I feel that I can speak on behalf of the entire team when I say we’re all Speedhunters fans first, and contributors second.
The site is the first thing that I check in the morning, and the one thing that has always pulled me back above all else is that you never know what you’re going to find when you open up the front page. Speedhunters has always been grounded in the aftermarket scene, but we’re undoubtedly seeing a broader spectrum of topics appearing on the site in recent times – from current news-related stories to motorsport, classic restorations to supercars.
Speedhunters is all car culture, and all of car culture has a place on Speedhunters. As we approach the end of the year, we thought it would be fun to look back at the stories that made Speedhunters this year. We’re going to start with our staff choices, before going through the most viewed event, car features and ‘other’ stories in a number of separate posts in the coming days.
As we’ve published just under 750 original stories in 2018 up to this one, and because of this broad and variety spectrum, picking just one favourite story from this year was difficult. I know I personally changed my mind three times in arriving at my decision.
Enough of the waffle – here are the Speedhunters staff picks for 2018…
Jordan Butters, Senior Contributor: Age before beauty and all that; I’ll go first. Not that there needs to be an excuse to head out and drive for the heck of it, but Paddy came up with probably the best one of all – to retrace lost Group B rally routes through Ireland. Armed with archive photos (some of which were taken by his father), old route maps, original event programmes and a lovely Nardo Grey Audi RS3, this was a story that hooked me right away and, despite the pangs of envy trying to come through, held me right until the end.
The perfect mix of nostalgia, driving experience, great scenery and storytelling all folded into one. The comparison then and now photos were something I really enjoyed, but more than anything this was a story that inspired me to get out and explore.
Simon Wooley, Contributor: “Project cars? Love ’em. Shows in far-off climes? Even better. But for me, nothing tops a good roadtrip story, and Keiron’s account of his 1100 km trek to H20i in MustangKyle’s barely road-legal, chopped and windowless, LS-powered Mustang is right up there.
“Border crossings, run-ins with the cops, excessive consumption of energy drinks, sleep deprivation… but most of all, having the time of his life. It’s inspired me to start planning an almost equally-inappropriate roadtrip for next year. Roll on 2019.”
Dino Dalle Carbonare, Editor at Large: “My favourite for the year (and damn, how hard was this to choose!?) was Matt’s post on the WRC in Australia. It was a combination of amazing photography and compelling story telling that reminded me just how much I miss doing motorsport coverage of any kind, but in particular rallying and on dirt to boot, something I never really got to shoot myself.
“It brings me right back to the very beginning of Speedhunters where we followed a lot of motorsport series and we experienced it hands on, from FIA GT races, the Spa and Nürburgring 24h races to Super GT. I think it’s something Speedhunters excelled at and Matt reminded us we still do. What a badass team of people we have!”
Naveed Yousufzai, Contributor: “Donk culture has a special place in my heart. Sure, its totally unconventional and misunderstood – unless you’re a part of the scene – but for me, it holds more sentiment than just that. Donks are actually the reason I became interested in modifying cars in the first place. I grew up in a not-so-great neighborhood in East Oakland through the ’90s and early ’00s, and though we called them ‘Scrapers’, Donks were huge in the community. The youth were underprivileged, to say the least, so their cars were generally hand-me-downs from their parents and grandparents. But that never discouraged them from being creative in their own sense. So they would lift them, or slam them, build the engine, add exhausts, and most notably, they would do these crazy color schemes that made the cars ‘pop’.
“Though I loved cars from as early as I can remember, this scene is what gauged my interest in personalization. This scene is the underdog in the automotive community, taking heat from every side. But I loved that Kieron was able to give the community an internal perspective on the scene. To portray the quality of the builds, the close-knit family-inspired community within the cars, the music, the food, his amazing photos, all of it, was just really tastefully done. I genuinely believe it opened up the reader’s minds and allowed SH to show how diverse we truly are in the art of hunting speed.”
Paddy McGrath, Editor in Chief: “Like trying to choose a favourite child, trying to pick one story from the hundreds published this year isn’t an easy one. Particularly when there were so many standout stories and features. However, there is one which I feel goes beyond what we do here, and that’s the story of Allyn Pierce and his Toyota Tundra.
“With the help of his truck, it’s a story of a man who risked his life to give others a chance at theirs. The part where he’s driving through the flames, with air conditioning blasting and an acoustic cover of A-ha’s Take On Me playing on the stereo is harrowing.”
Trevor Yale Ryan, Senior Contributor: “I also really enjoyed Matt’s WRC coverage, but with Dino beating me to the punch, I definitely have to go with Ash Thorp’s renders of a ’64 Fairlane. The studio setting is not one I generally care for much, but without the limitations of real world parameters Ash was able to create some really striking images.
“To me, they really speak to what’s possible without a camera as well as what very well could be a real world build. The lines of old muscle cars are among my favourite and Ash gave the old Ford just that bit extra it needed to stand on it’s own today.”
Mark Riccioni, Community Manager: “For me, Dino’s look at a forgotten Ferrari represents proper back-to-basics Speedhunting, which I absolutely love. In a time where every remotely-interesting car is labelled a ‘future classic’ or ‘investment opportunity’ it’s properly refreshing to see something like a Ferrari quite literally dumped.
“Not crashed, in bits, or anything like that… just forgotten about. I love the fact it forces you to think of a situation which led it to being there, and also whether it’ll ever be restored, driven or sold. It’s a stark reminder that cars are just pieces of metal to a lot of people.”
Matthew Everingham, Contributor: “Paddy’s Lamborghini junket, sorry, I mean story. It’s my pick of 2018 because it represents everything Speedhunters should be. Beautiful photography and a snappy story transported me to places I’d like to visit, introduced me to people I’d love to meet, and most importantly put me behind the drivers wheel of a car I can only dream of owning.
“Not only that, it presented the whole adventure of getting there as if I was in the passenger seat, hanging out and having a good time. I enjoyed my temporary escape from the mundane.”
Ryan Stewart, Technical Editor: “2019 has seen some incredible engine swaps and event coverage grace Speedhunters’ front page. It’s been a bit of a blur. It might surprise you that my breakthrough story, the one that caught my imagination the most, is probably also one of the simplest. A straightforward car spotlight that isn’t necessarily the fastest, the wildest, rarest or most extreme. It just made me think ‘why didn’t I think of that?’.
“This Pandem kitted E36 is the sort of story that would have me sat open jawed staring at the screen when I first started reading Speedhunters as an engineering student. It gives me that ‘old school’ Speedhunting feel. With Work wheels, a Varis hood and a single bucket it is so Japanese. The S54 swap and Motec management is an unapologetically focused combination that gives a totally different twist to the bodywork. And it works. A Pandem for the track, finished in Techno Violet, in Japan shot with cherry blossom. What is there not to like?”
Keiron Berndt, Contributor: “For me, seeing Khyzyl Saleem’s 911 render brought to life was amazing. The photography is just a part of it, it was the attention to detail throughout the story that was the real deal. Plus, I love seeing anything that might upset the purists.
“The fact that this car started as a render done by Khyzyl is a marvel in its own right! The livery, the dream location, and the story are just so right.”
Dave Thomas, Contributor: “A bit of a weird one (for me) as I’m not really that much of a motorcycle guy. But this is a retro modded motorcycle so I consider it a hot rod. But the main reason I am choosing this one is the photography.
“The look Matt achieved in the opening chapter fits the bike and I just sat and started at the photos for a long time before shifting over to the text.”
Ron Celestine, Contributor: “This would have to be one of my favourites. Besides the fact that it was at the 10th anniversary event, I thought it was cool that we could show the faces behind a lot of the cars that joined us that day.
“When we can really include / show the human element behind the cars and events, I think it’s something that readers can really resonate with.”
We’d like to hear your take too in the comments – what was the one story that immediately springs to mind from 2018 for you?