Photography by Markis Sarkis
A sudden series of beeps disturb the peace at 5:30. I reach over, hit snooze on my alarm, and before I know it, it's 6 A.M. As I get out of the shower to get dressed, natural light starts to fill the hotel room and we decide it's time to make our way to the show. Driving through misty New Jersey, we finally pull up to the front gate of the Princeton airport, and it starts to get real. After three years of anticipation, I am finally at First Class Fitment, the pinnacle of events when it comes to fitted cars.
As we make our way into the venue at 7 A.M., it's quiet and empty, with no cars to be seen. By 7:08, we start to hear deep exhaust notes coming closer and I turn to see a beautiful Camaro pulling into the show. Within five minutes, cars just flood in.
In the distance, I notice a brown Subaru Impreza with a 2JZ twist. The execution of the swap left me utterly speechless - from the perfectly shaved engine bay and meaty tire fitment, down to the subtle details, like the way the paint on the trunk fades to expose the carbon fiber on the tip of the duckbill.
Once my friend Nick and I had set up the Cambergang booth, cars started to park up and owners fought against the mist as they detailed their cars. It was staggering to see how much time all the competitors took to make sure their vehicles looked immaculate for the show, which directly reflects the attention to detail put into their builds. I saw some competitors polishing their wheels with a drill, while others were cleaning the dust out of their aero with what appeared to be a paint brush of some sort.
With all the cars were parked and shined up, we decided to walk around the venue a couple times. Each time we did so, it seemed like a different show. I would constantly notice cars that we hadn't seen prior, and by the time we had made our rounds, we were essentially dragging our jaws across the pavement.
Around noon, the sun started to break its way through the clouds, puddles began to dry up, and the smell of barbecue filled the air as we heard helicopters start their engines. Thus began the flood of photographers, lining up cars on the runway as the helicopters took off, resulting in some truly breathtaking images.
Moments after we finished up shooting on the runway, we saw the crowd make its way to the main hanger as the awards were about to be given out. Now, I must say, I've been to a number of shows with great trophies, but I had yet to attend a show where they're works of art. All the trophies are hand-assembled and truly unique, which makes for something the competitors will cherish forever.
Once the awards had been given out, everyone started to make their way back to their vehicles. Within 15 minutes, engines were fired up and cars started to roll out. It's one thing to see these cars parked at the show, but to see them literally driving off into the sunset was surreal.
First Class Fitment, in itself, was a surreal experience; the sheer quality of the cars present was unlike anything I had seen before. Not one of the cars showed a single flaw, the event staff were very welcoming and organized, and the whole vibe of the show was perfect - even more so than I had ever imagined. www.firstclassfitment.com