I want to add something before we get into Chief’s piece. Nisei Week in the 80’s and 90’s was that big event, that event everyone polished and added goodies to their cars before attending. It was the event to showoff their crew and to get recognized by other crews. We [Inertia Speed] crammed into an over-filled parking lot to enjoy the event, then took our cars out to cruise around the event. People would stare, like, or hate the cars. It was just that big of an event and that type of event.
I vaguely remember the early days because its been so long, but I remember Ken’s yellow Mugen CR-X (i think it was white before that) and Shig (his brother) had a black Mugen CR-X, they were the biggest WOW factors in Cerritos. I also vaguely remember the time when Ken told me he was going to start Showoff, we were in his living room and he showed me a flyer and asked what I thought. I believe it had a 240sx on it. At the time, everyone was still into drag racing and the locals were still kicking it in Sylmar, Ontario, and Compton at Maria Street or Ana Street. Eventually other spots appeared and drag racing was huge. So the thought of a car show for imports were a little hazy and beyond its time. Sure there were truck clubs (I used to be in one, Contemporary Lifestyles and Sstylinn’) doing shows that had imports in them, but nothing Japanese sport compact specific. Ken’s first show didn’t go without controversy as a JDM (wasn’t even a term back in the 90’s) vehicle won over an Accord (I think) that was shaved, chromed, painted, and had a display! At this time, it really open the doors and separated the imports from the truck scene.
When Showoff became part of Nisei, it was the end of the world! Nothing matched the dynamics and atmosphere of a car show with Nisei Week – it was perfect! It was a show I wanted to attend and show off my own ride but it was never good enough. It was equally as powerful as SEMA and through the years, Showoff spawned other events with a variation of that name and was powerful for many, many years. Dynamics eventually changed the scene and heavily financed events started to pop-up and the scene became more mainstream (no pun) than ever. Today, Showoff is still a powerful event with a powerful name but I’ll let Chief tell you about it.
Nisei Showoff / Import Showoff will always be a part of history, Ken Miyoshi will always be the grandfather of this scene, and I’m proud to have seen him achieve that. Now to Chief’s piece! -DaYUUMDen
The Nisei Week Show Off Car Show has always been one of my favorites, and this year was no different. Even in the scorching heat, over 100 degrees in the Civic Center, “DaYUUM” is always there to bring you the best coverage of the very best shows!!!
Ken Miyoshi of Mainstream Productions/ Import Showoff has gone out of his way each and every year to make this a premier Southern California event. I think what is even more amazing is that the site of the show was in question all the way up to the last possible moment. With all of the redevelopment efforts going on in downtown Los Angeles, this Little Tokyo site was suppose to be totally wiped out. But obviously, since redevelopment money has all but dried up from the state, I would imagine that the site is probably safe for a while.
Ken has been doing this for many years and he truly knows what’s required to pull off a successful car show. With that goal in mind, he wisely brought in Joey Lee, from ‘The Chronicles,’ and scribe extraordinaire for Honda Tuning Magazine. That move alone instantly made a good thing even better! I was fortunate enough to grab some face time with Joey at the show. First of all, this is a real ‘car guy’ whose love and enthusiasm is quite evident when you talk with him. It’s clear to me why Ken thought he would be up to the task when he chose him. Joey explained to me what ‘The Chronicles,’ “GENERATIONS” section of the show was about and what it represents. It featured the best available cars of ‘the past, the present, and a glimpse of future builds’ that are ahead of their time. It was advertised as “The Ultimate Honda Enthusiasts Collection,” and that’s exactly what it was! Joey said that they had 25 cars representing “GENERATIONS” last year, and that this year’s total climbed all the way up to 75 vehicles! He is a very modest person, but I know that he had to be proud of the Herculean effort that he put into this to experience these types of successful results. A big “DaYUUM” Congrats goes out to Joey Lee on a job well done!
The main thing that was totally different this year was the fact that the show has basically evolved into a Honda showcase of cars. They use to have more representation from Toyota, Lexus, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Scion, and others, but I would honestly say that this year’s show appeared to be about 75 to 80% Honda or more. As a proud Honda owner, there were definitely NO complaints coming from me! (LOL) I did however see some American metal here and there, including a group of beautiful lowriders, but they just looked out of place. Different crews like ‘FF Squad,’ ‘Bandits,’ ‘Hybrid Racing,’ and others were represented and were looking their best. There was also a race inspired Datsun 510 that looked like it had enjoyed some celebrations in the ‘winner’s circle!’ It was really enjoyable to see Leon Casino’s beautiful blue second generation JDM RHD Civic CRX, and you know that his “DaYUUM” sticker was proudly displayed!
I also got to hang out with Sean Corbett, of JDM Reverend, who I met at the Norm Reeves show in June. This time around, Sean took home the “OLD SCHOOL SHOW OFF” trophy, and I personally can’t think of anyone more deserving. His 1984 RHD Honda City Turbo II, with the matching Honda Motocompo motor bike is as rare as it comes on any city streets. And yes, he does drive it…all the way from Arizona! A “DaYUUM” fine salute goes out to you Sean!
As nice looking as Sean’s City Turbo is, any ride can always use something to make it look even better. In this case, it just happened to be our very own Marissa Hiroko. Marissa just happened to be this year’s “MISS NISEI WEEK SHOW OFF!” It’s always such a pleasure to run into Marissa. I first met her at “DaYUUM’s Million Dollar Shoot” and I’ve been a fan of hers since then. She is a winning combination of beauty, grace, poise, and class… the whole package! And believe it or not, she is a really funny lady and loves to laugh! We continue to wish her the very best in all of her career endeavors and we are extremely proud to have her as part of the “DaYUUM” family!
You never know who you’re going to meet at these shows and this one was absolutely no different. I had the distinct honor and privilege to meet Bisi Ezerioha, President/CEO of Bisimoto Engineering. Now I don’t know what you might know about Bisimoto, but they just happen to be one of the top designers, fabricators, and manufacturers of race track proven high performance products. They meet the needs of show cars, daily drivers, and even the precise OE demands of major automotive manufacturers like Honda, Porsche, and others.
Bisi is a walking encyclopedia of performance modification knowledge. Where others might tell you that it can’t be done, Bisi never got that memo! He is constantly trying to figure out new ways to get every last drop of performance that your vehicle is remotely capable of. I totally love this man’s attitude! I completely fell in love with the car that Bisi affectionately calls ‘his baby.’ That would be a beautiful, almost daily driver looking, 1988 Honda Civic Wagovan that churns out 724hp at the wheels!!! “WOW!!!”
This is a very humble man without any sense of vibrato, who originally came to this country from Nigeria as an Engineering student. Needless to say, after he got here, the ‘car bug’ bit him and he then became a student of performance. Bisimoto Engineering is now Bisi’s classroom, and any cars that graduate from there soon accelerate to the front of the pack! Their main focus is on DOHC and SOHC inline four cylinder engines, and opposing six cylinder air and water cooled Porsche power plants. So, whenever you get that ‘need for speed,’ and other cars are passing you by, relief is spelled B-I-S-I-M-O-T-O!!! (LOL)
Bisi then pointed out customers Jonathan Wong’s Honda Civic EF Hatchback, with a Bisimoto designed pro type ITB, and custom Magnesium header, and Work Osaka JDM wheels. Next to him was Charles Trieu’s beautiful first generation Acura Legend L Coupe, with some rare Volk Artesian Fins with Aero Covers. Jonathan is the Editor of Super Street Magazine, and Charles is the Editor of Import Tuner Magazine. I was pretty “DaYUUM” impressed!
SPOILER ALERT: In other breaking news…Michael Mao won the award for “ACURA SHOW OFF!” I know that’s shocking, but a man has to do what he has to do! (LOL) Seriously though, every time I see Michael’s Twin Turbo Acura NSX, and those 24K gold plated Mugen wheels, it really is like seeing it again for the first time. It actually challenges me to find new adjectives to describe how strikingly beautiful this ride actually is. I am such a fan, that I get a ‘WTF moment’ when he doesn’t take “First Place” at a show! (LOL) Besides Michael, Tony Lee and the “It’s JDM Yo Crew” was there and they also hosted “Miss Nisei Week Show Off,” Marissa Hiroko. Their tent was one of the few reprieves I got from the cruel sun all day. I could tell that Tony was definitely not feeling that heat either! By the way, Tony got some really nice props from Joey in reference to his contributions in helping to put “GENERATIONS” together,
Hey, what kind of show would it be without “Big Mike” and his gorgeous 1992 Prelude Si, I really don’t want to know! His participation lets you know that it’s all legit! I don’t know if you’ve seen him lately, but he has dropped a lot of weight and he looks great. His ride looks as awesome as ever, everything from his F20B ITB tuned by Bisimoto to the custom header they built him. This car has more custom modifications and upgrades than I would ever have time to list. But, you can check him out at NWP4Life, Prelude Zone, Prelude Power, and that’s just to name a few! Besides building one of nicest rides out there, he is also a feature contributor for Honda Tuning Magazine. This is a very insightful guy with honest opinions, a refreshing attitude, and a bad ass car! I am not the least bit surprised that “Big Mike” and his Prelude waked away with the big “HONDA SHOW OFF” trophy! Big Mike…you are truly “The Real “DaYUUM” Deal!!!”
I scoped Alex Zhao and the WheelFlip crew there, and I ran into John Darios and his perpetually nice 2004 Mugen Odyssey. I first met John a few years ago and this is still one of the cleanest Ody’s I’ve seen around. It’s the only one I’ve ever encountered with the total Mugen theme. He’s had to get Mugen parts from all over the word and modify them to fit his van. Way to go John!
I recently ordered a Spoon Racing DC5 Valve Cover and Oil Filler Cap from ICB Motorsport out of Chandler, Arizona. Everything I’ve ordered from Japan over the years has taken forever! These guys had my stuff to me in less than three weeks and they have AWESOME customer service! The reason I mentioned this is because I just happened to run into Matt Ye, President of ICB Motorsport. I can’t begin to tell you how stoked I was! Matt is a gentleman and an all around super good guy! Now I figured out why their customer service is so good, it obviously comes down from the top! (smile)
Needless to say, there were quite a few Civic and Acura awards handed out to deserving winners, and minus the heat, I really had a really good time. Any event I cover, it’s always about the people to me. I love all the behind the scenes stories about the time, the effort, and the blood, sweat, and tears that go into each and every build. Because, what it all actually boils down to in the end, is just the sheer love of everything automotive.
That’s why I love being a part of the “DaYUUM” Crew, because we chase after automotive dreams like no other. Whether it’s a great car show, a private collection, a ‘garage queen,’ or even a bitchin’ daily driver, we’ll cover it! How could it not be fun to be a part of that?!! (smile) I’m already looking forward to the Auto Gallery Show next month. So, if you turn out for it, then please stop by the “DaYUUM” booth and say hi! I’ll be hangin’ with ‘the crew,’ along with Regi and Liza from Island Motor Sports.
So until next time, please stay ‘tuned’ and always remember that…I’ll see you out on the streets!!!
For a super in depth 6-parts of Nisei Showoff check out Joey’s page, The Chronicles