Autocon 2012

Words by Matt Willis

This past Saturday, most of Southern California’s automotive enthusiasts attended (or were aware of) the Autocon show that took place in Arcadia. It was promoted well in advance, and Autocon, despite being a young development, is widely recognized as one of the headlining “lifestyle” events of the year.

If you did attend, you know that that it was rather toasty. People were saying upwards of 100 degrees – though it didn’t feel like it to me, it was definitely in the 90s. I think this hindered attendance a bit, as most people probably didn’t want to fight the heat and stayed in their air conditioned homes. But there were still a decent amount of attendees, at least the same if not a few more than last year.

The venue was a bit misleading, similar to last year with El Toro. We thought it was going to be on the base section of MCAS El Toro, not the community parking lot next to it. This year was the same; when it said Santa Anita Park, I figured it would be the actual Santa Anita racetrack, not the parking lot next to it. I guess it doesn’t really matter, I just think it would be cooler in a more unique venue. And by a more unique venue, I do NOT mean the Queen Mary Events Park! For the love of God…

The organization was better than last year, but still kinda iffy. We got pinged back and forth between gates a few times. To be expected, nothing to start bitching about. Granted, we were slightly early, but we were eager to get some shots of the setup, roll-ins and booths while the show area was still closed. From what I understood, things got better when general admission was opened at the third gate. That is, until later in the afternoon when a five-car accident occurred in the parking lot. How it went down, I don’t know. It was no 5 mph fender bender; some serious force was needed to shift cars around like that. Hmmm…

As far as the car/model/DJ/lifestyle quality, I thought it was great. New cars were on the floor, which is always a good thing. Whatever Autocon is doing to bring in new teams and cars, they should keep doing it. Other shows (earlier this year) were just rehashing many of the same teams, just in different layouts. It makes the scene dull. And I get that the owners/teams register to show their cars, not the organizers; but still, the organizers can market it to get more attention in new areas or niches – which I think Autocon does a good job at. I tried to get at the model lounge a few times, but Dannie Riel was there and getting shots was like trying to take honey from a living beehive. If you don’t know, Dannie is from Canada (wildly popular there) and this was her Socal show debut, so no question she was getting attention.

We go to a lot of events, so don’t take our word for it. See for yourself…

When we arrived, a few things were still being set up.

Dodge Challenger from Rockstar Energy…

Welcome the FR-S. I think Tim and I counted thirteen of them at Autocon. Good to see them gaining popularity…


Loved this wrapped Evo with candy red Advan RG IIs. Something different.


And a matching Outlander with rally flaps.

Joey Lee’s (of The Chronicles…) brought out his classy Q45. One of my all-time favorite VIP cars.

Big Mike’s Prelude, now riding on what appears to be black Desmond/Regamaster Evo wheels. I know a few weeks back he had his car out for FF Battle at Willow Springs. Still amazing…

Michael Mao’s pristine NSX build…can’t wait to see where this goes next.


Love the steering wheel…

DPK David’s EJ1 looking sharp on TE-37s.

This Aston caught my eye, mainly because it looked really out of place. It’s basically a stock Vantage with either a plasti-dip or flat enamel coating over yellow paint. Usually a car will have some kind of personality or style – this didn’t have anything.

More of the FR-S. The white one on battleship grey SSRs wasn’t bad.

Gallardo Superleggera…

Clean and simple Silverstone S…

I like this RSX a lot. Love the red/black/bronze theme and the aero work. The rear fitment is enough to make my right eye twitch just slightly, but it works…

Brilliantly executed (and supercharged) FA5.




This Captiva Blue EG6 looked to be the real deal. Very nice…


Hmm…where’s the intake pipe?

Crazy blown El Camino…



Toyota Starlet (green) and Corolla (orange). Loved the style and fitment of the ATS wheels on the Corolla.

The Starlet had a 4AGE swap with ITBs…

More old school…



Very sharp 3-series coupe.

New F30 body from LTBMW..

I’ve read up on this car and there are mixed feelings on these taillights. Some are calling them modern Altezzas, but I don’t think so at all. They’re very sleek. It also compliments the white color nicely.

Pair of Evo 10s at the Toyo Tires booth.

Food trucks all set up.

Another FR-S; this one on BBS LMs.

Although I’m not a huge E46 fan, this thing was a monster.

Custom-painted Brembo brake setup and HRE wheels…

Not a bad looking G35. I’ve never been a fan of the early body style, but the subtle variations here make me look past it.

Another G on Work VS XX.


SLS in attendance.


1-series that I first saw at the HRE Open House the weekend prior.

Very appealing S2000 on Work wheels.


Our pal Mikey shooting with Neil Tjin.

Another S2000 from Nuisance. Love the purple CE28s…



Several Ruckus’ on display.






The Loi-Spec cars were also in the lineup. I love these cars for their dual show/track purpose.




NASA-spec Fiesta.

Mk4 Supra on CCWs…

DTM Autobody S2000…

(cue Ludacris) …and a…another one!


Armand Pranadi’s MR2…

VIP Nissan Cima. Very unique. Can’t say that it fits my taste, but still an awesome build.


Mmm…Weds Kranze. One of my favorite VIP wheels.

An S2000 was rocking them as well.

I wonder if this is the first wrapped one…


Assorted muscle…

SLR McLaren 722…

C63 AMG. Love the custom camera mount…

911 from BBI Autosport, also seen at HRE’s Open House last week.

Big Mike on stage with Autocon host John Naderi…


No idea who this model is. I was honestly waiting to get an interior shot of the SLS, but I got tired of standing around…

Random chicken getting sucked into a turbo…

Nikita Esco…

Later on, the models went on stage and started giving out free stuff. A couple of the girls had water guns for some reason. I guess maybe people were hot. But they sprayed my camera lens about five times over…haha…

Marissa Hiroko is getting pretty well known in the scene. She’s a very classy model who represents herself well – exactly what the community needs. Not trash.

Tim spotted this GT500 sitting outside the Autocon entrance.


That concludes our Autocon coverage. Extreme Autofest is here in San Diego this weekend; followed by Spocom on the 4th. Until then, Tim will be providing continuing coverage of Comic Con and we’ll have additional content as well. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!

One thought on “Autocon 2012

  1. i love your style of shooting! Some shooters alter their images too much but yours is very natural and sharp!

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