The last post of the month, the year, the decade.
Naturally I find myself not only looking back on the past year but the past 10 this time, thinking about how much has changed since then. Rewinding to the end of 2009, I was a university student who had just recently met Terence, joined the UCCarClub (UCCC), and attended my first Beyond meet. I didn’t know Brian, Brandon, Paul, Ruzz or many others who are familiar names and faces here now, though I do believe it was about this time that Mario and I first met (thanks to the UCCC) along with Derrick, Dave, Kyle, and many others that are part of our car family today.
S15s were illegal for road use in Canada, the Mk3 Focus wouldn’t hit showrooms for nearly another year and a half, and my Grand Prix was merely still a teenager instead of a car pushing 30. The Thunderbird was sitting, deteriorating in the backyard it had been parked in many years prior, the S13 was somewhere in BC, and the Suburban was, well, basically exactly as it is today because that thing is stuck in a time warp. The Lincoln meanwhile, was fully reliable electrically. Haha.
Magazines were plentiful, forums were big business, just about none of the YouTube car channels I watch today existed, and The Chronicles and Speedhunters were still very new sites. Times were different indeed.
So much has changed and it leads me to naturally wonder where we’ll find ourselves in another 10 years. The only thing I know for sure is that as long as we have any say in it, there’ll still be cars in the picture. Very much so, in the picture.
On to Part 2 we go:
One could debate when our car season truly begins here but for our purposes we usually consider Driven Calgary as the official start of the activities; I see all of the days and nights spent preparing prior to that date, whenever it is, to be just that – prep. Once Driven has arrived then the cars are really truly out for the season and off we go. The official end is another date that could be debated and argued over, and while I don’t really have a set show or event that I use to signify that point in time it’s a safe bet that by October we’re down to the last days and miles with the toys before hibernation starts once again and we begin the countdown to another season.
Regardless of the exact start and end dates however, the season therefore ends up being mostly in the second half of the year and so it’s no surprise that the latter half of 2019 saw much more activity on the site as more shows, installs, meets, and other happenings were shared. As such you’ll find many more photos and plenty more to read in today’s post as compared to Part 1, starting with Driven:
Canada day saw the next installment of Driven Calgary Coverage go live as the first of several posts to be published in July. In fact, with all of the meets in full swing by this point, as fast as Driven Coverage was going out we were compiling photos from other events so July ended up being very heavy on the coverage side of things.
In fact, one of the events that was shared during the 7th month was the Custom Decals x KMR gathering held at their shops here in town. It was my first opportunity to check out not only Shawn’s new setup but KMR’s garage and storefront as well. Here’s hoping I can get back to both of them at some point in 2020 for another visit!
To keep things alternating, next up were some photos from some of the Menace meets of the year that had taken place by this point in time. Happily these have proven to be fairly weather-resistant meets, in that even on colder nights – or those with rain – decent numbers still attend and provide a great escape for a few hours mid-week. The menace meets have maintained their own distinct feeling as compared to the original Beyond meets and we’ve started to see a few more different styles and eras of vehicles mixing in with us “tuners” to add more variety.
Following a quick announcement on the site for Collector Car Appreciation Day it was back to Driven for the conclusion of this year’s coverage. Next year will be interesting given I’ll solely be a spectator – at most, an assistant to a participant if we enter the car we’ve quickly discussed as a possibility – but regardless I will be able to take a more relaxed approach to the show given its date will not be a deadline hanging over my head as I stare at a car laying half-assembled in the garage with two weeks left to go. Following the noticeable change in the crowd this year I’m curious to see who – and what cars – make up the event next season.
Finally, to close out July we had a pair of posts go live to give one final tease, and then properly announce, my purchase of the S15. With a final reinforcement that Mustard wasn’t going anywhere it was time to show off the new Strawberry.
Of course all of my local friends knew that I had the S15 in my fleet but it was exciting to finally share it publicly on the site and show that after all of the years of talking about it I had finally bought one for myself. It should be no surprise that bringing it home was one of my favourite moments from the past 12 months, and having one that I could at last call my own felt like a huge accomplishment given the time that had passed with that item still on my bucket list. I make no attempt to hide the fact that it’ll be a lengthy road to get this coupe back to its former glory but I am eager to take on the challenge and see what adventures lie ahead.
August kept up the pace that July had set with the first update being the test-fitting of yet another set of SS Tuning flares – this time for Dijon! A video was published as well to accompany the post, with this set also allowing us to see some of SS’s rear flares in person for the first time.
It was then back to meet coverage, with the old stomping grounds (Chinook Mall) being the location of the first set of photos, before the return of a familiar name but a new location…
…for Wild Wednesdays! After some previous attempts to revive the Wild Wednesday gatherings it was incredibly satisfying to see this latest incarnation really take hold and bring out such strong numbers as quickly as it did. One of my biggest hopes for 2020 is that the momentum these had carries on and they cement themselves as another regular event for us Calgarians. We can never go back to the Grey Eagle given that the parking lot we used is no more, but the new location has shown itself to work pretty darn well.
With his previous ST traded in and the RS now calling his garage home we officially welcomed Ruzz to the team with the newly-named Pepper, adding another AWD Focus to the group. There are some photos and video waiting in the queue but there’s already more to cover as Ruzz now owns what is definitely the fastest and most powerful car in the group; Mario finally lost that claim. Haha
Speaking of Mario, the site was due for another proper project update and so it was back to Selsun for the install of its new shifter arm and bushings. Tape and hammers optional but recommended.
Mustard’s turn was next with another write-up on its flare install, this time looking at the actual cutting and final pre-paint fitting. It took more time and money to tackle the install the way I did – with a second set of fenders – but it was worth every minute and cent in my books. It also felt rewarding to finally dust off and use Ketchup’s old fender after having it set aside for so long. If parts sit in our stockpile for years it’s not because we’ve forgotten about them or are hoarding, it’s just because we tend to plan pretty far ahead…not Project Binky far, but far.
Mid-August it was finally time for something we’d been looking forward to for a few years: José’s return! We’d tried to coordinate for previous Sunday Schools but the plans always ended up having to be postponed, however it seemed to work out for the better that they had been. Had he returned in ‘17 or ‘18 it would have of course been a ton of fun, but by coming up this year he was able to experience an RS in the form of Selsun, help us make over Dijon in record time, ride in the S13, drive the S15, and see the new iMSS venue all in the same trip! Similar to how his visit in ‘16 aligned so perfectly with the debut of Sriracha and finishing of Mustard, there was so much going on this year that we were able to (hopefully) make his trip even more memorable than it would have been otherwise.
Naturally then it was time for Sunday School coverage next, with the first two parts closing out August. I remain very, very pleased with the set of photos I took home from the event this year and as always, the weather cooperated beautifully giving us plenty of light and warmth throughout the day.
There was no roll-in/set up coverage this year due to the shuffling required to get all of the cars down to the venue but it was worth the effort and especially given there’s only going to be one more iMSS, I’m happy that this was the year we did the running back and forth (and the frantic assembly of Dijon) so that next year we can – possibly – take a more relaxed approach to enjoy the finale of an amazing run of shows that ill.motion have put on for us.
Despite the season starting to slow down just a bit by September there was still a fair bit taking place, but also still many photos to get through from the months leading up to then. The third and final part of the “main” Sunday School coverage went up first to conclude the series of posts, with a bonus set scheduled to follow a bit later on in the month.
With it being the birthday month for a handful of us I took the opportunity to post some of the not so car-related photos from Josè’s trip on the site so that everyone could see them in one place, and to have a post that was a bit more personal than strictly show coverage. It was definitely one of my favourites from the past year and Royal the Fox even managed to sneak into a few of the shots.
Next came photos from another new addition to the calendar this year; Jason’s Cars and Bubble Tea meets took off like crazy and I think it’s safe to say they had established themselves as a pretty serious gathering by the first week. Thanks to Jason for getting these started, as well as to Chatime for getting involved with their offering of free toppings for those of us attending the meets. Let’s hope that, along with Wild Wednesdays, these carry on strong into 2020 and beyond. I already want bubble tea just looking at the photos again…
Wrapping up September was the bonus set of iMSS photos; I took the opportunity both when shooting and editing to play around a bit, giving some of the photos a different look as compared to the main set. The new venue once again proved to be very photogenic and offered some fun opportunities to pay around with the camera. There were no boy band cover photos this time around though. Maybe next year.
With September having been devoid of install posts it was definitely time to highlight another one of the cars’ modifications, so it was Selsun’s turn with its Flow Designs front splitter. It was pointed out in the original post that the splitter had been proving itself as a durable piece, and with our winter in full swing now it has been taking more and more abuse in stride. Maybe we’ll order more of their parts one day for some of the other cars? Time will tell.
To continue getting caught up with the blue hatch, following the splitter install Selsun received another update, this time looking at its Integrales. For a winter set Mario made a pretty good choice as given the obvious ties to rally that the design has, they look right at home on the RS as it plows through the salt and slush of the unkempt winter roads.
Over the years I hadn’t brought my work up much (that is, work outside of MacKenCo and 320) but I finally found myself doing something which tied in rather nicely to the site and would hopefully be of interest; with Park Ranger having recently been debuted in the Advantage Ford showroom I felt it apt to share my new role at the dealership, plus we were quite pleased with and proud of how the little pickup had turned out and wanted to show it off. The little Ranger has since found a new home, following some more modifications including flares and larger mudflaps, so you may just see it roaming around the streets of Calgary! I hope that I get to spot it at a meet or out in the wild at some point in the future.
By November I was definitely finding myself with less time available than I would have preferred, to devote to editing photos and getting posts live, but I made sure to get a couple more updates on Mustard and Selsun out with the sedan’s specifically being on the final fitting of its flares. As with all of our install posts over the years, we hope that the various entries on the flares for the cars have proven useful to others tackling similar installs; given how inexpensive Mk3s are now it’s certainly easier to commit to cutting into them and so we’re seeing more and more get widened with one kit or another.
Selsun’s accompanying install post for November, meanwhile, focused on two changes to the car which most likely wouldn’t ever notice otherwise; one because it was fairly subtle, and the other because the parts were completely hidden from view. Mario’s mini bodywork project of shaving the RS emblem from the front grille turned out incredibly well and left the RS finally free of any and all model/trim badging, while the shifter base bushings finished off the shifter’s modifications that had started earlier with the shift arm and transmission bracket bushings.
And finally, our review finds itself in the current month, December (is this like that Spaceballs scene where they’re watching their own movie?). The remainder of the 2019 Menace Meet photos were published first to conclude that set, and led nicely in to the spotlight of Brian’s new Euro mirrors. Always one to mess with the electrical modifications, it was no surprise that he was the first to tackle this swap and start researching/determining the electrical side of the install. As mentioned in the article there is still some playing around to do in order to fully enable the mirrors’ functions but it’ll just be a matter of time before he sorts it all out and others can follow suit.
So, what next?
Having looked back at the past 12 months now it’s only natural to look forward and ask, what can be expected for 2020?
To kick things off we still have plenty from 2019 to share; we always plan ahead to have photos and stories set aside for the winter months and quite happily I shot a fair bit this past year, considerably more than some previous years, so there are still installs and events to publish as we pass the time until spring has returned. As for new content and adventures, you can of course expect Driven and iMSS as per usual, along with the various weekly meets and hopefully some other larger events as weather and schedules allow.
Regarding our projects, Ruzz is really digging into the RS as mentioned, José has the new ST to build up, and I’m hoping to be able to give the Grand Prix some attention as it’s due for a mini refresh again, although that car’s progress will mainly be dictated by the amount of luck I have tracking down replacement parts. Mustard has a few pieces set aside already which we may or may not install, but (likely unsurprisingly) it’s the Silvia that I’m most excited to work on next season.
Following its reveal on the site and some appearances here and there in show and meet photos, not too much was shared on the S15 progress-wise this year but make no mistake that a lot was happening behind the scenes. I spent many an hour going through it front-to-back (and logged a fair number of kilometers on it over the span of a few months, daily driving it at the time even) making note of what it required and finalizing the initial plans for it. Fast-forward to present day and while the little Nissan sits, parked and waiting for spring, parts are being ordered and preparations made to start making some serious progress on it. I am very much looking forward to the task of simultaneously restoring it and modifying it to make it my own.
What you may see less of though, would be these three. Selsun has already progressed nicely, Sriracha is pretty heavily modified and doesn’t need much any more (not to mention Derrick will have baby Block arriving) and Mustard was intentionally brought to a “finished for now” stage this year to allow for the new project, so they may take a slight back seat as far as installs and updates are concerned. However, Brian’s sedan had received more than just the Euro mirrors, José has the ST as mentioned, Pepper will be needing updates, and maybe Dijon will see more work too – we honestly don’t know yet – so there should still be plenty to share for the Mk3 side of things.
What we do know is that following 2019 – following the shift – enough things have been set in motion for 2020 to be another phenomenal year with the cars and adventures they bring with them. I hope you all enjoy following along.