The wild aftermarket exhibit in Kentia Hall is a perfect fit for the L.A. Auto Show. It’s a paradise for tuners and gearheads alike, set squarely in the epicenter of car culture. Packed with the most extreme custom possibilities — everything from high-tech entertainment options to handcrafted chrome rims befitting a rap star — the exhibits in Kentia Hall are among the show’s most popular attractions.
Aftermarket accessories are all about making a personal statement, customizing a beloved ride to reflect the driver’s taste and personality. It’s a process that can entail flashy paint and chrome, a sick megawatt sound system or a high-performance sports package.
Or it can be as simple as tinted windows or a cool new decal.
It’s always fun to see how the 1% rolls, but the bread and butter of the aftermarket industry is the mainstream restyling market — stuff you might actually buy.
“New car owners like to personalize their vehicle and make it their own,” said Peter MacGillivray, vice president of events and communications for the Specialty Equipment Market Assn. “[But] many vehicle owners are keeping their cars and trucks longer and often update the look with new seats or floor mats. It’s easy to see why there’s so much interest and activity in this market segment.”
It’s all front and center in Kentia Hall — often in a single extreme custom package.
DUB Celebrity Car Showcase is back with a stellar lineup of tricked-out rides driven by actors, rockers and rappers, headlined by Snoop Dogg’s Monster Edition Cadillac.
A longtime Auto Show superstar, legendary Galpin Auto Sports — the fine folks behind MTV’s “Pimp My Ride” — serves up a flashy array of head-spinning custom projects that live up to GAS’s mantra: “Having no reason to do something is the best reason to do something.”
Rocking a bold military vibe, Galpin rolls out a Ford Mustang GT X-1 built for the Air Force, an imposing creation with a USAF flight stick and, yes, an ejector seat.
Spectacular reclamation projects include a 1968 Boss 351 Trans Am Ranchero, a “junkyard dog” rescued from a scrap heap and transformed into a race track beauty.
A rugged 1966 Ford Bronco is fitted with super off-road suspension to go with a 540-horsepower Ford 377-stroker engine and sweet Cobra Sport seats. And a Ford Focus RS packs a methanol injection system and 420 horsepower, with custom painted black wheels and black vinyl racing stripes.
One of the more inventive Galpin entries is a fully functional Ford Focus mobile recording studio created for Gimme the Gig II Focus Tour, an event that travels the country allowing musicians to compete for recording sessions with Grammy-winning producer Don Was.
Al & Ed’s Autosound weighs in with its annual lineup of custom projects spanning nearly the length of a football field, fronted by a 2013 Subaru WRX sculpted from the ground up, rewired and refitted with custom rims, paint and so much more.
Other highlights include a restored 1966 Chevy Chevelle Malibu that looks fresh off the showroom floor. Inside is an Alpine video system, massive amps and subwoofers to go with two pairs of Focal Utopia speakers. A rarely seen 2012 McClaren MP4-12C and Lamborghini Aventador get the full Al & Ed’s audio treatment, as well.
Make it personal
High-end tuners and performance specialists such as Specialty Car Craft, RTW Motoring and Platinum Motorsports are on hand with lines of premium accessories and exotic luxury and sports cars all modified and tuned to the max, from Bentley to Ferrari to Rolls Royce.
Proving that small is bigger than ever, Madness Autoworks is back with an expanded inventory of Smart and Fiat parts and accessories that showcase the vast custom possibilities offered by the tiny Smart Fortwo and the sporty Fiat 500 — a couple of tuner cult favorites.
Signal Hill-based Madness Autoworks brings body kits, suicide doors and rims from scores of tuning icons including Brabus and Konigseder, along with premium audio systems and performance packages.
One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to upgrade any vehicle is with a flashy new set of wheels. Anaheim-based Wheel Warehouse holds court with a massive display of designs from high-end manufacturers including DUB Wheels and Forgiato — everything from affordable alloy rims to diamond-encrusted spinners running five figures.
“The industry is filled with products that enhance the styling and appearance of cars, trucks and SUVs,” MacGillivray said. “It really is the foundation of what we consider to be fashion for the automotive industry.”
All the latest styles are on display in Kentia Hall through Dec. 9.
Custom Publishing Writer