If you live in Minnesota and have even a modicum of interest in import car culture you’ve likely heard of Drive Cartel x High Horse Club. Known mostly by their shortened name Drive Cartel, this is a crew that hosts arguably the best meets and shows in the state. Their organization and ability to seemingly endlessly attract fresh car builds has set them apart from the pack. But, what if you were to combine a Drive Cartel meet with one of the best craft breweries in Minnesota? It sounds like a match made in heaven.
That’s just what Drive Cartel has been doing with the Cars & Crafts meets held at Flat Earth Brewing in St. Paul, Minnesota. The evening meet series, locale selection and food selection combines into a must see meet every month in summer and fall. We made our way down for the August 2018 edition of Cars and Crafts to check out what was on offer.
Previously we’ve had Khoua from Drive Cartel on Episode 14 of the MotorCult podcast, check out the link here if you missed his episode, and we mentioned how excited we were not only for the Modest Hundred show but for this series of meets as well. So, without further adieu, let’s check out some of the highlights from the event.
The cars started to roll in before the official 7 PM start time, we arrived in the middle of the roll in and we’re able to get previews of some of cars in show prior to the mobs of show goers showing up. This black NSX being placed in front of the entrance was a sign of good things to come.
At first I thought it was rocking a set of Yokohama Super Advans but upon further inspection it’s actually a set of significantly more rare Volk Racing C-Ultras. The combination of wheels and aero made the car look like a Wangan terror that made it’s way to the United States.
The first half of the row you would walk into from spectator parking was full of Japanese muscle. I remember seeing 3000GTs as a kid and thinking how huge they looked but seeing them dwarfed by a modern GTR really begins to put things into perspective. I also fully appreciate that these both have DOHC V6 twin turbo engines hooked up to an AWD drivetrain.
Of course to get into the show you didn’t need a $50k+ car, Tyson has one of the best first generation Legacy builds in the midwest and he was in the show. Originally from Canada, his Legacy is sporting an STI swap, Miro STP-1 wheels and one of the most pristine interiors I’ve ever seen in a Subaru.
When was the last time you saw a 2G Eclipse in even reasonable condition outside of the Mitsubishi Cookout? I’ll wait… Yeah, it’s been a while for me too. This was a pretty interesting car, I didn’t get a chance to talk to the owner but walking around it with the patron of the Mitsu Cookout, Curtis Gendron, we noticed it had smaller brake rotors so it leads me to think this was originally a non-turbo car.
A car that always catches my eye is Thai Xiong’s CB7 Honda Accord, for the life of me I can’t remember if it’s a ’92 or a ’93 but it is a post facelift model. Those of you who frequent our podcast know I have a soft spot for these as my first car was a ’92 Accord LX. Thai has done a great build on his car with JDM headlights, custom fitted side skirts off a CG Accord and a H22 swap.
While on holiday to California earlier this year for the Cali Accord Meet, the largest Accord centric show in the United States, Thai was able to pick up a very hard to find Erebuni rear bumper. While he wasn’t able to score the front bumper to match, it still flows very well with the rest of the exterior.
If there was one single car that demanded my attention the most, that would have to be Tony Yang’s EF Sedan. While the EF chassis is far from the most exclusive and his build is not the most radical either, his attention to detail and beautiful execution drew my attention. From the SSR Mesh wheels to the pristine interior and excellent paint condition, this car can match the condition of any EF build from California.
Speaking of quality of build, this Q45 was very well put together. Although the devil camber, as they call it in Japan, isn’t really my thing I can still appreciate how well the fenders have been rolled to match the custom sized wheels.
Although Japanese imports made up the lion’s share of cars in show, there was room for American and European cars as well. I wasn’t able to get a full shot of this GTO but the engine bay was the main attraction with this build. Check out the decent sized single turbo. I don’t know the specs of the car but with the R compound radials in the rear confirmed this car means business.
Speaking of the business, these two JZ powered cars had their bays on full display. While Ian’s SC300 came with a 2JZ-GE from the factory, Jose’s S14 240SX had the cross platform swap done by himself. It’s rare these days to see a S14 in an reasonable condition much less as clean as this one is.
Be it a 1JZ or 2JZ, I think these are some of the best looking modern straight 6 engines ever produced. This was shot from Jose’s car where he had a 1JZ head with the larger displacement 2JZ bottom end, as if a standard 1JZ he originally had wasn’t enough for the S14.
As the evening progressed and the sun went down, we began to have the custom lights come out. If you had asked me ten years ago if under glow would make a come back I would have laughed and scoffed but apparently I was wrong. There were a fair number of cars with custom lighting set ups. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I try to keep an open mind.
On a less derisive note, it’s good to see that Kimmy was able to get her carbon fiber trunk lid onto her Mugen Civic Si. I was talking to her last month and she was having a hell of a time with fitting the tail lights, which are apparently unique to the Mugen Si. This was a special edition with bodywork from Honda’s performance division, Mugen, and made for a single year. For those of you outside of the Honda world and don’t know Mugen very well, think Mercedes’s AMG or Fiat’s Abarth.
There were a handful of JDM imports in the show as well like this R32 that Brian Jannusch from Top Rank International Vehicle Importers brought. Brian was on our podcast when we did a live interview from Proving Grounds, if you missed the episode click the link here.
I’m going to round out our coverage of Cars and Crafts August with a shot of Ian’s SC300 we showed earlier. These cars are elegant if plain in stock form but really come into their own when lowered a bit. I look forward to seeing what Drive Cartel has to offer for their September show next month. Click the album below for additional pictures from the show if you want to see more of what was on offer.