EVENT – ART OF SPEED ASIA 2014, A TRUE CELEBRATION OF KUSTOM KULTURE

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Following up from the teaser I posted up a few days back for AOS Asia, it is with great pleasure that I present to you the full coverage of the Art of Speed Asia 2014. From cars to bikes, USDM to JDM, one can really see the diversity that makes Art of Speed what it is. AOS, as it is more affectionately known, has become one of the premier events in the region that truly celebrates Custom Culture. Avid enthusiasts and passionate tuners from all over congregate at Art of Speed to supply a visual treat and there was definitely something for everyone at the event.

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Live music echo through the venue all day which, when paired with some of the most stunning cars and bikes this side of the world has to offer, was just teeming with positive vibes for showgoers that have come from near and far. Now the time has come to bring you guys on a bit of a visual journey; a feast for the eyes with a little bit of something from the past and the present.

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We begin this epic feature with some two wheeled love.

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From Triumphs to Harleys, Ducatis to Hondas and modifications that breathe life again to a culture almost forgotten, the Café racer. The Triumph really caught my attention not because it was on display on a platform with a huge classic poster, but the bike itself with its timeless camel tan leather seats and gold on white paint job. The 77 decal’s pretty cool too! The brainchild of AOS head Asep actually aided in the design of this bike and it turned out to be truly spectacular.

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Modern bikes are beautiful and very fast, but I think few have as much character as a classic café racer or classic sports bike – they are great conversation starters and exhilarating to ride and admire.

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Bikes of all styles were on display at the fast bikes stand which was very popular among the visitors.

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Here’s one of our friends from Atara Racing with one of the wildest bicycle designs I have seen, sporting its very own Atara Racing “Pisang” rim that measures a whopping 9JJ offset matched with a custom made bike frame.

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Some guys had alternative modes of transport which comes in handy especially when it is thirty plus degrees and the sun is just beating down on everybody with relentless intensity.

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Classic cars have always been something I have had a profound interest in and when I saw this immaculate 1970s E30 Sprinter on Watanabe rims and in British racing Green, I felt like a kid in a candy store, beaming from ear to ear. You just didn’t know where to turn your attention to next as there were just so many amazing vehicles on display.

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There was an amazing turnout of an estimated 80,000 visitors for AOS 2014 and some really got into the So-Cal vibe which, incidentally, was one of the themes for the event. This beautiful girl got with the theme, donning a vintage dress decked out in cherries and a rockabilly style overall that is reminiscient of the “pin up girl” era from the past in the States.

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An integral part of American motoring culture is the rat rod and this particular example of a humble vintage Ford being reborn again into something that cannot be described in any other way except for totally bad ass.

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Local indie bands rocked the stage on a rotating basis which really created just the right amount of hype to get people into the display area and check out the event. Art of Speed was held at Citta Mall which featured a substantially sized open space and one thing I noticed were people that were enjoying their weekend stroll come out from the comforts of the mall’s air conditioning to see all that was going on.

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The various tuning styles could all be seen here, from some cars on display restored by the book back into pristine condition as they are already works of art that need no further enhancements like this very iconic piece of Americana, the Camaro SS.

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Some cars on display were customised beyond what seemed feasible, like this Volvo Amazon sporting “chompers” for a front grille and I must say, there is something strangely attractive about this creation!

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Aside from beautiful machines on display there was a wide array of side activities as well like this guy making huge bubbles which were very popular with the kids; good for the dads who wanted to distract their kids for a second so they could see the big boys toys.

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Something you don’t see very often elsewhere are the restored and custom pick up trucks which is a particularly popular category in Malaysia; this could be partly due to the bumpy roads we have locally.

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Hakotoras were unusually popular as well, with more and more of these bad boys emerging in the automotive scene in Malaysia. A Hakotora recipe is fairly straightforward; a small to mid sized classic datsun pick up, and Hakosuka skyline front or rear parts. This one is sporting one of the most iconic livery ever to be featured on the Hakosuka; the PMCS vinyls.

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This yellow Hakotora belongs to a friend of mine, Kean Yap, who is a member of the Back wheels Bitches community in Malaysia; a group of classic car enthusiasts that are quickly becoming more well known in the local retro scene. Sporting classic Apache rims and mooneyes trinkets all over, this car is truly without fault.

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Another Hakotora parked right next to Kean’s truck was this one, which featured some intricate pin striping on a blacked out hood.

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Those round tail lamps on this beautiful 240K skyline are one of the most iconic tail lamp designs in the world, and has stood the tests of time, also making it onto the JDM super car killer, the R35 GTR.

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Before I came to the event some of my friends had told me, “Gene, one of the RWB Porsches is going to be there!” and the minute I got there, I found myself searching high and low for it and finally, there she was; keeping cool in the shelter of the shopping mall walkway where the AOS Art Gallery was. Absolutely appropriate because this car is without doubt a work of art.

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The car was hand built by the one and only Nakai san of RWB who flew in and completed this car days before AOS in good time. Nakai san is known for naming his creations for that personal touch and this car is named Furinkazan (風林火山), which represented a traditional War standard used in the Sengoku period in Japan. Unfortunately I did not see the car being built but when I saw it that day at AOS, I really took some time to soak it all in; I have only really seen RWB Porsches in images and hearsay but not like this, not up close. Every single detail in the wide body kit, the silicone seals lining the grooves are so finely applied, you would have to have severe OCD to nitpick at the level of craftsmanship.

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There was also a bazaar which featured approximately 150 stalls that sold all sorts of items that ranged from local brands to international ones, vintage gear and a whole plethora of quirky and unusual item, like these knight helmets that were on display alongside some bosozoku styled vintage items.

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Something that I found really cool were some of the classic car parts on sale, showing signs of a healthy eco-system of parts and supplies for the Malaysian retro community.

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This is the first time I’ve seen a pedal car of this type, and it is just full of character; from the patina to the rust in a cool red paint job. I give you, the smallest car ever to be featured on 7tune!DSCF2737 copy

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The Harley community came in full force with bikes new and old. A lot of members of the biker community are older gentlemen and I managed to overhear some of their conversation. They were discussing the passion of the younger generation today being injected into the retro car and bike scene, saying how it was refreshing to see cars from their childhood being brought back to life. This is similar to what Shoji Inoue of Star Road saying when he visited Malaysia a few months back, similarly along the lines of how great it is to see that there is a tremendous amount of passion that has gone into the build of their cars.

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The KE70 series corolla is quite a common sight here in Malaysia and come in all sorts of styles; drift missiles, show cars, daily driven, or even a crazy engine swap but the KE70 wagon is something you don’t see all the time.

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When I spotted this Radio Flyer trolley cart I was reminded of one of my all time favourite comics when I was younger; Calvin and Hobbes. A witty kid with an imaginary stuffed tiger as a friend getting into all sorts of antics with one of these was perfect. To see one of these for real was quite cool and it is in great company too; just look at the cleanliness of that Norton bike behind it. It’s so clean, it’s almost vulgar.

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Another segment in the lineup of events was the “Soapbox show and go”; seeing one of these is also a first for me as Soapbox racing is very much a part of American lifestyle. I think this one might stand a chance to win, with its ultra lightweight foam panels and go kart slicks!

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The Continental category had a fair few classic cars on display and they were just radical.

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Again, you can see a great mix of tuning styles in the EUDM category too, with original restorations that aim to bring a car back to its former glory and the hard core custom mods like this E30 Bimmer, sporting classic Warsteiner DTM livery and with that massive intercooler. No doubt it should also be pretty quick.

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With events that involve classic continentals, how can one forget one of the most quintessential classic cars in the world? The car that provided the very first foundations for Porsche; the humble Beetle. A couple of Kombi vans joined the entourage as well and all seemed to have their own character.

Art of Speed 2014 was a great success with a great turn out for both cars and visitors. I can’t wait to see it all again next year!

Words – Eugene Chan

Photos – Eugene Chan

7tune. The Ultimate JDM experience since 2005.

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