Tuner Spirit Prep / Dijon Updates

Tonight’s entry will be a bit of a prequel to the main Tuner Spirit coverage while also getting you all up to date in regards to the latest revisions Dijon (my mother’s Focus hatch) has seen for this season.

In general she was quite pleased with the little yellow hatch’s state but its summer wheels needed some attention and she had been starting to get the itch to change it up just a little bit; its last major cosmetic overhaul was back in 2019 with the addition of the SS Tuning flares. Over the winter then, a few small pieces were ordered and with Tuner Spirit set to be its first major event of 2022 that became the deadline to have them fitted.

Tuner Spirit was also set to be Mustard’s first show of the season so I had to get it out of storage and serviced in time, but more importantly I had been approached a while back by the team, asking if I would consider being a judge for the event! I of course said yes, so a few weeks before the big day I met with the guys for a judge’s meeting.

I had jumped at the chance because I was excited to have the opportunity to be involved and offer more of a contribution to the event than being “just” a participant and sharing some photos. This of course meant that I couldn’t compete but I wasn’t concerned with that; after many years of being on that side of things, I was looking forward to being on the other.

One Monday night I met with Shawn and we ran through the plans for the show and what he and the rest of the crew had been organizing in regards to awards. We were also face-timing with Frank from 33ten as he was set to be the other judge, but unfortunately scheduling issues came up and he had to step down. John from First Gear Project came in to be the other half of our judging duo and we had ourselves a very busy day as we worked through the builds in attendance…but that’s getting ahead of things. Back to the prep!

The first item crossed off the to-do list for Dijon this year was to recover its sunvisors. RedlineGoods – whose products we’ve used for numerous builds over the years – offers sunvisor covers for various cars and we had never tried them before. Wanting to bring a bit more colour into the interior of the car, my mother ordered a set and once they arrived it was time to get to work.

After pulling the visors from her car and removing the vanity mirrors and homelink buttons, the covers could be pulled on to the visors and secured in place. They fit very precisely (read: tightly) and looked phenomenal once on. The velcro along the top keeps them in place while a few drops of CA glue (the bottle can be seen creeping into the frames) in strategic places keeps the material secure in the openings around the mirror and buttons. After letting said glue cure, the visors were fit back in her car that was one job taken care of.

The next item on the agenda was to start the refinishing process for her Integrales. If you recall, these had originally been mine (famously, for less than one tank of fuel on Mustard) before I then restored the OG Tarmacs and she bought these off of me. After a few years of use they had picked up the odd mark here and there (perhaps a slight curb kiss being one of them) so they weren’t quite show-worthy any more.

She ordered in some powdercoat samples and after going back and forth between lairy or subtle, she made up her mind and they were loaded into Arabis so they could be dropped off at Powder Works.

While lavender was a strong contender, in the end she decided to keep them white; she did have them changed to a cooler shade however. Not too long after they were dropped off the mini support vehicle was back to pick them up and take them over to Advantage to be reunited with their Continentals.

While the wheels and tires were having a sleepover at Advantage then, it was time for a slight graphics change. Over the winter a few friends and I had ordered some pieces from DMB for various cars, and when my mother saw them she decided to peruse the site in case anything caught her eye.

As I’m sure you guessed then, something did. Actually, some things did but for the show we focused on these – new side stripes.

After mocking them up I got to work cleaning the sides of the car – running a clay bar over them too to ensure everything was off the surface – before taping the new graphics back in place. With them properly positioned, she provided a second set of hands as I then started to peel away the backing to stick them down.

Before long one stripe was on and I could then start trimming it between the doors and around the flare to get all of the edges tucked in nicely. The material was a touch fussy on the flares as they’re wrapped in PPF (the doors meanwhile aren’t) but it ended up cooperating.

I didn’t photograph the second side since it was of course the same, but soon the hatch could be rolled back outside to sit in the sun with its new stripes.

The graphics hadn’t been the only addition while it was in the garage though, as it also finally received some mirror visors. You may recall that a couple of years ago – when ordering some for my S15 – I had also picked up some Aerowolf visors with the intention of fitting them to Dijon. Unfortunately, Mk3 mirrors can’t accept Aerowolf pieces due to the much tighter tolerances between the glass and housing so they ended up being sold off. Fast-forwarding a bit, some time late last year I was introduced to Unknwn and wouldn’t you know it, they offer visors thin enough to be used on Mk3 mirrors! I ordered in a couple of sets and Dijon finally received its pair. Incidentally the mirror cap wasn’t fully seated when I took this photo so please disregard the fitment.

With Dijon mostly complete at this point it was then the other Yellow Blaze Focus’ turn. I ran out to grab Mustard from storage and brought it by the shop to get it on a hoist for a quick post-hibernation once-over.

I had suspected that a heatshield had failed at the end of last season (I had heard an intermittent rattle after the final big drive of ’21) but didn’t have time to do anything then before it had to be put away. Sure enough one of the shields above the exhaust cracked around one of the mounting points (stiff engine mount taking its toll?), so I did what I could to secure it (this was a Friday evening and the show was Sunday morning) and can add replacing that to this year’s job jar for the car.

While I was there that night, Dan was able to put the tires back onto the Integrales but I couldn’t bring them all home in Mustard so I ran back the next day with Arabis to load them in instead.

Mario and Megan ended up coming by later that day – bringing Rupert and Lily with them – and Mario kindly took on the job of switching Dijon’s wheels over while I detailed Mustard. We Skipped some Kinjo as well and enjoyed a long-overdue hangout-in-the-garage day.

Lily apparently wanted some sushi too; the mini tables were just the right height for her to see what was going on. In the background you can spy the Tesla’s new look, and yes the old Continental is still around and kicking. Somehow.

After that I didn’t take any photos because we just kept working but the last job of the day – if you wish to call it that – was to ensure each car had its acceptance sticker on the windshield. As part of the boxes we received for registering for Tuner Spirit – which I had picked up at the judge’s meeting as shown earlier – these “ACCEPTED” decals were included. They allowed the staff working during roll-in to instantly tell who was meant to be in the event since it was a pre-determined list and there wasn’t the chance to enter the day of as with some shows. Each was stuck in the lower driver’s corner of the glass and with that the cars were ready to go, Jason-approved barrels and everything.

Come Sunday morning we were down at the Stampede grounds bright and early – I had to be there at the start and as the two Foci were set to be parked together, my mother had to as well – and were quickly guided to our spots. Mustard’s only change for Tuner Spirit was a new front SE emblem as I replaced its original V1 piece with one of our new Acrylic Series versions (complete with a reflective red inlay) but that was okay; I was pleased to see it looking so good and was excited to have it on display. As I’ve started referring to it, I kind of see it as a “special occasion” car now. With the S15 being the newer project and the one seeing the most changes these days it’s fun to regularly have it out at meets and such, but bringing Mustard out of hiding now and then changes things up and people always enjoy seeing it back, it seems. As with the 2021 Season Closer, being invited to be a judge was quite special and so it felt right to bring out Mustard instead.

With Dijon being the car my mother was taking to the event it was also nice to have the two of them side-by-side again, similar in many ways but equally each with its own unique style and combination of parts. They’re both on white fifteen52s, but different models with slightly different shades. Each has SS Tuning flares, but different versions and a full set versus fronts only. Mustard ran a livery for years and now that it’s bare these days, Dijon gains more graphics.

My only regret from Tuner Spirit is that I was so busy off taking photos and judging with John that I didn’t get much time (barely any, in fact) to hang around the cars and talk to people, but reportedly they each got a lot of great attention and were very well received.

And with that, I’m going to call it a night now as I need to run some decals off and then get to bed. Thank you all for reading, and check back soon for the main coverage from Tuner Spirit 2022! Shawn and the guys were ambitious with this show, but my word did they pull it off.


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