More than 12,000 people turn out for show that drives ‘the next generation of car lovers’
Formerly known as the Future Classic Car Show, the ClassicCars.com-sponsored event that kicks off Arizona Auction Week 2020 was rebranded this year as the Future Collector Car Show. The change in name and emphasis for the 5th annual show was from the cars to the collectors.
And it obviously worked as a record of more than 12,000 people attended the Sunday afternoon event to see the 150 cars showcased along High Street, an upscale shopping district in north Phoenix.
The show’s mission is to drive the next generation of car lovers and one way to do that was to make more cars eligible for the show and by revising the categories in which cars would be judged and awards would be presented. Also taking part in the show and the judging were such celebrities as Fielding Shredder of Netflix’ Hyperdrive, Formula Drift judge Ryan Lanteigne and Formula Drift competitor Andrew Schulte.
Best of Show honors went to Timothy Eull for his 1993 Mazda RX-7 presented in R1-spec and in Competition Yellow Mica colors. Of 14,000 RX -7s sold in the U.S., only 350 were both R1-spec and wearing that yellow shade.
Eull made his car even more special with personal touches and period-correct modifications. Several of his modifications were done with products from RE Amemiya, a company founded in 1974 by the pioneer in tuning rotary-powered engines, Isami Amemiya in Tomisato Japan.
Eull created a true Mazda masterpiece, including the signature on the dashboard of RS-7 FD3S project manager Takaharu Kobayakawa.
With a huge smile on his face, Eull said he found the “explosive” nature of the rotary engine quite exciting. Many share his sentiment as we’ve seen an increase in buyer interest in these Mazda sports cars.
As Future Collector Car Show chief judge Andy Reid put it, “If you are looking to add a car to your collection, you need to buy an FD RX-7.”
While Best of Show remained the top award, while Best Restored, Best Preserved, and Best Modified honors were added to highlight the variety of conditions these enthusiasts prefer for their vehicles.
The Best Preserved award went to a 1988 BMW M3 Evolution 2, number 330 of only 500 produced and a car recently imported from the UK with less than 32,000 original miles owned by Brian Abraham. Judges said the car was a perfect example of why the revised awards focused on the condition of the vehicle and the concept the owner was trying to achieve.
To highlight the efforts of the younger car owners, Rookie of the Year was introduced for participants 25 and under and was judged by Formula Drift Judge Ryan Lanteigne. Johnny Juarez won for his highly modified wide-body 2014 Subaru WRX. Lanteigne said he was especially impressed that Juarez had done most of the modification himself.
“When choosing the Rookie Of The Year Award, first I looked for cars with attention to detail both inside and out. Then I spoke to the owners to find out how much they had done on their own,” guest judge Ryan Lanteigne said. “When I saw the amount of work done to Johnny’s Subaru and he told me about the hand-made pieces inside and out, his level of enthusiasm, creativity and hard work caught my attention. That hard work and the eye-popping final product were fully deserving of the Rookie of The Year award.”
With many of the entries fitting the Best Modified category, two guest judges were assigned to comb through the competition. ClassicCars.com-sponsored Formula Drift driver Andrew Schulte partnered with Hyperdrive competitor Fielding Shredder to present the trophy to Nick Hammon and his 1992 Mazda Miata.
Originally Hammon’s track car, the Miata was redone into a show-quality competitor. Hammon even paid attention to details that most people cannot see, such as polishing the car’s oil pan.
With so many cars eligible for Best Modified honors, second and third place also were awarded. Second went to Jhae Pfenning and his self-designed “fighter jet” wrap for his 1997 Acura NSX while third was awarded to the Voodoo Ride green wide-body 2009 Nissan GT-R owned by Jose Flores and driven to the show by wife Shiela Flores.
In previous years, only cars produced since 1975 were eligible for the show, but that changed for 2020 and thus Best Restored honors went to Theril Lund for his 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda.
Lund had experienced a life-threatening heart attack that landed him in the hospital for almost a year. His brother had sent him the lead on the unrestored ‘Cuda while he was recovering, and Lund told the judges the process of purchasing and restoring the car could be credited for his recovery.
The restoration was meticulous, down to the purposefully unpainted screw on the VIN plate, just like it came from the factory. Additionally, since the engine wasn’t original and numbers matching when Lund purchased it, he ended up sourcing an engine that was produced in the same month and year as the vehicle itself.
Universal Technical Institute brought back their annual Students Choice award to be chosen and awarded by the Student Council of the current class. This year Krisztina Athanasakis was awarded the handmade trophy for her 2014 Ford Mustang GT.
Another change in the awards was evidenced as Steeda Performance Vehicles presented a Best Ford trophy to David Jocobelli for his 1979 Mustang. Slime also presented an award for Best Trunk to Mike Klennofsky for his 2015 Dodge Charger.
“We’re already planning some additional changes for the show in the future to enhance its interest to an even wider audience,” said Roger Falcione, founder and chief executive of ClassicCars.com.