The 2008 Manila Auto Salon kicked off last November 20-23 at the SMX Convention center in the Mall of Asia complex. Being the premiere automotive tuning and aftermarket show in the country, the event boasted of more than 170 cars and trucks; each of them done with a unique style of their own. Over thirty-six thousand car and truck enthusiasts trekked to the SMX Convention Center to ogle at the customized machines and equally appealing promo girls and models.
All facets of the aftermarket tuning industry were showcased in the event. The show had a wide array of Japanese supercars including two exquisite examples of the latest Nissan R35 GTR, a handful of Mitsubishi Evolution X's, and several Subaru Impreza STI's. Not to be outdone were the Drift cars led by Mar Medina's all-out Nissan Silvia S15. The car had a wide assortment of high end parts from Japan including titanium finished Gram Lights wheels, BRIDE limited edition buckets seats, etc. Also present were Brian Revilla's Silvia S15 drift car, a S2000-engined Toyota AE86 Trueno, Ian King's Cefiro pickup conversion (complete with a Skyline R33 front end), a drift-tuned Nissan Cefiro from AutoIndustriya.com, as well as several drift cars from A-Toy bodykits.
With the cars well represented, the trucks and SUVs also looked to make an impact in the show. 199 Off Road House brought out their monster machines including a Toyota Hilux pickup, a Nissan Patrol, and even the latest model Mitsubishi Strada. Of particular interest in 199's pavilion was a makeshift off road track and several "Rock Crawler" Remote Controlled vehicles. The attraction was quite a hit as people lined up to get a chance to play with the miniature off-roaders. LNS paints and bodykits brought out a FJ Cruiser complete with oversized mud tires, off road suspension, and a plethora of bars and other protective off road equipment. Arguably the "biggest" monster of the show was the Kenworth truck designed to look like Optimus Prime from the Transformers movie. The truck's massive girth was visible from virtually every corner of the exhibit venue.
The Mobile Electronics Show, highlighted by the International Auto Sound Challenge Association (IASCA) Competition which was participated by 28 cars from the country's top car audio installers supported by the major mobile entertainment brands. Last year's IdBL Record Holder, Frederick de Guzman of Kid Audio managed a 166.7db for the Ultimate 2 Class but didn't break the record this year. It is however the highest Sound Pressure Level set locally
This year's event was widely participated by the aftermarket industry which put up their display booths and pavilions. The Thailand Auto Pasts and Accessories Association (TAPA) also put up a display with a delegation of manufacturers and suppliers from Thailand. Seminars were also held at the stage area of the event, topics of which included Drag Racing, Circuit Racing, Drifting, Slalom, Karting, and IASCA competition by the foreign guest judges.
With all the show stopping vehicles present during the event, the judges all had a hard time deciding who should go home with the awards. In the end though, the Motul/Autoplus silver Nissan R35 GTR went home with the Best in Show (car) award. The car was not only one of the first examples of its kind here in the Philippines, it was also one of the first to be extensively modified. Best in Show (truck) went to the green "Downey Dog" Toyota Hilux of 199 Off Road House while Best in Show (SUV) went to the blue and silver FJ Cruiser of LNS Paints and Bodykits. The "Extreme Tuner of the Year" award was given to the Chameleon S15 of Mar Medina, prepared by DMF Motorsport.
Adding to the festivities were performances by Gruppo Tribale with DJ Elmer Dado courtesy of Adams Car Polish, Wally Gonzales Band courtesy of JWorks, and music from the Habrec display featuring a DJ from musiklokal.com whipping out some of the hippest tunes. As the show ended its 2008 edition, there was no doubt in the minds of everyone that it will continue to get bigger and better in the years to come.