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Hot Import Nights: The Religion of Car Modding


Some people are so addicted to computers and game consoles that they install their must-have electronics gear in their cars in addition to their home and offices. These people just have to play Halo or surf the Internet anywhere they are - including from behind the wheel (parked, of course). While many of our readers have modified their computers with flashing lights, custom paintjobs or crazy heat sinks; car owners are modding out their rides as well. Hot Import Nights (HIN), a show with an addictive mix of cars, games and women, roared into San Mateo, California April 2, 2005. The HIN yearly tour spans more than 20 cities in the U.S. and Britain, with ticket prices ranging from $20 to $25.

Competitors enter their modified cars into contests in the hopes of winning trophies and cash. Some of the contest categories are the standard ones you would expect at a car show, such as best paint show or best interior. For THG readers, the in car entertainment (ICE) category would probably be the most interesting. Competitors in this category show off their electronic laden cars, which have been stuffed with computers, game consoles, LCD screens and speaker systems. The amount of money spent on the cars, often exceed the value of the automobile many times over.


Many of the vehicles at HIN sported various electronic gadgetry that you would expect to find in your home entertainment center. LCD screens small and large lined the dashboards, headrests and back hatches of the cars. Some of the screens were for important things like GPS navigation or real-time adjustment or monitoring of engine statistics (RPM and fuel mixture). Often the screens were used for playing games from consoles such as the Playstation 2 or Xbox.

Screens set in headrests are becoming very popular. With sizes ranging from five to seven inches (measured diagonally), you can probably find the perfect one to fit your car. The most expensive models, which have higher brightness and resolution, can cost several hundred dollars each.

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