Social media helps organizer set up impromptu “tuner” rally drawing 200 cars and trucks

This orange-yellow Nissan Z belongs to a member of Headturners, one of the car clubs to sponsor the Tuner Clash Meet Sept. 1 in North Charleston (Jim Parker/Staff 9-1-12).

By JIM PARKER

The Post and Courier

Terrell Pretlow of Headturners admits it wasn’t 60 days earlier that the idea hatched for an end-of-summer cruise-in for tricked-out wheels.

He took to Facebook, chatting up the show, gathering support from fellow car clubs such as Lowcountry Imports and finessing open sites in North Charleston and downtown.

So late afternoon Sept. 1, he watched admiringly as car after car parked in the mammoth Festival Centre parking lot in North Charleston, gradually accommodating five or six rows. More than 200 tuners, most owned by car fans aged 30 and younger and from clubs such as Import Domination and Midnight Motorsports, would later motor the half-hour or so to the South Carolina Aquarium.

“We started this one-and-a-half to two months ago,” Pretlow said. By the time flyers went out for the Tuner Clash Meet, tricked-out vehicles were expected from as far as Pennsylvania and Charlotte, he said.

Pretlow said he first saw how tuner enthusiasts could join together to show off their creations when he was “in the desert” — more specifically on deployment from Charleston Air Force Base in Iraq.

The Headturners club member said he wants to see more such rallies and cruise-ins in the Charleston area. While he said there’s no set definition, “a tuner is more predominately Asian — Nissan, mainly Japanese.” Pretlow owns a 2004 Infiniti G35, downplaying his well-maintained ride as “more cosmetics than anything.”

He located Bill Greer of Lowcountry Imports, whose 2004 Subaru Impreza STI is a fabled tuner model. Greer has upgraded the suspension, changed out the seats and otherwise overhauled the vehicle. “I have a very rare set of wheels, out of production (Yokohama) Advan R6,” he said. The golden rims weigh a trim 16 pounds apiece. That’s important when motoring around racetracks, as Greer does at Roebling Road near Savannah and Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw among others, attaining speeds of up to 160 mph.

Greer said he learned about the rally on Facebook. “Me and Terrell are friends (on the social network).” Greer gave credit to his Headturners counterpart for pulling off the show. “He’s very motivated. Props to him.”

Nearby, Lito Cruz of Goose Creek drew a crowd around his yellow early ’90s Acura Integra GS-R, which he’s had for about 18 months. The main change he’s made is to install a “souped-up engine” churning out 210 hp.

Cruz doesn’t have a hood on the tuner, for good reason. He said he didn’t want to poke holes in it, due to the decorative metal spikes he attached to the engine.

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com.