The gift that keeps on giving, the SEMA show is…
The 4&Rotary Nationals has become a pilgrimage of sorts for many modified car nuts around the country. Between the crew we have attended every show for the last twelve years. We have seen many cars that have become part of modified automotive folklore with our own eyes. So many have left a lasting impression, and there are dozens that have lent creative direction for our own builds. The ‘Nats’ as they are lovingly referred to, is now a place where you get the catch up with car friends and acquaintances annually. Being a regular attendee you see trends change over time, the last few years saw a massive push of the ‘stance’ scene, many aspects of this style will stay forever, I mean you just cant see narrow wheels that sit inches away from the guard ever making a comeback. There was a rise of more race orientated cars and even a ton of traditional NZ show style (bling engine bays, clean paint, re-trimmed interior) rides back into ‘fashion’. To be honest there were some really high standard cars on display, some even bordering on being ‘show’ vehicles. Our scene doesn’t really do show vehicles, we do extremely tidy streeters, as I feel there is a loss of stigma if you don’t actually drive your car, no matter how mint it is. It’s just the kiwi way.
Being heavily involved in the ‘scene’ over the last ten years, and having a bit to do with the Nats over the last few years. Here are some of the observations that were made at this years event. The 2015 edition had a different feel about it. The vibe was different, the atmosphere had changed. The wasn’t an air of negativity that usually plagues the event. Everything works in cycles, the housing market, hair cuts (man bun anyone), fashion in general and the economy. The same thing has happened in the modified car world. The late 90’s was the infancy of the scene, the early 2000’s the development of the scene and the late 2000’s saw the scene segmented by owners tastes, and a maturing of sorts.
Now bear with me, I’m not running off on tangents here but will try and make this all make sense by the next paragraph. As the scene really evolved over a decade from the early 2000’s, people had a decent idea of what cars they liked, joined a bunch of other people that had similar tastes and formed clubs around the vehicles they liked. This further evolved to clubs not being about cars, but peoples views on the car ‘scene’ in general e.g. Guys that liked genuine JDM parts banded together, guys that loved doing skids hung out, and Honda and rotary owners like moths to flame respectively etc. As the modified world developed people started forming strong views on how everyone should be modifying their cars. Again this is the way of the world as society evolves. But in our small society, the elitists emerged. The internet gave them an amplified voice and medium to showcase how a ride ‘should’ be modified. This year, was the first year in a long time there wasn’t that uneasy feel of the elite looking down on the rest of the entrants. It was almost as if they understood that if new people did not come into the scene, the scene as a whole could be in jeopardy. It was a level playing field after a long time. It was like the scene had come full circle, it felt as if it was all starting again. Even the increase in the number of trade stands was noticeable, and to us that could only mean one thing, the scene is growing and that can only mean that there is new interest in modified cars again. This is amazing news for anyone involved in the modified automotive spectrum, enthusiasts and business owners alike.
Don’t get me wrong, post show there was still the same complaints, but some of them will never change. In a judged event the majority lose and the minority win. We have seen the judging team doing their work, it’s not like cars are not missing out on being judged thoroughly. It just comes down to what cars tick the right boxes. We do feel that there should be a ton more press done around how each category is judged, what the sub categories are, what the judges are really looking for. Supporting examples of which car won awards in the past would be handy too.
The other complaint that goes around each and every year is; Cars bunched up like sardines. There are a few reason for this, the event organisers allocate spaces according to how many people have paid entry fees. So you have ‘x’ amount of space for ‘x’ amount of cars. The problem is that many people just don’t get their cars completed in time and don’t make the show. So when the set-up is almost over there is space left over that needs to be filled. How can this be remedied? Besides an absolute commitment from the owners that said they will enter, you cant really see one. If a car is not finished it is not done, hell even Chip Foose didn’t get a shot at the ‘Riddler’ one year, as the car he was building wasn’t complete in time. This last minute rush to get your car done for the show is also a very Kiwi thing.
The other issue that needs to be addressed is better allocation of spaces from the event organisers. Cars jammed in closer then they would be parked in a normal parking space, doesn’t make much sense, the aim is to show cars not hide them. Individually allocated car spots, spread around the the area of the entire three halls with a mapped out walk way is the answer. But unless you knew that every single car was 100% attending it would a logistical nightmare, especially when trying set this up in less than 24 hours. Maybe drivers need to stay at the show until the doors close at set-up. Maybe allocate spots around the three halls for the premier spots and then work around them. This issue does need addressing, but the solution is not as straight forward as it first seems. Food for thought none-the-less.
The other thing we would love to see is barriers that are way lower so they aren’t in the way of viewing the cars. It’s a shame that there a bunch of ‘numpties’ that come to the show that don’t have the basic common sense to respect the vehicles on display. Other wise not having the barriers at all would be most ideal option. Tokyo Autosalon for example does not barrier off the vehicles on display, but not once did we see anyone touching the vehicles. Respect, you don’t want anyone touching your car, so show the same common courtesy.
Those are the only complaints though, the rest of the 4&Rotary event team is a fine tuned machine. The staff are super friendly and really easy to deal with. This group have an air of family about them, rather than a bunch of friends. Most of them have all built and shown their own cars so they understand your needs for the weekend.
We are all really looking forward to next years show already, with just a lil fine tuning from the organisers, and the direction of the scene it has the potential to be an all timer. With the date for the North Island Jambo also creeping up will be interesting to see what rides come out of the wood work for the show.
We at Speedmagnet are excited and you should be too, with so many new players getting involved, the future is looking very bright for the ‘scene’ that we have all grown to love. Whether it’s drifting, drag racing, track or show 2015 is going to be a year to remember for sure.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the very talented Saret Em (Saretvision Media) and Matt Cook (No Limitz Photography), for all your efforts over the weekend. Make sure you give their Facebook pages a cheeky like (and the Speedmagnet page too if you haven’t already).
P.S. Go out and drive your car and enjoy it, garden gnomes are meant to sit inanimate, not your car.
P.P.S Make sure you get in for your chance to win a $1000 cash at www.NAC.co.nz.
P.P.P.S. Here is a short montage video we made from the Nats show and drags for your viewing pleasure…