Taste Of Edmonton
(An Edmonton Car Experience)
Over the last decade the Bmx Scene in Edmonton has been on a steady decline, resulting in fewer and less frequent trips to the Albertan capital, for myself. Last year it was hardly worth a day’s stay besides a quick swim at the mall and visiting with old friends. But maybe BMX isn’t all the region has to offer. I decided to dive head first into the Edmonton car scene and was overwhelmed by how deep it turned out to be.
The week’s events started with meeting my friend and BMX professional Darcy Peters, who brought along the transportation. A SR20 swapped 240sx, this car has the right parts to be fun without being expensive, gaudy, or attract heat, almost like a drift sleeper of sorts. Coilovers, bucket seats, sway bars, bushings, exhaust, new turbo, FMIC with an entertainingly loud BOV, digital boost controller and a couple loaded ECU maps is all underneath the stock body work, still rocking mud flaps and some 15 inch snow flake rims. Perfect taxi I say.
The first stop was a surprise to me but not so much of a surprise for being in oil country. We stopped at LLOYD CUSTOMS and took a look into the whole different world of LIFTED TRUCKS. I was shocked at the size of some of the trucks and the engineering behind the modifications, also the different styles within the truck world; lifted diesels, So Cal, 10 second sleepers, mudders, work trucks, and even some RICE. The shop had an awesome atmosphere it seemed like friends just hanging around a turbo lifted ford figuring out some new engine mods. Very accepting of my dumb questions about what does what as I pointed to shiny things in the engine bay of this different world. I wondered around and felt comfortable right away taking pictures, talking to different guys and asking questions…that doesn’t happen at most shops.
The next time I met up with LLOYD CUSTOMS they were holding a customer appreciation day. It had a truck show, dyno runs, bikini car wash, food and a lot of black smoke. Massive seems to be the theme, There were massive turbos, massive lifts, massive exhausts, massive torque and even massive slicks. It was awesome to see such a strong and friendly scene right away. I might not be getting a 3500 dually anytime soon but I wouldn’t feel at all out of place in Edmonton if I did.
Next up was a good ole’ Friday night parking lot meet. We rolled up to a Tim Horton and I was struck by the amount of cars, bikes, and trucks in the parking lot. Some straight fast and the furious shit with packed crowds, neon lights, and sound systems. Things constantly moving in and out and the nearby street squealing to life as the tires of turbo fed engines took off into the night. I was a great atmosphere and quite impressive. We wondered around for an hour or so before we felt we had seen it all. But as we went to leave we realized we were only at one end of the meet! Across a side street were 4 more parking lots full! Now that was overwhelming and my camera probably felt the same way.
The next Friday I almost skipped going back because I felt like any other scene it would be full of the same cars and people but I took the last minute opportunity to go back and was shocked to hardly see one car from the week before and this time I knew about all the parking lots. Every style seemed to be accounted for from classics, rat rods, exotics, air bagged, drifters, Subarus, JDM, Hondas, trucks, bikes and a lot more. For a regular Friday night this scene would feel a lot better than the 4 mostly stock cars at a DQ here in Saskatchewan.
(Side note: I kind of liked that a lot of cars peeled out or did fly byes, I know most would frown upon it but uptight people have ruined just as many things as irresponsible throttles.)
Just driving down a street during Saturday we managed to stumble upon an exotic car meet, I didn’t know those even existed but boy was I happy to take a few snaps before our limited time ran out. Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Porsches all with old and new versions present was quite cool to see, even a NSX and GT40 among many other expensive toys. If I had more time I would have loved to try and weasel my way into the cockpit of a few.
Next up that night we headed to Castrol raceway, on the highway there we happened to sneak up on a new BMW i8 who was happy to play with us for the trip, as the speedometers reached their maximum range and traffic appeared to become a standstill, the owner eventually rolled down his window and complimented our car and my camera and took off once again. Pretty cool experience.
Some NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) drag races were going down and we caught the tail end of some top fuel and the start of nitro Harleys. One Harley blew up mid run, set on fire, engulfed the rider who unnaturally calm, he stopped the bike, got off, and patted out the flames. A quick google revealed I just watched $150,000 bike fry itself. The cleaning of the now toast colored Harley took quite sometime during which they set off a 10 minute fireworks display and also I got to see them dry the track with a jet engine attached to a golf cart looking vehicle. Unfortunately it started to rain and that was the end of the night.
I managed to get to the drag races once again to see the re-runs of almost every class besides jet cars. Some very cool engineering and technology was observed, some cars had turbos, others super charged, some both, some with carburetors and lumpy cams, others with small displacement fuel injection with high revs. Wheelies, burnouts and hurt ear drums are a good way to pass a night. At one point a top fuel dragster was so loud my camera failed to take a picture just about the same way as my lungs felt they were going to fail from the pressure of the rapid air. No big crashes but watching a vehicle run a 5 second ¼ mile is something just as impressive, well maybe just as impressive. I like some carnage.
I just walked into the pits, not sure if I was allowed to or not but I spent the next couple hours gawking at all the wild machines populating the area. Money, money, money is all I can really say. Full sized RV’s hauling semi-trailer duel level hoist equipped trailers with two or sometimes more drag cars…I can’t fathom the budget needed to compete, but I’m glad people spend their money on such wild things that end up entertaining people like me. The pits and parking lot held some pretty oddball cars among all the wild dragsters and moving garages. Which was a treat to see, quite the overwhelming day it left me over stimulated and I felt fried for most of the night after.
The 240sx had some fun adventures of its own, mainly some irresponsible public driving and over all public harassment in the form of me yelling jokes at people among the straights of Whyte Ave. and the like. I tried to get to the Callingwood “Cars and Coffee” event, but missed it by about 20 minutes, I knew we had missed it for as we headed towards the spot I saw a couple Gallardos followed by a convertible Diablo and Ferrari 458 with some JDM cars whizzing the other way. Arriving on the scene it was disbanded besides a couple American cars packing up. But with such a week you have to expect some failures. An urban assault vehicle drove by to make up for the tragedy.
The last event was the one I was most excited for, a Spec-D drift practice. I headed back to Castrol raceway where the far-side-pit parking lot now became a coned drift course to burn some tires off in the best kind of fashion. Unfortunately I thought it may be done before it even started as it rained intensely for the hour before the event was set to open. Luckily the first cars hit the track right on schedule. The drifting community is so much more my style. No egos, no competition just fun with toys and friends. I was able to talk to many people I didn’t know even get a ride along or two and borrow multiple helmets. The cars were amazing but 4 really stuck out to me:
A 240sx with perfect street style (Brandon Strong )- This thing was prime, full kit, nice paint, dished fitment, camber, 1jz with big turbo. I loved every rev bash it got all day.
A 240sx missile (Owen Krasowski-Olmstead) – I love a beat up car so much more than anything else, the ingenuity in fun and quick fixes mixed with a careless driving of an already trashed car caught my eye the second the giant wing was visible.
A Rocket Bunny wide-body FR-S with a turbo attached- I had tracked down this car earlier in the week at the parking lot meet but the light was too dim to get a good shot, luckily it came out to play.
A rough looking Altezza with a steering angle kit (James Green) – The driver stood out right away, insane angle with good lines and consistency. I loved the look of the 3SGTE swapped 4 door and liked the aggressive and fun driving style that controlled it, the only driver to try and run the wall on entry which was a treat along with another treat, the two rides I got in it.
Edmonton was really a great surprise and I took a good chunk of the scene in. Racetracks and oil money make for some cool toys. I had a great experience and if you are not a dick or shy you will probably have the same outcome as I. At the end of the day Drifting is what I love the most and I think I may just have to take the AE86 on a nice road trip up to Castrol one of these summers’ nights. Hope to catch you there!
Enjoy a raw edit of the Spec-D drift practice.
Also check out the Facebook page for a TON of extra coverage and photos.