Being back in sunny California instead of the snow covered east coast had me really excited to jump back into the unique So-Cal import car scene, and to check out a car show. We’re a little more than 3 weeks away from the start of the 10th season of Formula Drift, and it just so happens that this past Saturday was Formula Drift Tech Day 2014.

Racing starts in a little more than 3 weeks, and this is a good way for the completed (or almost completed) cars to not only get checked, but get a buzz going around the series… This year the organizers, Source Interlink Media, opened up their headquarters to the event as well as organized a car show in the parking lot of their in house garages.

Formula Drift Tech Day 2014: The Rides

It just so happens to be that this event was how CSF Radiators broke into the drift scene. In 2010, this is where I met both Ron Bergenholtz and Michael Essa, who decided to switch out their cooling systems mid-year once we received the radiators built at our factory after developing them shortly after meeting.

Flashback to Tech Day 2010. First time I met Michael Essa. He was having overheating problems with his M5 transplanted engine set-up. Who knew three years later CSF would be cooling the champion

Having the event in Irvine really drove a large car crowd, with plenty of great cars to look at. In this entry, I’ll be focusing on what I experienced and some trends I noticed while walking around the parking lot. Enjoy!

First car we saw when we rolled up was the new Ark Performance / Kenda Tires LS Powered Genesis. This car was looking nice!

The next car that caught my eye was this Mazda Rx-7 with the front bumper off. I didn’t know if this was an amateur drift missile or an FD car that hadn’t finished its livery yet. Either way, I was surprised to see the high level of sophistication in the interior.

There wasn’t just cars rolling around either, some custom 2 and 3 wheel toys were floating around as well.

Next we rolled up on the Megan Racing Toyota 86. These legendary sport compact drift vehicles seem to be immortal.

By far the most popular car of the meet was the FR-S/BRZ. Being out of California off and on over the last year, I really don’t realize how popular this vehicle actually is. There must have been over 25 renditions of the vehicle on display in the parking lot.

This semi famous, @ProjectBreezy, was parked by itself next to the vendor booth.. At least he had the power kit to go along with the looks. I walked around it a couple of times, and the color was hot along with the white SSR wheels and yellow Brembo breaks.

Caught this 350Z rolling through. Seems that this shade of gray is becoming increasingly popular since this past year’s Sema show.

This red and gold S2K was one of my favorites of the show. Loved the hood style, the stance, and the right amount of bling. Everything was executed well, just the right amount of flash.

EVO X or Subaru STI – The question with no answer lives on.

Being that CSF supplies the radiators to AVO Turbo World to package with their turbo kits, I was pleased to see this awesome FR-S done tastefully.

CSF, the preferred cooling manufacturer of boost companies around the world.

There were some really clean BMW’s presents as well. While purist may not like it, I find the emerging trend of Euro vehicles getting JDM parts refreshing and something that ties the industry together. Lots of BMW E30’s and 36’s in attendance.

Living in California, the land of flash and celebrity, you’re always going to have some “stand-out” rides. These are the ones that are looking for attention. More often than not these cars are poorly executed, but sometimes you will find a few that have been thought out well and feature quality parts. The color schemes can sometimes be suspect, but yet again, it goes with the “stand-out” theme.

The sport compact scene has been around since the 70’s, and California has always been a hot bed of tuner passion. As early pioneers in the market grew older and made more money, there taste became more refined and luxurious. The new world of quick money also helped progress the scene into more luxurious makes. Sometimes the “new money” have a different way of doing it.

The Lexus IS-F was looking fresh on a new set of wheels. Heavier 3-piece wheels on a performance car are not my cup of tea, but it looked good with the proper stance.
A true drift missile with some personality. At least originality isn’t totally dead, maybe just a trend.
Everyone came out to enjoy the awesome weather. The California car scene has it all.

One trend that I’m fascinated with is the VIP trend. There were about a dozen VIP’ed cars out at the show, and some of them really were over the top. As far as I’m concerned, if your interior isn’t top-notch to match the exterior then you are just a poser.

This LS430 was insane. I saw it a day later at the Illest Slammed Sundays Event as well. More coverage on that event coming soon.

This Z32 was in pristine condition with a perfect engine bay. No short cuts were taken, and this 20+ year old car was stealing plenty of looks from all the newer cars.

Some older classic Japanese and Euro cars in attendance as well, each restored to a completely different style and unique flavor.

All in all it was a great event, and really got me excited for this year’s round of car shows, meets, races, and events. We’ll leave you with one last picture of our 2013 SEMA featured vehicle, the “Get Lucky” 370Z featuring our industry best high-performance radiator+condenser module (#7012)

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