12/05/2005 VIP TREATMENT
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Tue, Dec 6, 2005
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By JOHN GRAFMAN
Once upon a time, the Autorama ruled the automotive show circuit. That gave way to the Concours d'Elegance. And today, we find Hot Import Night and the like to be the center of attention. VIP Auto Fashion might have its roots in HIN, but this a whole new ballgame and a look at the future of prestige automotive events.
What we have here today is among the best of the best: From the 605 HP V10 Porsche Carrera GT costing $440,000 to Asanti Diamond Series wheels that for a cool million dollars include 12,000 diamonds, 800 sapphires, totaling over 1,100 carats. And they throw in a free Bentley for good measure. Everything is geared for those that demand the ultimate.
Many of those who have a vehicle on display are here to showcase the autos (as well as, perhaps, their businesses). Cars are provided courtesy of several dealerships, aftermarket companies, custom builders, driving clubs and some rather particularly unique companies.
The perfect example of how this event is so encompassing is in the case of FX Performance. Never heard of FX before? If you own a Ferrari or exotic, maybe you should. FX Performance's blue and yellow, first-class facility in Los Angeles is just off the 405. Millions pass by it every day, and so few know what lies within. Lucio Nicolodi has brought together a team of some of the finest trained mechanics to turn a wrench. Normally, this isn't a big deal; they aren't the only shop in town. Unique to FX is that they have gained their knowledge first hand. They have a track proven record and have been instrumental in a number of Ferrari victories.
Together with Costantino Bertuzzi, FX offers a driving academy designed to bring out the best in drivers. After all, what's the point of having a really fast car if you don't know how to drive fast?
So how does this relate to the VIP show? Resting on a small riser in the entry way is a one of the great Italian supercars, the Ferrari Enzo. The project code name during the development was FX. And it just so happens this Enzo is also the property of Mr. Nicolodi.
This is why this show is so special. The companies here are catering to those who have the means to live life to the fullest. Sure, lots of them also cater to cars and their owners regardless of their economic status. For instance, XM satellite radio, Meguiar's, and Dunlop tires or NGK spark plugs work great in a $200,000 sports car with equal efficiency and quality in a $20,000 sport compact. As such, this show offers more than we would see elsewhere like a lounge and sports bar within the center of the venue, complete with big screen plasmas. If that's not enough, how about a poker game arena with bombshell models on hand to challenge all takers!
A brief of the cars we see on the floor covers everything from any of the most recent Ferraris, a few Bentley Continental GTs, far too many Lamborghinis (both Murcielago and Gallardo), a couple Rolls Royce Phantoms, a race-tuned Cadillac (yes, they make 'em and they are wickedly fast), a Spyker, a Lotus Elise, a small grouping of Aston Martins, the American supercar by Saleen (the S7), a few variations on the Ford GT, and believe it or not, two Porsche Carrera GTs.
This list only skims the surface of some extraordinary cars that rarely get seen on the streets. But as this event exhibits, they are becoming more plentiful all the time. As LA Car mentioned in our SEMA article, there is now more gear targeted to just this specialized market than ever before.
The show is a blend of many things and the sparseness of vendors from strictly the sport compact segment allows this show to become its own animal, and a powerful one at that. While many try to emulate high-end machines at other shows, these are the real deal!
Does this mean all we have come to know about the show circuit ceases inside these doors? Well, not quiet. There is still a stage with a number of DJs spinning tunes and tossing swag to the masses gathered around. And lets not forget the gorgeous models on hand either!
The direction this event takes us is into uncharted territory. I can only imagine, as this is but the first season for this affair, that it will only continue to grow, refine, and ripen in time like a fine wine. As it does, we will be there to drink it up!
For more information go to www.vipautofashion.com
For more information on FX Performance please go to www.fxperformance.com