Ferrari, Bentley, Rolls-Royce in Chinatown, oh my!—Cars create communities

By Assunta Ng
NORTH-WEST ASIA WEEKLY’

Most people have preconceptions about cars. It’s a guy’s hobby. And the auto industry is a major contributor to the US economy, contributing “3 to 3.5 percent to overall gross domestic product, according to the Center for Automobile Research.

One assumption is right, and the other is wrong.

(Photo by Assunta Ng)

Namsayin, a multi-million dollar auto show was held for the first time in Chinatown on July 30. You could see Ferraris, BMWs, Lotuses, Bentleys, Rolls-Royces, Porsches, Datsuns, Toyotas, Hondas, Mazadas, Chevrolets, Fords. , and others lined up side by side, around the Bank of America parking lot outside and inside.

(Photo by Assunta Ng)

If you think a car is only for driving and transporting goods, this show can redefine how you can have fun with cars in our lives. It’s not just a status symbol or someone’s toy. The significance of the Chinatown-International District (CID) annual 55-car show will enrich your imagination.

(Photo by Assunta Ng)

Cars are a reflection of your life philosophy, according to car enthusiasts. It’s about passion, creativity, design, community, excitement, entertainment, bringing people together, and most importantly, supporting IADC.

Why the CID?

The auto show was part of the CID Celebration program organized by the Hong Kong Business Association of Washington.

Thach Nguyen’s Ferrari with custom seats and steering wheel (Photo by Assunta Ng)

Thach Nguyen, a real estate investor, said he received a call from the association on how to bring more young people to the CID celebration. Nguyen, a luxury car enthusiast, said the association should hold a car show.

Thach Nguyen’s Ferrari with a custom steering wheel (Photo by Assunta Ng)

Thach Nguyen’s Ferrari with custom seats (Photo by Assunta Ng)

Nguyen owns a Ferrari, a Bentley and two Rolls-Royces, and is linked to Walter Franco, who organizes car shows and rallies.

“Our model is the community rather than the cars,” Franco said. “We put people before cars.”

Franco family. Left to right, back row: Al-Michael Franco, brother/co-founder, Walter Franco, father Albert, mother Lydia. Left to right, front row: Maria Franco and Cheryl Florendo. (Photo by Assunta Ng)

The group also raises awareness of automotive cultures and explains how cars are dedicated to different lifestyles. The show was also a competition for the 55 exhibiting cars. It brought together people from the auto industry and car enthusiasts at the show. The judging took place at the end of the afternoon and 15 prizes were awarded.

Franco’s goal was to promote and raise awareness of the rich cultures of the CID.

“The group will choose a designated route, sometimes on a highway or sometimes shorter. But we make it a goal to finish in Chinatown, mainly to help all the small businesses… It’s about sharing the camaraderie of building cars.

Franco’s love of cars began at CID as a kid, dining in the neighborhood, watching unique cars go by.

(Photo by Assunta Ng)

“This place has so much history. Tai Tung was Bruce Lee’s favorite restaurant. For people in our community who don’t know that, it’s quite a disgrace. We want to honor those kinds of stories. Also, we want to tell car stories. It’s not just about fixing cars or making them look cool, it’s really about brotherhood, brotherhood, families to get out and enjoy cars.

The group has a cruise and a gathering. So far, he has held 50 rallies at the old Uwajimaya parking lot.

“We want to breathe new energy into the neighborhood. It’s not about making money,” Franco said. “It’s a free car show. We want people to be aware of the amazing food here (CID).”

How to have fun with cars

(Photo by Assunta Ng)

Build your own car. What!? Yes. All the cars in the show have been personalized. You wouldn’t be able to recognize it as a Honda or a Toyota. They have all been modified and transformed. It’s like building your own house, designing your treehouse and garden landscape, remodeling your kitchen, and sewing your special wedding dress. If you have joy and fun designing and making things, imagining how your projects came to fruition, building your own model might be a great choice.

This is exactly what Franco did. Naming his car and the same as the car show, Namsayin (you know what I’m saying), he designed his own car from the ground up by combining a Toyota and a Subaru, a collaborative effort built in Japan . This is Franco’s passion. As an illustrator, artist and automotive designer, he is the contractor for building cars. How come I never thought of combining the optional models when buying my car? I thought the only option was to go to a car dealership.

(Photo by Assunta Ng)

“The mindset of building a car reflects every facet of your life,” said Franco, who also helps small businesses tell stories and meet their marketing needs. A significant issue is that Franco said he follows the rules of the book and does not advise people to take shortcuts, especially when building their own cars.

Nguyen said he not only enjoys driving expensive cars, it’s also an investment. A Ferrari would cost around $400,000, he said. “You can’t buy a Ferrari because there’s a long waiting list,” he said. If you’ve never bought a Ferrari before, the manufacturer won’t sell it to you. So you have to buy it from other owners. So Nguyen would sell it back to a new owner for $500,000. Then he would buy another one and build it to his liking. After a while, he would sell it. Each of his cars is personalized. The road was closed to vehicles from Nguyen and others outside Bank of America.

A guy thing?

(Photo by Assunta Ng)

The Northwest Asian Weekly did not see any female car enthusiasts attending the auto show. Franco said the reason was that they were given short notice – about three weeks. About 10% of the participants were women in previous shows.

Women tend to care less about high power and more about design and elegance.

“We take inspiration from our female counterparts,” Franco said. “Maybe take away some of the masculinity in the car. In the future, we would like to welcome more female manufacturers.

(Photo by Assunta Ng)

Each of these automobiles are not the typical models you find at car dealerships. Of the 30,000 parts, you can customize and modify your car with hundreds of features, from engines to paint, frames, windows, mats, bumpers, attachments, paint, seats, engraving, graphics, ruffles, etc. Even the car manufacturer’s logo can be customized, such as placing the car emblem where you want it. A familiar modification is how car owners convert a truck into a travel vehicle, turning the rear part into a sleeping area and a kitchenette.

Already, fans have been asking for the CID auto show to return next year to the Seattle Center and also be part of the Seafair Chinatown Parade, Nguyen said. Next time, the show will expand to include the old Uwajimaya parking lot, as well as two other rows on the street, he said.

Motor show competition organizers and winners. (Photo by Assunta Ng)

The power of cars cannot be underestimated. In addition to boosting the economy, the CID Motor Show helps us understand how it can build communities by connecting diverse like-minded people from all walks of life, providing entertainment and friendship. Every auto show builds a community, one at a time. Except this time it started in an unlikely part of town, Chinatown.

Assunta can be contacted at [email protected]

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