Car enthusiasts and racing fans recently experienced the biggest outdoor automotive event in the country featuring the National Car Audio Challenge and a championship drag race at the PEA Promenade. Organized by, the event gathered the biggest names in the aftermarket industry such as Ambi Pur Car, Concept One Wheels, H&R Suspension, Silverwind Wheels, DLS, JVC, JL Audio, Kicker, Kicx Car Hi-Fi Speakers, Lightning Audio, Rockford Fosgate, Solid Audio, Fremuff, Matonetics, and A-toy Bodykits.

Finally, after seven years of dormancy, car audio fanatics get the fairest competition they've long waited and truly deserved, as hosted the National Car Audio Competition, for Sound Quality and SPL types. Four foreign judges probed forty plus participants during that day, wherein the search for the best sounding car commenced. Competitors from as far as Davao City also joined in the fun. Competitors are then split into categories, whether they'd be a novice, amateur, or pro, and then split further into their respective power classes.

As the evaluation of each car went on, participants watched their cars from the outside, as the judging method employed was a little bit different from the one that seasoned competitors are accustomed to. In this particular event, the judge will be the only person inside the competition vehicle so as not to induce distraction while listening to the installation. For this particular competition, the EMMA Test Disc was the yardstick of choice.

The disc featured test tracks to evaluate almost every characteristic of the car audio installation, from the simple polarity to phasing, to the almost unachievable good staging, imaging, and overall tonal balance. The judges consumed an average of twenty to thirty minutes per car, after which, they would give an honest-to-goodness remark about the installation to the owner, sound-quality wise. For the installation aesthetics, local judges were tasked to inspect the overall installation of the vehicle.

During sound-off day, demo cars and products were on display, such as H&R Suspension, Koni, Concept One Wheels, Nitto Tires, R2 Auto Centrum, Fremuff Exhausts, demo cars from DLS, Rockford Fosgate, Kicker, Lightning Audio and others. Forbest Foods provided food and drinks throughout the event. Car clubs such as the ProtegeTech Club, Daihatsu Club of the Philippines, and Team RAGE (Racers, Audiophiles, and Gentlemen) fielded their member vehicles as part of the display.

Of course, what would be a car audio competition without the ear-breaking SPL competition? For those who wanted and desired nothing but bass, no one (or nothing for that matter) must be pleased but that non-assuming device called the RTA (or Real Time Analyzer). The RTA is a device used to measure in-car SPL (Sound Pressure Level). It's then time for the otherwise known as "SPL Drag Racing Competition", where no numbers mattered but decibels. This particular event was so exciting that spectators ended up in betting on who they thought was the loudest vehicle during each match-up. The loudest for that day was the Kid Audio/Team DLS Mitsubishi Pajero owned by Frederick De Guzman which logged a 169.8db.

As the quest for the loudest and the purest-sounding vehicle went by, the drag race portion of Ignition 2004 saw more than 250 cars competing for cash prizes up to P50,000. During qualifying and time trials on Friday, the pit area was already full of cars waiting to take their shots. When Saturday came, additional entries made sure that tire burning action would be the order of the day. Not to be outdone were the thousands of spectators who made the trek to the SM seaside strip to watch and cheer for their favorite drivers and cars.

The cars was made up mostly of the usual sport compacts like Civics, Corollas, etc. There were however a number of Japanese supercars present including several Lancer Evos, a 300ZX, Starlet Turbos, and even R32 Nissan Skyline GTR. And with what could be a first in Phil. drag racing, several SUVs joined the race as well.

One of the more unique entries was Autoplus Sportzentrium's diesel-powered Toyota Land Cruiser 80 series. During Friday qualifying, it already set a best time of 16.0. Not bad for a diesel powered, 4000+ lb, A/T SUV! Saturday came and not one, but two other modified Land Cruisers from the Manila Off Roaders Inc. (MORI) joined in on the action.

The car audio competition proved to be very successful and was a sign that the local car audio industry is very alive and ready to kick butt, as participants and car audio shops are more than enthusiastic as ever. In fact, after sound-off day, some of those bitten by the car audio bug ended up selling their existing components, in exchange for better ones, and hopefully be ready for the next competition, which would be hopefully before the end of the year, according to the event's co-organizer Philippine AutoSound Challenge.

The spirit of competition is truly a human thing. Yes, it's true that you are the sole audience of your installation, but somehow imparting it to well-trained ears under the guise of competition will prove to be more fruitful. Besides, your hundred-thousand-something car audio system setup does not get what it truly deserves: grins and affirmations from everyone who listens to it, and, if you're lucky, a sound-off trophy!

The event was presented by Ambi-Pur Car, and is supported by H&R Suspension, Concept One, Airborne Access, Silverwind, and brought to you in part by DLS, JVC, JL Audio, Kicker, Kicx Car Hi-Fi Speakers, Lightning Audio, Rockford Fosgate, Solid Audio, Matonetics, Forbest Bar & Grill, and the Philippine Autosound Challenge. Media partners for the event are Auto Extreme, C! Magazine, The Manila Standard, and The Manila Bulletin.