Today, Miyoshi runs Mainstream Productions, which puts on Showoff, and M2 Tuning, a wheel-accessory brand. He calls himself a "car sommelier." What he wishes for is more corporate support and collaboration within the industry. He envisions something like the X Games for drifting and other motor sports. "My ultimate goal is to keep creating," he says. "But I have to start from the bottom up again. I need to create a base. The enthusiasts are still there, and they're who will keep it going."

*    *    *

West Covina, this summer. On a Saturday evening in a restaurant-plaza parking lot, cars are lined up side-by-side, their engines exposed. Teens and twentysomethings in baseball caps and hoodies, along with families and kids of all ethnicities, peruse the show, which is more like a casual meet-up with food and music. A mix of vehicles line the asphalt—Mercedes, Lamborghinis and Volkswagens.

Ken Miyoshi
Timothy Norris
Ken Miyoshi
Ken Miyoshi’s original Honda CRX
Courtesy Ken Miyoshi
Ken Miyoshi’s original Honda CRX

Miyoshi rolls up in his silver BMW 3 Series M Conversion, fully converted with a supercharger, large wheels and full carbon fiber. It's the first event he's been to in ages. As he steps out of his car, people turn around and yell, "Ken!" He's greeted with handshakes and hugs.

Nestled in the lineup are cars that bring him back to the old days. "That's an '84 Corolla," he says, pointing eagerly. "These were the types of cars that everyone was fixing up—the Celicas, Corollas, Mazdas."

Eddie Kim of Dynamic Autosports says he's seeing a new movement at his Santa Ana shop. The old-school guys who dropped out of the scene to move on with their lives are trading in their Honda Odyssey minivans for something else. "They're building up the cars they would have wanted to build back in the day if they had the money—the old Integras, the Civics, all the stuff from the early '90s," says Kim, who is 42. "It already happened with the muscle-car generation. They're in their 60s and retiring and have money, so they're going to auctions to buy the '50s and '60s hot rods at any price."

For Miyoshi, it feels good to be back. He spots an old friend, Denny Huang, who grew up in the scene. He's now 41 and lives in Long Beach.

"Remember Maria Street?" Miyoshi asks.

Huang nods. "Aww, man, even if you didn't race, it was fun just running away from cops," he says. "Everything was so fast, loud, crazy. I can't believe we did that stuff!"

They laugh.

Miyoshi believes that whatever happens with his future projects, he's simply in it for the love of the wheel. "I'm doing this now because it's 100 percent my passion. The O.G.s are saying, 'Those were the good ol' days,' and it revives them. This is like a big, fun project. And if I can pass it on to my kids, hey, even better."

He looks out at the sea of cars and smiles. "I just wanna roll."

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4 comments
Andrew Nava
Andrew Nava

fuck yeah!....still going hard in the car scene,this shit isnt dieing out any time soon,remember,this scene insipred fast n the furious,noth the other way around......socal import show scene,street scene,race scene,always alive and kicking!....any crew/team riders rep your crew!....TEAM SHOWCASE representing!!!

Tu Tran
Tu Tran

Good read! Tran Nguyen Nghia Ha Phuong Thien Tran Vo Vu

Big_Mike
Big_Mike

I've read this through a few times now. I enjoy it thoroughly. I grew up on all of this - whether being a kid hearing about it and seeing the photos that the older guys took at the shows and would have developed and take to school or have up on their closet doors and walls in their rooms - or firsthand attending the events admiring all of the cars and imagining what I would do with my own when I had enough to buy a car. I loved the culture so much that it became a part of my life and still is, some 18ish years later. I have a huge respect for anyone who is willing to follow their vision and do and risk whatever it takes to see that vision come to fruition, and Ken helped to create an industry and culture that I am a part of to this day. Thank you for highlighting Ken and the history of the culture, the lifestyle, the scene, and the industry that we all love and live. 

 
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