November '15

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20 The Shop November 2015 Empty Canvas The newest fleet of sport compacts will provide plenty of opportunities for modifications and upgrading, and car owners are increasingly buying into various levels of personalized style— and bling. Each person has a favorite. Tjin believes there will be plenty of interest in the new Scion FRS, Nissan GTR and the Genesis coupe. Gracida says RKSport will unveil all- new product for the Hyundai Genesis coupe at this year's SEMA Show in Las Vegas. He's also hoping Toyota and Subaru will bring out an STi version of their current FR-S and BRZ models. "If it comes with a turbo, a nice rammer hood would be beneficial to them, as well as some additional lip kits that will change the look of the car," he says. Morales believes the new Subaru STi will be one of the most popular; she also mentions the Ford Focus and Fiesta. "These models have been redesigned inside and out to offer a more sporty design and performance," she notes. "Enthusiasts have taken notice of the revamp and many are now moving toward these platforms." "Everybody wants to stand out, especially in So-Cal," adds Moulton, noting that even the minivan market— exemplified by Toyota's "Swagger Wagon" campaign to encourage soccer moms to stylize the Sienna minivan to make it cooler and more hip—is all about standing out from the crowd. But the new car market is by no means the be-all and end-all when it comes to sport compact restyling. Lit- erally millions of cars from as far back as the '70s are catching the attention of a new generation of designers, builders and restoration/modification experts. Tjin believes many of the sport compact models that were popular from the '80s, '90s and early 2000s are enjoying a nostalgic resurgence, most notably the 1989-'98 Nissan 180SX; the 1989-'99 Nissan 240SX; the 1992-2002 Toyota Supra; the 1994-2001 Acura Integra; and the 1996-2000 Honda Civic EK HB. "There are so many flavors out there now," says Moulton, who's owned and restored '70s-era muscle cars and Japa- nese compacts himself. "Right now I am working on a '72 RA21 Celica build that I'm doing a wide-body, early-inspired IMSA style," he says, adding, "you can take an older Focus hatch or Corolla wagon and put some lowering springs and a wheel package on it and it's considered a sport compact." The nostalgic influence is strong with certain people who also appreciate the unusual. "Vintage makes and models are always going to be sought out by enthusi- asts because of their scarcity," says Morales. The hottest and most popular types of sport compact upgrades include paint; wheels and tires; suspension; and aero parts. (Photo courtesy Neil Tjin, Tjin Edition Road Show) The sport compact market is evolving, forcing designers to do more to appeal to car own- ers who want to upgrade. (Photo courtesy Billy Longfellow) In the early 1990s Wings West was on the cutting edge of making sport compact make- overs a popular artistic and lifestyle statement. The company used this Hot Wheels poster early on to help promote the sport compact trend. (Image courtesy Billy Longfellow) ReSTyling/AfTeRmARkeT AcceSSoRieS

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