“Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.” once said Winston Churchill, one of Britain’s greatest prime ministers. The man’s character was tested during the nation’s darkest hours and without a doubt, Churchill rose to the occasion with great foresight and the charismatic ability to encourage his people to press on is probably one of the greatest British stories ever to be told. The untimely and unfortunate setting of curfew and martial law in the country saw the cancellation of the Kingdom’s largely anticipated tuned car show in South East Asia, the Bangkok International Auto Salon 2014.
The unthinkable had just happened; and the Thais were not going to allow this to dampen their spirits. Some things had to be done to save a seemingly lost cause. The Thai people take their cars seriously, this was an opportunity that could not be allowed to slip by; after all, such automotive festivity only happens once a year…
The shedload of cars, packed into containers, bound for Thailand was not going to be wasted. The repeated calls for action to reinstate the event had not gone unheard. The staff at Option Thailand, one of the country’s favourite Japanese tuner magazine made good progress and eventually, hit gold with the approval to organise Option Thailand Festival 2014, a car show packed with all the arriving tuned Japanese automotive goodness with a good dose of local tuning flavour. Going into full-scale production, the Optional Thailand Festival kicked off on the 31st of July to the 3rd of August at the Thunder Dome, Muang Thong Thani. Regulars to the country’s annual Bangkok International Auto Salon were not disappointed, with plenty of the latest tuned automobiles from Japan, buffed and gleamed to an amazing mirror-like showroom shine for all to enjoy.
Eager fans were left to gawk at this year’s offerings from the Land of the Rising Sun, with instant hits such as Nissan Skyline GT-Rs, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions, Subaru WRX STis and Honda Civic Type Rs, tuned to almost fan-like perfection. Naturally with so much show from Japan, the Thais had to make a resounding impression as well. Representing their country with pride, many tuned vehicles (or regulars to the yearly events) made their way down for display at Thunder Dome. Not disappointingly, these got an equal amount of attention from visitors, just like their Japanese guests. To boast local strength and support even further, the local contingents of car clubs, varying from Mazdas to Toyotas and Hondas were parked neatly outside the exhibition grounds for all to admire.
One attractive feature of the show however, was the amazing show of support for the event by vendors. Not only were they present, just like how they conjured up so much space in last year’s Bangkok International Auto Salon 2013 show, various goods and merchandise that they sold; ranging from full bucket seats, boost controllers, tuning parts and much more, were going for discounted prices. Tell us now, which automotive enthusiast could ever reject such poisonous callings!
Tuned cars aside, new car manufacturers had to grab a slice of the delicious pie that was exciting everyone. Appearing at extravagant booths with the year’s latest offerings, the booths of Honda and Toyota were one of the most eye-catching, with their Modulo and TRD attachments and accessories to boot. Bike manufacturers were also out in full force with their sporty attachments to the daily commuting types and of course, the bigger guns in the form of performance superbikes that surely made the two-wheeled motor enthusiast drool!
As with all Thai-events, sexy and gorgeous eye-candy go hand in hand, especially if cars are the exhibition’s main event. Lesser occupied space does not necessarily mean lesser ladies; just pure juicy, eye concentrate for all ogle at! Flaunting everything they got, the audience were treated to a spectacular car wash with- you got it, sexy race queens that bubble-bathed and sponged those lucky cars on stage, much to the delight of the fans who definitely snapped more than just a dozen photos!
Even through the ashes of untimely events, the Thais have proven, year after year that defeats are only stepping stones to paving a greater glory. Turning the postponed Bangkok International Auto Salon 2014 into Option Thailand Festival was possibly one of the greatest moves ever, putting to good use the logistics in motion before the suddenly postponement of the original show. Hats off to you Thailand, you certainly are a Kingdom of a Thousand Smiles and REV Singapore looks forward to another great show next year with Bangkok International Auto Salon 2015!
Photos by Vince Carlo