For the first time in iMSS’s history, I was worried. Not for the quality of the cars, because the show always brings out some amazing ones; not for the deadline, because we managed to get the big items all crossed off of our list in time; and not for the weather, because it was about as good as it could have been – wildfire smoke aside (more on that later). No, I was worried because of the location.
Hosted at Max Bell since its inception, this year would see the first change in that regard as the show was relocated to a parking lot in Calgary’s downtown. Without a doubt Max Bell had been outgrown, but it had served beautifully as a location because it was quite photogenic. The building itself was brightly coloured and nicely designed, and of course there was the view of the downtown skyline which served as the backdrop for many show photos and post-show group pictures as well. We weren’t the only ones to take a photo overlooking the city each year.
On paper, the move to a downtown parking lot seemed like it could be a downgrade in some respects but my main concern was from a photography point of view. Given how nice of a location Max Bell was for photos, how could a parking lot downtown possibly compare? Well, actually, it could be argued that it was better.
Even though I’m familiar with downtown Calgary, I can’t say I’d ever looked at this lot with the perspective of photography though so I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of how I could make the photos look interesting. Upon our arrival that morning however I was immediately pleased to see some quite attractive surroundings, and a couple of things we could play with for different angles and perspectives.
As instructed, I found Punit for directions to our row and was very happy to see that we were parked right in front of a staircase coming down from one of the +15s (elevated, enclosed walkways all over downtown Calgary). This would prove to be a very fun – and popular – place from which to take pictures and check out the show. Many of the photos you’ll see today were taken from the staircase in fact as it was a perfect place from which to watch the setup take place.
Location ramblings over, what about the show itself you’re surely wondering? To say the least, people came out in force with the estimated counts I’m hearing being between 5 to 600 vehicles. This is made even more impressive given our current air situation; as alluded to earlier, we’re currently suffering from fairly atrocious air quality with a ton of smoke coming over from BC’s wildfires. It’s so poor that frankly, we probably shouldn’t be outside this much but you can tell where our priorities lie! Car shows must go on (one extra note on this, and one that Jason made as well – the smoke was providing a strong tint to not only photos, but real life as well. I won’t be adjusting every one to counteract it, so the results are a very ‘warm’ set of pictures which honestly, I’m not hating!).
Perhaps the key improvement thanks to the new venue though, increased space aside, was the visibility. Max Bell wasn’t exactly the most visible location for a car show; it was slightly out of the way, and the parking lot was a bit hidden from view due to the elevation changes and barriers. This lot on the other hand was along one of the busiest streets in downtown Calgary, one that even on a Sunday had no shortage of traffic on it, and was easily and effortlessly accessible. Before the show even officially began, as we were still setting up, people were already wandering in to see what was going on.
As far as the vehicles are concerned the range was incredible and the quality was amazing as well. As per usual with iMSS there were vehicles and enthusiasts in from out of town to take part, and a couple of very long-term, serious builds were debuted at the event this year with each taking home an Honour Roll award as well, which they both very much deserved.
As a final note before we get started with today’s photos, I want to extend some major thank-yous to the ill.motion crew and everyone else involved with making these shows happen; they have been invaluable to the Calgary community and deserve to continue growing each and every year. The feel of iMSS is unmatched by any other local event; you almost get the sense that it’s a celebration of our local community and what it has to offer. It’s very relaxed, it’s all-inclusive, and of course is all done for a good cause, raising money for a different charity each year.
With all of that said, let’s get on to the photos, with today’s being those of the roll-in/setup portion of the event. Our group met up just down the road from the venue at a Staples parking lot, and that is where we begin now.
This time around our group consisted of six vehicles; from left to right we had Brian’s Titanium (you can see Brian getting a head start on his final cleaning here), Mario’s FiST (Sriracha), Brandon’s FoST (Mayo), my ST4 (Mustard), Derrick’s Camaro, and my mother’s 240SX. As mentioned in the previous post Mario’s Fiesta had been our focus for this year’s iMSS, with a number of new parts making their way on in the weeks leading up to the event. We were all pleased with the new look and were excited to show it off!
Since last year’s event Derrick’s Camaro and Brandon’s FoST had also seen some changes though, and as per our iMSS tradition each received a new banner late the night before the show. Working with proper lighting (and warmth) is overrated. When my neighbours see us working on cars in my driveway in the pitch dark, they know a show is close.
Here’s your first full look at the updated Sriracha; more to come!
One other worry that I had leading up to the event was that this Staples lot would be filled to the brim with other attendees meeting up for the show. As per ill.motion’s guidelines everyone was to line up down 9th avenue to enter the parking lot; this lot was just a few blocks ahead of where the show was being held so I had visions of everyone meeting here and then lining up to get in; fortunately for us we were one of the first groups to enter that day (ill.motion also introduced roll-in time slots this year to help ease the load) so the only other people there were from Yolanda’s group.
Anyway, we skip ahead now to the actual venue; once we were parked the first shot I grabbed was this, of Josh’s FK8 CTR, now sitting on bronze TE37s to match his K-swapped EG. Josh actually lives somewhat near me and just as we were heading out on our drive over to the Staples lot, we ran into him and his father in the FK8 and EG respectively. The two Civics looked insane in motion and it was fun to have a couple more cars in our little convoy for that morning cruise.
Legit.Society (aka Evo X Society? Haha) getting all parked and ready. These guys always have impressive cars.
This is probably one of my favourite shots of the day, and it’ll surely come in handy for when Mario, Derrick, and Brandon decide to start a band. Here’s your album art guys.
Brian, carrying on with his cleaning. He had to make sure the wheels were clean, or Jason would find out! From this angle you can clearly see some of his new underhood additions – he even followed suit with the OEM RS washer reservoir neck (yes there’s a difference, we’ll have a post on that later on), the cap of which was painted to match the covers.
Brandon, giving Le Yeti a final clean as well. The all-white scheme does look good on it.
Me distracting Brian from his prep for a quick photo…
Next to us this year was Yolanda’s crew. While we were up on the staircase landing Mario noticed that their line of cars was parked slightly crooked, so he snapped a photo and sent it to Yolanda. We laughed when we saw her check her phone, look around trying to find where on earth Mario had taken the photo from, and then tell her group to move their cars back. Ultimately she spotted us and we shared another laugh as we waved at each other.
You know the meme of the dog in the lab, “ I have no idea what I’m doing?”. Sometimes that’s how I feel with photography. I did have quite a bit of fun playing around while up on the stairs though and got some shots like this (not the first one you’ve seen like this and not the last) that I think are kind of cool. Anyway, I made sure to take plenty of pictures of Sriracha to be able to share its new look here on the site. The SS Tuning flares and Jose’s old hood vents have totally transformed it in terms of appearance, and attitude!
One by one cars kept rolling in and it seemed never-ending. In years prior, at Max Bell, the line-up would wind all the way up the hill and even out of the lot onto the main road. This year things definitely went much easier thanks to the roll in time slots.
Derrek’s Integra is a familiar sight at shows but one that I’ll never get tired of. The bay is definitely a highlight of it, and is easily one of the best around.
This was an awesome sight; an original (like, original original – an NA1!) NSX following its younger, hybrid version. Which would you choose?
The R334 rolling in, the passenger with a sizable Timmie’s (eh) because it was still early.
Both Brandon and Derrick moved away from red accents this season, reverting to black/white colour schemes on their cars. When making up their commemorative decals though I gave each of them a red/white version as black and white on a windshield would be too boring. Sorry guys, I had to give each of you a bit of colour. Haha
With our vantage point we could see this guy motoring along for quite a while and had a good laugh. We need one of these!
For when Brandon breaks off from the band and goes for a solo music career.
I had said that we had crossed everything off of our to-do list in time and that’s true in regards to things we had to get done (we couldn’t bring an unflared Sriracha with cut up fenders!) but that doesn’t mean there weren’t still parts we wished we could have fitted. Some asked about my wheels during the show as they knew I had a new set coming but noticed they weren’t on the car; they unfortunately didn’t arrive in time but as of this writing, are now here and sitting in my garage awaiting sealing and tires. You’ll see them soon!
One other aspect of the new location that interested me was that it sat next to some lines for the railroad. There’s more to life than cars – there are trains too; life-long model railroader here! (Because one expensive hobby apparently wasn’t enough)
Anyway, back to cars. I spied this super nice Mister Two rolling in; we don’t see enough of these done up around here.
As the lot kept filling up we were really pleased with the diversity in platforms and styles we were seeing. Maybe it wasn’t the case and we were mistaken, but it certainly felt like the variety this year was better than before.
More R35s seem to be showing up to events these days and there were some rather nice ones out on Sunday, but the one in particular that I was happy to see was the Varis Kamikaze-kitted example, since I had derped at Driven and only taken one photo of it. I made sure to find it and grab some more shots, as well as look over it more for my own curiosity.
During the day a few nice cars could be found coming and going from the parking across the street as well – another area that our little clubhouse gave us a good view of. Woooster popped by in his 911 and I couldn’t resist a photo.
Back to the show side of the road now with a tidy E36 rolling in. I’ve always liked the understated styling of these.
James was right behind, with his RS – note the new hood vents! Alongside Brian’s Ti and my ST4, James’ RS is also a Rebel Devil Customs-sponsored vehicle so we’re planning on grabbing a few proper shots some day of all three together for RDC. We would have at the show but roll-out was taking a while and I managed to deplete both of my camera’s batteries during the day…
Blue is a colour you don’t see on S15s much but it looks rather good. Giuseppe’s is the obvious example but every so often another one pops up.
The 400R returned, breaking necks as always. There are 44 in the entire world and we get to see one out in the wild, being driven around and shown off at events regularly. No big deal…
Also worth a mention here is Binh’s freshly-finished 240Z. I’d seen it a few times earlier this year while it was at the body shop getting resprayed, and even though he didn’t get it back all that long ago, he had it more or less back together in time for Sunday School! Amusingly it was parked next to a Performante in a similar hue which made for a cool sight.
Out of nowhere this pink EG appeared and turned all of our heads. I have no idea if it was from out of town, an existing car that had been transformed, a new build, or what, but we’d never seen it before. I see Kanji staring here; Jason meanwhile was probably checking to see if the wheels were clean.
Back to ground level now…for those unfamiliar with it, this is Josh’s other Civic, his EG which debuted back at Sunday School 2016. This isn’t just a modified car but one that definitely classifies as a restomod with the effort that went into it. I really wish that one of us had a passenger for the drive over to the venue that morning because it would’ve been awesome to get some rolling shots of our little convoy, especially with the two Civics together.
David’s S15, definitely one of the better builds in town. I really like how the silver bay ties in to details like the mirror bases and wheels.
This S13 was nuts – I made sure to go back for some photos once it was all set up, and opened up. You can’t easily tell from this angle but it was a coupe too, my favourite! (Sorry Mom. Haha) It was definitely a stand-out build at the show this year.
Along with that staircase, also next to us was one of the parking booths which had mirror tint. I played with that for a few photos during the day including this, which is the rarest type of photo you’ll find on the site – one with me in it! Haha.
This was hilarious; a whole squad of 4Runners (plus a couple others) on TE37s. I’m already seeing comments about how Calgary is overrun with vehicles on TEs – they come in after most shows, it seems – and it’s true. Calgary is very much TE37 town or Volk city in general, but it’s certainly not a bad “problem”, is it? It beats being the Varrstoen or Rota capital! In any case, TEs definitely suit these things and the Cavalry Blue/Mag Blue pairing was the best of the bunch.
And now, with one more of Woooster’s 911, that’s a wrap on Part 1! Thank you very much for reading and be sure to watch for Part 2, up as soon as I can get through the next batch of photos! I’m very pleased with how they turned out this year and can’t wait to continue sharing them.