Sunday School 2017 – Part 1

Sunday School 2017. To say it was a great show would of course be accurate but at the same time, such a simple summary of the day would not do the event justice. The guys from ill.motion delivered yet again with an incredible show and another massive thanks has to go to them for the effort they put in each and every year to give us what has become one of the highlights of the season in Calgary.

I was unfortunately out of town when the very first Sunday School took place back in 2011, so I vowed to never miss it again; I’m happy to say that I’ve been able to attend every year since and each time we return to the Max Bell arena we can count on the day somehow being better than the previous year’s.

I was particularly looking forward to this year’s event as myself and my group were able to attend with considerably less stress (and for most of us, following more hours of sleep too) and have the energy to properly take in everything we were seeing. Last year, as many will recall, we debuted my Focus following the ST conversion and arrived at the show largely exhausted and burnt-out following an extremely hectic two weeks of tearing the car down and putting it back together, on top of preparing other cars and also giving Jose’s a quick makeover while he was in town for the show. My coverage from that event ended up being very limited due to the fact that I frankly had hit the wall and took the much-needed opportunity to finally relax and just celebrate with everyone else that we pulled off the conversion and made it to the show, after months of planning and preparations. Many friends came by to check out the car as well so we discussed the process and answered a lot of questions, plus the day fell on Keith’s birthday so we had a little celebration at our tent – sharing cake while surrounded by friends, and partaking in the hobby that brought us all together in the first place, was the perfect way to spend his day.

This time around while we still had a lot of installs to tackle, none were as intensive as the conversion nor did any run as close to show time as it had (I had put the last pieces on the car only a few hours before the show started). I was looking forward to attacking the day with the additional energy and set out to not only capture more to share with all of you here, but also to spend more time looking through the cars for myself, seeing what everyone had brought out.

I know Jason touched on it in his posts, but I had wanted to as well; I was happy to see that Jason had similar feelings in fact, showing my own take on our community isn’t just an opinion isolated to myself. Comparing the turnouts to events like Sunday School and Driven from one year to the next really highlight how well our community has progressed in what feels like an extremely short amount of time. Looking around at Sunday School there were a ton of builds showcasing a lot of quality parts, assembled with attention given to details and the overall flow/theme, and on a pretty good variety of platforms too. There’s still room for our community to grow and improve of course but it’s making huge strides and looking through photos from even only a handful of years ago really illustrates that.

To return to the point of variety though, during the day as I ran into friends and we naturally got to talking about the show, one common observation was that there seemed to be a really good mix of makes and models this year. Of course there were – and always will be – plenty of Civics, Integras, FRSs/BRZs, and so on, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that; but mixed within were some vehicles that would make us stop and go “wow, I haven’t seen one of those in a while”.

Another observation (and I realize it’s another thing Jason touched on as well. I swear I had these notes in place before reading your write-ups Jason! Hahaha) was that there seemed to be less ‘new’ builds and makeovers this year, and more existing cars returning with minor revisions. Obviously it’s not feasible for everyone to put together a new car or undergo a major makeover for each season, so there will be years when this is the case. It was surely also accentuated by the seemingly higher than average number of new builds that debuted at last year’s Sunday School (Josh’s EG, Jackie’s ITR, Mario’s Fiesta, etc.), which would have been hard to top anyway.

On the flip side though, there are certain cars within our community that have been around long enough and received so much attention by this point that they don’t really ‘need’ any more anyway, and it’s nice to see these staples return (with or without subtle changes) to stand alongside newer builds. Cars like Arif’s EK, Ryan’s MR2, and Alex’s GS-R are all cars that have been around for as long as I can remember but are still perfectly relevant today and are always welcome sights at shows. They provide a good comparison between cars built by longer-term members of the community and newer, and builds that have progressed over several years (or more) and those built up in recent months; plus, they’re all great examples of their respective platforms to pull ideas and inspiration from.

Now, I know you’re all here to see Sunday School coverage and not just read about it, so I think it’s time we get on to the pictures; that intro wound up being longer than I had expected but hopefully it didn’t deter you all. On to the first batch of photos!

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It only makes sense to start at the beginning of the day, and that would be the roll-in. As per guidelines, ill.motion likes groups to roll in with everyone together so the upper lot serves as a meeting/staging area to allow all members to arrive before going to actually park and set up. I arrived with my mother, Mario, Derrick, and Brian all close behind, to find the other half of our group parked up already. You may notice some changes in the appearance of both Brian’s Titanium and Derrick’s Camaro here – more on those later!

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That other half of our group consisted of Brandon, Yolanda, Jules, Vlad, Keith, and Robyn. Jules had driven in from Edmonton with her ’13 Focus ST – a big thanks goes to her for making the trip (she drove down and back the day of the show), as well as for helping me make up my mind on what hood vents I want; the instant I spotted her new setup, I was sold! Haha. Behind her car here was Vlad’s new Lightning, followed by Keith’s Mazda 3 and Yolanda’s ST.

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You may be thinking that I was taking a photo of Brandon’s car here, but you’d be wrong. While it works well enough as a quick photo of Le Yeti, my attention was actually drawn by Alex Markovic (I assume it was him driving) in the new Acura NSX up the hill. I had my ultra wide on though, so it’s only a spec in the distance here…

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See? Told you it was there; there will be more photos of it further on in the coverage too. I only grabbed these few quick shots because with our whole group present we then hopped in line to enter the main lot and get everything set up for the show.

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Parked in line, waiting to enter the main lot…

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Regular readers will know our tradition of having commemorative decals for the events we attend as a group. Following what I initially did with Driven 2017’s decals, the ones I made up for imSS were all colour-coded for their respective cars (i.e. red and white for Derrick as seen here) but I decided to make them all a bit more unique by putting everyone’s IG handle along the top too.

Totally random, but it occurred to me while editing this photo that I was holding the decals with my right hand…the hand that should have been on the camera for the shutter, as it’s on the right side of the body. Why and how’d I do that?

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When directed to our area we found we had half of one long row for our group, so we quickly sorted the vehicles to have the Foci/Fiesta together, and the others ended up alternating between red and white. My mother’s 240 and Derrick’s slammed Camaro made the Lightning look absolutely massive by comparison.

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Across the aisle from us was Sincedayone and what I had known would be one of the highlights of the show for me if it arrived. It’s not the 400R – though that was definitely hard to beat – but Gugliano’s Civic on the left. You wouldn’t know by looking at it, but about 2 weeks before the show that was a COMPLETELY STOCK Civic that he’d just picked up. I have more to share on this car later but to summarize, his old EK was destroyed by hail so he picked up this one to use the shell of, and in no time he and the crew transferred over a ton of old parts while simultaneously fitting other new pieces. Due to time constraints the car was then wrapped grey and incidentally, finished at 7:30AM on the morning of the show; or in other words, about two and a half hours before this photo was taken! If I had to pick my favourite of imSS 2017, it’d honestly probably just be this for the insanity that all of the guys went through to get it together in time. My hat is off to them for pulling off an incredible build in such a tight window of time.

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After getting our cars parked and some basic setup completed, I ran up the hill to grab a few quick shots of everything going on. We were parked on the SW side this year – you can see the condiments in the background – and some of you may have noticed the all-star lineup of Hondas in the middle of the above photo too. Parked together were that new NSX, Alex M’s restored ITR, another stock ITR, Alex M’s aforementioned masterpiece of a GS-R, and a new Civic Type R too! Honda dream row there.

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Some more of the many, many cars that would be filling up the lot that day.

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There were plenty of dogs around all day long too – li’l Cooper was hanging out by the ill.motion tent as I made my first lap of the venue.

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The trophies for this year were really awesome – wooden again, this time in the form of steering wheels. For those unaware, the judging and awards system at Sunday School works a bit differently than at many other shows. Instead of there being individual classes for vehicles to compete within, the judges select what they feel are the top 15 out of the entire field, and those cars go home with a trophy at the end of the day.

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Quick snapshot of some of the Honda lineup, most of which was K-powered as well.

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The monster turbo on Alex’s GS-R.

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There was no way I wouldn’t get another shot of the 400R; it’s still surreal to see one of these in person given there’s only 44 in the world, and it’s awesome that the owner brings it out to so many events instead of mothballing it and hiding it away.

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Mike’s widebody RX-7 was already an incredible build but regardless, he kept busy and continued to refine it. Perhaps the most obvious change was the respray of the engine bay (it was red before) but a lot of work went into new wiring and further weight reduction throughout the car. A look inside would reveal a very decluttered driver’s zone with just a digital dash and tidy switch panel to monitor and control everything. Incidentally, I believe the hood and strut bar were new additions for this season too.

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I’m throwing my own group here in Part 1 since these photos were next up – many of you will know that when it comes to event coverage I typically like to post everything in a more or less chronological order. Anyway, I always appreciate that these guys (and girls) put in the effort to get their cars ready and show with officialTHREETWENTY so if nothing else, I ensure that I capture photos of all of their vehicles so that they have something to look back on and share afterwards. A photo from me may not exactly be the best reward in the world but at least it’s something. Haha.

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Sriracha, cosmetically, was largely the same as imSS last year though it did have some updates – the fifteen52 side stripes, a new banner, and yellow-tinted fog lights. The banner was a very subtle one, being matte black with gloss black numbers across the top denoting both 1552 and officialTHREETWENTY. The biggest changes to the car were in the engine bay where a number of new Mountune goodies now reside including their radiator and MRX turbo kit. Given that nearly all of them were hidden from sight though, Mario didn’t bother to prop open his hood. Haha

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Next to Mustard and Sriracha was of course Mayo, Brandon’s ST. It retained the subtle visual updates it had seen for Driven – the new banner and removal of the mirror caps’ True Blood wrap.

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Yolanda had the hood opened on her ST to show off some new hydro dipping on a couple of the covers. As it was recently dyno’d she was also able to have a printout on display – it recorded 239 hp and 322 lb-ft at the wheels; very good numbers for a Stage 1 FoST!

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Jules’ Tuxedo Black ST was up next. It’s a bit hard to tell in the photo but the ST emblem had been matched to the wheels’ faces with a rose gold/copper inlay; a very nice detail. A drop, properly-sized wheels, vents, and a lip; a straightforward but extremely effective transformation.

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Brian’s Titanium sedan was partway through a number of planned changes for this season at imSS as unfortunately some of his parts didn’t arrive in time for the show. The notable absentees were his suspension and wheels, so we swapped in my old lowering springs as a temporary measure and threw on my Tarmacs as well. Coming very soon to his car will be a complete suspension overhaul (and I mean complete), as well as his Styluzs following a custom refinish. Worth noting also is that his interior makeover did get completed in time and so his windows were down to show it off – inside sat a full set of OEM CDM Focus ST (ST3 for our American readers) seats. We installed them over a couple of nights and just before the show Brian completed the airbag sensor swap to remove the light on the dash. Other revisions included some coding work to enable various hidden features on the car (think VAGCOM but for Fords), black interior pillars, and new decals.

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Next in our line was Keith’s Mazda 3 (AKA the Focus’ cousin). He has to adult this year with a mortgage and upcoming wedding, but the 3 is still seeing some subtle tweaks here and there to satisfy the itch. Haha

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Unfortunately, right before the show a few people had to cancel (such as Shane who badly hurt his ankle) so we were left with a bit of room and Mario and I put out the call to see if anyone was interested in joining our group at the last minute. With 12 hours’ notice Vlad stepped up and claimed one of the spots as he wanted to bring out his new Lightning (he had just bought it a couple of weeks prior), and we all agreed it’d be a great fit in our Ford-heavy lineup. A big thanks goes to him for joining!

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Hiding beside the Lightning was Derrick’s Camaro – the only other car (aside from my Focus naturally) to have attended imSS every single year with us. This year he has gone with a bit of a panda scheme, following the swap to a black hood and the wrapping of his roof. The latter was applied stupid late at night by a few of us (it was pitch black outside when we did so) which wasn’t the ideal scenario, but it still came out well. His wheels unfortunately didn’t arrive in time for the show (they missed it by a hair) but the next time you see it, it will look a little different. Welcome to the #52family Derrick…

(Also new was the lower grille following an incident with a wascally wabbit…)

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And last but not least, Shutterbug. To change things up, instead of bringing the Thunderbird (which has been to Sunday School a few times now) my mother brought out her 240SX instead. As seen at Driven it gained a mock Japanese plate to fill the front plate bracket (which it was fitted with being a BC car originally) but that and a few commemorative decals are the only changes to the car. Some have asked if anything will be done to it but the answer remains a solid no; this thing is going to stay completely stock and as-built by Nissan.

And with that, I suppose it’s a logical time to break up the coverage so Part 2 will carry on with the other half of this aisle before moving on to the rest of the event! I wanted to do things slightly differently this year so along with the main coverage and post-show photoshoot, I also have a couple of spotlights planned to throw in as well. Stay tuned for all of that to follow shortly, and thank you as always for reading!

-Bill

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