Let’s take a somewhat BTS look at Driven Edmonton (Sep 12th).
The 2020 Driven Show tour dates were all cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. After carefully watching the trends in the AHS statistics, Driven decided to do a tour reboot… rescheduling 3 of the Canadian show dates (Saskatoon, Edmonton, and Winnipeg). Shortly following the announcement of the reboot, the “second wave” uptick in Covid cases started. Alas, 2 of the 3 venues had decided not to go ahead with the show. BUT, Kingsway mall in Edmonton agreed to proceed with the show!
Days, and weeks, leading up to the show, are a bustle of activity for Driven staff and competitors. Competitors are [or at least should be!] getting their vehicles ready for roll-in, set-up, and final touches. Staff are busy prepping the venue, screening registrations, & promoting….among dozens of other tasks to get ready for the show. I have been on both sides of the fence, so to speak, and I can comment that this is an exciting time for both the staff and competitors.
It’s show day, and I’m getting ready to leave for the venue. The weather forecast was ~12C and overcast / rainy, so I’m packing my long sleeve shirt, and my toque (HA!). A quick pit stop to pick up Blocker (Driven Ops Manager) and we are on our way to Kingsway mall for 8am. The set-up time from 8am to 9am went by in a blink of an eye…and before I knew it, the vendors/exhibitors started to roll-in. At 10am we started parking the competitors. For the next 2 hours we were managing the logistics of hundreds of cars, while trying to stay warm, hydrated, and alive! (Yes, a couple of us were almost run over during the course of the day)
Fast forward to the 12pm-1pm mark, and this is when our registration/ check-in desk is the busiest. Avery & Seto were checking in the exhibitors and competitors…though we did have some that didn’t check in, even though they have been coming to the Driven shows for numerous years [insert eye rolling emoji here]…you know who you are. This is also the time we have most of the vehicles in position and they are getting their final detailing done, which was important on this day because there was a bit of rain during roll-in.
On my way to the 1pm judges meeting, I stopped by the registration desk and was pleasantly surprised at the long line of spectators waiting to come in [the show opens at 1pm]. It’s always a good feeling to know that everyone’s hard work (staff and competitors) will be appreciated by the masses. The next 4-5 hours is filled with judging, deliberating, eating (if we’re lucky), and a lot of walking. There was a good mix of vehicles, everything from lifted trucks and a donk, to supercars and a 10-piece Fast and the Furious collection. I will review a couple of the competitors below.
The layout of the show, albeit in a parkade, was quite good. It had a nice flow, and with minimal effort and confusion you could navigate the entire show. There was a good selection of exhibitor booths selling their wares (eg. Overdrive, Kings Must Rise, First Gear, etc), and TT Automotive’s RWB merch booth had a huge line up every time I walked by…which was about 30 times!
Just wanted to give a quick shout out to the Ultrashine team from Saskatoon, who took home the award for Best Team Representation. In my opinion, Edmonton crews should step up their game….you had a team from out-of-town come in and show you up!
Ok, ok….on to the reviews.
Having screened all the vehicles, and rolled-in a good handful of them, I already had a good idea where I wanted to poke my head. The first car I’d like to talk about is this Datsun Z. Although I love the S90 generation, I still think the 2+2 model’s roofline ruins the flow. However, this car took home an award for Best Wrap. The intricacy and amount of detail in this wrap, and having all the print designed, cut, and installed perfectly with the body lines and panel-to-panel match-up was amazing.
Without a doubt, I love a clean, but aggressive, looking NSX….and we were lucky enough to have a couple NA’s at the show. One had a nice kit and exterior enhancements, while the other one had more performance mods, like a supercharger. I’ve always been a sucker for mid/rear-engine cars. That being said, it was a real treat to see JJ Dubec’s NC1 Aimgain NSX. It had a perfect stance and the carbon fibre kit on this car was flawless, and so it should be….it has a price tag well beyond the reach of most people.
Driven Edmonton was excited to feature 10 of the 24 vehicles from the largest Fast and the Furious vehicle collection in the world. The owner brought a good sampling of his collection, which was definitely a crowd favorite. This feature was probably the one that I saw pop up on social media the most throughout the day. The cars in attendance were: the Supra/ Eclipse/ Jetta/ Skyline/ Lightning/ Charger/ Integra (FF1), Veilside RX7 (FF3), R34 Skyline (FF4), and orange/black Supra (FF9),
At every show we seem to have one car that is straight up, over the top, bat-shit crazy. Some of you may remember the Mitsubishi 3000GT from past shows….well, this Mustang is wilder than that! Aptly named “Venom”, this car was a hot mess [and I mean that in a good way]. Everywhere you look, you see modifications….widebody, supercharger, Lambo doors, tons of neon lights, smoke machines in the engine bay, a trunk full of audio, and fittingly placed on the rad support… a Venom mask with a lengthy animatronic tongue that would have your girlfriend weak in the knees. This car traveled all the way from Ontario, and ended up going home with the award for Best I.C.E.
The final car that I’d like to talk about is the one that should have had every guy drooling. Straight from Vancouver, and coveting the Best Overall award from Driven Edmonton 2020, was the “Evil Evo”. This Mercedes 190e, is a F7LTHY crew car, fully built by Trickfactory Customs. If you had to see one car at the Driven Edmonton show, this was it. This SEMA show car did not disappoint with its built V8 and mirror image twin turbo setup. Fully caged and track ready, this massive horsepower car was without a doubt the Best In Show.
As a final word from what seems to be the first, last, and only real show of the 2020 season, I was very pleased with the content (both exhibitor and competitor), as well as the spectator turnout for the Driven Edmonton show. It takes a lot of effort to put on these shows, and the reward is seeing everyone’s passion converge in one hell of a show.
Coming up next: What’s in store for 2021?