’s ride. This awesome kit car made to look like the one from Batman (1989 film) and is built on a Caprise chassis. Growing up as a kid, I always wanted to see this thing in person… now I can truly say that my wish has been fulfilled.
Local car club and fellow friends BMW True North had a strong showing from their members with roughly 20+ cars on display ranging from mild to wild.
Case in point of a wild build from the BMW True North camp is this Liberty Walk BMW M3. It’s wide, bold, and packing some serious power under the bonnet.
Beauty comes in all forms at ImportFest, sometimes in that of models like this one from the Yokohama-Advan booth.
One of the attractions that many looked forward was the RC drifting exhibition and competition. There were many that turned out to watch these miniature sized drift cars get sideways through the course. Not only did they look awesome carving through the corners, but considering they’re a fraction of the price (and headache) of a real drift car, it’s the best of both worlds!
One of the most prized Civics in the Canadian car scene is this one owned by Brian of Elevated. His polished and gold-everything hatch is nothing short of perfection.
The one car that stole the hearts of many was this custom Mazda Miata. To some it might look like a typical Miata with fender flares and slammed, but take a second look and what you have is an LS-power plant in the shaved engine bay instead of the usual small 4-cylinder. Every piece of this car has been thought out and modified, pushing the limits of what a true Miata show car should be. Kudos to the owner!
A growing trend we found at this year’s show was that of classic Japanese cars revived, be it with modern day technology and engine swaps or done in the usual JDM style. This Datsun Z with its riveted fender flares, dual tipped exhaust, and brown paint job might not for everyone, but it sure was great having such an iconic car at the show.
Vinyl wrap experts Sekanskin brought out a collection of supercars they’ve worked on, including a McLaren 650S and Audi R8.
The car that everyone was dying to check out was Deadmau5’s Lamborghini Huracan, now known as the #PURRACAN. Similar to his Ferrari 458 that was wrapped, this is his latest toy and one that will once again be a love it or hate it scenario for fans.
This blue and slammed FR-S is no stranger to the show, but it has had some upgrades – one of which is of the ultra rare kind. Surely the over fenders are a nice touch as is the stance, but what caught my eye are the Pininfarina center caps on the wheels. For that don’t know, Pininfarina is one of Italy’s premiere design houses best known for their work with Ferrari. It’s one thing to have an awesome looking FR-S, it’s another to source exclusive pieces such as these caps – albeit one of the smallest details on a car.
The always lovely Rachel Nemi was working hard in the SIC RYDE booth and signing autographs with fans.
Remember that FR-S with rare wheels? How about this BMW 3-series that is slammed and stanced out (static – meaning not on air ride) and rolling on expensive Ferrari wheels. It’s all about the mashup at this year’s ImportFest and there’s nothing wrong with that.
One of, if not the most powerful car at the show was this Mk4 Toyota Supra from Dynamotorsports. Under the hood is as expected a 2JZ engine, but what isn’t is the massive polished turbocharger that allows this coupe to put down upwards of 1,400-horsepower! Sleeper much?
Brad of NextLevel car club had his refinished MR2 on display, now sporting some copper-faced deep-dish Work wheels and a new red paint job.
Another classic machine from the Japanese world is this 70s Toyota Celica Coupe 1600 GT. It once was considered a fun sporty car, but now it packs a massive V8 under the hood, fender flares, and an immaculate paint finish. It’s great to see these 50+ year old cars come back to life and welcomed by tuners.
Like with ImportFest shows of the past, the model showcase on stage is the highlight – well for some. This year things were kept a bit more conservative (thankfully) and things kicked off with the bikini contest. With many hopefuls in the running, it was the curvy and beautiful Dev who took home the win!
As the evening portion set in, it was once again time to fire up the stage show with even more eye candy – this time, the Perfect 10 Model contest aka lingerie show. At this point fans were going nuts with their cheers and trying to choose their favourite model to move forward onto the next round, but there could only be one winner. Congrats to this beautiful redhead!
After a lengthy 12+ hours, it was time for the Biggest and Baddest winners to be announced at the awards ceremony. From single entries to car clubs such as NextLevel (see above) and NextMod (see below), those that stepped up their builds this year took home an award.
From mild daily driven vehicles to all-out show cars built on an endless budget, ImportFest 2015 didn’t disappoint and is sure to be one of the best shows in the books. A huge turn out from competitors and spectators alike made for a great event. The lifestyle component rounded out the event for those that aren’t die-hard car enthusiasts, while also welcoming the next generation of fans in our scene. Here’s to a successful show and onto next year!
Be sure to check out our in-depth gallery, consisting of over 600+ photos. We do it because we love the scene and support our fans – you’re welcome – from all of us at #AutoMotoFoto!
For more information, please visit ImportFest
Words: Giancarlo Pawelec
Photos: Giancarlo Pawelec & Markis Sarkis