With the Manila Auto Salon always coinciding with the annual Sport Truck Show, it appears the show will always be filled with varying kinds of lifted trucks and off-roaders. Accounting for roughly 70% of space throughout the show, it’s no surprise then that big rigs are still very much in style for the average enthusiasts. Purpose built 4x4s, SUVs, and even their 4x2 variants all make an appearance in various states of modification to showcase what can be done to these vehicles. Despite their small numbers though, there were a few cars that have made an impact during the show.
Upon entering the show floor you will be greeted by the squad of exotics from Car Porn Racing. This year their main showcase consists of a twin-turbo Lamborghini Gallardo fitted with a plentora of aftermarket goods well as a one-off fabrication that further showcases local Carbon Fiber work – the McLaren MP4-12C LT. The “LT” stands for “Long Tail”, as Car Porn Racing drew inspiration from the ubiquitous 675LT to draft all of the 12C’s new carbon aero. To further showcase the carbon work, the whole car has been painted in a purple tint that highlights the carbon fiber weave underneath.
Further down the center of the show floor, Elite Project Motorsports has a trio of vehicles modified with parts from various japanese aftermarket brands. Taking center stage is their Lexon-kitted Lexus IS-F. With its bonnet open, it’s clear that there’s been more work done underneath aside from the widebody. A rather intricrate centrifugal supercharger setup now resides inside the bay – meaning this saloon has more go to match the show.
Ask most of the show-goers about their pick for the show and they’ll probably point you towards a red Datsun 240Z at the Hardrace booth. Classics like this 240Z are certainly a rarity in themselves around manila, not to mention a pristine one like this on Rays Engineering Volk TE37 Vs. With its bonnet lifted forwards though, you’ll understand what the commotion is all about. This Z ditches its standard motor for a more modern straight six in the form of an RB26DETT from the Nissan Skyline GT-R. Having been built for three years in between paint, the engine swap, full interior restoration, and other odds and ends, seeing this Z finally completed and recognized ought to be worth all the work.
Despite the mass of off-roaders, Honda presence is still evident among enthusiasts today. At the helm of these front-wheel driven pocket rockets is the drag EG fabricated by Powerhouse Race Specialists. If the turbo behind its K20 is anything to go by, we’re definitely certain nothing inside the block’s been left to chance. Will we see this at the strips next drag season?
While there were indeed countless 4x4s in varying states of modification, a few took their mettle for offroading to the next level. For this year 199 Offroad House in particular one-upped their 6x6 Hilux last year – by turning an LC80 Land Cruiser into a 6x6 this year. It’s one thing to see a 6x6, but it’s another entirely to see a beloved chassis turned into one with completely accurate drivetrain workings and differentials working as they should.
Luxury and ruggedness hardly ever go hand in hand, but the Mercedes G-Wagen balances both with true prowess. Ceramic Pro brought out a monstrous version of the G-Wagen in the form of the G500 4x4 squared. You’ll notice that this G-Class has wider carbon fenders as well as being raised on fat tires – those are all stock. Peek underneath and you’ll also see two dampers on each corner – also stock. The true crowning piece of the 4x4 squared though is its drivetrain configuration. Packing an array of Portal Axles, this means the whole drivetrain is raised much higher than the hubs of the wheels – giving it loads of ground clearance for crawling over trails.
At the far corner of the show there are a pair of monster trucks that will surely entertain the 5-year old in all of us. With its owners sacrificing a couple of run-down cars for their trucks to crush, it certainly makes for a spectacle for all show-goers to see these trucks in person.
If this year’s show is anything to go by, it appears there’s no stopping the SUV craze in our local aftermarket. Will there be a return to form for proper sports cars and performance saloons in the near future? If build quality is anything to go by, the few shops that that build them certainly think so.