Aurick Go / Brent Co, Mike Sabarre | November 06, 2016 15:24
The towering trucks and tricked out cars at this year's aftermarket expo
As 2016 approaches its conclusion in a couple months, the Manila Auto Salon can be somewhat considered a round-up of projects or builds that have progressed throughout the year. With their pairing with the Sport Truck Show this year, it can clearly be seen that the Manila Auto Salon came with a different kind of variety than what we’ve seen over the past few years – the 4x4 kind.
With tropical storms brewing stronger as the years progress, floods around the metro every rainy season, and countless horror stories of submerged houses and cars, it’s quite easy to tell why majority of the local aftermarket suddenly made a drastic switch to offroad rigs and trucks. In stark contrast to lowered sedans and high performance, the trucks sprawled over the SMX Convention Center focus on durability, ruggedness, and practicality for regular use – something the avid car owner can certainly appreciate.
Being perhaps the most popular platform for building an offroad rig, pickup trucks took a large chunk of the attendance pie. At the heights they’re standing at though, a standard truck off the showroom floor would be easily dwarfed by the built versions present at the show.
Despite many participants building upon newer platforms, some have chosen to build upon a truck that not many would choose to build. This Mercedes-Benz Unimog by 199 Off-Road House is one such truck. Another Ford F150 makes a clear-cut example of how far fabrication can be taken when it comes to customization. By cutting the pickup bed’s fenders, extra shelving for air compressors and recovery items can be stowed inside. The fenders themselves are secured on hinges that allow them to be raised gullwing-style on a pair of dampers.
Following the theme of unique platforms, some have gone so far as to build upon a truck that isn’t locally available. The Toyota Tundra is originally a pickup destined for the US Market, making it a rarity in itself around our shores. Building up on its exclusivity even more, it appears 199 Off-Road House decided to lift their Tundra up substantially – enough so that another Tundra could fit underneath perhaps?
Of course, dedicated offroaders like the Toyota FJ Cruiser are choice vehicles to build upon. The many examples sprawled around the show goes to show how spoiled for choice its owners are for parts!
Not to be beaten by a host of Japanese offroaders, newcomer Rugged Rigs displayed several Jeep Wranglers on display in various states of modification. Much like the FJ, it appears the Wrangler has a strong aftermarket to back it up as well.
Even if they aren’t as many as the trucks, the participating cars in the Manila Auto Salon do not fall short in quality. Variety is still very much present among the attending cars, with each genre well represented.
Hondas are the bread and butter of the Philippine aftermarket. With plenty of these sedans and hot hatches prowling the streets, various options are made available for modifying and styling each model. Being that it’s the Manila Auto Salon, only the cream of the crop made it into the SMX Convention Center during the show. This EK9 Civic Type R for example sports all the goods from Spoon Sports’ catalog; Not to mention there’s a neat K20 swap sitting in that bay too.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Italian exotics have also gone all-out at the Manila Auto Salon as well. This Ferrari F12 sports a full Novitec Rosso N Largo kit, one that is apparently made in very limited numbers the world over.
American Muscle make their presence known at the show by way of Ford Mustangs; a Shelby GT500 replica from show veteran Alex Restoration and a trio from Classic Speed Car Restoration. With a Mach I, GT500 Eleanor clone, and Hertz Mustangs in display, they’ve rounded up several iconic versions of the famed pony car.
Retro vehicles have decreased in attendance this year, but nonetheless there were still a couple entries that are worth a look. This Nissan Sunny pickup breaks the norm of big lifts and heavy bumpers by being slammed and minuscule compared to other trucks at the show.
Having been asked to exhibit my car by my friends at Turtle Wax, I’ve loaned them my Mazda RX-7 to use as a canvass of their products. Its oddball rotary engine often served as a conversation piece with curious onlookers throughout the weekend.
With the way the Manila Auto Salon was held alongside the Sport Truck Show, the new environment gave the event a whole new vibe. As trucks and serious offroad rigs took the center stage this year, the event somewhat harked back to the early 2000’s when the Sport Truck Show was at its peak. Mixed with a fair selection of cars on the side, this year’s Manila Auto Salon gave show goers a different yet familiar taste of the automotive palate.