When the world was plunged into its first round of Covid lockdowns earlier in the year, we had little idea how Speedhunting in 2020 would pan out.
With stay-at-home orders in place for most of the team and events being cancelled left, right and center, for a while there it looked like we might be forced to dip into our 12 years’ worth of archives for one retrospective story after another. But as it’s turned out, things haven’t been that dire on the Speedhunting front. In fact, between the team, we’ve managed to keep the wheels moving with daily deliveries of new stories, some of which were – luckily – captured before cities and countries went into lockdown and borders were shut. Sure, there’s been a distinct lack of event content since March, but we’re hopeful that shows and meets will return in 2021, and with a renewed energy to boot.
Despite the restrictions, we all have our automotive highlights from 2020, and as we near the end of the year, some of Team Speedhunters have shared their favorites…
“The VW scene is possibly the strongest in terms of vehicle modification, but these guys just pushed things in a way very few have ever done before. It’s different in a world of samey-samey. It’s not about shiny BBS wheels on a classic VW with immaculate paint, but just properly trying out cool ideas.” Cian Donnellan
“I’m a big fan of hot rods, and doing whatever you want with whatever you own. This car is the perfect vehicular representation of that. A BMW motor in a hot rod has been done before, but few look this traditional. This car respects tradition but mixes it up with modern ingenuity and a healthy injection of humor. The owner hoped the shit worked, and it most certainly did.” Dave Thomas
“Paddy’s feature on DRVN is a favorite this year, as it’s basically the dream garage/coffee shop, and it’s in Dubai, a place I’ve yet to visit. The way cars were viewed as art while creating an exhibition around the culture that intersects it has always been something I’m keen on. If it’s subtle curves or boxy edges, there’s always something to look at. It also reminded me of why I worked so hard to get the opportunity to be a Speedhunter. Telling stories, whether they’re five minutes down the road from my house or on the other side of the world, self-expression is self-expression, and it doesn’t get any better than that.” Keiron Berndt
“Don’t worry if the story I’ve chosen confuses you – I’m just as surprised as you are. I just couldn’t go past Bisi’s EV-powered 935 Porsche. It’s an amazingly detailed build that’s been flawlessly executed. And what’s more, the creativity in every single aspect, from the initial concept right through to completion, speak volumes about the passion of the people driving this project. If throwing electricity into an icon of yesterday wasn’t surprising enough, there’s a long list of neat little touches that blend the past into the present, like the fuel filler/charge port and the 3D-printed turbofan covers. Man, I just wanna drive this.” Matthew Everingham
“My pick is the Garage Active red carbon GT-R. Mark did a great job covering this car, and I found that many of his testaments hit home for my own personal build preferences. The car is properly executed with serious attention to detail in all areas that matter, and even areas that don’t. And while it’s obvious that the car’s build caliber is second to none, it’s done so in quite the tasteful way, retaining a very OEM+ aesthetic while still packing a serious punch. I wouldn’t say this is a resto-mod comparable to a Singer, but more so a cohesive blend of bringing modern tech and attention to detail to a car that once was developed on that same premise. It’s functional, it’s pretty, but it’s still extreme, and that’s something often sought after but not often executed well. This Garage Active build is pinnacle GT-R in my book.” Naveed Yousufzai
“Despite a considerably shorter Speedhunting season than previous years, I’m not sure what else I could have photographed which would have eclipsed Mohammaed’s Fairlady Z. He never set out to do anything new or groundbreaking with this car, but instead focused on perfecting a well proven recipe: L28 on triple OER ITBs, three-piece Watanabes, subtle carbon fibre touches, and just an incredible attention to detail. The continued evolution of the car over the years is testament to Mohammaed’s commitment to his Z, and a quest to build his perfect car.” Paddy McGrath
“I think my favorite feature might have been the Toyota MR-S I shot. The reason is simple: a young man (Suzuki-san) came up with a plan and accomplished that goal over a period of time doing almost all the work himself. Virtually everything he did was a learning experience, something I feel can resonate with everyone. It did with me, and gives me that extra motivation and assurance that you don’t need shit-ton of money to accomplish your automotive dreams.” Ron Celestine
“For me, the fact that the owner/builder of this crazy Corolla has had the car for 15 years and evolved it over that time makes it my standout car feature of 2020. These longterm keepers are always more interesting than someone buying a car, doing a build, and then selling it as soon as they’re done, because then all the fun is finished. On top of that, this is also bonkers. The AE92 Corolla was a pretty boring car, but what this guy has done with it has made it the total opposite, all the while doing majority of the work himself. The car being street legal is just the cherry on top.” Stefan Kotze
“Picking a favorite car on the site was a tough job this year, as with less events going on around the world the team seemed to find even more insane cars to feature than ever before. One sticks out to me, though, for a few reasons. First of all, Tetsuro Yamazaki’s Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II is one of just 502 ever made. Yet, this didn’t stop him from modifying the car with performance in mind, adding a combination of period correct interior parts like the Recaro seats, to newer items such as the Lamborghini-sourced Brembo front brakes. With these and other parts hiding out under that timeless DTM styling, it’s safe to say this Evo II is a car like no other.” Trevor Ryan
“I can’t help it, I love import tuning culture and peculiar cars, and this Honda CR-X is one of the greatest modern examples I’ve ever seen. It’s also cool that story rotates around Junior Asprer, one of the OGs of JDM culture in the US. Attention to detail and the rarity of some parts on this CR-X is mind-boggling, and authenticity is to the roof.” Vladimir Ljadov
My top pick of the year has to be Chiba-san’s house tour, as it kicked off a new ‘Garage House’ post type on Speedhunters. This really is just the start though, and I look forward to finding great spaces and collections to shoot in 2021 and beyond.” Dino Dalle Carbonare
Those are just some of our favorites; feel free to share your Speedhunters 2020 story highlights in the comments section below.