‘Yabangan Nights’ goes to SMX
Photographs courtesy of JDMU Seventy-five cars joined the car meet, dubbed as ‘Yabangan Nights.’
What started as a messaging board for people with a shared love for Japanese-made cars in 2008 has grown into a community of close to 3,500 today.
Last 4 March, JDMUnderground, or JDMU held its regular “Yabangan Nights” at the SMX Convention Center at the Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City.
JDM stands for Japanese Domestic Market.
JDMU holds YNs four times a year usually in open parking lots. JDMU members show off their rides and share stories.
“But this time, we outdid ourselves by holding it indoors for the first time at the SMX,” said Dens de la Cruz, one of JDMU’s core members.
De la Cruz said it was a collective effort by the group led by Joel Zapanta, one of the founders; core members Vitor Amado Gonzalez, Patrick Lay and himself, and admins Lester Contreras and Eric Jerome Bengzon.
Seventy-five cars from as far as Bicol were displayed during the whole-day affair that attracted thousands of JDMU members and non-members alike.
“It’s actually a car meet with a feel of a car show competition because we handed plaques of appreciation for those who joined,” De la Cruz said.
In the absence of judges, the public was enjoined to choose their top 10 builds.
“We made a QR code wherein all our members and non-members can vote. We opened the poll at 11 a.m. and closed it at 5 p.m.,” he said.
The verdict was out 15 minutes later.
The Civic Lxi converted to a full track car owned by Ariel Benedict Bonus of Pampanga was the top choice, garnering 250 of the 1,501 votes cast.
It has a D16 Y4 non-VTEC engine with BC DS racing coil overs. It has Sparco seats, Bride railings, a Cusco seatbelt and a Momo steering wheel.
It does not only look good but is also a beast on the race tracks with several trophies to show.
Some of the rare cars displayed include a Mitsubishi Legnum, Evo 6 Tommi Makinen, Honda CRZ Hybrid and a Suzuki Altowork.
De la Cruz recalled the early days of JDMU.
“Once the board was up and running on 2 June 2008, everyone started talking and planning out what was going to happen while making sure that everything was kept under wraps,” he said.
A month later, 30 cars showed up at a meet in a gas station on Marcos Highway.
“Everybody knew everybody, so it was both fun and overwhelming. It was a successful trip to the mountains,” De la Cruz recounted.
JDMU grew into an online community formed by a close-knit group wishing to create a haven for car enthusiasts who enjoy modifying and restoring their rides using various JDM parts.
These parts stem from the classic and discontinued ones to the latest technological components made by Japanese companies.
“We wanted to be able to gather this diverse group of people and cars who not only dedicate themselves to the passion but also achieve the performance that we have always seen in the pages of JDM Tuning bibles,” De la Cruz said.
While Honda car enthusiasts started it all, JDMU is not limited to a certain brand but caters to a diverse group of individuals who love and appreciate one another’s hard work.
Before they gather again in August, JDMU members will hold occasional fun runs, charity events and track days, according to De la Cruz.
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