Words and Photography: Jonny Smith
As we get further into the show calendar, we start to enter a very busy period of time. With shows on every week, clashing together, it can be quite a handful, especially if you usually work weekends as I do. This means I have to be quite selective on which weekends and shows to book off. As you can see, this year FittedUK made it onto that list.
2 years ago was my first time up to Manchester for FittedUK, Driving the furthest north for a show I've done before, I had what I can only describe as one wild weekend. Unfortunately, I couldn't make it last year, so this year was a must.
Held at EventCity, attached to The Trafford Centre, it's a huge venue which can pack way too many cars into it. With a show this size, as we know all too well with organizing our own show, it is a mammoth undertaking and one that I have huge respect to Koshi, Adam, Catherine and the rest of the Fitted Team. It's not an easy task with so many people to accommodate. They're very long days over the weekend, and sometimes I think people forget that!
The variety of cars on show was overwhelming. Being honest here, with a show this size, it's difficult to find the motivation to go ahead and shoot. Everywhere you look is potential and it feels more like a chore than a hobby. Keeping my spirits alive, I decided to approach the show in a different way. Instead of 2000 photos of every car, all the same angle and go for a more spotlight approach. So on Saturday, I took my time to walk around whilst everyone was setting up their stands or detailing cars to really take in what was there, pick out a few favorites, others that took me eye and drew me closer and created a plan of action for Sunday. With that, in the morning, I set off spending more time with each car, taking in the final details, and a few surprising me along the way.
First up, and actually only being there on the Saturday was Kyza's Rx7.
It's been a long time since I first saw this car in it's near standard form at Players Classic in 2018. Now being brought to the ground with the help of Airride and the wonderful BBS wheels. It just sat there, still wet from the horrible northern weather outside and just stood out in the vast hall.
The standard body lines on an Rx7 do not need to be played with.
It may only be simple, but as we always say, simplicity is best at times.
Right in front of the stage, a well-deserved place was Jeanne's Mk3, All the way from Switzerland, this car has traveled some distance over the past few months. For the eagle-eyed readers out there you'll recognize this from our stand at Players Classic in June.
Running a superb fans setup upfront, it stands out well from other cars around it.
A Mk3 at the top of its game.
Adam King's S class was here taking up about a third of the hall.
Sinking those 22" Rotiforms into the arches, the car looks so classy and elegant. Can easily picture this as the most comfortable car to travel anywhere hundreds of miles.
Finished off at the back with the AMG Carbon rear valance topped with an F1 styled rain light.
A big highlight of the show for me was finally getting to see Alex Wright's E36. Everything about this car is perfect. The bright yellow wrap contrasted with subtle carbon parts. Sat on one of the best Japanese wheels out there and also being static. It's one brilliant build. Also knowing the hard work and dedication Alex and friends have put in over the last 18 months just adds an extra element everything.
Carbon air duct replacing the headlight letting the swapped S50 engine breathe.
RPF1's work wonderfully. Especially tucking this hard into the arches when sat still or on the move.
Banana curve rating, 10/10.
Holding up the widebody side of things in the VIP room we had these two great Pandem cars, an R32 and E92.
Both of the kits on these two cars work well with the factory body lines and help to suck in the very wide wheels both are running. The question is, which one would you take home?
I will always gravitate towards Jakes S13. Supporting that Spirit Rei kit, it just stands out so much and is such an easy car to look at. Every part of the kit lines up so well, and the arches wrapping around the staggered 18 fronts and 19 rears make it sit effortlessly.
The Work Meister M1Rs sit so well under the new Spirit Rei arches.
The lip kit just finishes this car off perfectly.
Heck I miss Boss Coffee, wonder if this also came with the car from Japan.
After quite a few shows I finally managed to bump into Joe's wagon. Another banana at the show.
Here, like Alex's E36, is another point to the static corner. There must be a memo about yellow cars sitting so hard static that I must have missed! The Gotti's top it off nicely. Top Banana.
Adding a few scene points to Joes collection. He'd put out his recent PVW mag feature on the parcel shelf. A well-deserved feature!
A Z3, a sight that you don't see as often and first thought, especially with the love for BMWs in the scene. This one was a good example of how well they can look.
Quite an aggressive arch to lip fitment.
Matching rear fitment, the Z3 looks good from all angles. Not sure the roof down would have been a good idea outside mind.
Just across the aisle from the Z3 was this bright orange 1971 VW Fastback. An air-cooled car that's on my wishlist. Sat on the fully polished BBS RS's it just has a classic look about it.
Inside running the period correct beaded seats. I'm still not convinced these are comfortable...
The Fastback has so many little touches from factory, it's hard not to get engrossed in its beauty.
The way the rear end slopes down towards the simple oval rear lights and polished bumpers. They are a beautiful car.
Here is Nicks Beetle. Parked up in front of Post Malones Tank it wasn't hard to miss. Honestly, these photos don't do the car justice. Even being so small next to the Tank, it surely put up a massive fight on who had the most presents.
The narrowed front beam allowing the BBS RS's to sit classicly in the arches. Really can't get much better than this.
John Langley's 1980's Honda Civic sitting in all of its glory.
The SSR Mk2's are a great and classic choice.
Even inside the car kept to the original look, looks fresh out of the factory.
Seeing Alan Kelly's JZX81 was a nice refreshing sight. You don't see many of these about, reminds you how long they actually are.
The Work Rezax tucked neatly with the help of a custom Airlift 3p system.
The rear tucking and laying on the floor. The late 80's early 90's produced some classy land yachts!
Staying on Japanese land yachts, Micheal Evan's Lexus was also here. Will never get over how good this car looks.
We look forward to seeing it at Bicester this weekend!
Nath Howell had brought his refreshed and tilted GT86 along. Updated with front and rear arms to add a few degrees of camber all around it sat well. We like the look a lot!
Jack Smith brought his MK1 Rabbit out, I haven't seen this car at a show for a long time, so it was nice to watch it drive to the show in the awful rain and be inside at the show.
The Fifteen52 348's are a timeless classic. Suit Jacks Mk1 to well.
To rival Jacks MK1 we also have another timeless classic from Alex Right...
(it's a joke btw)
His G60 will always be a favorite.
Max Fleckney's 八六 was in attendance. The Trueno is one of my favorite cars of all time, and this is one I think is close to the best. Sat on the 14" SSR Longchamps with correct sized tires and a subtle drop. It screams that it's the perfect car for some B road hoons.
Cool to see Jimmy Up! stickers this side of the pond.
Best rear lights in existence.
Nearing the end of the day I took one last stroll into the VIP hall. Godzilla was sitting proud ready to demolish Manchester,
In this lovely blue, all the little accents just popped out at you.
I may have said above the 86 Trueno had the best rear tails.. Well the Skyline you could say has the most iconic!
Also in the VIP hall was Haps and Kez's Mk7 and A45 AMG.
Two wonderfully modified cars, both attacked with precision and fine detail. The A45 really works in the light blue colour topped off with the perfect fitment on the Rotiforms.
I always use the awards ceremony to grab some shooting time when nobody else is around. I used this time to gaze upon Scott Irving's Volvo 850R. I spotted this early on Saturday, but it had a cone and tape obstructing the view so I knew to come back to it at a later time.
Tucking the BBS wheels it gives a great Super Touring Cars vibe but also keeping that classic and clean Euro look.
A wonderful set of Forged Magnesium BBS GT2's off an F355 and a set of breaks off a 996 911 twin turbo.
Just as the awards had ended Scott had walked back over to his Volvo with a Top 20 award. A well-deserved award, I mean, we would have given it "Best of Show" but we might be slighty Volvo biased here. We love it!
Talking of "Best in Show", I feel it's a good place to end. Matthew Perkins Audi S2 was the winner of FittedUK. With Custom built 15-17" 3 piece Audi Speedlines, RS2 engine, Airlift system and fine attention to detail it was a worthy winner!
With that the weekend was over, everyone started to pack up and head off home.
We must thank all the crew at FittedUK for once again pulling off a show of this standard and size, it's no easy task. It was great to stay the Sunday night and hang out with everyone, you guys and girls seriously know how to drink.
I'll leave you with my entire set of photos from the show below! Click through and you can download them onto your computer as well.