“When I was a kid, my dream car was a Lamborghini. I had a poster of a Lambo right above my bed and I looked at it every day,” began Keith Haw. Today, that dream is a reality. Keith is now eyeing another Italian exotic car to add to his collection. “I’d like to own another Lamborghini, or maybe my first Ferrari. It will all depend on how I save and hustle more, I guess,” he says with a laugh.
Keith may be a club owner (he is a partner at The Palace and numerous other night spots in the metro) and working for his family business during the day, but he considers running his car modification business called Import Hookup his true passion. This is his remarkable true story on how a hobby became a lucrative business that has allowed him to find purpose in his life, putting a smile on his face every single day.
From JDMs to European Exotic
The young businessman has had a passion for cars for as long as he can remember. “Believe it or not, my first drawings as a child were car logos and cars that I saw daily. I used to remember just staring and going to the front of a car trying to draw the different logos,” he reminisces. When he was 17 years old, his parents gifted him with his first car, a hand-me-down Honda Civic. Interested to modify the car and make it better, Keith began reaching out to car dealers and suppliers from various countries to obtain parts not available in the Philippine market. “I had very little money at that time, and I was determined to make money to put more modifications on my own personal car. I never depended on my parents to give me the things that I wanted, and this is where I got my motivation and discipline to set goals on what I wanted in life.”
After finding ways to make fast cash to fix up his own automobile, Keith had a bright idea. He wondered about other car lovers who were interested in modifying (or “modding” in the car community) their cars, but aren’t able to import parts themselves. He quickly established his company, Import Hookup, and began servicing JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) vehicles. Today, Keith specializes in exotic and euro cars. “Any aftermarket accessories and parts, I can get it. Then I have tie-ups with different local car shops, who will do the installation of parts for me,” he explains.
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Trailblazing in a Sports Car
Keith now has the reputation of being one of the go-to guys for “modding” cars in the business. People in the car world consider him a trendsetter. He was one of first who started the trend of running forged wheels in the country. Keith was also instrumental as one of the first people who started the wide body trend in Philippines. Lastly, he was one of the first who did forced induction for an exotic car locally. “That was quite unheard of before. That car is now running around 1200hp. Imagine having the power of seven Honda Civics in one car!”
Import Hookup has proven to be so good at what they do that many of their “modded” cars have become award-winning. Keith shares that for the past three years, his cars have been the one to beat, consecutively winning Best of Show at the prestigious Transport Show and Manila Auto Salon in SMX. “It’s not common to see a back-to-back Best of Show winner, let alone a 3-peat! That’s something to be so thankful for and proud of. Judges see how detailed I am when it comes to building cars.” Keith talks about cars with such excitement. His eyes light up while he speaks, similar to that of a kid at a candy shop. It’s quite a pleasure to hear him talk about his hobby and passion.
The Vicky Belo of the Car World
When asked to describe what he does, Keith cheekily compared himself to the country’s top beauty doctors. “I’ll put it this way, I’m like the Dr. Belo or Aivee when it comes to cars,” he says with a smile on his face. “I make cars better aesthetically (make it look way better by changing the wheels, body kits, stance etc.), make the engine perform better, change out the interior to a nicer color combination or nicer leather type (like Hermès is doing on some special cars) and make the overall drive better. I cater to all kinds of clients whether they are VIPs, celebrities, artists, or just a normal guy or girl. I suggest what to do to their cars to make it better, while keeping their budget in consideration.”
Keith admits that he is very much into arts and design, treating every car as if it were blank canvases. He shares that one of the greatest honors he has received is when a famous Filipino artist approached him and asked him to fix his cars. It was major validation knowing that an established artist was recognizing his craft which he considers an art form on its own. “I appreciated it because it’s a sign that people know and trust my work. Also, it’s my way of showing people what I’m very passionate about. Some [car] shops do it for the money, but I do this because I love it and it brings me joy.”
More Cars in His Stable
Aside from growing his business (his goal is for 2019 to be his biggest year), Keith is extremely happy that he is able to collect his own cars while on this journey. Today, he has an impressive collection of vehicles that include a Toyota Land Cruiser 200 and a BMW M3 as his daily cars, and a Porsche 911 Turbo and widebody Lamborghini Gallardo for the weekends. “Personally, my dream is get one or two models from each brand. Five years from now, I will definitely have more cars in my stable, that’s for sure. Maybe a Ferrari and a McLaren to add to my collection,” he says with a grin.
“I believe in the Law of Attraction. I always have a dream, and I will definitely work my ass off to attain it.” For now, we wish Keith the best of luck. But we have no doubts that he will achieve his goals. He was once a 17-year-old boy “modding” his second hand Honda Civic, and today he is one of the most influential people in the car community. It comes to show that being truly passionate about something can lead to big things. All it takes is perseverance and a little bit of hard work.
For more information or inquiries, contact Keith Haw and ImportHookup through Facebook, email at [email protected] or IG: @kbh__kbh / #ImportHookup