NEWS: Hellaflush Are Heading Our Way!

Posted: December 6, 2010 in News
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It seems that Twitter really is the best way to find out about goings on in the world of modified cars and motorsport, so imagine our delight when just yesterday some information appeared on Twitter that we are already looking forward to… more than Christmas!

Now the information we have is a little sketchy at this moment in time although more has been released today, with more to follow next week, but it seems that plans are well underway for US based stance, wheel fitment, offset and style gurus; Hellaflush, to bring their highly popular brand of unique shows and events over to good old Blighty!

In a statement released on their Twitter page (@Hellaflush) it advised us to “clear our calendars” as the guys over at Hellaflush are preparing the flyer for their maiden UK event on the 24th July 2011!

Hellaflush UK

If you’re not sure what Hellaflush is all about, where have you been? It’s a site dedicated to showcasing the coolest and most radical & perfect wheel fitment on a wide range of cars, anything with stance and wheels fitting “Hellaflush” is featured on their site, it really is worth a look. Follow the link on our blogroll to the left of this post and check it out for yourselves!

The location for the event is the site once used for Donny South and last year’s Players Show, a large expanse of tarmac and airfield on North Weald Airfield, just off the M11 in Essex. As they’re in the early stages of planning we’re not entirely sure on the format of the event, but if the events over the pond in the US are anything to go by, expect some of the finest, highest quality cars in the UK in attendance. Of course Garage Awesome will bring you full coverage from the event, and in the mean time any further news we can bring to you, we will do!

In the meantime, click >here< for the official announcement page from Hellaflush

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Ok, so it’s going to be very difficult to talk about anything that happened over the last few days without mentioning the weather, and this report is likely to be no exception!

Fortunately, here at Garage Awesome, we strive to get to everything to get the best coverage we can so you guys can keep up to date with all goings on and even more fortunate than that we have Coop, who we can send anywhere in any weather and instruct him not to return until he has some coverage of said event!

The event in question that ran over the weekend was the Roger Albert Clark Rally, or more commonly known as the RAC Rally, held over stages in Yorkshire, Scotland and Cumbria over 4 days, and provided us with a perfect opportunity to capture some great rallying action!

Rally Escort

The cars involved were all in the classic section, with a line-up of cars that would slot straight in on the stages of a rally in the early 80s making for that something a little bit special and nostalgic, and also a great opportunity for us to see cars in action that would have been competing at top level before we were even a glint in our Mum’s eye!

So, maybe you were one of those not affected by the weather, but for most of us over the last week, we have all been buried under many inches of snow, with the North East and Yorkshire getting it first and worst, and the with the beginning of the Rally set at the showground in Pickering, it was always going to be tricky for both competitors, marshals and spectators!

Sure enough the snow fell, and it fell hard, I’m sure a quick scan through the photos will show just how deep and heavy the snow came and settled, and those following us on Twitter (@garageawesome) or Facebook (facebook.com/garageawesome) will see various pics of our own cars stuck, and the beautiful scenery that we awoke to in our frozen cars on the Saturday morning!

Pair of Rally Escorts

As for the rally, I think we were very lucky that it ran at all, with Friday night losing a few stages, and Saturday morning the same, it is a testament to the course marshals and safety staff that worked tirelessly to keep stages open and help the stranded cars that lined the stages, both those of the spectators and competitors!

Some of the casualties of the snow were Nick Elliot’s Escort, Rob Smiths Chevette and Herve Guignard’s Porsche 911 who went off in SS13 and SS20 respectively. Other retirements to note were the flamboyant Renault 5 Turbo of Paul Chieusse and Will Onions’ Mk2 Escort

Friday’s 4 stages saw stage wins for Leigh Armstrong, Darren Moon, David Stokes and Stefaan Stouf. Saturday saw Warren Philliskirk, Will Onions, Andrew Haddon and Nick Elliot take wins but it was Stouf and co-driver Joris Erad in their Escort RS1600 that took more than anyone else despite a hard fight from veteran rally star and former British Rally Champion Gwyndaff Evans.

Porsche

Despite stage winners swapping positions throughout both Sunday and Monday, and with the cancellation of Stage 19, it left them all too much to do to catch Stouf and Erad’s Escort, who at the end of the 22nd stage on Monday late afternoon, were crowned rally winners, with Evans in the runners up spot followed by Haddon, Griffiths, Collins, Moon and another former British Rally Champion; Mark Higgins.

Interesting to note that 11 of the top 12 cars were all Escorts, only the pairing of Phil Colins and the late Colin McRae’s co-driver Nicky Grist spoilt the Ford party with a 5th place finish in their Opel Ascona 400.

So, an interesting weekend for rallying, and an amazing amount of snow to go with it, leading to a long one for our intrepid photographer, so have a flick through some amazing pictures of some real classic rally cars, and amazing Yorkshire and North East Forests, framed in the glorious white stuff!

Pic Credits – Rich Cooper

With the end of the 2010 UK show season upon us, it got us thinking about the year we have just had, and in car show and UK scene terms; what’s changed, what’s survived, what has developed and the big question we posed ourselves; what has it been like this year compared to say 5 years ago?

So, that’s where we’re going, cast your minds back to 2005, what were you doing back then? I’m aware some of you were still at school, a good few years away from even thinking about driving, and on the other hand some of you will recall 30th and 40th birthdays, but neither matter, there will be something here for everyone and hopefully we can pose some interesting points, make some of you remember some amazing cars and for a lot of you, see some creations that you have never seen before!

Obviously we’re going to need pictorial evidence of 2005, and as you may have realised by now, we don’t pinch or borrow bits and bobs from other web sources here, everything you see on Garage Awesome is 100% Garage Awesome; if it’s on here then we write about it, from scratch and we take the pictures, that’s how we like it!

Clio on 19s

So would going back to 2005 be a big problem for us…? Err turns out ‘no’, because unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you look at it, even back then I was the world’s biggest modified car geek and a quick raid of my harddrive turned up folders full of hundreds of photos I’ve taken, all filed by year and event, enabling us to bring you pictures from the actual shows in 2005 from my very own (point and shoot) camera.

I think the shows themselves are a good place to start, back in 2005 there wasn’t a show almost every weekend like there is now, Modified Live hadn’t even been thought about! Donny Show was the traditional season opener, the Easter weekend usually saw the modified masses head to Doncaster Racecourse where the best of the best of the winter projects would make their debut appearance in the modified circles, camping was limited, show stands had a cap of 5, 6 or maybe 10 cars maximum and Auto Glym had introduced the Best in Britain competition.

Donny Show also ran another show later in the year; the aptly named ‘Donny South’ took place on North Weald Airfield in Essex and gave the same opportunities to those in the South that the original Donny gave to those in the North. In between ran Modified Nationals, who in 2005 had moved the show from Billing Aquadrome to Newark Showground, prior to Billing it ran at Shakespeare County Raceway, and following Newark saw it go to Rockingham Raceway before settling in for the last 4 years at Peterborough Showground.

Corsa Crazy?

The event here in 2010 that I wish had kept going was the infamous Max Power Live and most importantly the Max Power Live – Top 100, a full-on 4 days of pre-screened awesome cars and the live action arena, but unfortunately 2006 saw the last Max Power Live at The NEC, and with the announcement of Max Power’s end in 2011, the show looks like it will be just a treasured memory.

USC, which is still in its original guise, was notoriously the big one of the year with huge fields full of campers, massive parties, lots of track action and seemingly always mega-hot weather to go with it! Add in Trax at Silverstone, which itself developed from a Ford only affair and that pretty much summed up the main shows that made up the 2005 season. It just goes to show how many events have been created since based on the popularity of the scene back then, and the diverse nature of what people were doing!

So, what were people doing? Well to summarise, I would say putting the biggest wheels and bodykits on any small hatchback going, but in truth there was a lot more going on than that. Let’s admit it, 19″s on a Saxo, Corsa, Punto, Fiesta is no easy task even now, especially with an approved ride height, but people were doing it. Wheel size wasn’t about ET and how much stretch you can have and how flush it fits, it was about an 18/19″ wheel with whatever tyre size was the cheapest and most common fitting on whichever particular hatchback you had decided to modify!

Seat Ibiza

As people upped their game and 20″s popped up on a handful of Corsas, the bodykits were also in for a big change; to start, people made wild kits for these core group of cars, huge intakes, loosely based on Jap style were king. Massive spoilers delicately poised on the edge of the hatchback, vents cut wherever they could, teamed up with thick, speed hump scraping skirts, neons and door poppers would be the only thing that would cut it.

This pushed people further, realising that the kit they had bought for their car had been done, so bought parts designed for other cars and began chopping them up, and I know all about this as my very own car had a 106 front bumper, Saxo rear, 106 GTI arches, Escort RST vents and a 206 brakelight assembly! This lead to all the major bodyshops at the time such as Autovision, xXx, Myhneer, Xquisite and Kingdom constanly breaking the mould and pushing the boundaries of what can be done to a small hatch! seems unfortunate that all bar Xquisite have closed their doors.

Headlight conversions were 2005’s ‘big thing’, even from the pics you can see a variety of cars all wearing faces from other models, often not even from the same manufacturer, The Nissan Primera fronted Fiesta and 306 fronted Clio stand out for me from within the galleries.

Citroen Saxo

Rear lights were dominated by one style, I’m pretty sure most of you will have had a run-in with Lexus lights, and in 2005 unless you had swapped the back lights for a set from a car that didn’t have Lexus lights available or you had purchased a set of LED bus rear lights, then your car wore Lexus style lights!

Paint was another key ingredient in these show cars, again the bodyshops wouldn’t rest, using expensive paint and techniques such as Chromaflair, glitter, flip, pearlescent, heat changing, 2 tone, you name it, expertly applied at a cost of ££££’s to the owners, which often changed as they tried to keep up with the latest colours and looks.

You will notice I’ve failed to mention drifting, that’s because in 2005 hardly anyone knew about it, the hardcore were out messing about, but the ‘drifting phenomenon’ just didn’t exist, bar a man named Terry Grant who got a little sideways at shows, Brett Castle’s S14 was on display inside at Donny as he was sponsored by Auto Glym and a trio of guys in 300ZXs calling themselves ‘Steer from the Rear’ were the only mainstream links to the then underground drift world.

BMW E46

So with a good insight into the 2005 season, what conclusions can Garage Awesome draw in regards to the 2010 season? Firstly, it has to be the amount of shows flooding onto the market, surely this is watering down the numbers and quality as people spread themselves thinner and concentrate on shows closer to home, whereas before, if you didn’t travel, you didn’t get recognised! So maybe a 2011 cull of the weaker, less busy shows, maybe hit a few less yourself, head abroad or try a make/model/country specific event?

Are bodykits back? Have they ever gone away? In all honesty, and we have seen this tried to be answered elsewhere, who knows?! On one side of it, the cost and innovation got so high that to make a show stopper, people gave up and went for the simple mods that have grabbed headlines in 2010 such as sticker bombing, stance, neon colours, vinyl wraps etc. The other side is that they haven’t gone anywhere, it’s just left the good ones. A prime example of this is easy to find, if you look through the pics you will see Nick Brown’s white Honda Civic EK Coupe which, minus the Lambo doors, is on the cover of this month’s Performance Jap Car Magazine, and picked up a couple of awards this year too – clearly a car that has matured rather than aged!

Could we see cars like this back en mass? I think not, but it goes to show how far the UK scene can push itself, and that the only thing holding people back are the other people and the media, we all need to stop worrying about what’s ‘in’ or ‘what so and so are doing’ and dig out our inventive brains to make the UK scene thrive again, it makes me wonder if in another 5 years time I’ll be wheeling out this year’s pictures and explaining what a fad sticker-bombing, stance and drifting were…?

Pic Credits – Ollie Novell (Circa 2005!)

“If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise” and the surprise that would greet you had you been in the forests of south Wales this weekend, would have been the final round of the 2010 World Rally Championship!

The WRC is the top of the tree in terms of world motorsport in Garage Awesome’s eyes, I know some will argue that F1 is the top tier, but for sheer entertainment and driver ability, nothing comes close to the skill the WRC drivers continue to show over the 13 rounds held this year, taking in a wide variety of surfaces, stages and crazy weather conditions.

So, who did the envious task of covering the British round of the pinnacle of motorsport fall to? Well, Chris is still developing his camera skills and has spent the weekend taking photos of pretty much anything, and with work commitments elsewhere, that and the release of a certain XBox title this week beginning with “Call” and ending in “Duty”, that has turned into a full time job, put me out of the running, so it was no surprise that Coop volunteered to spend 3 days, in a wet, muddy and cold forest in the south of Wales to bring you the coverage we have!

Loeb's Citroen

Coop is a hardened rally fan, with his dad often marshalling the local and national events, so it came as no surprise that he was the man for the job, and with his camera failing just a couple of weeks back, he dug into his bank account and managed to get a replacement only last Thursday, so this is its maiden outing!

With the Garage Awesome team accounted for, on with the action! Most of you will already be aware, that for the 7th time in a row, Frenchman Sebastien Loeb and his ever present co-driver; Daniel Elena have taken the overall WRC driver’s title, so with the pressure totally off, a great display was expected from all the drivers in a straight fight to be Rally GB winner!

SS1 took part in front of a packed crowd in the city of Cardiff, in the bay, and with the perfect start for Loeb; taking the stage win over fellow Citroen C4 drivers; Sebastien Ogier and Danny Sordo.

Wales GB

Day 2 saw Special Stages 1-7 with Jari Matti Latvala, Loeb and Ogier sharing stage wins, but it was Loeb who had the advantage of 1.8secs over Petter Solberg, also driving a Citroen C4 WRC. By the end of day 3 Loeb still had his lead and had managed to increase it over Petter to just under 5 seconds, current 3rd overall was the Focus of Mikko Hirvonen.

The last day, and the last time you will get chance to see the current cars in the WRC as the regulation changes bring in a whole new fleet for the 2011 season, saw Loeb carry on winning the first of 4 stages by 7 seconds extending the lead over Solberg to 11.5 seconds, and then taking SS18 too, making an 18 second cushion going into the last 40km.

But, the fairytale ending was fulfilled, despite Latvala and Sordo taking SS19 and 20 respectively, King Sebastien of Rallyworld rode his trusty Citroen steed home to take victory of Wales Rally GB, followed by Petter Solberg and Jari Matti Latvala taking the final podium spot!

Ken Block

Retirements, fortunately, were few and far between, with Ogier’s off road expedition on SS8 making him the only top runner to fail to complete the rally. Fan-favourite, American internet video star Ken Block, came close however, with a broken drive shaft on day 2 putting him behind, however to make up for it, he told media afterwards that on SS19 he “went extra hard and extra sideways” to say thank you to the hardcore fans out on the stages.

Finally, before you indulge in some action shots, we have to mention the other championships decided today with Xavier Pons clinching the SWRC in his Ford Fiesta and Armindo Araujo’s Lancer Evo taking the PWRC championship title!

Phew, that’s Wales and The WRC done for another year! It would be nice to go again next year, hey maybe we can convince Coop that we should all go! Be sure to know that Garage Awesome will continue to bring you some of the UK’s best rally action in 2011!

Pic Credits – Rich Cooper

NEWS: Max Power Magazine Runs Out Of Fuel!

Posted: November 12, 2010 in News

We’re saddened to hear in a statement released by the popular and much-loved monthly magazine; Max Power that the February 2011 issue is set to be their last!

When rumours first started this afternoon, we were all a little confused and thought that it’s probably some story that’s got way out of hand, but unfortunately just after half past 3, i received an email from Mark Guest, the current Editor of the Mag confirming the news that the monthly sale of the magazine and website would be pulled in January of next year!

Max Power Ends

This has put a massive downer on the day here at Garage Awesome, we’re big fans of Max Powers event coverage and photography and it has become the Bible for many a car enthusiast over the years

No official reason has been released as to why this decision has been made, just that owners Bauer Media have decided to stop the magazines production. Maybe the rise in Online media, including blogs and forums around the world having the ability to bring coverage as it happens or just hours after has put a nail in the monthly magazines coffin, or even the recession has a major part to play with people and advertisers spending less through belt-tightening measures.

One things for sure, its sad news and one we hope can be reversed at some point in the future and of course, Garage Awesome will bring you any further news we can have, for now here is a copy of the official email we were sent this afternoon confirming the disappointing news.

“Hi
Bauer Media has reluctantly taken the decision today to suspend the monthly publication of Max Power magazine and its accompanying website.

We anticipate that the February issue of Max Power, on sale 12th January 2011, will be the last issue in its current guise and will be a collectable super-sized issue celebrating modifying past and present. It will embrace all that is great within our scene and boast more feature cars than ever before. This really will be an event that’s not to be missed and a fitting celebration to the incredibly colourful, loud and irreverent history of Max Power.

It is our intention to keep the Max Power brand alive in the future with a series of “one shots” and special issues and some possible exciting new adventures. Keep your eyes peeled for future new projects and we will endeavour to keep you updated with all the latest news from the Max Power brand.

I’d like to personally thank you for your support of Max Power.

Mark Guest
Editor
Max Power”

Our second invite to an event in as many weeks saw us leave Garage Awesome HQ and head 150 miles south to the bottom of the M1 and to our nation’s capital, and more specifically, the legendary meeting venue; The Ace Cafe!

This week our hosts were BritishMods, admin Stu and club staff Steve and Marie had made contact with us and invited us to make the trip to cover their event, and as the team had used one of our photos as the event’s flyer background, how could we say no?

M1 Escort

Now each event has its own style, and each club like to do things with their own twist, and BritishMods certainly go for all out action! With a load of top show cars mixed with some big bhp monsters filling the main car park, accompanied by tunes from the DJ and some big installs.

The meet started fairly quietly, with the cars slowly parking up heading in to the Cafe itself for some warming food and drink! Stu then came and found us, explaining there had been hold ups on the North circular road, (and let’s be honest…when isn’t there?) and that a few convoys were battling the traffic to get there!

In the mean time it gave us a chance to mess with the cameras, we’re not pro’s, we’re still very much learning, especially in the difficult light conditions, so it was ideal to drop in a little practice before the masses arrived.

Ace at Night

Some lovely cars were subjected to our sometimes ‘questionable’ photography; notably a pair of flawless show standard Saxos of owners Karlie and Ed that represented KentKruzin.co.uk and the golf that just seems to get everywhere with its funky styling mixture of hydraulics and surfboards, owner Dave Phillipson used the BritishMods models to good effect, allowing them on to his surfboard to make more than the car bounce, if you get what I mean!

Elsewhere we found a sweet Honda VTEC powered Mini, Ben Bockett’s Fast Car cover Impreza, with our very own Chris’ Impreza helping to keep the car park well stanced! Outside the main area we found a nowadays rare Renault 5 GT Turbo, a nicely stanced Audi A4, a pair of retro classics in the form of Mk1 Escorts and a tidy BMW E30, who wasn’t shy of seeing how it went with a bootfull of accelerator round a roundabout.

Dave Phillipson

And the roundabout is what sets the BritishMods meet out from any I have been to, to be honest we have never been to The Ace Cafe, and when Stu informed us that he had some guys prepared to, errm, give the onlookers some good value for money, we weren’t quite sure what to expect, until the epic wide arch, yellow Mk1 Escort gave us an idea, with the owner demonstrating perfect control of his awesome ride with a series of impressive donuts, and was rewarded with some cheering and applause from the crowd!

Obviously he was accompanied by a few who wanted to have a go, the owner of the grey E30 gave it a shot but a trio of clowns; 2 Saxos and a Fiesta, all with useless handbrakes kept the crowd in good spirits with their comical handbrake turns, hats off to the Lupo owner mind you, I’ve never seen one on opposite lock before!

Bocketts Scoob

It reminded us a lot of a really “old skool” event; nice show cars, a few clowns paired with some impressive fooling about that went on well into the night, and in our eyes the credit has to go to Stu and his team for putting on a fab event and breaking our Ace Cafe virginity, not only this… but our first cruise ever to include a goodie bag!

BritishMods have been kicking around the scene for a while now and I’m hoping that more events pop up from the guys, so if you’re from around the London area and fancy heading off to the shows and getting more involved with a club then Garage Awesome suggest you look these guys up first!

If you want to keep up to date with any future events that we’re going to be covering, or maybe you want us to cover your event, it’s simple, we’re on Facebook www.facebook.com/garageawesome or if you use Twitter follow us @GarageAwesome.

Pic Credits – Ollie Novell

This Saturday night see’s the Garage Awesome Team head south to the Legendary Ace Cafe for London based Club, Britishmods meet!

Having not been to Ace before, were really looking forward to it, and if we have this right, its set to be a big event too and are more than pleased to make the trip down to the capital to cover it!

As usual, see the report and pictures first on Garage Awesome or for more information, head to www.britishmods.com

Britishmods