The Other Ontario
Introduction

A couple months ago I sent Speedhunters’ ringleader Pedey a handful of photos from a few local events hoping for the opportunity to write another guest story. He essentially came back with ‘that’s cool, but how about a post that really gets into what makes Ontario, Canada, a Speedhunting-worthy locale?’

If there were ever a challenge for a Speedhunter in training this was it, and almost immediately after I accepted the self-doubt set in. How do I properly present the car community around me to such a large audience without misrepresenting it? After several stops and starts at writing this very article I came to the conclusion that the best way to do it would just be to do it. Because despite the fact that I’m bound to miss or unintentionally snub a niche, shop, or event, something is better than nothing.

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But maybe that’s what makes Canada’s Ontario – I’m actually not sure which came first, California’s or our own – so unique. Every year since I picked up a camera and started pointing it at cars, I’ve discovered new pockets of the enthusiasts community that I didn’t know Ontario had.

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While we certainly don’t have the volume of vehicles that Mike is able to enjoy in California, the road salt free conditions of Keith’s Arizona, or the off-the-wall eccentricity Dino is exposed to in Japan, us Ontarians actually don’t do all that bad. Especially considering our season is quite short in comparison to our winters which seem to be getting longer and longer.

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As cliché as this may sound to residents, the phrase ‘yours to discover’ pressed into all our license plates rings true.

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For example, this year I attended a long-running local event called Vanfest and transported myself right back to when vanning was in its prime. You want eccentric and dedicated? Well, you’ve got in in spades here. I mean, you have to be a little aberrant and frankly quite brave to drive around with Rolling Stoned on the side of your vehicle.

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But the van community is just one example of several well-supported niche automotive sub-cultures that continue to thrive here.

Steeped In Tradition
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For as long as I can remember I’ve been a big fan of lowriders, kustoms, and hot rods, but for many years I thought I needed to travel abroad to truly experience these car cultures. I was wrong.

Next to Montreal, Ontario has probably the largest collection of dedicated lowriders in all of Canada.

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Lowrider-specific events have quickly become a yearly stop of mine, because no matter how many times I see it I can’t help but smile watching a heavy American sedan hit bumper at the flick of a switch.

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A more recent permanent addition to my list of must-attend events is the Summer Bash hosted by the E.L.T.A, a hot rod club with over 40 years of history that dates back to the time when such groups were known as timing associations.

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At this event everyone is welcomed with open arms and they take a really keen interest in younger people (which I acknowledge might be a relative term as my 20s are recently behind me) like myself who love to absorb all facets of car culture.

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Out of fear that I’d never come across these cars all in one place again I took a lot of photos at the completely admission-free, award-free, street party style event.

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However, I was assured that this event has and will continue to to take place every year for the foreseeable future.

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Exactly one week after the E.L.T.A. event I found myself once again surrounded by a different group of traditional hot rods and kustoms at the Jalopy Jam Up.

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Those of you with great memories might remember that last year’s Jam Up was my first post on Speedhunters, and that it rained tremendously which was pretty heart breaking.

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This year the weather was the complete opposite and we were graced with a beautiful day mirrored by beautiful cars.

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Linking this event to the previous I’ve mentioned was a laid back vibe, a dedicated core enthusiast group, and a crowd full of smiling faces.

I’m From Canada & They Think I’m Slow, Eh
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The previous chapters may have focused more on the show side of the Ontario scene, but I don’t mean to leave you with the impression that’s all there is here. There are plenty of people this side of the border who like to go fast.

That turbo F20C-powered Hachiroku above puts down numbers to the tune of 800-plus horsepower and the Chevy that houses the motor below outputs upwards of 1000.

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And yes, both of these cars are plated for the street. I’ve never seen either on a trailer.

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Literal Speedhunters in Ontario are also not afraid to venture outside of the box to get the results they want.

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Curious why I am posting a Ford Ranger in a chapter about performance? Well, obvious logo placement aside, if you look closely you might notice a few things not typical of a standard Ranger. Race-inspired cosmetic enhancements?

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No. This truck runs a remote-mounted turbo configuration and nitrous.

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Since Ontario is an IndyCar stop, it makes perfect sense that we’d have a thriving competitive motorsport culture here as well.

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A local racing series that I’ve watched grow over the years is the Canadian Sport Compact Series. This multi-round championship has become so well known that people make there way over from across the border to compete and contribute to our cloud cover.

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The photo above segues quite well into one section of the Ontario community that I’m not nearly as well versed in as I should be: drifting.

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Grassroots drift events take place all season long and bring out ever increasing numbers of new drivers each time.

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There’s no official competition at these events, but from what I’ve seen, often through the lens of my friend Drake (no, not that Drake), the action is quite exciting.

The Best Is Yet To Come
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At this point I’ve only touched on what I’ve seen out at events, but lurking in garages and shops around the province are a countless number of Speedhunters-worthy vehicles in the making.

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From extremely high-end shops, to small single car garages, there’s an endless mix of absolutely wild vehicles currently being built across Ontario.

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The SR20DET-powered Datsun 510 above currently sits at Cyrious Garage Works, eagerly awaiting its tire-shredding completion.

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As does this supercharged LS9 Camaro Z28 Pro Touring project known as World War Z.

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The Miata above has perhaps one of the best engine bays I’ve ever seen in an LS-swapped car and was built entirely by its owner in a garage that he and his father have used to crank out some of the craziest cars in the province.

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Oh, and I can’t talk about upcoming builds without mentioning the fact that there are not one but two Tim Burton Batmobiles here in Ontario. The second example (as pictured above) has many of its functions, including the air ride and replica machine guns, controlled by smartphone.

All That Low
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Before I bring this post to a close I can’t help but acknowledge the fact that Ontario does low really well.

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I’m not just talking bags and fancy multi-piece wheels either. Yes, we have that, but we’ll also bring just about anything a whole lot closer to the ground.

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Somewhat obscure Nash wagon? Sure.

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Milk truck? Why not.

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GMC Cabover? Well, that’s handy because a custom chopper can also go right in the bed.

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If it’s got wheels we’ll put it onto or as close to the ground as possible, and a motor really isn’t a requirement.

At the risk of sounding a bit long winded I’m going to call the post here, but before I go I’ll leave a few more photos of interest in the Bonus Images chapter below. I’m sure there’s plenty I’ve missed, but there’s only so much you can cover in one story! Hopefully you’ve now got an idea as to what makes Ontario a great place to be a petrol-head.

Dave Thomas
Instagram: stanceiseverythingcom
Stanceiseverything.com

Additional Photography by Drake Nolte

Cutting Room Floor
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83 comments

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1

Hey Dave great post!
We Ontarionians know whats going on!

2

Hey Dave great post!
We Ontarionians know whats going on!

3

Great read U0001f603
I don't have a favourite, they're all great cars.
Do I spot, Eleanor

4

Nice job representing Ontario Canada.  And what better guy to do that that somebody with the same name as a true hoser.  Dave Thomas eh!  Nice work.

5

Nice job representing Ontario Canada.  And what better guy to do that that somebody with the same name as a true hoser.  Dave Thomas eh!  Nice work.

6

Lol! Better than a Wendy's joke.

7

Please post a side profile of that mgb!!

8

Would love to invite u to our annual Tyrods cruze and show this Saturday Sept 12 great guys coming together for local charities

9

Great read, awesome pictures. RB 240sx in Canadia already! Thumbs up to the Jalopy homebuilt Ferrari.

What is that yellow crew cab? Kodiak jumps to mind but thats not what it is.

10

Great job representing Ontario. Nice to see Cars 'n Coffee at EA there, shame it was cancelled for the rest of the year. I have pictures of many cars from there, but few, if any, Speedhunters worthy shots.

11

Doesn't hurt that the majority of Canada's population is in Ontario, eh.  Canada jokes aside, holy variety!  I really like those vans. Nice write up and props to SH for the scene coverage idea.

12

I hope somebody up there in the Great White North is building one of these:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOeZAhaOgoE

13

Well done! Lots of different genres for the car freaks here in Ontario. My buddy John (a truck driver) spent 16 years building his dream and got it on the road this year ....

14
Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

And not one picture of a Moose

15

This Province looks familiar. Great write-up and coverage!

16

This all from one show? If so where? I hail from south of London (Ontario of course).

17
90nissanS13@my350z

A hemi shooting flames from a set of zoomies is always cool. There is much to love in this article :).

18

From one fellow Toronto Ontarian, i think u did a a great job covering what we have to offer in terms of anything on wheels and that has an engine.

19

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner All the automotive Moose are in British Columbia, "Prancing Moose" decaled Volvo's that is. Awesome to see some Canuck coverage!

20
Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

:D yeah!! Lol

21
Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

:D yeah!! Lol

22
Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

:D yeah!! Lol

23

I love the mix of rides in this post!

24

No, it's roughly one season worth of events with a few minor exceptions to capture events I couldn't attend this year.
The ELTA summer bash is in London though and you should go next year!

25

Cars and Coffee was one of the events I submitted that lead to this.
I believe they are holding one the 27th now, which is awesome.

26

Thanks! that's actually one of my personal favourites. Catching flames has always eluded me previously.

27

It's an International. :)

28

Really enjoyed the variety of this post, a personal favourite were the vans, don't see enough of them on this side of the pond!

29

Great mix of car cultures!

30

what is that flat black coupe? i need more of that thing!!!!

31

That ford rat rod with the white walls is just down the street from me. Always see that thing parked never seen it drive, soo nice though.

32

That ford rat rod with the white walls is just down the street from me. Always see that thing parked never seen it drive, soo nice though.

33

That ford rat rod with the white walls is just down the street from me. Always see that thing parked never seen it drive, soo nice though.

34

hey dave, you missed this car:

35

Woo! Great to see my home province make it to SPEEDHUNTERS. 

Notable omissions: The Motorsports Club of Ottawa  and The Ontario Time Attack series

36

What is this??

37

That is a one of a kind hand built car. This thing is stupid fast when you see him making passes at Cayuga. Toronto MotorSports Park

38

Great acticle and coverage of such an amazing province to live in. That Ranger is crazy and brad goencz i hope you arent done with it u
Yet.

39

ConnorJones I'm the owner

40

JTCooper I would love to know more about this as well... Speedhunters, put Dave to work. Call me if you need West Coast...

41
90nissanS13@my350z

Right on, man. Thanks for sharing!
I'm still trying to catch a good shot of lightning, myself. :|

42

great post!... but that raised me a question...

what about México? i can see everywhere, except for México...

it would be nice to see some Mexican cars in the spot!

43

WindsorShatzkin My guess was a 240z with a Ferrari 250 Gt kit on it.

44

Only because it lives at Vibrant and I've yet to get an invite ;)

45

Only because it lives at Vibrant and I've yet to get an invite ;)

46

Yeah east of Toronto was slightly under represented I'll admit. Hopefully there's a next time. :)

47

I knew this car would get a few asks, as JT mentioned it's a hand built car. Essentially the owner pulled an Alfa Romeo spyder out of the bush and by the time he got it to the garage all that was left was the windshield frame and windshield so he built around that.
It's a very quick quarter mile car that runs a Ford motor. The chassis is a tube chassis and he formed the body himself based off parts he liked from cobras, Ferraris and the like.
It's official name is Ratso Italino, as coined by its creator.
I'll put up another pic here in the comments when I'm on my desktop later.

48

I knew this car would get a few asks, as JT mentioned it's a hand built car. Essentially the owner pulled an Alfa Romeo spyder out of the bush and by the time he got it to the garage all that was left was the windshield frame and windshield so he built around that.
It's a very quick quarter mile car that runs a Ford motor. The chassis is a tube chassis and he formed the body himself based off parts he liked from cobras, Ferraris and the like.
It's official name is Ratso Italino, as coined by its creator.
I'll put up another pic here in the comments when I'm on my desktop later.

49

This is incredible, where abouts?

51

You are welcome any time Dave. Aaron

52

DaveT i think that its name is Razzo Italiano, if the owner wanted to give it an italian name. That name means italian rocket.

53

WindsorShatzkin  That's probably a kit car based on the Ford Cobra Daytona Coupe from 1968. Probably got the kit and did a few body mods to it.

54

Love the opening truck, Nash wagon and Milk Van!! Plenty of other cool stuff too.

55

WindsorShatzkin I saw something just like this near my place, and it was awesome. English sports car done right. Even had the black primer finish.

56

Nice milk truck.

57

Ice Age WindsorShatzkin MattGramling PhilMaurer

58

Ice Age WindsorShatzkin MattGramling PhilMaurer

59

DaveT Nice, I'll hopefully be there.

60

Nice to see some Ontario love - and a 510 no less!

My '72 Dime up in Ottawa is powered with a KA24e, Yamaha R1 carbs, and MegaJolt timing. 14x7 0ET Watanabe Type B barely tuck under the stock bodywork.

61

Nice to see some Ontario love - and a 510 no less!

My '72 Dime up in Ottawa is powered with a KA24e, Yamaha R1 carbs, and MegaJolt timing. 14x7 0ET Watanabe Type B barely tuck under the stock bodywork.

62

Definitely diggin the COE love!

63

Definitely diggin the COE love!

64

Great! Hope to see more articles from Canada.

65

Thanks for the great article Dave, and sorry for the lifetime of Wendy's and Bob and Doug McKenzie brother jokes you have probably put up with!

My addition would be from Oakville. A rare find behind Ernie Jakubowski's shop (Mantis Racing):

I had only seen a Maxi once before when I was a kid. The engine sounded a bit rough, but that's probably why it was at the shop. :)

66

That Nash wagon is magnificent.

67

Awesome coverage Dave! I myself am amazed at how strong the culture is here in Ontario, seems to cover so many different facets it's hard to keep track of them all. Love the title shot Cabover, those things look so timeless. Hope to see more Canadian coverage from you!

68

Awesome coverage Dave! I myself am amazed at how strong the culture is here in Ontario, seems to cover so many different facets it's hard to keep track of them all. Love the title shot Cabover, those things look so timeless. Hope to see more Canadian coverage from you!

69

the instagram for the 800hp hachiroku is @johndimsum. he got some crazy cars

70

DaveT That is absolutely phenomenal!

71

DaveT That is absolutely phenomenal!

72

DaveT - Waterloo Region ... this was at a show in Waterloo in June

73
The future is now

Kirk_B don't forget the delta integrale or the flock of racecars.

74

I think we all need to see more of the "World War Z" Camaro

75

Need more info on the mx5. Nasty!

79

It's name is Ratso Italiano my little Italian rat rod and it's not! A!kit! Car!!!!

80

Nice reading Dave

81

Ontario has a strong vw scene

82

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