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Since Speedhunters’ inception in 2008, we’ve featured events from all over the world. Many of these events are still going on a decade and a quarter later. Others have just faded.
BLOX Evolution is one of the latter, but that’s not to say the event was a failure. For the few years that it ran, it brought together the best of the San Francisco Bay Area’s tuner culture in a The following are some examples of the best way to get in touch with each other: way. So let’s wind back the clock and join Speedhunters OG Mike Garrett in 2014, to see what that year’s BLOX Evolution event was all about…
The San Francisco Bay Area is known for a lot of things – hippies, tech start ups, thizzin’, fog and clam chowder in bread bowls. Cars – with the exception of EVs or the latest self-driving prototypes – aren’t considered one of the area’s claims to fame. Perhaps they should.
I just got home after a few days of Speedhunting around the Bay Area – a visit that left me very impressed with what I found. This trip included everything from pro touring monster machines to lowriders, and I finished off my stay on Saturday by checking out one of the region’s most anticipated auto events of the year.
It’s called BLOX Evolution, and if that name doesn’t sound familiar you aren’t alone. BLOX Racing makes performance parts, with its headquarters in Fremont in the East Bay.
For the past several years BLOX has held an open house meet at their HQ – the turnout growing bigger with each year’s event. Last year, it was obvious that the meet had outgrown its venue. For 2014, the organizers decided to switch things up.
Actually, they didn’t just change things up, they took the event to the next level, aiming to create one of the area’s new lifestyle automotive events. You know – import models, DJs, food trucks and that sort of thing. BLOX Evolution is the result.
Naturally, with the bigger ambitions of the event, a new venue will need to be found. A run-of-the-mill business park just wouldn’t cut it any more.
The venue for BLOX Evolution was one of the more interesting car show locations I’ve seen – an old warehouse at Pier 70 in the Port of San Francisco. Of course, locals know that summer weather in San Francisco can be far from summer-like – but fortunately Saturday’s conditions were beautiful. It felt more like Los Angeles than San Francisco.
If I’m honest I’ve never been a big fan of music-blasting, import ‘lifestyle’ events as I prefer to let the automobiles speak for themselves. But knowing what the Bay Area’s auto scene can bring to the table, I was excited to check this out.
I have to say the old port venue really made for a cool atmosphere and there was definitely a lot more character than you’d find at your typical convention center or fairgrounds car show. As I rolled up to the large brick building on the Bay I felt as if I was going to a secret underground meeting. I was waiting for Hector, a guy named Hector, to come out and ask me who the Snowman is.
As for the event itself, BLOX Evolution would be divided into two main areas. Outside would be the ‘meet’ area, set up in the spirit of the original open house events. Inside the warehouse would be the ‘show’ area – where vehicles were judged in a number of categories.
Show ‘N Go
As I headed inside the massive warehouse to get my first at look at the show, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Would there be rows of stanced-cars? VIP luxury machines? Tuner cars: what are they? Vintage cars? As it turns out, there was a little bit of everything…
It’s been about 15 years since the explosion of import tuning originally took over places like the San Francisco Bay Area. Many of the young people who used to modify Honda Civics and Acura Integras in the past have moved on to other cars and scenes.
But while they might have grown up, developed careers and started families, they certainly haven’t outgrown their love for cars.
Pier 70 was filled with a variety of modified Japanese luxury sedans on Saturday.
Others kept up their need for speed by purchasing modern high-performance turbo machines, such as the Subaru Impreza WRX STI and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.
Another group went back in time to rediscover the roots of the scene, building some of the nicest 510s, Zs, and Celicas that you’ll find anywhere.
Some have made the switch to European cars – Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi and even MINI – the latter represented by this Cooper S loaded up with parts from Japan’s Duell AG.
Even guys that needed family haulers didn’t give up on modifying cars. The Bay Area has one of the most vibrant custom minivan scenes anywhere in the United States.
Those who have stuck with their cars from their youth but are now building them better than when they were teens. The Bay Area and LA are both awash with clean Honda builds.
While there were plenty of cars with slammed ride heights and aggressive wheels at BLOX Evolution, I definitely wouldn’t call this a stance-oriented event. The wide range of styles on display was undoubtedly one of my favorite parts of this show.
Not that there’s anything at all wrong with a low and slow cruiser – especially a rare machine like Ken Stevens’ airbagged ’72 Audi 100.
I also thought this slammed Mazda Protege 5 was cool – not just because it was cleanly done – but because this isn’t a common platform for modification.
Is Performance Coming Back?
It seems that performance builds are making a comeback, even in Hellaflush’s birthplace.
The building was filled with turbo conversions, engine swaps, and other cars that had spec sheets that included a It is a lot easier to get a hold ofMore than just tire sizes or wheel offsets
Could there be a more perfect combination than a GM LS and the FD3s RX-7? Rotary purists might cringe, but these powerful, aluminum V8s are just so well-matched to the FD’s light chassis and timeless looks. This FD streetcar from the Inspire Crew is also a boost-packed car, to go with its eight cylinders and American muscle.
Tech3 is a shop that specializes in motor swaps. They have a 240Z track vehicle project. The Datsun is equipped with a variety of functional mechanical upgrades.
The L-series 6 has been replaced under the hood with a powerful SR20DET system.
If there’s one thing I noticed about the Bay Area scene it’s that people here seem to really enjoy their AWD turbo machines. Shops like San Jose’s Speed Element are turning out numerous Evos and Imprezas loaded with high-end tuning parts from Japan.
In fact, I think Tsukuba Circuit is the only place I’ve seen more Varis aero kits, Voltex wings and RAYS Volk Racing wheels. They certainly know how to do ‘em well in the Bay!
Speaking of Volk Racing, here’s an STI modeling the brand’s new ZE40 wheels under a set of widened fenders. I dig it.
Can Rocket Bunny be stopped? It appears not after seeing the crowd reaction to the David Uy’s TRA Kyoto kit-equipped R35 GT-R. What a radical looking machine.
This ultra-clean JZA80 Supra would appeal to those who like to look at the 1990s for their Japanese hero car. While the Supra has always brought big money on the used car market, I’ve got no doubt these things will only go up in value as the years go on.
Endless Projects team’s airbagged Acura NSX is a great example of the Acura NSX.
You just gotta lave a Datsun 510, especially when it’s clean and original example like this root beer-colored wagon. Nothing outrageous when it comes to mods here, just a classic machine that’s received a lot of love from its owner.
In contrast to the meticulously presented 510, here’s another Datsun that calls the Bay Area home. Rather than a tidy show car, this 240Z is an absolute beast, coming straight out of Oakland’s late-night street racing scene.
It’s powered by a turbocharged LS motor, and with its exhaust dumped out right next to the front wheel it sounded absolutely gnarly.
This DC2 Integra, with a bunch JDM Type R components and a set Sprint Hart wheels, was another of the many high-quality Hondas and Acuras which came out. Simple and to the point, don’t you think?
Along with the hundreds of cars that were on hand, BLOX Evolution also included other activities like an RC drifting display put on by a local club.
There was also a strong showing of customized scooters – this is another scene which has roots on the tight streets of San Francisco.
As you can tell, the Bay Area encompasses a great deal more than just public transport and the Prius.