I suppose the best way with which to start this year’s recap is to point out that yes, it is starting a day later than usual, and that’s because frankly, there wasn’t really a need to make this year’s a two-part entry. Traditionally the site’s annual review would begin on December 30th with a look at the months of January to June, with a second part – July through December – then going up on the 31st. This time around the concluding post would have been pretty small, so I held off posting anything yesterday and combined everything into one post instead.
More or less every year since I first started modifying cars (well, “real” cars) I have fit in more shows and meets than the year prior. Combine those with the usual install days, shop hangouts, and everything else that this hobby/lifestyle entails, and that can make for a fairly full calendar. This year, due to both Mother Nature as well as other commitments, saw a rather sizable step back from that previously constant upward trend. As noted in the recent Park and Polish post weather had a large impact on this year’s events; there were still plenty that went ahead of course – thankfully – but many were wrapped up early, postponed, or called off all together.
On top of this I also took it easy with the sedan, and instead of going nuts with buying new parts was instead a responsible adult (well, ish) which meant there were less updates on it than usual. The Integrales were the biggest purchase but even then, a good chunk of that cost was recouped via selling the Turbomacs….come to think of it, my clothes spending may have exceeded car parts spending. What happened there?
All of this is to say that obviously the site saw an impact, with 2018 having the fewest number of posts ever. Whoops. It is worth noting however that not everything was in decline this year – a new record was set for the number of visitors to officialTHREETWENTY! What started as a small site for personal ramblings and some photos back in 2013 continues to reach further and introduce us to more fellow enthusiasts, which is always a wonderful thing and your support never ceases to amaze us. Despite this year’s less-than-consistent posting schedule, and at times a content timeline more convoluted than that of The Fast and the Furious, you all continued to visit, order merchandise, and engage via social media and email. As always, a big thank you goes to everyone who stops by, be it your first visit or 1000th. If nothing else this site is a wonderful photo album and diary for all of us, but seeing its audience continue to grow, and consist of readers from around the world, is pretty amazing.
And with all of that said let us begin this rewind, as we also count down the final hours of 2018.
Kicking off 2018 was something new for the site, and something that I was fairly excited about sharing; a Top Five list of local builds. With inspiration from StickyDilJoe, I thought it’d be a fun little way to highlight the efforts of local enthusiasts and it turned out to be quite enjoyable “thought experiment” for myself as well, taking on the task of further examining – and ultimately trying to rank – very different and unique vehicles from our community. It ended up being very well received, and so you can expect not just one for 2018, but hopefully future years as well!
Following the Top Five list was an exciting announcement for José and myself, which was of the feature that Mustard and Tabasco had earned in S3 Magazine! I had ordered multiple copies to have enough to hand out for friends, and with the box now in my hands it was the perfect time to take a few photos of them and share the news on the site.
Next up was a quick look at a brand new ’18 Mustang, which I’d had the opportunity to look over during a visit to Advantage Ford. Being an automatic example finished in black it was more or less the last Mustang I’d ever buy, but obviously I wasn’t actually shopping for one. Haha
The YouTube channel saw an update next, with a full walk-around and FAQ video on Mustard. Filmed over a couple of days (because of the very short amount of light we get in the winter) it ended up being nearly half an hour, going over more or less the full spec list of the sedan and answering the (many) common questions we receive regarding it.
January’s posts then wrapped up with another announcement, and that was of my position as a writer for Alberta Rides magazine. With a handful of articles in its issues during 2017, I felt it was certainly time to share on the site that my photos and stories could also be found in it. More were contributed throughout 2018, including a feature on LOWCALS and coverage of Sunday School.
February 2018 was a bit of a unique month for officialTHREETWENTY, in that most of the posts were throwbacks to before the site even launched! With the site celebrating its 5th anniversary, the month was themed with a few of these posts as a fun way to take a look back at where our community stood back then and how it had evolved in the years since. The first to go up was of Driven 2012, and while I realize that 6 years (as they were of the 2012 show) is not a massive amount of time in the grand scheme of things, a lot can change in such a period and so while some cars were familiar from more recent events, other vehicles had long since left the community.
February 6th was the actual, to-the-day anniversary and so naturally, a post commemorating that went up right on cue. It’s hard for me to believe that as I’m writing this we’re now almost at the 6th anniversary, but time does fly!
Continuing the throwback theme, following the Driven 2012 post were a pair of entries with photos from the Beyond meets of that same year. All of the throwback posts received great feedback and they were fun for me as well, causing me to go digging through my own archives of photos, bringing a wave of memories back as I did so. It was not only neat to be reminded of the old Beyond meets for instance, but also see how people’s builds and styles had evolved over the last 6 years.
The throwbacks concluded in March; having already seen Driven and the Beyond meets, it only made sense to wrap things up with that year’s Sunday School. Unlike Driven I was actually participating in iMSS (alongside Derrick) so our own vehicles were seen in the show coverage as well…and speaking of builds evolving over the years, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the Focus and Camaro were not the same ones we own today. The Grand Prix looked the same though, but that thing has more or less been in stasis since that summer anyway.
By this point the first teasers of the new car season were appearing, with World of Wheels having recently taken place and so I finally had a new set of show photos to share on the site. With its usual, massively varied selection of vehicles there was something for everyone, and absolutely no shortage of inspiration. Our winters are long and boring; a show timed like World of Wheels is a welcome motivation-booster as we begin counting down the weeks to a new season.
Not too long after was the first meet of the year (for myself anyway), bringing together a small group of us Focus owners for a little get-together in Chinook Mall’s underground parkade where we could hang out, talk cars, and pretend that it wasn’t still winter for a little bit.
Along with World of Wheels, another auto show that we can count on during the final countdown to spring is, well, the Auto Show with all of the latest and greatest from manufacturers. As a prequel to the main event coverage, a quick look at the new Edge ST (a pre-production prototype, granted) was published as it was one of the vehicles that we were the most excited about this year. Since then, the first production examples have started arriving at dealerships here and Mario and I are very keen to go test-drive one. Being ST enthusiasts and owners we’re of course curious to see how the ST treatment has carried over to the SUV and being car nuts in general, what’s not to enjoy about test driving new vehicles?
Next up was the first install post of the season, specifically that of Mustard’s OEM RS brake cooling deflectors. These are still – and likely always will be – among the easiest installs I’ve ever tackled and were a chance to put up another reference post for other owners, with a walk-through of the installation and the part numbers for anyone else interested in ordering a set. I’m sure they’ve also been very effective, with all of that track time Mustard sees too…(every day we’re one day closer to finally having a track again).
The deflectors weren’t the only new pieces fitted around this time though, as Yolanda had also received some small parts for her ST and so we fitted those as well. Hood struts, a sound symposer delete, and a pair of reservoir caps; all small and easy-to-fit pieces, but ones that make a big difference in the appearance of an ST’s engine bay!
Installs taken care of, it was back to the Auto Show photos with the main event coverage. There was a lot of exciting new metal to look at, plenty of stunning OEM colours on display (that Cavalry Blue still makes us drool) and some real treats for the sports/supercar enthusiasts like a 911R and 675LT. We’ll of course be back next year for the 2019 show but maybe I’ll tone it down a bit and not go three separate times like I did this year…
April then wrapped up with an “extras” post to accompany another update on fifteen52’s Project ST/RS site. It was Sriracha’s turn this time around, with the topic being its wheels and suspension, and it also gave me the chance to go back into my archives again and share a couple of photos of Ketchup following its air install as a lead-in to explaining Mario’s choice to go back to coilovers.
May was a slow month on the site, as we worked feverishly behind the scenes preparing for – and taking part in – Driven Calgary. The first of the two posts that month was a quick look at a special Mk3 hatch that I was able to locate at a dealer here in town. It wasn’t an ST, an RS, or an electric – in fact, the car itself was nothing out of the ordinary – but the paint colour was what made it unique. Outrageous Green Metallic is a colour that I am a big fan of, but it would seem to be a fairly rarely-specced option which admittedly isn’t a big surprise (dealers want to play it safe, and consumers are boring. Haha). In fact, I have only ever seen two Mk3s in person in this shade; this one, and a sedan which I just saw a few days ago!
With the relish-coloured Mk3 photos up, a couple of days later I published some from the local Menace Meets, as they had already started taking place and were drawing strong crowds. Rain or shine, cold or warm, it doesn’t really matter; weather doesn’t impact these too much, fortunately.
As it was held at the end of May, come June it was naturally time for Driven Calgary coverage. I’ll save rehashing the whole post-show discussion because everything has already been said, but regardless it remained as a welcome date on the calendar and once again really got us focused on working on our cars. I’m fairly certain that more work took place in the final week before the show, than the over the entire rest of the off-season. Incidentally, this winter I wasted no time in starting to cross items off of my to-do list, with many pieces for Mustard already having been picked up or ordered, to try to ease the workload next spring. That said we’ll of course still be in a mad dash in the days leading up to Driven ’19 because that’s how it always goes.
With the first two parts of Driven Calgary coverage posted a quick detour was made to Cars and Coffee photos because a brand new Ford GT had been brought out as the star attraction and I wanted to get those pictures up fairly quickly. Considering how many Cars and Coffee events were called off this year due to weather, I’m very glad that this one worked out so beautifully and we were able to see not only the new GT, but the lineup of older models as well; not to mention the rest of the vehicles that came out that night including an F50, Huracan Performante, and even an original Cobra.
July ultimately was the busiest month on the site, beating out January by one post, and that all began with the continuation of Driven coverage – Part 3 specifically. Incidentally, July 3rd’s Cars and Coffee was one called off due to rain which is why I was inside writing this up instead of heading over to Cardel. Haha
The post alternating then continued, this time with Beyond meet (aka FK8 meet?) coverage. There was quite a contrast to the photos shown in February – of the 2012 Beyond meets – but the smaller size of the new Beyond meets has never bothered us. If anything, it’s nice to have a smaller (and calmer, to avoid losing them again) gathering as it gives them a unique feel, differentiating them from the Menace meets.
With Beyond looked at it was back to Driven for the conclusion of its coverage, with a close look at the Mazda R100 as the end to it all. It’s worth noting that the R100 was actually seen on Speedhunters in more recent times which was an awesome surprise; I certainly wasn’t expecting to see it pop up there but it was absolutely deserved as it’s one of the most insane builds I’ve ever seen in person!
One of the main updates that Mustard received this season – and the main thing that I wanted in place for Driven – was its rear seat delete and so it was only right that it was looked at next, following the show coverage. This is one modification that I still get a lot of questions and inquiries about, so it has certainly caught the attention of other owners but at this point in time, sorry to say, it remains as a one-off just for this sedan. I still can’t believe the amount of hours this took, and still laugh at how I brilliantly cut all of the wood for it in my garage with the Focus’ windows down. At least I hadn’t yet detailed the interior for Driven…(pro tip, sawdust goes EVERYWHERE if you let it).
A set of photos that I hadn’t originally planned to share on the site was what went up next; coverage of AMAC’s Presidential Show and Shine. This was another event in 2018 that was impacted by the weather, being called early due to an unbelievably heavy downpour, but it was still a great show with an impressive turnout of cars all complemented by a well-chosen selection of Mustangs (and a couple of others) in the dealership’s showroom. Being held up in Airdrie, the trips to and fro were also nice little cruises.
Anyone familiar with project cars will know that not every install goes perfectly according to plan (actually, do any of them?) so next up was what should have been an update on Sriracha but ended up being more of a “fail”, or at least postponing of a finished product. Mario’s new rear diffuser had arrived, but as Ford had produced different rear bumpers for different markets it wasn’t a direct fit for the North American car. It ultimately was installed of course, but that had to wait for another day while the solution was figured out.
Closing out the month was another set of Menace meet photos, including some of Keith’s new Taurus and Brandon’s new GSXR 600. There may or may not have also been some T-Rexs running around for good measure.
August was another month with a lot going on behind the scenes, since it saw the second of our two “main” events – Sunday School. Sriracha was the focus of our attention this time around with its SS flares being the main update for the event, so while we were in the very final stages of prep for that (as well as the Thunderbird Club show and shine) a quick post went up to tease the mini ST’s new look prior to any event coverage or the full install post.
Naturally then, it was time for Sunday School coverage next and so Parts 1 and 2 were published soon afterwards. Incidentally, I did also photograph the Thunderbird Club Show and Shine and while a few of those photos have been seen on the site and/or our Instagram, that was more for the club’s newsletter and trophies.
Anyway, Sunday School was an absolute success once again with the new venue working out beautifully and even the smoke in the air playing nicely for the photos of the day; including the guys’ album cover (still waiting on them to get started on that one).
September saw the 3rd and 4th Sunday School posts go up, wrapping up the event coverage. A few more events were happening locally during this time but for a lot of us this is when the season abruptly wrapped up (I had the Focus out at Park and Polish and then not again until November I think. Oops) so there wasn’t a ton more that I went out to with my camera in hand, and therefore the site really slowed down. With the Focus left in the garage Bill became a very dull boy and focused on work instead of play, though we of course fit in celebrations for our birthdays (those with good memories may recall that September is the birthday month for a handful of us).
In October a proper reveal was posted of Mustard’s second main change for this year; its new Integrales! I’m very much looking forward to having a full season with them in 2019 as they were a welcome update to the car’s appearance and I can’t wait to see how they look when paired with the new aero. It’s worth noting that Yolanda’s ST also saw a great update with my old Turbomacs, as the white on white combo and their more aggressive sizing totally changed the look of her car. And let’s not forget Robin’s ST either, which benefited from Yolanda’s old Team Dynamics (I wonder what percentage of my friends drive Foci/Fiestas? I’m guessing it’s a decent amount).
November was Sriracha’s month on the site, with the full install post of the SS tuning flares going up first. We made sure to document the procedure in great detail and are glad we did; fitting flares to a car isn’t anything new, granted, but there’s not a ton out on the interwebs about SS’s Fiesta flares specifically, and especially not about fitting a set to a car that has actually had its fenders cut. Of course, we’ll be sure to share the full process of fitting Mustard’s as well, when the time comes.
With the flare install up it was then time to highlight Sriracha’s other exterior updates, including that rear diffuser that had put up a struggle earlier in the year. I also was able to put together a quick little video on the flare install for the YouTube channel, again being happy to have that up due to the shortage of Fiesta flare content and because it showed more of how we altered the “usual” install procedure for the car. Fast forward to present day, and I personally still think that the flares have been the best visual modification made to the car, and for the record they still look great when paired with the Mountune front lip, which the car is running now for winter as opposed to the aggressive Vega splitter/fifteen52 Cups combo.
And last but not least, we get to this month – December. It wasn’t posted on a Thursday – though for the record I did think about doing that – but it was a throwback regardless; on Boxing day the Park and Polish photos (Park and Get Rained On, more accurately) went live. Shooting in the rain is never my first choice, but it was actually a bit of fun and some of the photos came out rather well if I do say so myself. That of the 991.2, even though it wasn’t the best photo, ended up being one of my favourites of the day hence why I used it as the cover.
And so there it is, 2018 in a nutshell. Having looked back over the year and reflected on it all, I will say that the “step back” I personally took this season – as a result of said weather, work, and adulting in general – has only made my excitement for 2019 that much greater. I’m looking forward to a (hopefully) full season of activities, to make up for the relative lack this season.
Above all else I suppose, 2018 was a lesson and reminder that this hobby – or to more accurately describe it, this lifestyle – is one I never want to give up for anything and never will. Genuinely, if money were no object I would very happily spend my days running this site and nothing more; dragging my trusty camera along to install days in mine and friends’ garages, hangouts at Balance or Blackbird, and meets and shows around the city. I want to continue to improve and refine the Focus, take it out for spins to go through its gears and hit boost, have endless discussions with friends over plans for new modifications and future projects, and generally enjoy everything else that comes with spending our lives around cars.
Here’s to a great 2019; Happy New Year everyone!