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A car expo welcomes the public back inside the Atlantic City Convention Center
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A car expo welcomes the public back inside the Atlantic City Convention Center

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ATLANTIC CITY — The producers behind “The Fast and the Furious” movies know who their films appeal to based on attendance at the ImportExpo on Sunday inside the Atlantic City Convention Center.

The 10 films in the “The Fast and the Furious” series have more than $6 billion in worldwide box office. The more than 6,000 people who paid $25 each to look at imported luxury and race cars matched the rainbow coalition of young people who have made those movies so successful — males, females, white, Black, Latino and Asian.

The event featured more than 800 vehicles and various motor sports vendors. It was the first public event in the facility since March 2020, the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michael Hsiao, 25, who is attending graduate school in the Washington D.C., area, did not attend the ImportExpo as just a spectator. He had a car in the show, a luxury 2016 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport he said he rebuilt himself.

Hsiao, who was born in Taiwan, said he heard about the ImportExpo online in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia Metropolitan Area car community. He had never attended the ImportExpo previously, and Sunday was his first time attending an indoor convention since the pandemic started.

Hsiao was fully vaccinated and wearing a mask, but he was still a little worried attending an indoor event with hundreds of strangers, many of whom were not wearing masks. But the possibility of being uncomfortable was not enough to keep him home.

Hsiao said the types of cars he likes most change with his age.

Before Hsiao’s current car, he owned an American-made Ford Mustang. He would like his next car to be a BMW X3 or X4 M Competition, which is a compact sport utility vehicle that can start rev up to 60 mph in lower to mid 3 seconds, he said.

“This is mind-blowing, amazing,” Hsiao said as he walked around and saw the hundreds of cars on display.

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The ImportExpo did not just show off the beauty of the cars. The show also allowed the car owners to demonstrate how powerful their sound systems were as hi-hop, Latin music and Latin-infused reverberated all over the showroom floor.

Brock Bridges, 19, of Vineland, owns a Ford Mustang GT 2003, but his dream car is a green 1996 Nissan Skyline GTR. As he walked around the expo with his girlfriend, Skye Miranda, 20, also of Vineland, he had not seen one as of mid-afternoon.

“I like import cars. I like the style of them. I like the look of them,” Bridges said as he mentioned import cars typically ride lower to the ground than American ones.

Bridges heard about the expo through an Instagram post, and it was his first time attending. Bridges said he loves all “The Fast and the Furious” movies, although he believes the newest one, “F9,” which will be released June 25, has been a little overhyped.

With the good weather and people inching to leave the home after being cooped inside because of the pandemic, it looked like ImportExpo attracted more people than it usually does. There was a long line of people waiting to enter at the start of the expo, and attendees were still coming in during the middle of the day.

A portion of this year’s event proceeds will benefit the local Atlantic City Police Athletic League Hot Topic Dance Troupe.

Mike Alston, 26, of Jersey City, Hudson County, was photographing the cars at the ImportExpo. Alston said he had attended the expo in the resort four times previously but also in in Atlanta, Toronto and other cities.

“I’m happy to be back. I will take pictures until my camera dies,” Alston said.

Contact Vincent Jackson:

609-272-7202

vjackson@pressofac.com

Twitter@ACPressJackson

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