On a dark and foggy night (I kid you not) an event called “The Borgata affair” went down. Borgata is the Italian term for suburban townships around Palermo and the term was later adopted by the American Mafia to represent family. For the event though, Borgata signifies more of a family like series of events, not so much illegal Mafia activities, where automotive enthusiasts and passionate car owners congregated to just mingle and check out each other’s rides. In conjunction with the night’s event the La Famiglia food truck was also in attendance, providing fresh steaming hot Italian food cooked on the spot, now that’s what I call a car meet. Cars and pasta, what’s not to love?
The minute the truck opened its shutters people were already flocking around it making orders, and not long after cars began to arrive at the set location; a parking garage in the business district of the city that was empty on weekends. The weather was great; it was a cool misty night; post rain weather where all the heat from the day was dispersed which was an absolute blessing in this tropical country.
The usual suspects of street weapons could be found, from R34 Skylines to RPS13 Silvias, These cars already look menacing and paired with the mysterious atmosphere cast by the after-rain weather, It just made them that little bit more intimidating.
As more and more cars poured in, I also began to wander around the misty parking lot as if in a mystery detective TV series, camera akin to a six shooter revolver ready to suss out criminal activity. As the cars slowly filled up the parking spots and in a similar emotion to the mysterious and silence of the night I began to photograph the cars as they took their places, like the main actors of this mystery detective TV series. The atmosphere was almost seductive in nature, cool misty night with a soft and balanced illumination from the car park lighting; the sexy cars slowly creeping in through the gates, It all looked like it was shaping up to be an awesome night.
The one thing that has always been a true representation of Malaysian culture is diversity and in that car park on that night we can see exactly that. More R34s came to join the ones already there and this pair literally look like a pair of axe murderers, ready to shank the next person who dares to trifle with them.
Then came this KE70; straight pipe exhaust literally sounding like gunshots going off which was duly amplified by the low roofs of the parking area. The Rat rod/Kyusha/Bosozoku styling of this Corolla makes it seem like Jason Vorhees, the infamous hack and slash machete mass murderer from Friday the 13th.
I began mingling with the people there and my conversation with some of the participants was interrupted by a faint rumbling noise in the distance and not long after, we see this group of Supras come through the gates and it was a magnificent sight.
People literally darted out of their way like as if it was a group of notorious Mafia bosses making their way through a crowded smoky nightclub, every single one of the cars getting eyeballed from nose to tail repeatedly as they oozed of such an intimidating presence, a quality very few cars are capable of exuding.
Again coming back to the culture of diversity you can see a variety of tuning styles, where some of the Supras’ carry a more aggressive presence; a type of “you better not f*** with me” type of styling, similar to scarface with his wrinkled half unbuttoned shirt underneath a blood stained suit wielding a massive belt fed machine gun and some staying true to the original styling of the car, a pressed suit and a tie paired with a bowler hat, with a kind looking outer shell but an absolute menace inside, the “Al Capone” of styling.
Love them or hate them, you cannot deny that these cars will still make heads turn regardless of styling, a true icon to car enthusiasts like some of the iconic Mafia leaders in the early days became legends.
A large part of automotive culture that is a global phenomenon is stance, where cars are lowered and cambered and some given so much negative camber that the car is rendered useless, Malaysian car enthusiasts have somehow found a balance; a very thin line that is drawn between function and form. The roads in this country are laden with a stance enthusiast’s nightmare which are speed bumps served with a healthy portion of potholes and harsh road surfaces on the side. Some of the stance guys here have found a way to have that camber and yet have a car that is still functional enough to overcome those common obstacles which is an unusually rare feat. I do not usually approve of stance but this Daihatsu Sirion/ Toyota Passo converted Perodua’s styling was almost flawless, and crossed the bump at the parking gate without any problems.
Later in the night more retro cars arrived and retro cars are rapidly making a comeback in the automotive scene in Malaysia. Old beat ups that were initially destined for the scrap heap given a new lease of life and I’ve always been an avid fan of retro rides, they just have so much character and personality compared to a modern day car, which are almost like household appliances to some extent.
The crowds consisted mainly of car owners but to my surprise, even people that were living nearby came to check out the event. The smell of pasta sizzling away in a pan could possibly have been one of the elements of attraction as well. Altezzas are also a car that is well and truly a car desired by many in the automotive world because of many factors, one of the main ones being its subtle exterior nature that houses a comprehensive chassis and a great motor which makes it such a great tuning platform.
The CRZ has always been a favourite of mine, realistically one of the best looking and affordable hybrid cars that are also a capable driver’s car provided you have the 6 speed manual version. I mean, when compared to something like a Prius which is about as interesting as a toaster.. this little hybrid is a hoot to drive.
The rotary engine is an amazing engine and is like the infamous weapon of choice for the Mafia, the Tommy gun. Capable of ear piercing exhaust notes and bullet like speed, gunning down competition with ease.
As the night almost comes to an end and we were about to wrap up something very cool grabbed our attention was this 190E Evolution replica Mercedes. An instantly recognisable look with the big wing and body kit complete with overfenders with little hints of this car’s massive power, judging by that big intercooler tucked neatly behind the front bumper even at a standstill this car looks like it is in motion, always ready to rumble
and on this bombshell of a car this concludes our feature of the Borgata Affair.
Words – Eugene Chan
Photos – Eugene Chan / Praveent Chelvam