Driven 2017 – Part 1 (Setting Up)

I can’t recall how many years I have attended Driven Calgary (I’d wager it’s most of them) but this was the fourth time that I had participated in it. As always it was a lot of fun, though the fun comes at the cost of a lot of work leading up to the big day. What is a ~6-hour event for the public takes an enormous amount of man hours to pull off between all of the organizers and participants, but the result is not only a fun event and great opportunity to hang out with friends, but a wonderful showcase of what our community has to offer as another season begins.

It’s surely also fair to call it a motivator, in regards to driving those involved to keep working on and improving their builds. Each year it’s interesting to see what the ‘standards’ are, so to speak, and see how our little community compares to the previous show after another year of growth and progression. It has gradually gotten tougher and tougher to get vehicles accepted into Driven but that’s only a good thing if you ask me. There will always be some cars at the show that are stock or close to stock, because they’re either special enough in factory form that nothing needs to be changed or are rare enough that nothing should be changed, but in regards to the modified vehicles entered it means there’s motivation for the owners to keep working and refining their cars and it allows us to see builds that get more complete and more impressive over time.

Walking around the venue there was a great mix of everything this year – completely new builds making their debuts, existing vehicles made over and in some cases almost unrecognizable, and a good sprinkling of some well-known vehicles that frankly, are at a point where they don’t even need to change. As always there was a mix not just in the types of builds but also in the types of vehicles – exotics, classics, and trucks, all sharing the oval with the cars that are perhaps more immediately thought of when hearing the name “Driven”. On that note, while I went and checked out all of the vehicles for myself, for the coverage I kept it more centered around the ‘tuners’, let’s call them, since I know that’s what is enjoyed the most by you, the readers.

As always we begin our coverage of Driven with the day before the show, when everyone sets up their cars and displays in the usual spot – the Olympic Oval at the University of Calgary. While I did capture some photos of the set-up, this time around I focused more on video instead. Given the activity I felt it’d be better to present it in video form to better show some of what goes on in preparation for the big day, while for the show itself I switched back and concentrated on photos instead. I did some filming too but with all of the cars being parked and on display (that is, static), I felt that photos were the better way to record everything and allow you all to observe the details.

Cars moving? Bill takes video. Cars not moving? Bill takes photos. Bill so clever.

Anyway, I’d say it’s time to move on to the photos and video from the set-up day now. The video went live yesterday on the YouTube channel but is linked at the bottom of this post for those that haven’t seen it yet. I hope you all enjoy this little look at some of what goes in to Driven Calgary, and that you will also enjoy the coming content from the main show itself.

Let’s now rewind to last Friday, and start off with when we all met up to head over to the Oval…

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Even though we were only there for a few minutes, I had to grab the traditional meetup shot to include here and start the photos with. Each year for Driven our group meets up at Market Mall before heading over to the University as it’s just a few minutes down the road and allows us to cruise over with less chance of being separated; important since we ‘have’ to roll in together. Ultimately our group consisted of 8 vehicles, 6 of which are visible here. The green Fiesta ST you see down at the end belongs to Reid from Edmonton; he wasn’t showing with us but he and Andrew met us at the mall anyway. Car 7 was Shane’s Integra – he met us at the Oval – and 8 was Alex’s ITR, which came in later.

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We headed out and after the nice, brief cruise were able to roll into the Oval and were directed to our spot. The drive over was quite amusing with the multiple Boomba blow-off valves in the Fords constantly sounding (hint: they’re LOUD).

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Our spot this year was nearly right next to the Oval’s spectator entrance so we were all very happy with this. Upon arrival we kept our cars out of the way for a bit to leave a path for those who would be parked at the NW end as many were still rolling in and had to get through. Once most of it had filled up we decided it was time to at least get a few of our cars parked so the Acuras and 240 were put in place to start.

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As per usual Shane unbolted the hood of his Integra and we removed it, sliding it under the car for the show. His bay is always really impressive and I think it’s fair to call it the centerpiece of the build anyway, so it’s nice to show it off. Boosted and tucked, good combo!

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While there’s still a lot to do on set-up day there are inevitably periods of waiting, which I used to wander around and get a sneak-peek at some of the vehicles that’d be on display. One in particular that I’d been waiting to see in person for a little while was Mark’s Liberty Walk Granturismo, so I grabbed the camera and went over for a look. This debuted last year and I’d seen plenty of photos of it online, but had yet to see it with my own two eyes as Mark and I are in different cities.

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While we were waiting we also noticed that the exhibitors next to us had this ridiculously cute puppy with them who was very happy to wander over and say hi. Of course all of our attention was diverted to him for a little while, and we were impressed with how well-behaved he was given he was just 12 weeks old.

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Posing for a selfie with Yolanda – or maybe not. We all needed a super-quick shutter speed with this little one; while well behaved he was still an energetic puppy!

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After he wandered back to his mom and dad I looked over a bit later and saw him being pushed around on a skateboard. The cuteness levels were now unknown because the cuteness meter couldn’t read that high!

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With the Oval filling up it was time to focus on the cars again so the Fords were all lined up and their final cleaning began. I’m sure that it’s always obvious for my neighbours when a show is approaching because many modified (AKA loud) vehicles will come by my house for banners and other work in quick succession; Stephen and Brandon both requested new banners for the show and while the latter is seen in better detail in the video, I did capture a photo of Stephen’s for today. The vinyl was an extremely close match for the wheels’ powdercoat so we were very happy with how it worked out.

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When we had originally started parking the cars we realized that there would be enough room in our area to fit an 8th, which is when Alex’s ITR joined the roster. He asked the organizers if they’d be okay with the last-minute addition and they were, so he promptly went back home and picked it up. We decided to scoot the others down and have it beside Shane’s, to keep the Integras together.

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Being a super last-minute addition meant that it needed a super last-minute wash though. Before someone freaks out about swirls, the car was actually pretty clean to begin with (just not car show clean) and it’s the track toy with less than perfect paint so Alex really doesn’t have to worry. The future may hold a respray for the car anyway, to bring it back to its original Championship White shade. To be decided…

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The Ferd row. For the placement of the vehicles we opted to keep the white cars separate – as with the silver cars in the other row too – to have the colours alternate. It may just be a matter of parking a few cars but we discuss and plan every aspect of these shows, down to where each individual car will be.

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With the cars in their final spots I then wandered off again to find friends and check out more of the cars. It may be hard to tell, but this one is actually Kanji’s BRZ! I had seen it in person before this but only at night and while it was sitting on a set of temporary, mismatched wheels. With better lighting, a (temporary) properly fitting and matching set of wheels, and the stance dialed in, I was blown away! The gloss/satin colourway sounds odd on paper and probably catches most off-guard initially, but honestly I like it. It’s similar I suppose to how the Greddy Rocket Bunny FR-S used satin black to highlight its flares – here the satin purple highlighted the Aimgain pieces.

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Kanji wasn’t the only one to go nuts though as the Balance Auto Integra was also drastically different for the show. You may recall that a little while ago I showed the floor being cut out of it – now that monster diffuser calls the spot home. The fact that it’s so big that the license plate has to be bolted to it instead of the bumper is something I find hilarious. Perhaps a bit less hilarious and more frightening is that the ITR now also shoots flames, right in front of the windshield as that where the exhaust exits. Alrighty then…

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As it goes every year, Driven’s setup day is also a decal-order-handout day for me with all of the requests that come in for cars that will be shown, so my wandering also allowed for them to be handed over. Apparently the requirements for parking over here were A) It must be a Honda and B) It must be on Volks/Rays.

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With orders handed off I then got around to doing the last tiny bits of detailing on Mustard, making sure it was ready for the next day. I like to be able to come in the day of the show and not have to worry about any more cleaning.

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Everyone else had done the same by this point, including my mother with her 240. The top was then put up to keep it sealed for the night, and Shane’s hood was placed back on as well for the same reason. The next day the top went back down of course, and the hood was opened and lights popped up to show everything off. It was neat to see a stock ’90’s Nissan getting so much attention when surrounded by hundreds of heavily-modified vehicles and even supercars…

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…oh, and the 240SX got a fair bit of attention too – but that’s all for another post.

Thanks for reading, as always, and check back soon for Part 2!

-Bill

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