Eleven years is a long time. And in terms of car events, it's a lifetime. Over the last decade, the crew at AutoFashion USA have organized a local gathering in SoCal that used to take place at their previous shop location, but later - having outgrown their lot along with the surrounding businesses - was moved to Green Flash Brewing Co. in Mira Mesa (San Diego).
The visions you probably conjure up when anyone mentions the term VIP, in automotive terms, certainly become reality at this event. Dominated by Lexus sedans, many of which sport extreme wheel fitment while pushing well beyond the boundaries of traditional suspension geometry, flattened out on air ride suspension, some loaded with costly window curtains and plush pillows that carry a price tag that might make you wince. However, the event also brings out many other facets of the VIP movement as well as including some builds you might not expect to see on hand. Cars like 9th gen Civics, Datsun 510s, a Chevy Impala - all cars that don't fall under the VIP umbrella, but help make up a great turnout of cars every year. It's the type of gathering that brings with it a handful of surprises and one we never miss. And that's even after "hell week" at SEMA Las Vegas just a few days prior.
If you've attended the event before, you're probably well aware that it could be even bigger than the 130 registered cars that they contend with and are limited to based on the location. And as the late morning roll-in begins and ends within an hour or so, much of the flow is thanks to a team of friends and industry partners that help move the cars in using a numbered group system. Because they've become so familiar with the Green Flash lot, every inch of space is used to get everyone in and situated without too much crowding.
Along with the cars were a group of 10 vendors that included wheel, air suspension, car accessories, and more. Much like any other event that takes place in San Diego, the atmosphere is always stress-free and many of those attending are friends or know of one another through social media. Add to that a few international visitors that make their way to VIP Fest after their SEMA week has ended, a fully loaded Green Flash Brewery bar that's ready to serve up drinks, and you start understand just how perfectly the event and the location flow together.
After 11 events and nothing but good vibes and a demand for more by the end of the day, it's obvious AutoFashion's Freddy Fernandez and Elroy Paule, along with the rest of the staff and close-knit friends, will be back. The only question is, will they continue with the current cadence or take the event a step further in 2018 and expand? Keep tabs to find out by following AutoFashion's social: FB or IG
This is what you might imagine when you think VIP - Lexus sedan with clean, mild aero, typically on air suspension, adorned with window curtains and other bits and pieces. It's a traditional look and feel and one that hasn't lost its luster after all of these years. It's also a style that AutoFashion helped establish and run with very early on in the U.S., well before it was so easily recognized.
That's not to say more modern vehicles aren't also being used to help the movement advance. This LC500 is a prime example.
And you thought you were ballin'...
What you probably wouldn't expect to see at a VIP event is a 2JZ-swapped 350Z. But there it is.
On the opposite end of the spectrum to traditional VIP-style cars are these picture perfect turbo 510s from Team Wild Cards.
They're further testament to the variety of builds that have infiltrated the VIP Fest event and are a welcome sight to spectators.
Sleek black F Sport dropped with Air Runner suspension and sporting Rays VR 25 rollers with an R1 Concepts big brake kit
Probably the most debated topic of import car building over the last 10 years; extreme camber and the quest for an individuals idea of the "perfect stance" continues to stir up controversy, has formed a divide amongst enthusiasts, and there are absolutely no signs of slowing down on either side.
More variety well outside the VIP style that you were thinking when you clicked on this story
Like any good build, the wheel choice is crucial and can make or break a finished product.
The mix of cars included at VIP Fest is no accident. AutoFashion's Freddy Fernandez has built a number of cars outside the big sedan style. Take his 5th gen. Civic hatchback for example. No luxurious pillows or "diamond" encrusted details but rather a K24 swap and a Rocket Bunny widebody kit with a custom one-piece front end that you can see and read about here