Team Hybrid – Nisei EVENT

I thought I’d share this while I was bored at home browsing thru the web!…asp?a=3939&z=1

2009 NISEI Week Showoff Car Show

Impressive field shows up for hardcore JDM show-n-shine’s 10th annual – and final – event

by: URC Staff and Photography by Ashli Morgan

Saturday, August 15, we gathered with friends in Little Tokyo to witness the end of a tuner institution in Los Angeles-area car shows, the last Nisei Showoff. Ken Miyoshi and Mainstream Productions announced months ago that this event, the 10th annual show-n-shine held in conjunction with Nisei Week, would be the final chapter of the series that also included a similar event in Chinatown every spring.

We can say, without equivocation, that the world will be poorer for the loss.

From day one, Showoff had designs to be a “pure” car show, an answer to hyperkinetic events like Hot Import Nights that seem to be as much about selling to a captive audience through sensory overload as they are about cars and tuning. Showoff events grew to become the recognized staple grassroots shows in Southern California, with more of an emphasis on performance, authenticity, and classic styling.

For this year’s affair, which ran during the 69th Annual Nisei Week Festival, every Japanese automaker was represented, as were a few European ones and a couple of Korean companies, too. The numbers were heavily in favor of the Honda camp, though, as we couldn’t turn around without bumping into a multicolored Civic or Integra. Just as impressive were the various Mitsubishi Evolutions parked throughout, the vast majority of them insanely sick and clean.

The spectrum of immaculate Hondas boasted some creative color schemes and lots of wire-tucked engine bays, like Big Mike’s pistachio nut green 1992 Honda Prelude, a PPG color with layers of House of Kolor clear coat on top. The Lude was also rockin a custom Aero Magic carbon-Kevlar front lip and an Audi RS6 projector headlight conversion, while the cabin was redone in a unique black bandana theme.

Under the hood is a rare F20B, out of the SiR trim of the JDM sixth-generation Accord, which was rebuilt with Bisimoto rods, valve train and Stage-1 cams and outfitted with a Big Mike Edition RyWire mil-spec harness. A Tein Flex coil-over suspension, NSX brake calipers, Legend GS rotors and five-lug hubs from a 2000 Prelude are tucked up in each wheel well.

Rene Viniegra’s House of Kolor Kandy violet 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X was pure bliss, an AWD vision of perfection. Our infatuation stretched from the paint to the exterior mods, such as the Ings+1 TS06 wheels and front end, Jun side diffusers, ABS Dynamics carbon-fiber hood and trunk lid, even right down to the Titek hood scoop. Inside, Viniegra made more excellent choices, full Bride interior, GReddy boost controller, and Stri gauges and shift light, among other niceties.

The engine compartment was home to a grip of upgrades, including an ARC intake, front-mount intercooler and Super blow-off valve, Mishimoto radiator and hose kit, and HKS grounding kit, while an MXP exhaust and test pipe ran under the car. To refine handling, the owner set up the BC Racing suspension, Cusco anti-sway bar and rear brace, and APR front strut tower brace, as Brembo big brakes help keep the EVO restrained when necessary.

Danilo Yu’s 2003 EVO VIII was also hard to miss, and not just because of the Lambo orange paint job (although that helped). The beautifully executed build features further head-turning tweaks like an APR widebody, Seibon hood and trunk lid, JDM head- and taillights and Volk RE30 wheels in custom titanium gunmetal finish.

Yu’s EVO isn’t simply about looks, however. Its 4G63 mill has been rebuilt with Brian Crower Pro rods and cams, CP pistons, HKS cam sprockets and timing belt, a Forced Performance turbo, and Synapse blow-off valve. DBA rotors and Hawk pads help keep the VIII from getting too out of control.

We were surprised to see a crew from Mexico had made the hike up to downtown LA with a handful of cars, including a crazy Civic converted into a JDM Integra SJ. The SJ (which supposedly stood for “Sedan Joyful”) was a rebadged Civic Ferio, with modified headlamps and grille and slightly larger rear lights. When it was produced, the trim level was intended to provide a “formal sedan” for the Integra range.

In addition to all the great-looking rides, we also ran into a lot of friends from tuner media and the industry at large, including our buddy Tom Choe from Camp 1320. In fact Choe, who we think was probably a little tipsy, was there with a crew of cars backed by his business, and also had a roll of UrbanRacer stickers, which he proceeded to plaster everywhere (thanks for the support, Tom!)

Although the occasion gave us a reason to be sad, a fun time was generally had by all at Nisei Showoff 2009. It’s a shame we have to say goodbye, but it appears a new show series devoted to the same principals and indeed organized by Miyoshi himself will be picking up where Showoff leaves off.

Dubbed Mega Matsuri, the first show is set for this Saturday, August 22, at the same downtown location as Showoff. Activities include a Showoff winners display featuring the past best rides from the car show, a search for the rarest JDM vehicle, JDM garage sale, old school showcase, Ruckus exhibition, rarest wheel/best offset contest, and Lifestyle Alley. For more information, head on over to

What the heck is Nisei Week?

The Japanese word Nisei literally translates to second generation, and generally relates to a person of Japanese ancestry and the first generation to be born abroad. Their parents who emigrated are known as Issei, or first generation.

The first Nisei week was celebrated almost 70 years ago in Little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles, lasting for seven days and nights during the month of August. The Nisei Week festival began in order to help lift the spirits of new Asian-Americans during the height of the Great Depression in the United States. The first Nisei organizers planned attractions such as dancing, floral arrangements, martial arts, calligraphy and fashion shows.

Some seven decades years later, Nisei week has not changed much from its inaugural celebration. Nisei still continue to celebrate this festive event annually in August with historic and cultural attractions that now include turbocharged engines, wire-tucked bays, racing seats, and high-flow exhaust systems.

Leave a Reply