World of Wheels 2017 – Part 3

I hope you all enjoyed the quick little detour from the photos – in the form of the video of the engine assembly – but today we return to and finish off the photos with Part 3!

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To begin today’s set we have this 1949 Fiat Topolino with a 392 Hemi stuffed in it – well, partially in it.  A legitimate racer from the late ‘60s, it competed in Edmonton, Calgary, and Saskatoon. It was noted as being found in 2006 after which it underwent a full restoration to bring it back to its former glory. Interestingly, the tube frame was originally hand built by Gary Egbert, who was also the driver.

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It was perhaps a bit funny to see such a tiny vehicle built up as a racer, but think of the insane power-to-weight ratio that a something like this would have! Regardless it looked phenomenal, and the recreated 60’s livery was beautifully done.

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Now it’s the funny cars again; I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get them together in a shot as I was now on the other side of their display and had a better angle.

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Morgan makes cool vehicles and it was awesome to see some of their models on display at World of Wheels. To drive a three-wheeler like this 1937 Morgan Super Sport must be an unparalleled experience; though, to do so in Calgary would probably also be slightly (or very) terrifying with massive pickups everywhere…

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Interestingly, this ‘82 Morgan Roadster was originally a right-hand drive vehicle and was therefore imported in 1997 when it hit the required 15-year mark, but in 2007 it was then converted to left-hand drive as part of a rebuild; along with the conversion it also had its colour changed from Brunswick Green to this Indigo Blue and Shark Silver scheme.

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One of the first cars seen in Part 1 was a 1967 Pontiac Acadian, and now we have this ‘65 model. Whereas the other featured a bold exterior colour and more reserved interior finish, this was the opposite with a bright red interior and silver exterior. The engine and bay were incredibly tidy and well-presented and the few hints of red tied in to that interior nicely.

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If I were to ever build a truck, it’d probably be more along the lines of a classic model, on air, with some subtle exterior modifications – I honestly don’t ever see myself in something along the lines of ‘Polar Bear’ here but of course I’ll still check out a truck like this when presented with it. This was a 2007 Sierra 2500HD with a rather extensive mod list (built engine, custom paint, new lights, sound system, and so on), and as a result of some of those modifications it was good for 800+ whp – not including the 300hp shot of nitrous. Alrighty then.

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I thought that the white coated suspension and chassis components on this equally-massive Ram were a nice touch as it worked very well to show them off. I’d bet that it wouldn’t have been too hard to find cars at the show that would have fit under some of these trucks!

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Another great illustration of the variety at World of Wheels; we jump from the towering Ram to this restored 1971 Plymouth Fury, next to a ’67 Pontiac Safari Strato-Chief.

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This 1969 Camaro, named “Kevlar”, was a car that really rewarded you for looking closer. The stripes for instance were actually ‘painted’ in reverse so to speak, in that they were the carbon fiber of the panels left exposed. Elsewhere there were plenty of other cool touches to be discovered as well; widened fenders, mini tubs, flush-mounted glass, an infotainment system, push-button ignition, and even a paddle shift transmission! The colour, in case you’re wondering, was plucked from Ferrari’s range – Grigio Silverstone Metallic.

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Along with all of the classic cars, trucks, and bikes, there was also this rather unique pair – a Dodgem bumper car, and Skidoo! This was certainly an unexpected sight – but a really neat little surprise!

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Another of Factory Five’s offerings was on display at the show in the form of their ‘33’ hotrod. With the sign up front and the side panel removed the wheels were mostly covered, but the unique light green colour could still be seen – a yellow car with green-accented wheels may sound odd on paper but it worked! Under the hood – and being shown off thanks to the removal of that side panel – was a 6 liter engine from GM (their L76 specifically) which offered up 420 horsepower for the car. It would seem that the power was put to use too, as the car was noted as having been both autocrossed and drag raced!

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The paint on this restomodded GTO kept with the theme of the car itself – combining elements of both old and new. From a distance it looked roughly similar to a classic GTO hue but had a twist in the form of tons of flake, which revealed itself in the right lighting. Housed within the engine bay was a 495 CID engine (good for a little over 500 horsepower) and to go along with that the suspension and brakes had been upgraded and modernized as well. The wheels were double staggered with massive 20x10s out back, and 18×8.5s up front.

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The interior had also seen updates during the build – many components were retrofitted from Pontiac Grand Prixs, including the seats (I knew that they looked familiar!), and the center console was a custom-built unit. Most impressive however was that the owner (now 25) started this project at 14!

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A trio of iconic bodystyles from years past; the 1979 Trans Am front and center here was making its show debut after being finished late last year. The owner purchased it at 19 back in 1983 but parked it in 1995 when she and her husband started a family. It was never sold, and now she can continue to enjoy it following its restoration.

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This ’66 Mustang convertible was an interesting one for a couple of reasons. First, the black and gold colour combo was recognizable as the Hertz scheme; back in the 60’s Shelby and Hertz worked together with the result being a limited run of special GT350H Mustangs (H was for Hertz, see?) that you could actually rent! More importantly for the point of this however is that only 4 convertibles were built – as experimental cars – but as far as I know, those four were each painted differently with none of them being the iconic black and gold pairing. I’d wager that an authentic convertible would be kept its original colour but if this was a real H that was colour changed, the black and gold combo was appropriate at least.

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Another unexpected find at the show was this 1956 Pontiac Starchief Jr. Pedal Car. These were apparently originally produced purely for promotional purposes but later were also made available to the public. I read the little information sheet that was on display but it would seem that not much is currently known about these cars; hopefully their story can be filled in eventually!

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This was another personal favourite of mine for the concept, the execution, and the display. The Psychobird, as it was dubbed, actually took me a minute to figure out. From far away I naturally saw the wing first and figured it’d be a Superbird but when I got to it I then realized something was different – when I walked around to the front I realized that it had been swapped out! The car specifically was a 1970 Belvedere (not a Superbird) but the front was that of a 1970 Coronet Super bee.

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This also had one of the best and funniest displays I’d ever seen at a show. With a full Road Runner/Coyote theme, there were Acme branded products strewn about, giant cutouts of the characters, and all of the info sheets were done in the style of Wile E Coyote’s blueprints. A slow clap is due for the detail on this one. The one downside was that we couldn’t really get close to the car to take in the details though, because of how large the display was.

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This 1939 Fargo was comprised of a collection of parts spanning many decades and a few brands; it had the frame and motor from a 1976 Chevy, the steering rack from an ’89 Thunderbird, and a horn from 1918 reportedly! The truck was noted as being a “time killer for retirement”; I’d say the time was well spent!

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You can leave them with patina or coat them in a perfect paint job – it’s hard to go wrong with classic pickups in my opinion, and I’ll stop and stare at both. This ’53 Mercury looked immaculate and was covered in a beautiful light violet colour. Bonus points for the A&W tray hanging on the window!

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There was absolutely no chance of missing this thing – both for its sheer size as well as the unbelievable airbrushing. A race vehicle, this was a case of form and function coexisting perfectly. Everything was finished to a very high standard and some previously-won awards were on display to show some of its achievements. This was easily one of the most unique vehicles on display.

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Sitting right next to the Battle of the Techs arena was this 1928 Ford model A with a really unique approach to the styling. Each wheel wore a full cover and the body showed exposed grinding marks. My favourite part was probably how the predominantly silver/chrome theme was broken up with a few touches of teal here and there. With such aggressive styling taken elsewhere the light colour was perhaps a bit of a change but it worked extremely well. Also note the headlights and the ‘eyelids’ applied to them.

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This ’34 Ford 3 Window Coupe was done very well. It had some great details – note the dimples on the insides of the doors – and the colour was gorgeous. It was hard to miss the engine anyway, but the matte black frame and dark finish on the body worked well to further highlight and draw your attention to it.

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Curtis Cooper’s S15 was at the event debuting its new wrap; and my goodness, what a wrap. The sparkle, the colours – it was unlike anything I’d seen before and it looked stunning!  It would fall off into an almost subtle black/brown hue, but where the light hit and reflected, you were greeted with all of the colours of the rainbow. I imagine this must have turned a lot of heads during the event and will only continue to do so out on the road – and on that, of course I only got to see this inside; I can’t wait for a chance to see it out in the sun!

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You get a few photos of this because of the crazy wrap, but also because it’s an S15. You saw that coming.

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Further adding to the variety was this assortment of pedal cars – the Starchief Jr. wasn’t the only one! A contest had been held for high schools and their finished cars were on display in a small booth at World of Wheels. There was great variety, and this ice cream truck was especially unique. Each had its own distinct style and all were very well done. The fire truck (in the background) even had miniature ladders hanging on the sides and a horn up front.

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Being the 50th birthday of the model as mentioned in Part 2, continued searching of the show floor inevitably revealed more and more Camaros on display. This red 1979 Z28 in front was a low-mileage car (23,000 miles) and largely original too – it had kept its original engine, transmission, interior, and arguably most impressively, even its original exhaust! The hood and rear flares were changed for those from an ’81 model though for a slight update.

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Its massive footprint combined with the super low ride height and vibrant colour gave this ’61 Cadillac a ton of presence. The body had been restored to factory specification before being coated in the custom blue, and it even featured its original chrome trim pieces (which had been restored too of course), but underneath it was a different story; there was a Ford rear end, air suspension, custom made 20” wheels, and a 525hp LS3.

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What you can just see peeking out from behind this ’71 Duster’s door is one of the massive slicks it had, and out back there was indeed a wheelie bar too. Looking inside revealed a full cage of course, new gauges, racing seats, harnesses, and so on. As the hood and trunk were both held on entirely by pins they were able to be set up in this fashion for the show – staying ‘on’ the car but elevated on rods to show off the engine and fuel cell respectively.

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One thing in particular that I really enjoy about older cars is the range of interior colours you could have with them – such as on this 1969 Dodge Dart GTS. These days (save for certain cars) your choices are very limited. Back then – blue interior? Green? Caramel? Red? Sand/tan/whatever you want to call this? There was a lot of variety and when it matches the exterior it’s something cool too. Another thing – painted engines! Not to mention more weight in chrome alone than an entire EG Civic and pointed edges that would laugh in the face of modern pedestrian safety standards.

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Pickups like this just need to be slammed and boom – you instantly have an awesome cruiser. The vintage license plate with an equal amount patina was an awesome touch as a modern and spotless plate just wouldn’t have looked right bolted on the back of this, would it? That said, sometimes contrast between new and old works well such as with some of the modern suspension work peeking through the cutout in the bed floor. The cutout was of course necessary but I liked how it gave just that little look at what was hiding underneath – though the ride height would probably have given enough of a hint on its own.

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I found it interesting that the horizontal split in colours on this 1927 Ford Model T was ignored for the front grille, which was painted entirely in orange. If you think about how the split between the silver and orange would have carried forward the grill ‘should’ have been mostly silver but it worked better this way. Also note the inclusion of exhaust cutouts right in front of the doors for when more noise was desired; the exhaust could then be channeled to the back of the car for when it wasn’t; or for when the smell of exhaust wasn’t preferred. Haha.

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Back to Camaros now and what was a very hard to beat display – a pair of matching convertibles, with a new (relatively speaking, it was a 2011 model) pace car edition and an original pace car next to it. The only thing really keeping them apart was the interior colour but somehow I don’t think a full orange interior would work as well on a modern Camaro? The 2011 model did have orange on the seats but as it was only on forward-facing panels you can’t see it from this angle; what you can just make out if you look very closely however is the painted dash board trim it had, which continued the orange stripes found across the top of the vehicle.

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An RCMP Mini drag car, complete with police light on the roof – didn’t see that coming did you? With the size of the slicks stuffed under the back and how small it was it looked like it’d just flip over backwards on the first stab of the gas. On that though – given that Minis start as FWD I’m going to assume that this was converted because what would be the point of doing all that work just to stuff slicks on the wrong end?

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This 1968 Mustang GT California Special (aka GT/CS) was a replica – but not in the way you’re thinking. It was indeed a real GT/CS, but it was a very nearly exact replica of the one the owner had as a teenager! It was only purchased last year and had already undergone a rotisserie restoration so it was a brand new build. Interestingly it wore custom Alberta plates reading GTCS390 – not too crazy as personalized plates aren’t hard to get here – but it also had in the display a slightly older California plate reading the same thing!

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I’m a simple man. I see a bike that I think looks cool and I share it. I know nothing and offer nothing for useful commentary. I can say that this was a 1997 Ducati 900 SS Sport though; I know this because the info board there told me. That is all.

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Whenever someone throws bags on a performance car the internet lights on fire with hate. What happens when someone bags a performance truck though – and a limited run one at that? It certainly looks epic, that’s what, and let’s face it that it’s a truck in the first place so you’re already not starting with the absolute best platform for the pinnacle of performance; but I digress. This was a real SRT10 (that’s the Viper V10-powered Dodge Ram) on bags, and it was nearly on the floor; and looked amazing. I can’t even recall the last time I saw an SRT10 on the road so to see one here was cool.

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Original NSXs are seeing large rises in value now so we will very likely see less and less modified examples over time which is both understandable, but also a bit unfortunate. This ’91 NA1 sported some double staggered Advan RZs, upgrades to brakes, lighting, and the sound system to modernize it a bit, and subtle body modifications; NSX’s frankly don’t need much in that department anyway – for an almost 30 year old design it still looks incredible.

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This turbocharged and KM4SH-kitted BRZ was one I remembered from last year’s show. I’d love to see this out more but I don’t believe I’ve ever seen it outside of World of Wheels. It was a pretty thorough build, with most everything done apart from brakes and seats I believe. It’s also cool that there’s a KM4SH car here in the first place actually.

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This ‘93 FD RX-7 happened to be sitting on my absolute, unmatched, all-time favourite set of wheels (Sorry fifteen52!) – Super Advans. One day I will have a set. As for the car itself, purists are surely happy to see that it was still rotary powered, and the exterior was rather reserved and…mature?…overall with some subtle aero but no widebody or GT wing. It could possibly almost fly under the radar if you didn’t know what it was. It was even a left-hand drive model which is actually a rarer sight here than a right-hand drive FD! Because Canada.

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Now we take a quick detour back to classic American muscle with a ‘71 Barracuda and ‘68 GTO. The GTO was originally owned by a mining company of all things, and the paint – while not original – actually dated back to 1988. It was even numbers matching!  The Barracuda though was reportedly one of just 9 ever built in this configuration – a 383 4bbl convertible with an automatic transmission. The factory colour that it wore (also not original but the original shade) was called Sassy Grass Green.

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This B8 S4 was dumped on air with a clean and tidy setup in the trunk under a false floor. For a comfy, sporty daily that can also turn heads at a show, I think it’s hard to go wrong with something like this; luxury/sport sedan (or wagon – hi Josh) on air suspension and new wheels. Done.

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We now finally close out this coverage with this Duster that was over in the far corner of the event. This was another vehicle built with function clearly in mind, but form right alongside it too. It was not a pampered show queen but nor was it a beat up racer either; tidy but aggressive exterior, with an awesome engine and bay presentation – and that was World of Wheels 2017!

Looking ahead we’re now at the point in the year where events start to more regularly appear on the calendar, with the Calgary Auto Show up next. Reportedly there should be a lot of rather special models on display alongside the ‘regular’ vehicles and I already have a couple in mind that I intend to go hunt down as soon as I get to the show (namely the McLaren 675LT and Ford GT). Be sure to watch for coverage from that, along with updates on projects, photos from meets and shows, and reviews too. We’re finally getting back into the fun season! Now if only the last of the snow would melt away…

-Bill

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