It’s been just over 200 days since I officially became a Speedhunter, and it’s a little alarming how fast the time ticked by in a flurry of shutter clicks and key strokes.
As one of the more junior members of the team, I hesitated slightly at the premise of doing a year-end wrap-up, because comparatively my own contributions to the site have been rather minor.
While the likes of Paddy, Mark, Matt, Ben et al. traveled the globe to hunt for speed, I was very much a homebody. The one time my passport was punched in the name of Speedhunting, was when I joined Dino, Trevor and Keiron in Las Vegas to cover the 2018 SEMA Show.
Otherwise, I focused my efforts on slicing right through the centre of the automotive variety my home province of Ontario has to offer. In doing so I hit a lot of the notes I wanted to hit, but there’s still a lot I left uncovered. A large province and a short season, time simply got the better of me.
But the fact that I didn’t get to everything I wanted to in 2018 isn’t a bad thing, because my password here still works and 2019 is just around the corner. I’m looking forward to using the hunt for speed as an excuse to explore Ontario at a level deeper than I ever have.
I’m also keen to revisit some of the vehicles I photographed prior to joining Speedhunters, and presenting them in a new light, the car in this post’s header being a definite example. But before going to deep into my ambitious 2019 plans, I think it’s time I properly introduced myself.Hi, My Name Is…
So, hi, I’m Dave, and I promise not to take up too much of your time.
As I’ve mentioned in nearly all of my posts, I’m from Canada and as a result some people think I’m slow, eh… Sorry, I’ve made reference to that line from The Simpsons once before, but being a ball of pop culture with some arms and feet, I tend to jump at the opportunity to slip a few quotes into my work. If you caught both references in that sentence, then congrats, we’d get along quite well. If you didn’t, don’t worry, neither were crucially important.
I digress into pop culture only because a.) It’s awesome and b.) it’s played an incredibly important part in my journey as a car enthusiast. Transformers introduced me to Datsun 280Zs, the Lamborghini Countach and Martini livery, while The Dukes of Hazard reruns sparked an early interest in American muscle. ‘Lucile‘ from House Party helped solidify my interest in mini trucks, and the start of Xzibit’s Front 2 Back introduced the fantastic world of lowriders to my impressionable, sponge-like brain.
Hunting for cars in popular media led to a pretty serious scale modelling obsession, too. I spent many a Sunday kit-bashing AMT/ERTL or Monogram models while watching Shadetree Mechanic on TNN.
Referencing The Nashville Network dates me a bit, so for the historians, I’m old enough to have been into cars before The Fast and the Furious, but young enough to have genuinely liked the cars from the first movie.
As for the automotive media thing, I started in 2009 after a S10 Blazer project went particularly south necessitating smarter spending for a few years. Picking up a hand-me-down Rebel XT was a way for me to stay involved, while saving a bit of money.
I cut my teeth so to speak on my own site, Stance Is Everything – which either never fit, or quickly outgrew it’s name – covering everything and anything I possible could. It took years of staring at the back of a camera disgruntled before I got the hang of things, but eventually things started to come together.
Since then I’ve had the opportunity to contribute to a wide variety of digital and print rags, spanning cultures from kit car builders to very traditional hot rod publications.
I’ve even managed to work my way track-side to world class motorsport events like Formula Drift and the Honda Indy. If Speedhunters had superpowers, I’d like to think mine would be versatility. If it’s got a motor and wheels, then nine times out of 10 I can find a way to be passionate about it.Getting Lost In the Hunt
Embracing diversity is one of the reasons I was so keen to land a spot on the Speedhunters roster. Paddy gives each of us authors a significant length of rope to entangle ourselves, which is what makes Speedhunters as eclectic as it is. While we’re all of a similar mindset, no two of us are quite the same.
Personally figuring out which of my preferred niches intersect with the interests of the Speedhunters audience has been an awesome, eye-opening experience.
Some posts I thought would take off ultimately didn’t, while others far surpassed my expectations. In 2019 I plan to continue to test these waters (and Paddy’s patience), while doubling back on some of the things I know worked.
One area in particular I’m eager to share is the local Ontario motorsport community. Outside of a hint of quarter-mile coverage, the chance to share my track-side work never fully materialized in 2018.
This is a significant miss on my part considering the racing community that exists in Ontario. Like much of the world we’re pretty keen on going fast around here, with time attack being incredibly popular.
I’m not sure exactly which events I’ll hit next year, but the plan as of right now is to do a proper job of at least one.
I also hope to find myself track-side for a few more local drift events as our grassroots scene has picked up tenfold.
The challenge will be presenting Ontario’s drifting community in a way that’s unique. Given the powerhouses that have covered drift events here, it’s going to take some time for me to figure out my own angle.
However, with winter fully set in, track events will have to wait nearly six months.
But, instead of shaking my fist at the heavens and being jealous of Californians, I am going to shake off winter lethargy and pop my head into a few friends’ garages to check up on their projects.
If I’m to be so bold, I think garage builds are woefully under represented here, and I’d like to do my part to change that. In my mind, these posts wouldn’t necessarily be about the final project, but rather the journey. Capturing nights where more laughing gets done than actual work, only because a break was need from the one step forward, two steps back, ‘will this thing ever be done’ vortex some of us find ourselves in.
I have a vested interest in the constant cycle of bumping up against one’s own skill level, because that’s me. No literally, that’s me welding up above in my own mess of a garage, surrounded by a project that might one day move under its own power. The truck itself is a bit left of the usual projects covered here, so I have not yet decided if it will park along side the rest of the cars in the SH Garage. While I deliberate, I’ve got plenty of friends with much, much, more interesting projects in their sheds.You Are Also The Speedhunter
Before I bring this wide-reaching, year-end wrap-up/2019 preview/stream of conciseness to a close, I’d like to take a moment to touch on the I Am The Speedhunter program. IATSH, and a lot of stubbornness, are the only reason I’m here. My first guest post was in 2014, and I continued to contribute all the way up to this year before earning a spot on the bench. I watched the site grow while identifying areas in which I could contribute. It wasn’t easy but it worked.
Most of the current staff followed a similar path, and there’s no reason to think it can’t continue to happen with many of you reading this, should you want it.
So I encourage anyone who might be considering contributing to do exactly that. This site thrives off the efforts of passionate enthusiasts, and as a reader first, contributor second, I love reading what’s going on around the globe from the words of those driven by pure passion. Go and check out that event and poke your head under the hood of that car or truck that looks rather unsuspecting.
You never know what might lay within, and where the resulting photo or new connection may take you. Remember: should the opportunity arise, always say yes to adventure.
Happy 2018, here’s to 2019!