Culture > Bliss

12 things to see at the 2017 Manila Auto Salon

Where cars, trucks and aftermarket stuff converge

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for Pinoy car nuts, and it’s not because of the Christmas season. There’s the Manila Auto Salon this weekend at the SMX Convention Center in the Mall of Asia complex in Pasay City. Once again, exhibitors from various garages, media outfits, car distributors and aftermarket shops flaunt their latest builds and products.

Here, we share with you 12 of the show’s attractions that grabbed our attention the most.

That's automotive porn indeed. PHOTO BY RED SANTIAGO

1. Car Porn Racing’s exotics. What would the Manila Auto Salon be without automobiles that stop visitors dead in their tracks? And when it comes to such cars, we can almost always expect Angie Mead King’s squad to bring the best displays a car expo can hope to showcase. Ogle at a Lamborghini Gallardo, a McLaren 12C, a minty hued Mercedes-Benz S-Class and a heavily modified Mazda MX-5 as you enter the event grounds.

Italian automobiles are simply sexy and elegant. PHOTO BY RED SANTIAGO

2. 3M’s twin Maseratis. To show off its ScotchGuard Paint Protection Films, the car-care specialist has brought in not one but two Maseratis, a purplish Ghibli and a white Quattroporte VI for you to feast your eyes on. The cars are already stunning as they are, but with 3M’s paint films, they’re even more majestic-looking.

We wouldn't mind getting stuck in traffic with a mobile lounge like this. PHOTOS BY RED SANTIAGO

3. Atoy Customs’ Manila-proof vans. Car customizer Atoy Llave wants you to enjoy navigating our chaotic streets with his specially equipped vans. Check out what he’s done to the Kia Grand Carnival, the Nissan Urvan Premium and the Foton Toano. These vehicles are designed to make you feel at home even while sitting in the craziest rush-hour gridlock.

What Philippine car show is complete without old Volkswagens? PHOTOS BY RED SANTIAGO

4. Bug Eye Restoration’s Volkswagens. If you love old-school VWs, this shop has fully restored samples of the Type 3 Wagon and the popular Type 2 Kombi. Of all the cars at the show, these are among the spotlight-stealing ones.

Don't let the soothing pastel colors deceive you—this is a capable off-road vehicle. PHOTO BY RED SANTIAGO

5. Concept One’s 4×4 workhorses. The old and the new are at the alloy wheel brand’s booth. Besides a properly pimped-out fifth-generation Hilux, there’s also the father-and-son tandem of the mythical FJ40 Land Cruiser and the FJ Cruiser.

We all started with make-believe toy cars, didn't we? PHOTO BY RED SANTIAGO

6. Baby and daddy G-Wagens. One of the most photographed booths at the show is that of Ceramic Pro. Its pairing of toy and real-life G-Class vehicles is too cute not to share on social media.

Be transported back to your college days when all you wanted was a lowered Civic. PHOTO BY RED SANTIAGO

7. The Honda Civics. As far as aftermarket-tuned cars are concerned, the legendary Japanese automobile immediately comes to mind. And this year’s Manila Auto Salon has no shortage of it. Choose from a Spoon-inspired Civic SiR and a myriad of Civic Ferios and hatchbacks, and drool all you want.

Surely not the most fuel-efficient car around, but good enough as main display for a petroleum brand. PHOTO BY RED SANTIAGO

8. Cleanfuel’s supercars. The relatively young petroleum company may have a small booth but it has really big showstoppers to fill that space. On display are a white Ferrari 458 Speciale and a first-generation Ford GT. They’re such beautiful pieces of automotive art that, on their own, they’re already worth the P150 admission fee.

Before the love-it-or-hate-it 'Love Life' Corolla arrived, this model had been well-received by Toyota fanatics. PHOTO BY RED SANTIAGO

9. Not your average big-body Corolla. Toyota’s beloved car isn’t the best-selling motor vehicle in history for nothing. And one of its most popular models is the seventh-generation, E100 iteration, fondly called “Big Body.” It is the most ubiquitous sedan back in the 1990s, especially in demand among the yuppies and even the hardworking cabbies. Here’s an impressive sample by Vonetix Radical Creations.

R34 Skyline GT-R plus RB28DETT engine equals crowd-drawer. PHOTOS BY RED SANTIAGO

10. The Nissan Fairlady Z. A second-generation model of the venerated car is present at the show, complete with the famous RB28DETT engine under its hood. Yes, that’s the same powerplant that propels the R34 Skyline GT-R. Imagine what this amazing motor can do with that great S130 chassis.

Leave it to Filipinos to inject politics into everything they touch. PHOTOS BY RED SANTIAGO

11. The politicized monster trucks. Whether you’re for President Duterte or the Yellow Camp, there’s a giant truck for you. The red one visually professing its allegiance to PRRD is based on the Chevrolet Silverado. Not sure if the American automaker approves of his politics.

The classics will always have more appeal than their modern counterparts. PHOTOS BY RED SANTIAGO

12. The classic cars. It’s always nice to see perfectly restored versions of some of the most iconic cars to ever be produced. Some restoration shops have pristine examples of the Volkswagen Type 3 Cabriolet, the Chevrolet C10/K10 pickup, the Oldsmobile F85, the Mercedes-Benz W123 sedan and the Austin A40 Somerset Convertible.

Red Santiago

A jack of all trades, Red is passionate about cars, motorcycles and audio. He sometimes drives for a ride-hailing app company—just because he really loves driving.