From money truck in ‘Mirage’ to Mercedes like Kristaps Porziņģis has – some of the most spectacular cars at the Auto 2024!

This weekend, on 19-21 April, Ķīpsala Expo Centre will become the venue for the international motor show Auto 2024 and one of its most uncompromising sections, Auto Exotica, offering bold tuning and restoration designs for both streets and racetrack. In addition to fastest solar-powered and spray-painted cars, you will also be able to see the exciting motorcycle stunt show in the globe of death.

The fastest straight-line showdown cars or pro dragsters

Faster, higher and stronger – age-old aspirations of any competitor. In the automotive universe, there is also another key aspiration – to be the fastest on the straight line in a drag race from the starting line to the finish. Buying an Italian supercar and leaving all the other production cars in the streets behind you is nothing special. Building a racing car, or in this case a dragster, that no one can catch is quite another level of mastery.

Typical dragster is a mixture of formula car and buggy, with slightly smaller and narrower wheels in the front and huge, wide tyres in the back. If you come to Auto Exotica, you will be able to appreciate Estonian-built dragster with 5.3 litre V8 engine made in America that can generate the power of 700 HP. When you mount it on a body, the whole car will weigh 800 kilograms and give you mind-boggling acceleration to 100 km/h in mere 1.3 seconds, allowing you to reach the speed of 200 km/h just 5.4 seconds after hitting the gas. Which means that it can cover the standard drag racing distance of a quarter mile (402 m) in impressive 8.7 seconds.

Another dragster of Auto 2024 is based on the fastest production motorbike in the world, the Suzuki Hayabusa. The White Wiking, as it is called, is a drag race motorcycle that has been virtually rebuilt using different parts from scratch, which allows it to be tuned to three times the initial power of its production line siblings to 505 HP, which is almost the same as the likes of BMW M4 Competition. White Wiking covers the standard drag racing distance of 402 metres in 8.9 seconds. It is even faster than 1 600 HP Bugatti Chiron Super Sport that reaches the finish line in 9.1 second.

The first solar-powered vehicle in the Baltics
Estonian solar-powered Solaride is also fiercely competitive. It just competes in a different field. Second iteration of this prototype car is made by Estonian university students for the endurance races, also known as ecoRally. Solaride 2.0, the new prototype, came in third at the international competition in Australia. It is the first solar-powered vehicle in the Baltics that can reach the speed of 140 km/h, but usually, during the races, to save the battery power, it travels at around 90 km/h. Moreover, driving speed is set automatically by the car computer, saving up to 7% of battery power compared to human driving style and optimum speed preferences.

Mercedes like Porziņģis’

Auto Exotica section will also include Mercedes-Benz S-class coupe (W126) manufactured 1980s and upgraded by the German tuning company Koenig Specials to resemble Italian supercar Ferrari Testarossa with its visual appearance. The same kind of tuning was done to a Mercedes driven by the best Latvian baller Kristaps Porziņģis. The colour though is different. Founded in 1977, Koenig Specials GmbH is based in Munich. It was started by Willy Koenig after his bitter disappointment with 1974 Ferrari 365 BB supercar’s performance. He decided to rebuild the car and offer the same substantial transformations to other owners of Ferraris. Later he switched to Mercedes-Benz, adding Ferrari Testarossa body mouldings that make the luxury coupe appear wider. The modified version of classic Mercedes can cost you upwards of 100 thousand euro.

Tuning legend Nissan Skyline
Sporty Japanese Nissan Skyline or the Godzilla is very popular among car enthusiasts and much sought after across different generations of this car. Auto 2024 will showcase the newest restored edition of the car. Perfection 86 is based on Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R, which has been restored using authentic parts and painted using the legendary Bayside Blue. This more than 20-year old Japanese sportster with turbocharged 6-cylinder motor can reach the 100 km/h speed in 4.9 seconds. Moreover, Skyline R34 GT-R is also the favourite car of cult classic Fast and Furious star Paul Walker.

Latvian Vera vs Estonian Viking
During last year’s Auto motor show, large crowds of visitors were driven to spray-painted movers. This year is no different. There will be a face-off of two such movers – the Latvian Vera that everyone already knows and newcomer, the Estonian Viking. Both of these customised and spray-painted giants have competed in prominent European-based international show truck competitions. Both trucks are based on Scania movers. Vera can reach up to 650 HP instead of the designed 500 HP, while Viking is much younger and powerful, reaching up to 770 HP. Both cars have been completely rebuilt inside out. Interiors are made by Riga-based Golden Beard Customs. Both cars are spray-painted based on designs created by Finnish artist Mari Putus.

The only Hellcat Coupe in Latvia
At the time when cars are inevitably going electric, muscle cars like Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat seem to go in completely opposite direction with 717 HP, 6.2 litre, V8 compression engine that will suck your 70 litre petrol tank dry in 13 minutes if you put the pedal to the metal along the highway. This beast not only guzzles up petrol by the gallons to speed up to 100 km/h in 2.9 seconds and reach the maximum speed of 320 km/h, but it also needs a lot of air to keep feeding its internal combustion engine, and that is why engineers at Dodge have substituted one of its front lights with additional air intake. However, if you don’t poke the sleeping lion, it will purr like a cat as you drive slowly, pouring around 10 litres per 100 kilometres into the V8 engine as you cruise along the highway.

Money truck from the famous film Mirage

Auto Exotica section will also display Lada Niva, a car resembling the famous money truck from the film Mirage, which has caused a lot of talk on the social media. Although the 1980s film Mirage is set in the USA, it was shot right here, in the Soviet Union. So, the “American” bank was forced to use what was available at the day, the money truck based on Lada Niva SUV. The car customized for film studio looked really buff for the 1980s. With meshed windows and a safe deposit box in the back. All blueprints of Lada Niva money truck created for the film have been lost, so Ruslans Grigorovičs from ANRU Motors in Jelgava had to create his own version of the car by watching the film, which starred Mirdza Martinsone and Mārtiņš Vilsons.

Exotic cars and beyond - a real heaven for car enthusiasts
Auto Exotica section will showcase powerful and good-looking cars, and it will also a party central for all the petrolheads. There will, as usual, be music from car audio experts at SoundPit who will bring and play music through three cars with different audio setup. Meanwhile CC Nation, a car enthusiast community known for its huge open-air summer events for car lovers, will please everyone at Auto 2024 with its stance cars, drift and classic cars. Those who are keen on American cars will be happy to meet representatives of American car owners club and see classic models from the era of luscious chrome accessories.

Breathtaking stunts inside the globe of death
Visitors of Auto 2024 will also have a unique opportunity to witness the most extreme motorcycle stunt show in the world that uses the globe of death. Cageriders team, which consists of two Finnish stunt riders – Jarno Karanto and Sasja Laajoki – will demonstrate their stunts on 19 April at 13:30–13:50, 20 April at 13:00–13:30, 16:00–16:30 and 21 April at 12:30–13:00 and 14:30–15:00. Lots of adrenaline guaranteed if you come!
More about Auto 2024 events and activities at:

Warning! Please be advised that Auto Exotica section will be loud and small children should wear ear mufflers. Whereas Cageriders motorcycle stunt show is expected to generate lots of exhaust fumes.

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Motor show Auto is organised by BT-1 International Expo Company.

Opening hours:
19 – 20 April: 10:00–19:00
21 April 10:00–17:00

Entrance fees:
Adults: €9
Students, seniors, disabled: €6
Pupils: €4
Family ticket (2 adults +1 child under 18): €19 (+ €2 for every next child)
Ticket presales for cheaper prices until 14 April:

Parking instructions:
Ķīpsala Expo Centre parking: €5 up to 4h (+ €2 for every additional hour)
On weekend, the 20th and 21st April, visitors should use P3 parking on Matrožu iela. There will transfers to Expo Centre every 5 minutes. Moreover, the parking fee on Matrožu iela is only €3, and there is no time limit.
“Olimpia” shopping mall will also provide free parking during the motor show