The IsuzuWeb at NOPI; The NOPI Nationals Motorsports Supershow, September 19-20, 1998

Rain. If you read any of the previous event coverage in the last several issues of Resurgence, you'll understand the inherent perverse humor in that word whenever discussing the subject of Isuzu enthusiasts attend car shows. The weekend of September 19th and 20th of 1998 in Atlanta saw a repeat of this foul weather trend, but not quite as foul as usual, and as always, nobody really paid much attention to the rain and drizzle.

There were a total of 14 Isuzu and Storm cars at the event and the IsuzuWeb brought nine members representing a majority of the total Isuzu enthusiasts in attendance. IsuzuWeb members in attendance were: Wendel Person and a Milo Dejanovic who brought Wendel's 1989 I-Mark RS from Washington DC; Georgia native Chris Rhodes who brought his 1993 Storm and was nice enough to taxi Vijay Gadad who had flown in from California without his Storm; Mike Robinson and his girlfriend Pam Eccles who drove all the way from LA, California in Mike's 1991 Stylus XS; Georgia native Mike Johnson who brought his 1991 Impulse XS; Georgia native Jay Parcon who brought his 1989 I-Mark RS; Dave Batson and Mrs. Batson who drove in from Florida; and Bill Luton who drove his 1986 Impulse from Missouri.

Vijay Gidad gets the award for being most dedicated for flying in by airplane just to attend the event and meet with the Isuzu enthusiasts. Chris Rhodes gets the hospitality award for graciously taxiing Vijay around town. Mike Robinson receives the iron man awards for driving the long haul to attend, and Mike gets the additional rare-show award because he completed a significant buildup of his Stylus just hours before leaving for Atlanta and his car was totaled in an accident only weeks after returning to California.

The NOPI Nationals were held at Atlanta Motor Speedway for 1998 and a sweet spot on the infield was staked out early, on Friday, by Wendel Person and Bill Luton. Arrival of the Super Street Tour caravans from the Northeast, Southeast, and West Coast were delayed and many Isuzu and Storm enthusiasts who participated in those caravans did not make their first appearance until Noon on Saturday. All the while, the speedway infield was being covered by 2523 import and compact cars by participants who were not scared off by the morning drizzle.

Outside the speedway, the local SCCA chapter put on an autocross event in which Jay Parcon and his I-Mark, and later Mike Johnson and his Impulse, participated in, while on the sidelines, small crowds of Isuzu enthusiasts cheered them on.

Meanwhile, back at the show field, Isuzu enthusiasts were actively lobbying in the vendor area. All the import magazines, as well as several dozen manufacturers of performance parts, had set up displays in the speedway garage area which served as the vendors' midway and the Isuzu enthusiasts wasted no time in meeting and talking to as many as they could. It was surprising to see that a number of the manufacturers actually came over to the Isuzu area on the show field to stare for long periods of time under the hoods of the Isuzus and Storms and take copious notes. Only at a show like this, with significant participation and lobbying by Isuzu enthusiasts, can we so successfully show the manufacturers the lucrative market for Isuzu performance parts that they are overlooking.

Saturday night, the Isuzu enthusiasts gathered for dinner at Pizza Hut and shared stories and pizza. After the meal was through, a number of Isuzu enthusiasts decided to test drive each others cars to see the differences in the wide variety of Isuzu made cars. A ride in Jay Parcon's autocross prepped I-Mark was the E-ticket ride but a personal high point of the evening was the white-knuckled reaction of Mike Johnson in the passenger seat of my Impulse as I demonstrated a few of its finer handling characteristics.

One minor snag in the show was that the area that the Isuzu and Storm enthusiasts were displaying in was missed by the show judges on Saturday, and drive through judging was done on Sunday morning, despite a less than enthusiastic response by all involved.

After judging on Sunday morning, the Isuzu enthusiasts continued lobbying the manufacturers, pausing only to take full advantage of the NOPI mega-market in the vendor area. Jay and Mike continued in the autocross competition and everyone took in the cars in the show field.

The event ended with the awards ceremony on Sunday afternoon, drawing a huge crowd, and a downpour of rain, as the winners of each class were announced. The IsuzuWeb members fared extremely well taking a number of awards. In the Isuzu/Geo Wild class, Chris Rhodes took second place with his 1993 Geo Storm, and in the Isuzu/Geo Conservative class, Bill Luton took second place with his 1986 Isuzu Impulse.

Another successful show for the IsuzuWeb which was thoroughly enjoyed by all who participated. Make plans to be part of the fun next year and attend the NOPI Nationals with the IsuzuWeb in 1999.

Points Of Interest; Lowrider Storms

The Southeast has a very specific flavor in customizing and this was seen in the large number of lowrider style cars, especially Geo Storms. Here is a sampling of what was seen.

Michael Hall's Storm

Michael Hall's Storm stood out from the crowd and the editors of Euro-Lowrider Magazine photographed the vehicle at NOPI for a future feature article.

Crush Velvet Lowrider Storm

A very sharp looking lowrider Storm with full crush velvet interior.

Wheel Standing Storm

The owner of this Storm left it on display in the lower show field with one wheel in the air for a very interesting and provocative look.

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