A few weeks ago, Philippine Custom Car Culture celebrated the very first-ever staging of NeoClassic, an exquisitely curated car show that celebrates the uniqueness and ingenuity of the Filipino car enthusiast, and the local custom car culture’s coming of age and, much like Filipino food, making its presence slowly felt in the global custom car culture arena.
NeoClassic is the collective brainchild of the people behind Buzzhype Motorsports, Banaweboy, Stance Pilipinas-Manila Fitted and Manila Street Chronicles. These people, good friends of mine by the way and true custom car / tuning / modifying enthusiasts, are the shakers and movers in the local custom car culture, organizing major car meets and events, building traffic-stopping rides, setting the latest trends locally and traveling all over the world to gain insight and bring home the best from abroad and give it a local, uniquely Filipino twist.
The event was held at the Filinvest Tent last Saturday, January 28, 2024. Cars that participated had to ‘audition’ by the esteemed organizers ensuring that the cars that were able to participate were truly and uniquely Filipino: No blind big budget spenders, catalog tuners who simply mimic rather than create with originality or clueless people who simply see cars as a means to flex. The most respected cars at the show were the ground-breaking, uniquely original builds.
And to truly give international legitimacy to the group’s very first staging of NeoClassic, they invited Tokyo-based Alec Pender, the renowned Australian automotive custom car culture photographer behind the Instagram account @noplansco which features the best and a contributor to the global car culture website phenomenon Speedhunters.com, and Dino Dalle Carbonare, another Japan-based Italian custom car culture content creator and another Speedhunters contributor, as well. Dino also happens to be a friend of mine so it was a big thing for me to finally see the legend make his way to the Philippines as I had been ‘bragging’ to him about our local car scene since I met him a decade ago.
The show itself had 50 curated cars on display outside and another 5 cars at the outdoor display. There were an additional 14 cars from the event sponsors and vendors. For such a small collection of cars, over 3,000 people came, many of whom only perused the show for an hour, but stayed the entire day hanging out with fellow car enthusiasts. That is the essence of car culture, the social aspect of ‘hanging out’ and shooting the breeze while talking shop. Our cars come and go, but the relationships and memories made with them stay on forever.
Perhaps the real beauty of the show was that the cars were laid bare and spoke proudly of the quality behind them. There was no need for fancy stage backdrops, no window-dressing props, no scantily clad models to overwhelm and take the attention away from the cars. This is a car show truly for the sake of quality cars and discerning enthusiasts. It was tasteful, elegant and honest unlike most car shows that are an assault on your senses and sensibility, leaving you shell-shocked.
NeoClassic isn’t a one-time thing. Plans are already afoot for more shows and events in the near future, making it a regular event. Exciting times ahead for the Filipino Custom Car Culture Community.