Making an excessively long trip for car parts is nothing new to me, so I figured it would make for a great little weekend adventure when Thrash Racing announced they would be hosting an event at the end of February. Not only was I dying to experience warmth again after what’s been a snowier-than-usual winter for us in Vancouver, but I also had some seats to pick up that I had pre-ordered last year. I left work on Friday and drove straight to the Vancouver International Airport for my flight to San Francisco.
The event itself was a dyno day, and plenty of people had signed up to show what their cars were made of! Hosted at Prestige Metal Coatings in Stockton, California, the shop had quite a few rare gems hiding away that were waiting for parts so the cars could be completed. Along with all of that, KW Exchange was also exhibiting some of the vehicles that they have available for purchase. KW Exchange is a company that not only exports unique JDM vehicles but also offers customized tours for enthusiasts looking to authentically experience the automotive and drifting culture in Japan. The company was created by the current owner of Thrash Racing, along with his business partner Eiji Kashima. It was really exciting getting to learn more about them and hear about what they have to offer, including all of the big plans they have for when tourism in Japan is reopened!
I was pretty starstruck seeing the Thrash Racing/Fukuda 180sx in person, pictures definitely don’t do it justice. The whole car is styled so neatly and the attention to smaller details really make it a masterpiece. This car made its name in the D1GP Drifting Series in the early 2000s and remains a prime example of the style we all know and love dearly. The car’s sunny yellow paint was done by Julian Jacobs at Heat Maker, another local shop in California. The livery was designed by D-Magic, also based in California, who has created loads of iconic graphics for a number of popular drift cars around the world.
Once more spectators began arriving, I was very pleasantly surprised with how many stylish cars had pulled into the parking lot. California has one of the best collections of cars in the US and there were lots of cars there showing off a unique blend of classic drift style with a Cali twist. There weren’t only drift cars there, but a variety of time attack and muscle cars alike looking to find out how much power they were putting down.
During the event, I was actually working at the Thrash Racing booth helping to sell merchandise. This was a great experience for me since I usually get anxious after about 20 minutes of walking around a car meet, so I was more than happy I had the opportunity to work with my friend. While I didn’t have too much spare time to talk to everyone or partake in all of the action, I was still able to make some new friends. I had so much fun, maybe even too much fun considering we started a dance party to help promote sales.
There were a few cars I was particularly fond of, including but not limited to, this gorgeous silver Acura NSX, a white Datsun 240Z, and a black MX83 Cressida. It’s worth noting that I wasn’t available to take photos or walk around during the entire event so I didn’t get to see every car that had come and gone while I was working. There were definitely a few great cars that I had seen in some photos after the event that I didn’t get a chance to see. I also missed out on a chance to take photos of all the vehicles KW Exchange had for sale, in particular, there was an incredible yellow Honda Beat and green Toyota Estima Emina van which both had really caught my eye.
I hope you’ll enjoy my collection of photos from my short exhibition. I used both my Sony digital camera and Canon Autoboy 35mm film camera for these. Typically I’ll opt for one or the other when I’m taking photos, but I enjoyed having a variety of high-quality digital photos while also having a few rolls of film to develop when I got home. If you’ve ever been intrigued by film photography, there are plenty of point-and-shoot film cameras available that are extremely straightforward and user-friendly to try out. There’s also the option of disposable cameras, though I try to not use these as they tend to be extremely wasteful and it can take up a lot of baggage space carrying around multiple cameras.
All in all, I had an amazing weekend and was very glad that I made the trip out, even if it was relatively short. I was so happy to catch up with some old friends and meet some amazing new people! Remember to reach out to KW Exchange if you’re ever looking for a customized tour of Japan, specifically the Kansai region, or you’re interested in importing a vehicle. Would also like to mention that I absolutely love the Thrash Racing seats that I picked up, so if you’re ever in the market for some unique bucket seats, or other fashionable car accessories, I would highly recommend them!
This marks our first “international” article in quite some time and it sure feels good to think that we are finally almost back to a point where we can continue covering the best of car culture from around the world. We can’t wait to show you what we have planned next.
Before you go, our latest drop of Japanese good goods, new stickers and all of our Checkpoint branded merchandise is available now, take a look at our store using the following link:
We also just released our after movie inspired products as well as made a few updates to our classics.
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