If I had to summarize the past 12 months in one sentence, it’d be this: 2019 was the year things changed. Things change all the time of course, as that’s life – nothing is constant – but I’m not talking about any old change. I mean significant, notable, memorable, italicized change.
To most of us it became evident pretty early on that 2019 was going to be one of the standout years, in some ways even mimicking some of 2016’s highlights (such as Mario buying a new project and José coming north for a visit), but I don’t think any of us expected it to be as significant as it ended up being. There was one word that came to mind the instant it came time to prepare for writing this year’s review, and that was “shift”. I used it in our Driven coverage and again for Sunday School to note that 2019 saw changes taking place and set to take place for both of these events as well as the larger community, and that is a theme that seemed to carry on through everything over the last 12 months. Perhaps we could trim that summarizing sentence down even further, to just that one single word: shift.
This site revolves around the cars of course, but looking beyond those many of our personal lives saw changes – these shifts – that we won’t forget. Some of us (myself included) have new jobs, some have new houses, Jacob and Robin are both now engaged, Jason and Diana welcomed little Rin to the world, and Derrick is set to become a father next year.
In terms of the community Driven obviously was a different event this year with a notable change-up in the participants (plus Mustard, the Thunderbird, and S13 are all retired from that show now so our experience of it will be different in the future), it was announced that Sunday School ‘20 will be the finale, and you may have even noticed that there was no Park and Polish coverage this year. That’s not because we didn’t attend, but rather because it wasn’t hosted! Additionally – looking at things on a larger scale – one of the biggest shake-ups we’ve had in quite a while was the recent announcement that Super Street will no longer exist in print form! That one still seems hard to believe, but times are changing indeed. However, back to a happier tone…
As for the cars, 2019 possibly saw more people pick up new vehicles and start new projects than any other year with many of them even being dream cars that had been on the respective bucket lists for a while. Jason said goodbye to the FR-S and got his CTR, JC moved into a 3IS, Reggie and Alex M achieved their 911 goals, Vlad is now in a Raptor, Mario of course bought Selsun and Sriracha moved into Derrick’s care, Ruzz stepped up from his ST to an RS, José is back in the Mk3 game, and I secured my S15 – and there are still more to list!
2016 was the year that Sriracha joined the family, Mustard received its conversion, we met José in person for the first time, LOWCALS blew up, we won at Sunday School, my mother bought her 240SX, and more. 2016 wasn’t a perfect year – nor is any year, 2019 had its rough spots too – but it had always stood out as probably the most significant year in the history of this site for everything that happened and changed. We had jokingly started referring to 2019 as “2016 version 2.0” way back at the start when we realized that a lot was already lined up to happen over the coming season but even then we had no idea just how much would happen, or how much would change between then and now.
This was a year we won’t forget any time soon, and while officialTHREETWENTY is not set to celebrate a major anniversary for a little while yet – 2020 will be its 8th year – the coming end of the decade has me looking back regardless and I will say this: of all the years that have been documented on this site, if there was one I could and would happily repeat and experience again, it’d be this one. It would be 2019.
And with that, let us begin the quick look back at the year before we head on in to 2020, starting with the first six months’ posts:
The first entry of the year was the usual Top Five Posts countdown but following it was a second edition of the Top Five Local Builds list, which had been a major success the prior year. This was easily one of the most difficult posts I’ve ever had to put together as it was not only very hard to select five standout builds, but then to try and organize them into a logical, justifiable order. The bar has quickly been raised very high in our community which is the exact problem you want to have, but it did mean that this list had taken quite a while to prepare. Happily it was very well received, and congratulations goes once again to Binh for taking the top spot with his 240Z.
With the car itself in full hibernation mode at the time awaiting its coming updates for the 2019 season, next up I took the opportunity to fill you all in on some of Mustard’s previously-fitted modifications that for one reason or another had never received a proper explanation or spotlight on the site. When cars like this one are in a constant state of change sometimes little tweaks don’t always get an immediate post of their own but the photos and notes are of course always saved for when an opportunity arises.
By the end of the month multiple parts were arriving for our various vehicles and some were even already in pieces being worked on, but with their update posts still scheduled for a bit later on it was Cars and Coffee coverage that went up instead. Looking ahead, January ‘20 will hopefully see a recap/throwback to Cars and Coffee 2019 so that those photos may finally be shared as well; my new work schedule this year meant that I only got out to a handful of these events over the season so I didn’t take a lot of pictures – I also usually missed the cars and/or lighting by the time I arrived – but I did manage to compile a decent set of photos of some amazing cars which I hope you’ll all enjoy.
Perhaps February is becoming the “throwback month” here on the site? February 2018 had been dedicated to photos from before officialTHREETWENTY existed as a way to mark its fifth anniversary, whereas for 2019 we rewound the clock to take a look at a couple of “modifications” from the very early days of the Mk3 community. The first of these was the benzondubs stripe, started by Paul way back when. It’s the ultimate example of inexpensive yet effective personalization of a car given that it’s simply a piece of vinyl run across one of the slats in the lower grille, but it’s one that always gets attention and compliments. Dijon wears a purple stripe across its face and even just a few days ago reportedly had another compliment as well as an inquiry as to how it was done.
To follow the benzondubs stripe the next spotlight was on the OEM Titanium headlight and fog light bezel swap. This had quickly become a “must-do” modification on Mk3s in that first year of existence and if you were one of the owners on the forums with the swap, your car stood out from (and above) the others. Things were much simpler back then… These days it’s much easier, not to mention less expensive, to perform the swap but it’s no less worthwhile.
March saw the official announcement and reveal of not only Mario’s new car – Selsun – but Sriracha’s new owner – Derrick. The whole shuffle had come about fairly quickly but the opportunities presented themselves and were therefore taken. It was sad to see Lowmaro leave the family but both Mario and Derrick received new vehicles that have since provided plenty of enjoyment and were both more practical than their respective predecessors. From a content perspective (as well as to satisfy our own curiosities) it was also nice to now have not just a Mk3.5 but specifically an RS in the group.
Following the reveals it was time to share some World of Wheels coverage. The event is always welcome motivation to work on projects and is a nice little tease of what’s to come a few months later down the line, with the full return of car season. One year I intend to participate myself but until that time I will continue to happily attend as a spectator and get some inspiration and excitement going again.
Following a hiatus in April as we busily worked on the various cars to prepare for Driven as well as the season as a whole, the site’s updates were back in May kicking things off with some of Selsun’s first modifications. As noted in that post it was a weird feeling of déjà vu as we worked on the car in my garage, mimicking not only some of Ketchup’s first modifications, but also doing them at around the same time of year and at the same location. Starting a new project is always fun because it’s like the automotive equivalent of a clean sheet of paper or blank canvas, and making those first few changes is pretty exciting no matter how small they may be.
Next up was something pretty special, and a set of photos that remains as one of my favourites of the year: an up-close look at a fully exposed carbon McLaren Senna. I remain a massive fan of these machines (My Forza garage has quite a few…) and having the opportunity to see one in a quiet, crowd-free environment was something I was not going to pass up. We did see another example later on at Cars and Coffee but this visit was really special; just me, my camera, and the freedom to quietly walk around and take it in for myself, studying it from all angles and seeing the details that you can only appreciate in person.
Mid-month we kicked off our Driven coverage with the photos from the show’s setup. This was a year we kept things relatively simple with only three cars in our group and – despite the long nights in the garage leading up to it, preparing the Focus – had a more relaxed attitude than some years prior. Notice I say “more relaxed” as opposed to simply “relaxed”…I do recall being not so calm in the final days before the event, but that’s just part of the experience. I opened the coverage for this year’s show by not focusing so much on the show itself, but rather how we had started to notice that aforementioned “shift” given the distinctly different look and feel of the event this year.
Coincidentally, the post had already been scheduled to go live on the fifteenth of that month, and following a quick chain of events I managed to find myself on that very day at the house of a Kijiji seller looking at a certain old Nissan. Changes were happening, indeed.
With Driven Part one up we had a ton of content to publish from the extremely busy spring we’d had, and so switched things up with the first installment of Mustard’s 2019 updates. This first post looked at Selsun briefly as well but its focus was of course on the unboxing and initial test fit of Mustard’s flares. We decided to go more in-depth with the coverage of this install hence why there were more detailed individual posts covering each major step of the flares. This was in a way the start of the end for Mustard as far as its exterior was concerned as with these being fitted, there weren’t really any more long-standing to-dos for that area of the car.
Selsun was up next with its spring install being the next entry for our project updates. Be it via springs, coilovers, or air, lowering a new project is always a major step crossed off the agenda and it was nice to see the blue hatch sitting a bit closer to the ground in anticipation of receiving even more new parts later on. Grabbing lunch afterward was a great complement to the shop hangout and we even had nice enough weather (remember, this had taken place prior to Driven) to get the cars cleaned up for a photo together.
Last but not least, for Part 1 of this recap we have the first entry on Driven proper, as opposed to just the setup day. I really don’t know what to expect for Driven Calgary 2020; by this point in the year our plans would have long been set in place and parts would be en route in preparation for the show but given that I won’t personally be entering (I don’t expect Mario or Derrick will be either) it’s definitely an odd feeling to not have that deadline in the back of my mind.
Provided that Driven carries on I will be back, but I don’t see it happening for a few years. I’d love to compete with the Silvia eventually but it’s obviously far from being competition-worthy. There is a car that we are considering entering for 2020 but as of yet we’re not completely decided on that, so we’ll have to see what happens there…
…and as for the second half of this review, you’ll all have to wait for that, tomorrow. As always thank you for reading, and be sure to check back tomorrow for the last entry of not just the year, but the decade. See you then!