Driven Calgary 2018 – Part 1

So, it’s been a minute. Apologies for not updating the site in nearly a month but the good news is there’s definitely a lot to share from the last few weeks! Obviously – as I’m sure you’d know even without the title of this post – Driven took place so there’s a lot to talk about and show from that, and Driven also means new parts for cars so we have some updates on Sriracha and Mustard to get through in time too. On top of that more Wednesday night meets have happened and now Cars and Coffee has returned too! For today however, we’re starting off with the first little bit of Driven coverage to get the ball rolling on that.

To address the elephant in the room, I’m sure that you’ve heard all about it by now but let’s just say that Driven Calgary ’18 was not the smoothest nor best edition of the show. Jason obviously already put up a massive and detailed post recapping his thoughts on the show (I legitimately don’t think he slept following Driven. I don’t know how else he got that up so fast) so I don’t wish to repeat what he said as he already addressed it so well and wrote so much on it. To go off-topic for just a second I will say though that it’s great to see that so often, he’s thinking what I’m thinking when it comes to our community so that I know I’m not out to lunch with some of my opinions or thoughts on our scene. We have builders here who, for lack of a better term, really ‘get it’ when it comes to assembling cars and knock it out of the park with some real stunners, but we also have many vehicles still sporting replica parts, no clear themes, or being put together without a ton of ‘substance’ behind them; but that’s a discussion for another day as I want to get back to the show itself as opposed to its participants.

What I really wanted to talk about today as a lead-in to the main show coverage was the night before, when we were all setting up for the main event. I will say that based on my first-hand experience, talking to friends and looking at the social media, there were definitely some common comments regarding the setup day (Friday) and specifically the ‘Ignition’ event taking place during it.

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The point of having a setup day is naturally, to set up. Each year (such as 2017, above) we’ve shown up on the Friday evening, met with our group, quickly gotten into the Oval, arranged the cars, and then had plenty of time to detail, apply banners, and also relax and check out others’ projects before heading home for some rest. This year was just about the exact opposite of that.

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Ignition was intended to be a pre-show, so spectators could watch participants roll-in and drive down a short runway, being led by models, amidst a light show and blaring music. A cool idea perhaps, but in reality all it did was slow things to a halt and lead to a lot of confusion as to where to go, park, set up, and so forth.

We ended up spending around 3 or 4 hours at the Oval that evening, and between waiting in the massive line outside (it stretched out onto and down the street in front of the campus!), waiting to be told where to actually park, and then waiting for the lights to come on to actually see, we ultimately had about half an hour or 45 minutes at most of usable, productive set-up time. Adding to that, I also almost got myself into a pickle because I ‘over-prepared’ on the whole ¼ tank of fuel rule (I showed up with a bit under that) and with all of the idling, shutting off and restarting, crawling around, and then waiting to leave on Saturday night, well let’s just say that I now know when my fuel light comes on…and I set a personal record for the least amount of fuel I’ve ever had in a car by a LOT. The fact that the first fuel station we convoyed to after the show was closed didn’t help either. Haha.

Anyway, I applaud Mark and his team for always trying to improve the show because at the end of the day, Driven is an important event in our community and I want to see it stick around and grow for as long as possible. They’re always pushing to make it bigger and better, but unfortunately everything can’t work out perfectly and I’d have to say that the Ignition pre-show concept was such an idea.

As for the main show itself there was a great selection of cars, Nakai-san was on hand for autographs, three RWBs were present, the music was phenomenal (even my mother enjoyed it and our tastes can often be complete opposites), and as always the event served as that push to get everyone to up their game, finish their winter projects, and get the cars all cleaned up for the real start of another season. It was definitely over crowded (it’s great to see so many people wanting to take part but there were absolutely too many vehicles crammed in there) and set-up day was a headache to say the least, but I think it’s safe to say that the feedback has been heard and we’ll just have to wait for future events to see how they refine the show based on it.

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Anyway, speaking of being overcrowded our group was…well, not that. With space at a premium, people on vacation, cars still being assembled for Wekfest Seattle, and so on, we ultimately had only three cars this time; Mustard of course, my mother’s S13, and Sriracha making its Driven debut. I never complain about quality over quantity though, and while we had a small group all three cars were definite strong ones from our little fleet. They each received plenty of attention and we were answering questions and talking with show-goers all day long. The “holy (insert varying expletives here), a stock 240SX!” reactions never get old. Haha

If there was one positive from the waiting around and lack of lighting however, it was a chance to play around with shooting in (really) low light for a change so I grabbed my camera and tripod for a few photos. Wandering around would also let me get a feel for what was making up the event this year so that I could make mental notes of which cars I wanted to revisit in detail the following day once the venue was properly lit.

The full set of photos from the actual show day (Saturday) will begin in the next post, but hopefully the batch in this post whet your appetite for what’s to come.

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This was actually the first shot I grabbed that night; this was where we were initially parked before being asked to move without being told where to move to…

For 2018 (or at least for now) Mustard remains visually unchanged with the same livery, body mods, and wheels but that’s only because the main focus this time around was the interior. Thanks go to Mario, Derrick, and Paul for their assistance in various roles, as well as to Marshall for always putting up with my increasingly odd parts orders (I think the OEM Focus RS washer fluid neck may have been the strangest one yet. More on that later!).

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Sitting nearby, naturally, was Shutterbug. Fortunately my mother is now walking again following her severely broken leg and ankle and while she’s still slowed down from it, as it was her left leg/ankle she was able to get the S13 over to the Oval by herself (automatic for the win?). Also, don’t let the long exposure fool you – the lights hadn’t been turned on yet; it was still flippin’ dark in there. Much darker than many of these photos will illustrate.

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Also nearby, an FD and MkIV Jetta were trying to figure out where to go…

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If there was one thing to be thankful to the lack of lighting for, it was this one shot here. This is the interior of a Mazda R100 – a vehicle that I didn’t even know existed before seeing this one – and the thing was jaw-dropping. It was absolutely one of the best vehicles in Driven not just this year, but ever. It was immaculate and every nut, bolt, panel, surface – you get the idea – had been touched in some way. The following day I spent quite a bit of time just walking around it in silence, trying to take in what I was seeing. Truly amazing. All you get is this interior shot as a teaser for now but don’t worry, I took more.

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E36 wearing the iconic colours? That’ll always be a win. Note how there was also a scale version of the car displayed under the hood! Meanwhile I’m still waiting for a 1/24 Focus sedan model to come out (but it likely never will).

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If it hadn’t been for the wing, I almost wouldn’t have recognized this when I first saw it. I had noted in the World of Wheels coverage that Kanji’s car would be debuting a new wrap this season and we got to see it in its full glory at Driven! In the dim lighting during setup I thought it was just white and black, but the next day found out it was actually a complex pearl white against a very dark purple (typing that gave me flashbacks to that stupid dress colour debate) and the combo was spot-on. It looked amazing and the other tweaks didn’t hurt either; up front was an OEM facelift bumper from the FR-S/86, a Varis piece sat out back, and the temporary Varrstoens had thankfully been retired for a stunning new set of bronze Rotiforms. This thing has come so far in the time Kanji’s had it; just needs some seats and maybe forced induction and he’ll really be on to something in the hyper-competitive 86 class.

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Elsewhere, Danny’s TT was one I was really hoping to see arrive as he’d been having some last-minute headaches in getting it together for the show; more on that in the main coverage.

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These were pretty long exposures so I’m thankful these folks stayed as still as they did. Having the lighting sources being dotted all around the venue did give some opportunities to play around, which was fun.

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I can’t believe I’m typing this, but the graphics on this GT-R were so wild that I almost completely missed the fact it had a Liberty Walk kit on it! When you can make what is such a prominent and visually loud kit almost go unnoticed, you know you have something crazy going on!

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And with this as a final shot, I’m going to wrap it up here. This was actually a very quickly-taken photo but one that I’m fairly pleased with; it’s hard to go wrong with the iconic afterburners glowing in the distance!

Be sure to come back soon for the start of the full coverage with more cars, more details, and more light. Haha


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