Customized, mostly imported wheels will roll into Atlantic City for the first time in several years Saturday for the SNTRL Import Expo car show in the convention center.
There will be drag-racing cars, tricked out luxury cars, tuner cars from Japan and Europe, and modified racetrack scooters.
SNTRL, a N.Y.-based car blog, and Canadian promoter Import Expo partnered to create the show, said Kenny Bascon, SNTRL co-founder and creative director.
SNTRL has stories and photos on car life in the N.Y.-N.J.-Conn. area, with other contributors from Maryland and overseas, Bascon said.
Import Expo stages auto shows in Canada and will bring cars to Atlantic City that aren’t usually seen on the East Coast, he said.
Bascon said he expects the show to have about 400 cars. “We’re screening the cars to make sure we only put the best ones on display.”
He said the show will feature four sections, including drag-race cars; VIP Car Life, with modified luxury brands such as Lexus and Infiniti; and a customized imports area sponsored by a Long Island wheel maker.
The fourth section will be dedicated not to a car but a scooter, the seemingly innocuous Honda Ruckus.
Jay Martin, owner of Makoa Scooters in Westbury on Long Island, said the Ruckus rose to fame in the 1990s when “a lot of pit guys at racetracks for drag racing used them to get around and also to pull the cars.”
“Makoa” means “fearless” in Hawaiian, he said, and that treatment for the Ruckus begins with replacing the 50cc engine with one three times its size.
Then the scooters are customized, stretched, whatever — a process made easy by the open-frame design of the Ruckus (no plastic faring, for example).
“You can customize this and you don’t have to spend $10,000, but some people do, depending on what they want,” Martin said.
Martin’s business makes wiring harnesses for the engine swaps, and he and a Ruckus accessories maker will have a booth at the show with a few of the customized scooters, parts and information.
“This got pretty popular in Japan and then caught a lot of eyes on the West Coast, especially around Los Angeles,” he said. “They have a ride there every year and more than 200 come out.”
This being a car show, there will be a featured model — also not a car — a cover girl for Super Street Magazine, Claudia Alan, of California.
Bascon said he grew up going to Atlantic City car shows, but there hasn’t been an import car show for several years. In 2004 and 2005, the SEMA International Auto Salon filled the Atlantic City Convention Center.
He said he and Toronto-based Import Expo want to create a show that’s more than just a swap meet.
“I feel like younger kids these days are missing out. Now shows are coming back again, and they can serve as an inspiration to create well-built and elite rides,” Bascon said.
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