Event | Art of Speed 2019

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Words Chris Cooper // Photography Chris Cooper & Manabu Kanda

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Stepping out of Kuala Lumpur International, you’re immediately punched in the face with humidity and a warm welcoming. Diverse, resourceful and hotter than rollin’ dice… Welcome to Art Of Speed 2019.

Fuel’s coverage of AOS 2018 couldn’t prepare me for the hospitality, sounds, smiles and electric atmosphere that this event creates. As you walk to towards the enormous two halls at the MAEPS centre, it is obvious that this wasn’t the organisers’ first walk in the park. Throughout the jam-packed two-day event locals, international guests, cars and motorcycles all worked together in harmony. A credit to Asep Sastrawidjaja and his experienced team.

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It’s no secret that the AoS event is heavily influenced by Shige Suganuma and the Mooneyes Yokohama Hot Rod Custom Show, with hat-tip highlights including the international village, local and international invited builders and a roll-in vehicle display. Event organiser and creator Asep showed his gratitude by making a heartfelt public shout out to Shige, thanking him for the continued support and inspiration throughout the years.

From attending shows here in Australia where it is generally the big name manufactures under the same roof, Malaysia is stepping up to be the forefront in utilising what is readily available. From a 123 series Mercedes Benz with panel paint and Cragars to a ‘60s styled lane-splitting scooter chopper, executed tastefully. All styles that you simply wouldn’t think existed in south-east Asia.

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With an abundance of local and international stalls keeping hungry punters’ wallets empty, the main stage kept a heartbeat of live punk and rock ‘n’ roll bands. Playing at different intervals throughout the day, one band even nailed The Living End’s classic ‘Prisoner of Society’ that took myself and Marlon Slack from Pipeburn magazine by surprise! Its skanking time!

Art of Speed also put together a huge gathering of Minis, celebrating the manufacture’s 60th birthday. A plethora of Minis of all types and styles congregated in the lower car park, part of which formed a giant sixty cars.

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Malaysia is the manufacturing home to Hot Wheels. The passion that the locals have for the toy that changed most of our lives as children is indescribable. The long, LONG lines to the main hot wheels booth, accompanied by numerous other Hot Wheels specific stalls dotted around the arena that were busy from sun up to sundown, is a testament to how important miniature die-cast is to their culture.

Diversity, hospitality, resourcefulness. AoS has influences from the world over. However, the biggest separation factor is that the Malaysian custom scene is doing what it can with a small number of affordable vehicle manufactures. This limitation in ‘luxuries’ makes the builders and owners think outside the square, wrenching on cars and bikes that must of us wouldn’t think twice about customising. They create pieces of automotive art that make you look twice and run down the rabbit hole. Not only that but they do so with integrity, passion and a smile from ear-to-ear.

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Follow Chris: @crcooperphoto.

Follow Manabu: @kalifornialook.

Follow Art of Speed: @artofspeedmy.

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Chris CooperEvent, Malaysia