A jet turbine at the back and electrically opening glass dome roof – the bright-green Saab, or Wasaabi, will be one of the highlights of the Auto Exotica section of the Auto 2022 show taking place this weekend from April 29 to May 1. The car tuning show in Ķīpsala will showcase the high-performance tuning projects, fast racing cars and restored vintage vehicles.
A 60s’ interpretation of a car of the future
The name Wasaabi is a portmanteau of the Saab car brand and the spicy Japanese condiment wasabi. This wasabi-green futuristic-looking vehicle was created by a father and son, Marco and Miko, from Finland, and is based on a 1975 Saab 96.
Before the planned restoration, the car was completely disassembled, including chopping off the roof. Seeing the bodywork in this shape, the two men had an idea – instead of restoring it to the original look, why not create a unique project car with an electrically opening glass dome roof and a jet turbine in the back, just like the futuristic car in the 60s’ animated series The Jetsons. It took a year to complete this project, and now this creation by Marco and Miko delights people at various car events across Europe.
High-performance tuning projects
The particularly sporty M models of the BMW range are the most desired among die-hard fans of the brand. When the Bavarian carmaker switched from legendary naturally-aspirated engines to turbocharging in its high-performance models ten years ago, many enthusiasts of the brand decried the change, however by today even the biggest sceptics have become convinced that this was an inevitable and right move.
The Latvian company Kesel Motorsport will present a BMW M4 project car, which has a three-litre petrol engine that has seen a boost in power from 431 to 556 horsepower, retaining the standard turbo and only upgrading the intake and exhaust system, as well as reprogramming the engine control unit. As a result, the BMW M4 now boasts impressive dynamics, especially in acceleration from 100 to 200 km/h in 6.65 seconds, which is nearly a whole three seconds faster than the stock version.
Kesel Motorsport will also be showcasing a Nissan GT-R, which once sent shockwaves through the car industry by being able to compete with the legendary Porsche 911 Turbo at half the price. In stock version, this specific model produces around 500 hp depending on the variant, however this six-cylinder turbocharged engine is very suitable for tuning and can quite easily be made to produce up to 800 hp.
Impressive racing cars
The most-attended car racing events in Latvia are drifting championships. This is why Auto Exotica will showcase the most impressive projects by 3B Motorsport and 3BMTS Auto workshops. One of those is the 750 hp Nissan 200sx (S13) prepared for this year’s season, taking part in international competitions in the pro class with Reinis Ozoliņš at the wheel.
Also on display will be a drift-ready BMW 1 Series – this compact car has been equipped with a Mercedes-Benz V12 engine tuned to 550 hp. As noted by its creators, the engine is related to the one used in the Pagani Zonda, giving this drift car an equally impressive roar. It is driven in drifting events by Toms Jankovskis. During all three days of the show, the public will be able to meet the drifters and see their race cars in the booth of the Latvian Automobile Federation.
Wide representation of petrolhead communities
The popular car enthusiasts’ community CC Nation, known for hosting the country’s largest open-air summer festival for car lovers, will be represented at Auto Exotica with an unprecedented number of vehicles – 12 cars in total. The community brings together young people and owners of tuned cars, so a variety of this season’s car tuning projects will be featured at Auto 2022.
Vintage car communities will be represented by enthusiasts of recently increasingly popular "youngtimer" vehicles, especially from the 1970s and 1980s, and Soviet car enthusiasts who have assembled the entire timeline of the most popular models of the Zaporozhye Automotive Plant.
Lovers of classic cars will appreciate the restored four-door Jaguar Mark VIII from the 1950s. Just over 6,000 units of this luxurious model were produced and it is equipped with a 210 hp six-cylinder engine allowing this luxury saloon to reach 180 km/h, which was very impressive at the time. This car will be presented by the Latvian car buyers’ guide WhatCar.lv, alongside some more sporty vehicles, such as Porsche 911 GT3 and Toyota GR Yaris.
Powerful beats, bicycle and motorcycle shows
Those visiting the Auto Exotica section will not only be treated to gorgeous cars, but will also have the chance to watch and take part in various entertainment events. On April 30 and May 1, Greentrials, the best extreme cycling show team in the Baltics, will present bicycle and motorcycle riding skill shows.
Meanwhile, fans of powerful in-car music will have the chance to experience cars with audio systems designed for enjoying high-fidelity music as well as systems designed for the highest possible acoustic pressure (volume) at the joint booth of Sound Pit and Bass.
A number of Baltic premieres
The Auto 2022 exhibition will feature several Baltic and Latvian car premieres. At 11:00 on April 29, there will be the Baltic unveiling of the Maserati MC20 – the supercar of choice of David Beckham. Also, on the first day of the exhibition, at 11:30, visitors are invited to the Baltic premieres of the Citro?n C5 X, Citro?n C5 Aircross, Citro?n ?-Berlingo and Citro?n Ami. And at 12:00, two new ŠKODA EVs – Enyaq Coupé iV and Fabia Monte Carlo – will be have their Baltic premiere. The Mercedes-EQ stand will showcase all the latest electric vehicles from Mercedes-Benz – from the EQA to EQS, among which the EQE will be the latest one. Attendees of Auto 2022 will also have the opportunity to get up close with the new Jeep Grand Cherokee, Nissan’s new-era Ariya, Ford’s latest Mach-E version, and the hydrogen-powered Hyundai Nexo, to name just a few.
The Auto 2022 international motor show will provide a chance for its visitors to look at three thematic exhibitions covering what the industry has to offer today: New Cars, with the latest cars and utility vehicles; Auto Mechanics, with service tools and machinery, spare parts, care products and accessories, and the Auto Exotica exhibition dedicated to tuning. For more, visit: www.balticmotorshow.com
The Auto 2022 show is organised by the International Exhibition Company BT 1, and sponsored by the brake equipment manufacturer Textar.
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10:00–19:00 on 29 and 30 April
10:00–17:00 on 1 May
No face mask or interoperable COVID-19 certificate is required to visit the show!