Park and Polish 2018

Using car-related activities as the measure, 2018 definitely wasn’t the best year. That’s perhaps a bit of a negative way with which to start off a post, but it was the unfortunate reality for us this season.

Weather was definitely the main factor in that, with many events either seeing a reduction in participation and attendance or being called off entirely. Unfortunately a couple of vehicles within our circle were also written off over the season which is never a good thing, but at the very least everyone was okay so it definitely could have been worse.

There were still plenty of great times though of course, with many of the events that did manage to go ahead being just as good as – or even better than – they were before. Sunday School is the definite standout in that regard with the new location turning out to be brilliantly suited to the event, and even the smoke in the air didn’t negatively impact the proceedings but rather managed to bring a cool look to the photos and kept us from getting sun burns (we can swap engines but don’t ask us to figure out how to use sun block. That’s beyond us).

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Come season end though, Mother Nature rained on our parade one more time – literally – reducing the size of Park and Polish and seeing it being held largely underground in one of the business park’s parkades. Granted, in the show’s history it has only seen rain twice which isn’t a bad track record, and the organizers do make it clear that rain or shine the show will go ahead so you can count on being able to see some amazing cars no matter what the day is like.

I was of course in attendance (I’ve never missed a Park and Polish since I first went with my Grand Prix way back when) and was accompanied by my camera, but I ended the day with probably the smallest batch of Park and Polish photos I’ve ever captured. Obviously they then sat on the card and computer for a while, but I figured that as a final post before we begin with our annual year-end recaps and countdowns, it was still worth getting them online for you all because despite the weather and smaller attendance, the field of vehicles still had some real treats in it as always.

That’s the thing about our community, and living here I suppose; since we’re no strangers to less-than-ideal weather, even when the rainy/cold/meh days manage to line up (very consistently, I might add) with our car show days, there will always be a group of enthusiasts that just roll with it and make the trek regardless. After all, fast-forward a few months to when so many of our cars are parked for the winter season, and we’d gladly accept a damp car show just to have something to do. It may have been a weak season, for lack of a better word, but we still took the opportunities we were given and brought out what we could to the events that went ahead – such as Park and Polish.

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If you’ve read any Park and Polish coverage from prior years, you’ll know that there’s always at least one photo of the trophies because they are consistently some of the best (and pun-niest) of any show we have. Using recycled parts from exotics and race cars, they definitely stand out against the more traditionally-formatted awards of other events.

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The parkade had its drawbacks in the form of lighting and in some cases space around vehicles, but if you came to see supercars it was the place to be! This 720S was tucked away in one of the corners but that didn’t stop it from getting a ton of attention. Incidentally, while we’re on the topic of McLarens, supposedly a couple of Sennas should be coming to Calgary in 2019. Those are definitely on the top of my Cars to Photograph list for next year!

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A full shot of this Huracan Performante is further on in the post, but on this lap I made do with a close-up of the ALA logo on the rear wing. Seeing the effectiveness of this system makes me wonder if or when we’ll ever see something like it trickle down to more mainstream vehicles, or even cross over into the aftermarket? (Active aero Varis swan neck, anyone?)

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Happily the new GT was on display, providing another opportunity to look over it following the Cars and Coffee event where it was the star of the show. As a side note, I overheard a quick snippet of a conversation from two others passing by while I was grabbing photos of the car; one pointed to it and exclaimed “Look, it’s a Ford!” to which the other laughed in response “Pfft, no it’s not.”

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With that first, quick lap of the parkade over I decided to wander back outside to see if it had dried up at all. Nope. It still hadn’t stopped new cars from arriving though, such as this 991.2 GT3.

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I don’t believe I ever saw Danny himself at the event, but I was at least able to track down his TT. Mustard was of course on its Integrales at this point, so with his Rotiform LAS-Rs we weren’t exactly twinning in terms of wheels but were sort of close.

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This was one that quickly caught my eye because I remembered it from Sunday School; it had been a standout for me but I was also still curious as to whether it was a converted Civic, or rebadged CSX. Thanks to having its registration sheet on display I was able to find out that indeed it was the latter. Everything flows really well on this and has just the right amount of visual aggression if you ask me.

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Easily two of the most attention-grabbing vehicles parked outside that day were Drift Squad’s S13.5 and R32; I saw no shortage of spectators taking a good look around them, and especially under their hoods. It’s also hard to ignore the visual impact of having two cars with a coordinated team livery.

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Regular readers will know why I took this photo. I’ve actually been asked here and there in recent times but yes, an S15 is still – and always has been – at the top of the automotive bucket list. Following the ST conversion draining the S15 fund a couple of years ago that purchase has been postponed without a definite date in mind, though I know that I need to get one before they hit 25 and all of you Americans really send prices through the roof. Haha

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Still waiting on a 707HP Caravan. Make it happen already Dodge!

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I will say this about car shows in the rain; it’s a nice change to not have to have an immaculately-prepared vehicle. Part of me was secretly happy that I didn’t have to get every nook and cranny of the Focus clean for this show. Shhh. Haha

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Speaking of the Focus, parked next to it was an R35 with what was definitely one of the most unique sets of wheels I’d seen, in terms of the pairing of finishes and materials; the fact that the car itself was white only served to make them pop more, too. The carbon was also a nice “reward” for those who took a closer look at the car since from a distance the lips could look like they were simply finished in black.

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White exterior, red interior, and on a Pontiac no less. Yes please.

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Looking back through my photos from the day it’s apparent that I was a somewhat all over the place, spontaneously popping in and out of the parkade as my route through the event was more or less being dictated by the intensity of the rain outside. After all, cameras and water don’t really mix. This was surely one of the times when the rain picked up again as I wandered back into the parkade for some more photos of the vehicles hiding down there.

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“I don’t believe I ever saw Danny himself at the event” I said. Oh look, there he is. Apparently I was more focused on the retina-searing green GT but in my defense, he was wearing camo…

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Surely quite a debate could be held over which lineup of cars at the event was the most impressive, but this corner would be a strong contender with its Porsche/Ruf trio. It was also a neat opportunity to see the CGT alongside the 918; I don’t think I’d really realized just how much alike they look despite being very different vehicles. Strong family resemblance, there.

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The biggest surprise of the event however, for me at least, was seeing this RWB just casually parked off to the side.

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I don’t photograph trucks as much but a Yukon/Suburban of this generation will always grab my attention. With the snow that we now have I’m back to driving the Continental, naturally, but I had been borrowing and driving my mother’s ’93 Suburban a fair bit this month while the roads were clear (partly because I may or may not have stuck Christmas lights on the roof rack again…). These things are bulletproof and the best trucks money can buy if you ask me; in its almost 26 years of service, the only time the old ‘burb ever failed us was when the alternator quit and the battery died. Once. It’s never missed a beat otherwise.

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If, for whatever reason, I had an award for “Car That I Was the Happiest to See”, it would have gone to this one; Kokumajutsu! Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you here; it has been colour-changed since its original completion in 2016. Gone is the OE Grey Black hue for black, and I honestly can’t tell which shade I prefer. That doesn’t matter though as I was really pleased to finally see it in person following its redo, after only seeing photos of it on social media. Hopefully I can run into it more next year!

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Citroen 2CV, anyone? You never know what you’ll see at Park and Polish.

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What’s rarer these days; a stock 240SX, or FR-S/BRZ with intact quarter panels? Jokes aside, despite having been out for a number of years now the original RB kit still packs a visual punch when you see one in person.

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My continued wandering took me back to the Drift Squad cars where I took the chance to take another, more detailed look at their engine setups and bays. Each obviously featured a fair bit of work, with similar features but two distinct end results.

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Of the duo I’d have to say that the S13.5 was my favourite though, due to the classic face swap and how the bay matched the colour of the graphics.

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And last but not least, a touch more Porsche content in the form of a 991.1 GT3 RS is probably not a bad way with which to end the photos today.

Because of the weather and smaller attendance the show ended up wrapping a bit earlier than usual so it wasn’t long before the awards were handed out and everyone started packing up to head home. This ended up being the Focus’ last proper outing of the season as it happened, as not long after we had our first massive snowfall and so it was left tucked away in the garage while the Conti was put back into active duty. I’ve had it out a couple of times since as the weather has allowed, to keep fluids circulating and everything moving, but otherwise it has been hibernating as the parts collecting for 2019 has gotten underway.

At the time of this writing, Driven Calgary – what we consider to be the first big show of each season – is just under 4 and a half months away so the time pressure is already starting to be felt just a bit but we’re trying to get ahead of schedule to avoid last-minute mad dashes come spring. Brian and I picked up some parts recently (another reason I’ve been borrowing the Suburban) including the other sacrificial fender I need for the coming flares, and a couple of small gauges recently arrived for Ruzz and I as well.

As said 2018 wasn’t our best year for events (or really cars in general) and it was unusual to take a step back from the traditional go-go-go nonstop summer schedule, be it of our own free will or forced upon us by weather, but it has served to up our anticipation and excitement for 2019. We can’t wait for a new season of events, install days, and everything else that comes with being obsessed with these machines.

And maybe, just maybe, we’ll get back to a semi-regular schedule for the site. Anything’s possible. Haha

-Bill

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