780 Tuners 2016 Closer

Earlier this month 780 Tuners hosted their season closer and it was more than enough reason for me to make the trip north again. Each year I attend the season opener, but never before had I returned for the closer. It would allow me to once again check out the cars, see some friends, and I figured it would also be a good test for the Focus.

At this point the sedan had been running as an ST4 for nearly two months but it had yet to be taken on a ‘proper’ road trip. Of course I had logged many kilometers during its daily use around the city and had taken it out to Cochrane a couple of times (a small town approximately 20 minutes outside of Calgary’s limits, for those unfamiliar) but a 3-hour trip north on the highway would be its biggest quest yet. Not the longest of road trips, but a road trip nonetheless.

Living in Alberta, having an event this late in the year means having to plan ahead for – and basically expect – a sudden weather change. Sure enough, just a couple of days prior to the closer we got hit with snow which prompted the change over to winter wheels and tires and it served as a reminder to pack many extra layers of clothing as well as fresh emergency supplies just in case. Following a slow start to the trip due to insane fog restricting visibility, it was fortunately smooth sailing all the way to Edmonton; at least for those of us going north. At one point the southbound lanes were tied up for what seemed like several kilometers due to a crash but that was the only thing of note.

Fast-forwarding to the meet, I ultimately didn’t take too many photos as my priority was keeping my camera safe from the elements. I kept it out as long as I felt it was safe to do so but as the snowfall intensified I made the call to put it away. Despite my best efforts it was getting more exposure to the weather than I’d like and I didn’t really wish to have to repair or replace any equipment following the trip.

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It’s at this point in the post I should probably start with the photos, so let’s get to them – starting with the typical out-the-hotel-window shot. I had remained hopeful that maybe the snow would at least stop falling in time for the meet, but it kept on coming…

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The gathering was over at the Casino Yellowhead overflow lot, just as it was for the opener back in May. After a quick lap of the lot I found a Race Red FoST with room beside it, so of course I had to park next to it.

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Steadily more and more vehicles arrived, all looking a little frosty after their drives over.

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“Meanwhile, in Canada…”

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Snowing sideways and we’re still game for a car meet. Weird or devoted, you decide.

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Of course I had seen a few RSs in person by this point but this was the first true “in the wild” spotting so to speak. The others were all either at dealers or at the car show, so to see this one roll in to the meet was a treat.

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Despite the weather it seemed people weren’t afraid to bring out their toys, most of which looked to still have summer wheels on. Fortunately the snow wasn’t building up on the roads at least; that would have made things much more difficult.

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Wandering the lot there were a number of Skylines to be found and among them was a white ER34 that looked rather familiar – sure enough it was David’s old sedan!

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This was a car that stood out because I wasn’t really expecting to see one – a Thunderbird! Specifically, one from the Aero Bird generation.

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Subarus, of varying shapes and sizes. The blue bugeye in particular was quite nice, sitting on Meisters.

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And speaking of Meisters, Justin was in attendance with his impossible-to-miss bagged Prius, parked next to the 780 tent. I’m not really a Prius fan but he’s doing his own thing and I have to give props for that.

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This Cruze wore a rather aggressive front bumper which looked to have been heavily inspired by the 3IS. The switch to the Holden badge (similar to putting Honda badges on an Acura) was a nice detail too.

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I don’t believe I’d seen Galant wagons in person before, so it was cool to see this pair at the closer. The owner of the grey example seemed to be a Mighty Car Mods fan as well based on the decals on the window.

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Perhaps it was emphasized by the stock body but the wing on this FR-S looked absolutely massive! Jason, step your game up. Haha

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The sky-high ride height did a lot to turn heads, but helping that were the lights which were constantly cycling through a range of colours.

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And last but not least, this older Celica – this was the point in time when I decided I’d better get my camera out of the snow so away it went. If I missed your car I apologize!

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In the end it seemed a lot of people didn’t stay too long anyway but it still allowed enough time to check out the cars, chat with some people, and also get more than a little bit soaked from the snow. But hey, it was worth it.

Making a 3-hour one-way drive to spend 90-ish minutes standing outside in the cold, as it snowed, bundled in coats and sweaters, for a car meet. Only in Canada, eh.

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Of course no trip to Edmonton is complete without stopping at the Donut Mill on the way back for a box of donuts though, so there was that too.

Thanks goes to all of the organizers for putting the event on once again! Just as attending the 780 Opener has become a yearly thing for me, I’m thinking that attending the 780 Closer should become one as well. I could do without the snow next time though, but it’s not like it stops us anyway.

-Bill

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