As the sun fell towards the horizon, casting its warm glow over the bustling streets of Suzhou, a new chapter in Chinese car culture unfolded last weekend.

Since 2017, the GT Show has celebrated China’s growing interest in modified cars. Now, that interest is surging.

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It’s as if a dormant volcano has suddenly erupted, spewing a molten stream of creativity and adrenaline-fueled fervor onto Chinese streets.

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From supercars and sports machines to rugged off-roaders, the diversity displayed at the Suzhou International Expo Center during GT Show 2024 mirrors the kaleidoscope of dreams and aspirations held by local enthusiasts.

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The explosion of automotive content on social media platforms has turbocharged enthusiasm for car culture over the past few years. A new generation of car-loving kids, weaned on games like Need for Speed, are now stepping into driver’s seats in the real world.

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During this three-day event, the spotlight gleamed brightest when high-profile actor Daniel Wu unveiled his hotly anticipated Nissan 400Z. The assembled crowd held their phones aloft, eagerly awaiting this automotive revelation like pilgrims at the altar of horsepower.

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Amidst the exhibition, Simon Garage’s booth stole my heart with a Mini and two Celicas meticulously crafted over three years. The attention to detail these cars possess left onlookers gobsmacked.

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The 1087X booth was one of the liveliest spots at this year’s event. The RC drift playground drew constant crowds, but Chinese drift queen Echo and YouTuber Leoleogh’s sleek new Supra build stole the spotlight. That’s not all, though.

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In the far corner of the booth sat a Chang’an Xingguang micro truck. This Chinese charmer – the base model having been inspired by Suzuki’s ST30 Carry from the ’80s – rocked a JDM custom car vibe. Standout features included a rear wing-turned-front lip and an exhaust shaped like a giant ‘6’ – a nod to gaming ‘campers’. This little beast even blows bubbles!

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Six RAUH-Welt Begriff Porsches made a triumphant return to GT Show 2024. While the allure of RWB may no longer be novel, each Akira Nakai creation still commands attention.

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With an increasing presence of Chinese car brands at the show, the NIO ET5T has become a darling of the modified car scene, especially among those with a penchant for high-performance wagons. This Shylock build ticked all the boxes.

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Then there’s the Deepal SL03, this one modified by Leoleogh and equipped with an active ground effect system and what looked like four missile pods at the rear. It was as attention-grabbing as it is innovative.

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In this collision of cultures, China’s burgeoning modified and custom car scene shines bright with innovation and nostalgia as it carves a unique path while embracing the JDM influence.

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I also witnessed the torch-passing of automotive culture; parents passionately explained car modifications to their kids, some barely reaching the height of a bosozoku-style exhaust pipe.

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At the GT Show 2024, Chinese car culture roared louder than ever. It is clear: passion fuels innovation, and the future of automotive artistry in China is very bright.

Bruno Han
Instagram: panin1x

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How To join the IATS program: We have always welcomed readers to contact us with examples of their work and believe that the best Speedhunter is always the person closest to the culture itself, right there on the street or local parking lot. If you think you have what it takes and would like to share your work with us then you should apply to become part of the IAMTHESPEEDHUNTER program. Read how to get involved here.





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