This year the show moved from Orange County to L.A. and perhaps the crowd was a bit more jaded than the O.C. crew was last year. Besides the few sponsored lounge areas, there wasn't a whole lot of energy in the hall. Follow the jump for a full gallery and more details.
The cars were pretty well turned out, but nothing really newsworthy. Instead of Civics, Supras, and Skylines, it's Ferraris, Benzes, and Bimmers. And the occasional SMART.
Even a couple of boats and bikes were on display.
With SEMA just a few weeks back, it was kind of anticlimactic, but nothing can match the scope of SEMA and that wasn't the intention here. SEMA is, after all, an industry show. VIP is for the general public, albeit a slightly more affluent public.
Taking the HIN concept and applying it to the upscale tuner crowd has some built-in drawbacks, but nothing too severe. The higher end tuner cars are generally only attainable by a slightly older and wealthier crowd than the typical HIN followers. The owners are a bit more secluded inside the lounges and behind the ropes. Maybe that's the true appeal and we just missed it. Wouldn't be the first time. Nor, probably, the last.
It makes it more of a gawker event than HIN, which can reach across the ropes and draw in potential new hobbyists quite readily. Kind of expensive too, at $20 for parking and $20 for tickets, although lots of freebies and discounts were available at recent local events.
What makes VIP unique compared to other HIN events isn't even the plethora of exotics, it's the fact that there's an actual fashion show held during the night. Some top designers and models got to strut their stuff for the crowd. It's hard to believe the assembled throng of guys with cameras was looking for some Holiday shopping ideas.
Best groupings were the Modified Luxury and Exotics collection that housed a Novitec Ferrari from CEC and an AC Schnitzer Tension...
...and also the Karma Lounge (benefiting The Karma Foundation) that was displaying a 300 SL Gullwing next to a TVR Tuscan...
...right across from the Mosler MT900S we just told you about. Pretty nice stuff, but not spectacular.
Having said that, it was still a lot of fun. I guess hanging with the right people makes all the difference in the world. The people at the Driven/Ferrari/Playboy Lounge were the stars of the show and, despite some of the aforementioned drawbacks, they made it a fun night.