Driven Calgary 2018 – Part 2

In our little community, we have seen a lot of change over the years. People have come and gone, cars have come and gone, events have come and gone. The constant though, has been growth. There are many stunning vehicles which call Calgary (and area) home and there are definitely some individuals you just know to watch upon the announcement of a new build, because it’s a safe bet it’ll be something special. All that said however, like any community there’s still room for further progression.

It has been joked about over and over that Calgary is TE37-central, or Volk-city, or whatever, and it’s largely true (watch for a CE-heavy photo later on, even). However there are still plenty of vehicles sporting not just replica wheels, but aero and other parts as well. The usual and expected argument is money, and how it’s ‘foolish’ to spend more money on the ‘same’ part, but in large part the importance of authenticity is being understood by more and more and cars are getting better for it. Another argument is that throwing more money at a build does not make it better, and with that one however I’d have to agree.

There’s no denying that this is an expensive undertaking, because it absolutely is (insert all the jokes and memes about being broke but having a racecar here). We all work hard for it, and to some degree sacrifice for it, because it’s something we love. That said, one does not need an endless supply of money to put together a stunning build. ‘More money’ and ‘better build’ are not directly related. More money simply means you can do more, and that is not a guarantee of a better finished product.

Are there cars out there that are absolutely jaw-dropping that have cost as much as a house to put together, because nothing has been left untouched and they have the rarest/most expensive parts possible? Of course there are; but there are also many out there that just ‘work’, and come together so well, with a short but well-considered list of modifications.

Whether your budget is $5000 or $500,000, the dollar value isn’t the key factor. Consider how the different parts will look together, ensure that the car is balanced (that is, don’t have a Varis Kamikaze kit but bone stock engine and suspension), and take the time to get authentic parts, to not only support the industry but also to avoid issues of poor fitment and production quality. A balanced car, with a few high-quality parts that flow well together, versus one that’s imbalanced with plenty of ill-fitting replicas that don’t gel together; which would you rather have?

At the end of the day there’s of course no true, quantifiable way to compare builds but these are factors I’ve always considered. Regarding the ongoing authentic/replica argument, buying authentic parts is vital to support the industry and the companies that invest the time and money to bring new products to market. If everyone bought fake parts, eventually the ‘real’ companies would go under and then we wouldn’t have their designers and engineers furthering the industry with new offerings. And as for car shows, at the end of the day they’re meant to showcase cars in their best form, so take the time to ensure panels fit well, that the paint or wrap is in good shape (ignoring worn paint on survivors obviously, that’s an exception), and that they’re clean.

Especially in this uber-connected age, it’s easy to get caught up in what’s going on elsewhere, and compare ourselves to others. For instance, it’s a piece of cake to find coverage from shows around the world, and see the builds that are being turned out across the USA, Japan, or elsewhere – but being able to see what others are doing however, allows us to learn from it. We can take notes, get inspiration, make new friends, find the parts we need, and push each other to up our games. I don’t think anyone here will say that our builds – on average – are comparable to those of a major hub like California, but admittedly that’s setting the bar pretty (okay, very) high. I can say though, to bring this back around to the start of this long-winded intro, is that Calgary’s bar is being set higher each season. At Driven this year, like any year, there were cars with replica parts or rushed wraps, but as a whole our little community is raising that bar with more and more cars that stop you in your tracks.

Driven 2018 was not a perfect show – that topic has been exhausted by now surely – but it was another display of our automotive community’s continued growth. Next year, hopefully the show will run a bit smoother (setup especially, please) but I’m not focused on how the show can be better, but instead on seeing how our community, and the local builds, will be better following another season of progression.

And with that – if you actually read all of that I am impressed – let’s finally get to the proper coverage of Driven Calgary 2018. There will be more to come after this, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Please enjoy Part 2.

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We kick things off with a classic combo, an R32 GT-R on Nismo LMGT4s. The black and gold scheme only helps things, too, and I’ll say it’s a happy coincidence that this is the first photo in the set today; I’m unsure of the extent of work carried out throughout the vehicle (due to no spec list at the show) but this is a perfect example of less is more, visually at least; OE aero, moderate drop, and well-sized, quality wheels. Does it need more?

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I was super happy to have had the opportunity to grab some updated photos of Birdy’s Rallybacker/Rocket Bunny/Varis/etc FR-S. In what is one of the more crowded segments we could say (chassis-wise that is) and therefore one where it can be especially challenging to make a car distinctive, he’s definitely succeeded. The lines of the different aero pieces work well together and his signature green hue really makes it all pop.

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Arif’s EK was rocking some new tire lettering to match the yellow CEs and it looked epic. Talking to him at the show, he said that he’d been really worried following the application of the letters that they’d look terrible, but once the wheels were mounted those worries obviously vanished because they were spot-on. Also note the subtle splitter under the BYS bumper; Adrian’s handywork, I believe?

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As for Adrian, happily his Civic was all back together for the show so it was able to officially be unveiled; I’d seen it at a Beyond meet a couple of weeks prior but it was still missing a few final parts at that time. You may remember that it was unfortunately rear-ended late last season (put the phones away when driving people!) and after a lot of back-and-forth with insurance they realized that it was of course worth repairing and so it spent the winter getting a makeover. With a ton of new OEM pieces on the back half, a full respray, new wheels, and some other tweaks (spy the brand new Tactical Art lip up front) it was back and looking as good as it ever had, if not better.

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CE club, as promised.

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Alex M’s usual Driven participant, his silver GS-R, sat this year out so that his fully restored PY ITR could take part instead. Considering he has not just these two, but another ITR which is currently in the works and is looking to be an insane build as well, I think we should just start calling him Calgary’s Integra God or something. Or it’s late and I’m getting loopy; you decide. Seriously though…

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Since he announced the new black-on-black combo for 2018, Jason and I have been joking back and forth that neither of us will get a decent shot of his FR-S this year. This one’s at least half decent I think, so if all the others fail I’ll at least have this one photo to show how his car looked this season. Haha

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Close-up of one of the Craft Squares, complete with burnt Titanium hardware holding it together. This is the level of detail and quality that we should strive for!

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Obviously, the main attraction this time around was Nakai-san being on hand for photos and autographs, as well as not one, or two, but three RWBs. This satin white one was probably my favourite if I’m honest; the colour scheme, little ducktail out back, and details like having ‘RWB’ etched on the headlights’ projectors really sold it for me.

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That’s not to say the other’s weren’t incredible, mind you, but I’d have to say the red example was the most ‘interesting’ of the trio.

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Perhaps the mission statement for it had been to upset as many purists as possible, because on top of the RWB kit it was K-swapped! If someone somewhere isn’t offended by the cut fenders, surely they will be by the V-taks out back. I say – it was awesome. I also say, yes – I do have photos of the engine for later on in the coverage. Don’t worry!

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As alluded to in the intro post, Danny had thankfully overcome a rather last-minute hurdle and had his TT at Driven following its own little winter makeover. It had been out before with its new purple wrap but had still been waiting on the new Rotiforms to be mounted as the finishing touch. I guess there was a secondary valve stem hitting the front calipers which would have meant he wouldn’t be able to drive on them, but he was able to get the issue sorted in time and not need to resort to ‘Plan B’ of switching the front wheels once parked at the Oval. I must say, the TT looks killer with the new colour and wheels, and the fitment was millimeter-perfect. Math kids, it’s important.

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Incidentally, as I hadn’t seen the wheels in person before this I hadn’t realized that they were actually brushed as opposed to being just painted or powdercoated silver.

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My nomination for “Chassis which most deserves a comeback” would be the 2G Eclipse. I think their lines have held up well over the years and there’s no denying their potential as performance- or show-based builds. Then of course there’s a certain green example that I’m sure we’ll always remember…

And speaking of, I actually saw a black Talon just the other day (one of the Eclipse’s sister vehicles) which looked like it was straight out of the original The Fast and The Furious because it was so period-correct for that era. I hadn’t seen it before and who knows if I will again, but I hope I do!

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This Genesis is one that definitely deserves a closer look should you ever encounter it at an event. I hadn’t realized the extent of the work carried out under the hood, but thankfully I had the chance to check it out in more detail at Driven ’18; the bay itself had actually seen some custom metal work, which is still somewhat uncommon (dare I say rare) up here, regardless of the chassis.

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David’s S15 was now looking quite different to its 2017 self due to a concise but effective list of changes. The exterior had been brought back to a more OEM+ affair and it was of course sporting a much more aggressive stance with its new wheels. For those unaware it was also previously turbocharged as well, as it was originally a naturally-aspirated model.

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Next to it, and seeming to draw a lot of attention (expectedly) was Charles’ R33 as it happily made the event this time around; it unfortunately missed out last year due to its engine blowing just before the show. Since then it had received quite the makeover, with the grey wrap, livery, wheels, and some subtle new aero additions to add to the existing widebody. The one thing it was yet to be sporting was an engine though as the new RB30 was still being built at this time, so it was pushed in. But hey, it was there!

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It’s hard to go wrong with A) a meaty, functional stance on an Evo, and B) a blue and gold combo. A neat touch (coincidence?) was that the coating on the manifold and screamer pipe roughly matched the finish on the wheels, for a nice little tie-in.

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This STI….or more accurately, this colour; ohmahgah. This thing was beautiful for its parts selection but it was the colour that had me constantly staring at it throughout the day. I assumed at first that it was paint and had even made a note to go look on the Subaru site following the event to find out just what it was (because I need it in my life), but then I learned it was actually a wrap! As you can see above the shuts and returns had also been wrapped, and it was easily the best job I’d ever seen in person. If we ever should decide to wrap Mustard, it’ll be something along these lines.

Also, Varis aero for the win. Their styling is always amazing.

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Speaking of Mustard, like I had said in Part 1 the exterior looked more or less the same (well, actually, exactly the same) as it has been in stasis for a little while now. I still have future plans for it but as it’s ‘complete’ (all bases have been covered) I’ve been focusing my attention elsewhere to round out the car and bring up what I feel are its weak points. On that, we spent a lot of time on the interior this time around especially. Full posts will come to share more on the new modifications, but the rear seat was replaced with custom closeout panels, the rear belts and window switches were removed to make it look more like a factory effort, all door panels were either replaced or received new inserts, and a touch of carbon fiber was thrown in for good measure as well. There’s still more to do of course but it’s now much further along in terms of where it sits as compared to my ultimate vision for it…though now I really need new front seats.

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Sriracha’s turn for a photo – also mentioned in the setup post was that this was the FiST’s Driven debut. The last time Mario had been in Driven was in 2015 with Ketchup when he took the win for our class, so we were excited to get him back with the newer ST. Having gone mental with it already (Stage 3 at 6 weeks old, big turbo at a year, etc) there weren’t a ton of changes planned for this season but he did replace the Mountune lip with a combo of 1552 Cup Spoilers and a massive, ankle-destroying Vega Motorworks splitter, while inside he swapped in some OEM black door handles that I grabbed for him and we removed the red from the OE ST badges to make them entirely chrome. A new rear diffuser is currently on its way (as luck would have it, it was out of stock until after Driven) and there are a couple other small changes that have been discussed as possibilities, but it may remain largely as you see it for a little while because what else does it need (*cough* widebody *cough*)?

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Meanwhile, as Mario, myself, and everyone else in the building had been fitting new parts in preparation for the show, my mother…washed the 240. Haha. We keep getting asked if or when it’ll see modifications and while we’ve considered either a few period-correct (but fully reversible) pieces, or at least new wheels for driving to keep the stock shoes reserved just for shows, we always come back to the answer of “no, it will never be touched”; it’ll stay just as Nissan (and ASC) built it. It’s currently sitting at 93,xxx kilometers incidentally, so it’s seeing decent usage as the weather allows.

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Whenever we’re at shows together I always bug her to pop the hood because I feel that’s what really shows the car’s cleanliness. To see a tidy exterior on a car this age is one thing, but that can be achieved relatively easily (bodywork and paint). To see an engine, bay, and ancillaries (and undercarriage) that are spotless; that’s the really impressive part.

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I should have a bit more of this M2 and M4 later on, but couldn’t resist throwing one photo in now. With the colour that the M2 wore I couldn’t help but be reminded of IND’s Gelbgrun project upon looking at it. These two made a good pair with some shared styling cues and equally-vibrant colours.

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Getting artsy-fartsy; Birdy’s FR-S through Aldo’s wing.

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And finally for today, one more bit of the silver RWB. I hope you enjoyed today’s post, and please do keep your eyes peeled for Part 3! At this point in time I’ll say I’m not 100% sure how many parts will make up this year’s coverage, but my prediction is 4 as there are still a lot of photos to come!

-Bill

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