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Not Just Another LS Swap: Brad Ruiter’s Wicked Miata


It seems cliché to say it, especially considering how often I say it when I post this car but, Brad’s LS3 powered Miata is one of the best built driven cars I’ve come across.

Brad’s car also has the distinction of being one of the few cars I vividly remember seeing for the first time on . After being tagged, and looking at the , I was blown away that someone took a Miata engine bay that far.

I stared at the photo in awe, wondering just how much work it took to make a swapped engine bay look so damn flawless.

Much later that I found out that it took roughly three hindered and fifty hours, and the entire removal of the factory metal forward of the firewall to do what Brad did.

Brad’s ultimate goal for the car was to build something that he could drive, track, drift, and show, all in the same day and to that end he decided the best power plant for the car was the dependable Chevrolet LS V8.  Though some are quick to do so calling this car “just another LS swapped Miata” is selling it extremely short.

I’ve seen other LS swapped Miatas. Straight to the point ones, and ones built with presentation in mind, and none of them really compare to the engine bay Brad created or the entire car that follows behind it.

This engine bay goes beyond, shaved, tucked, and cleaned up. It’s hand crafted metal art and looking at it as anything less than that is really sacrilegious.

I’ve talked to Brad for at least a few minutes every time I’ve seen the car and each time he’s manged to show me some detail within the engine bay that I manged to overlook one the previous encounter.

Things like the hidden hardware for the fenders and finished underside of the carbon fiber hood can easily go overlooked when you fixate on the shaved firewall, masterful tube work, and flawless paint work.

It would be easy to assume Brad farmed out this build, and I am sure there are plenty that do assume that, but Brad did the lion’s share (outside of paint) himself.

The son of a hot rod builder the apple didn’t fall far from the tree when it came to Brad and it only made sense in his mind to apply the level of detail he was accustom to towards his Miata.

But, in the Ruiter family, cars are meant to be driven so the Miata was never going to be just a static show piece that never went over 4000 rpm. Driving the car as it is meant to be driven actually meant Brad needed to pull the LS3 at the end of last summer.

A heavy right foot and a bright low oil pressure light are never a good combination, but Brad bounced back and rebuilt the motor with Mahle pistons, ported, polished, decked heads, a Howard cam and ARP hardware. Mated to T56 transmission the motor is good for around 500 horsepower which is more than enough to have a lot of fun in a nimble Miata as evidenced below in a video from Clipping Point Media.

You’ve probably already noticed the aggressive aero package Brad has put together and further helping plant the car is a stout suspension set up made up of custom control arms, Kaiser Automation billet drop spindles and Megan coils.

It’s also caged, got Sparco Sprint seats and an NRG quick release wheel. Inside the custom dash is a Stack cluster and the reservoirs for his Wilwood triple master that is mated to six and four piston calipers.

Now running as it should, Brad’s enjoys driving the car when he can and roasting plenty of tires in the process. However he did mention that he may part with the car if someone comes along with the right offer.

He’s not tired of it but, how’s that saying go? He’s got bigger fish he wants to fry.

It was an honor to shoot such a well-built car for (the photos in this post are alternate shots from that shoot) and if you have not already, head over to and read my more in-depth feature of the car.

I’ll end this post the same way I ended the one on Speedhunters, Brad, if yu are indeed going to build something crazier next do give me a call, I’d love to shoot it when it’s done!

WTF Friday: Special K


Two Honda/Ford cross-breed WTF Fridays in a row? That’s got to be some sort of strange new record. When Anth shared this K powered Fox Body Mustang on the I  legitimately let out a small laugh at the lunacy of it.

I don’t mean that in a bad way of course, because I love weird and different swaps and this is certainly quite different.

Ford fans, the most devote of Ford fans, probably absolutely hate this car but remember that Fox bodies did come with four cylinders (N/A and turbo) from the factory along with a hoe-hum v6.

The motor for this swap was lifted from a modified RSX with a custom stroker billet crank, R&R aluminum rods, and Wiseco pistons. Add the turbo to the mix you see in the foreground and you are looking at all said and done.

I guess if you’re going to get crazy you might as well go all the way.

With that much power, and the motor set back as far as it is this car could be a serious weapon when it’s finished. TDC has not said what their intentions for the car in the end are, but, I don’t think trailer queen or show pony is in the cards.

If you’re interested take out the .

Theme Tuesdays: Mobile Phone Dump Volume 2


Got caught up in the long weekend relax mode and didn’t get a chance to pull together a specific theme for this week’s Theme Tuesday so I am going to drop another ‘Mobile’ Photo Dump.

Mobile is in quotations because most of these photos are from my phone but not all. Like part one the bulk are from weekly cruise nights here in Durham.

is just around the corner, and if traditional hot rods are your thing that’s the place to be
The wife and I have kicked around the idea that when (if?) I finish Project Why Wait we will build a Beetle for her. That may have recently changed to a sports car however
A set of wires and a little altitude adjustment can really change a car, especially a ’47 Cadillac
I spent a lot of time looking at this built truck last year, a LOT
I like the frenched tails and the finished, but not too finished look of the paint job
This Firebird inspired the Pro Street Theme Tuesday from a few weeks ago
It’s certainly one wild-looking car, at any angle.
A peak at what motivates this big bird
Not sure what it is about Durham but I’ve never seen quite so many “street freaks” or extreme gasser type builds, this Fairlane made the last post of this nature, along with a Trans AM
This tri five also rolls around the city nose in the sky
Took some pictures of Mike Livia’s ‘Lowmater’ earlier in the summer. Hopefully release this full set soon..

I’ll be back next week with a more traditional theme based post next Thursday!

WTF Friday: The Mustagra, Six Years Later


The Mustegra (an DC Integra body draped over a SN-95 Mustang chassis) was the topic of  a WTF Friday post in 2011. That post was pretty popular, and since then the car has gone through some fairly significant changes which make a quick update here justified.

The first, and most significant update, is that the Mustegra is now known as the v8 Integra because it is now powered by a LS1 and not a Mustang motor and not a Ford mill.

Or perhaps more accurately is going to be LS1 powered as the swap isn’t quite complete yet.

The other, more significant update, is to the outside of the car. When it was originally done the wheels stuck out a bit and the hood was perpetually slightly popped open.

This was later fixed with a different hood, widened vented front fenders and bolt on rear flares but those have both been removed in an effort to go even wider still.

Rocket Bunny FR-S style flares look to be the base for the most recent transformation and it looks like the aim is to fit much more tire than before.

Finally there have also been a few steering angle updates done to the car because I do believe that the owner may have caught the drift bug.

As of late updates seem to have teetered off but the owner maintains that the car will see the road again soon. It’s always nice to see crazy cars, get crazier, and I’m all for the most recent round of updates to this truly unique build.

Forums Are On Life Support, Won’t Someone Think Of The Build Threads?


I’m old, not that old, but certainly ‘older’ in the internet based automotive community. I am part of the generation that’s been around long enough to experience first hand how the internet affected the automotive landscape.

When I got my first car it was during a transition period where internet forums/message boards really started to take off and become commonplace. High speed internet finally became affordable (hands up if you remember 56k warnings) and as a result I lived on ‘boards like , e30sport (then ) and . Later, when I switched vehicles, I became an member, and then a  and  member.

Additionally I was a member of several forums of cars I was just plain interested in. Vip cars, off-roading, kustoms, hot rods, I’ve got memberships to at least one of each.

My e30, a car that wouldn’t end up how it was without forums

Forums quickly became an incredibly popular, and more importantly, useful tool. Message boards helped bridge the gap between what was left out of magazines due to space, and what’s glossed over on television in favor of scripted drama. They also helped fill in the blanks between the straight forward maintenance approach of the Haynes manual and what you actually wanted to do, modify your car.

The information I’ve gleaned from vBulletin or phpBB powered scripture has been invaluable to my progression as an enthusiast. I’ve also managed to pinch many a penny through classified sections and made lifelong friends through meets organized on forums.

Yes, I’m a big proponent of the value of forums and honestly have probably spent more hours than I should have on Message boards, grades, sleep, work be damned.

Image from – stanceworks.com

I’m sure that I am not the only one who’s raced inside (or now checked my phone), mid project and fingers greasy, to re-read a post on how to un-clip a stubborn connector, or how to route a part around a steering rack just to side step dealing with rusted bolts.

I’d also wager that I am not the only person who, after reading a build thread felt motivated to start on a project that I previously saw as out of reach. Seeing someone of the same approximate level of skill succeed at a task usually reserved for a shop full of the latest and greatest tools and trained employees, is extremely motivating to the weekend warrior do it yourself enthusiast.

Forums are not of course flawless trolls annoy, spambots irritate, and misinformation is common but for the most part forums bring more to the table than they take away.

Image from – VWVortex.com

Sadly I’ve noticed that many of the forums I used to frequent have become quite inactive. Some of that can be chalked up to life, as familiar faces transition to new platforms, or lose their free hours to responsibility such as 9-5 jobs and children. But, it also seems that in general people are signing up to forums less.

Not being a forum admin I don’t have any numbers to back up my claim, but my gut tells me the clock is ticking on forums as people move to other platforms.

Instant gratification seems to be what people blame a host of the worlds problems on, but in the case of forums I think it has certainly been a contributing factor.

It’s easier to post something on Instagram or Facebook than it is a forum. A few quick taps on a mobile optimized interface and you’ve instantly given people an update on your build or got the answer you were searching for.

Image from – Jan 17 – losboulevardos.com

Unfortunately those platforms are largely self-serving. Answers don’t live forever and the community aspect is lost. How many of you are in Facebook groups where the same question is asked several times a month? Previously in a forum based community we could refer the user to the search page.

Frustratingly Facebook search returns primarily what Facebook (the company that has share holders to appease) wants you to see, and Instagram search isn’t really designed to pull back any useful information a timely fashion.

YouTube isn’t the worst substitute, but it lacks the easy questioning and answering ability provided by the quoting feature on forums and well, we all know what YouTube comments can be like.

All that said, though the writing has been on the wall for the last few years, forums have still manged to hold their value if nothing more than as archives. That was of course until a few weeks ago when they were put on life support thanks to the unlikeliest of sources, PhotoBucket.

Dead links have always been a problem in older threads, but PhotoBucket’s choice to charge $399 a year for the ability to use their service on third-party websites is a big deal. To put things in perspective I pay less than that to host this site and register the domain year over year.

Thanks to Photobucket’s recent play for the wallets of web users everywhere thousands of useful threads have been rendered nearly useless. This is akin to someone walking into a library and removing the images from 80% of the how to books and about 70% of the inspirational magazines.

Image from – 67-72trucks.com

It’s a serious blow to a system that is perhaps getting too old to take it. Yes there are alternatives but going back and updating the past is a daunting task that few are going to take up the torch and do.

Am I over-reacting, seeing the world through my doom and gloom glasses once more to romanticize a dead technology? Maybe, but I also think that without these archives, these globally, available caches of knowledge fewer and fewer are going to venture forth under their hoods and try things themselves.

Sure, enthusiasts prior to the advent of the internet had to learn the hard way, and managed to do incredible things when left to their own devices, but we live in a different time now. Auto shop isn’t in every school, and sure as hell isn’t mandatory. Cars are becoming more complicated to service at home, and, with the drive towards automated vehicles who knows what might happen to the modern enthusiast.

The naturally mechanically inclined will continue to make headway on their projects, but the rest of us? Well the rest of us better start saving what we can before forums are gone for good.

We’ve taken them for granted assuming they would be around forever but now more than ever we should cherish the ones that are still alive and active, they are the last of a dying breed.

Theme Tuesdays: Recently Viewed – July 2017


As of today it is August and I’ve probably got about 25% of my summer “TO-DO” list done. Running the math I am woefully behind and I’m pretty well running out of summer. C’est la vie Right?

Anyway here’s another Recently Viewed Theme Tuesday with additions from the usual suspects and a few how to videos because I’ve been out in the shop garage lately.

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Beebop & Rocksteady, The Kustom Kings


Twice in the past month I’ve found myself at the Ajax Canadian Tire Cruise In checking out some of the local vehicles. That’s where I saw the Sonoma I posted last week, and also where I saw the two Kustoms showcased below.

Posting Kustoms on a site with ‘stance’ in the name might seem odd to some but regular readers know I play the definition of stance fast and loose because it is really all about how it sits.

Both of these cars have the right stance for a traditional kustom and thus, are being posted today.

One of the things I like most about a great kustom build is that for the most part it’s no stone left un-turned, no half steps, and no failed executions.

Everything looks great and flows together to create an over all appealing car.

This particular ’38 Ford featured a very nice red interior that contrasts the purple exterior exquisitely. Interiors can often date cars (see: tweed) but the materials used here are tasteful and timeless.

As a whole the car is stunning and looked great under the setting son. Via some digging I was able to determine that it belongs to somewhat of a local hot rodding legend Paul Fernley.

Maybe one day I’ll have to see about getting a little time with the car one on one for some photos.

The second car I want to showcase today is one that I can’t identify. I think it might be a Ford Ranchero (55 or so) but a few elements don’t quite match up with my assumptions.

This might be because it is not a Ranchero, or because it borrows from so many vehicles that are not Ranchero.

Regardless of what it is, the paint work on this car is exceptional. The blues and whites look great with the chrome and the white interior is the icing on the cake.

Those pipes sound as good as they look too.

Quick post today, but every day is better with a bit of Kustom love.

Event Coverage: 2017 Majestics Toronto Lowrider BBQ


Before we head out to an event my son always has one simple question, “Daddy will there be up down cars?” Clearly last year’s Majestics Toronto BBQ left a lasting impression on him.

I’d like to say I am surprised but I’m not. With miles of chrome, detailing on nearly every panel, and a stance like none other lowriders are some of the most interesting vehicles to ever cruise down the street.

Young, old, male, female car enthusiast or non everyone remember the first time they saw a classic American car on wires roll by on four, three, or two wheels.

My first Majestics BBQ was in 2012, and since they’ve earned a permant spot on my “must attend” list every year.

In those five years I’ve also invited others to check out event, like Rob at did me, and they have also returned every year since.

The music, and food (which, yes, I mention every year), make this event stand out but the vibe is what seals the deal. Egos are checked, family is welcomed, and everyone is encouraged to just have a good time.

It’s not about trophies at all, but there are two to be won, ‘best of show’ and ‘furthest traveled’.

With these trophies there’s no bickering about who wins, and no question about who deserves them as the decision is typically unanimous.

This year the best of show award went to the green ’64 above and below. Based on what is arguably the most popular lowrider platform the car is built to the exacting level of detail that one would expect from a top tier lowrider.

The laser straight body is adorned with flawless bright work and the paint on the roof down is as smooth as glass. The paint from the roof line up is next level. The patterns, pinstriping, and golf leafing found on the roof continue into the car onto the steering wheel and steering column.

I imagine there’s miles of clear on that wheel to prevent the paint from coming off.

I managed to over hear that the owner of this Impala has had the car since high school and that it has been a dream of his to get it to this level.

The passion certainly shows through in the execution of the final product.

The highlight for many at these events (especially the children) is the hopping demo where those willing to put their cars up in the air do just that. If you’ve never seen it, there is nothing quite like a watching a full size, full framed car bounce up and down.

It is a violent affair, and even though they are reinforced to take it the cars typically don’t enjoy the process. However build it, break it, repeat seems to be the mantra because no matter how hard these cars get punished the owners never seem to really care.

The car above was actually California plated, and I’m not sure how it ended up here by trailer or driven, but the owner thrashed it like he was ten minutes from home.

Thankfully for him isn’t far from the location of the BBQ, and there’s no question that Jeff can repair whatever damage was done when this car came down from resting on bumper.

With a plate that reads “Bumper Check”, sitting above a bumper that has certainly been checked, it was easy to see that this car meant business from the second I pulled into the parking lot.

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When the time came to put on a show Jeff didn’t hesitate, and the car was up on the rear bumper within a few flicks of the switch, to the elation of my son who exclaimed “that was awesome!” when it was all said and done.

The spectacle of putting a car in the air (without the use of a ramp or air jacks) is one that is exclusive to lowriding and it is impressive just how much larger the crowd gets once the action starts.

This year’s show, despite the rainy forecast, was pretty much at capacity and there wasn’t a single parking spot left for spectators.

I even spoke with one woman who saw the event from her condo. After hearing the great music (her words) she had to come down and see what was going on.

All of the local lowrider clubs were represented at this show in some way with builds from the Affiliated, Majestics, Rollerz Only, Luxurious, and Solitios parked up throughout the venue.

I mentioned this on a few weeks ago but a lot of new ‘car clubs’ could learn a thing or two from how lowrider clubs operate. It’s much more than just affixing a sticker to the center of you windshield.

Most of these cars sported at the very least a plaque, but often emblems, shirts, and even permanent ink on their skin showing who they are affiliated with.

Both Drake and myself took a lot of time trying our best to truly capture the detail work found in these cars, and while we did the best we could to really appreciate the detail it needs to be seen in person.

Can you imagine just how never racking final assembly would be on one of these cars?

Last year I stated that the ‘Goldmine’ Fleetwood Cadillac above had one of the most detailed trunk set ups I’d ever had the pleasure of seeing in person.

Drake thought so as well as he couldn’t resist taking a photo of it this year. Note the color matched batteries, and gold leafing practically everywhere, including on the newly added continental kit.

Another favorite of both Drake and myself was the Gold accented ’63 Impala below.

Deep blue, chrome, and gold all came together on this car to make it one exceptional looking car.

Another car that cannot be overlooked anytime I go to one of these BBQs is the 65 Buick below.

It’s such a great looking car. In comparison to some of the other cars it is a lot simpler but I think that refinement is what makes it stand out. That and it’s the only Riviera at the event.

If any of you are fans of the movie Training Day then surely you can see the inspiration from that car on this one. .

Last year there was a Blazer on wires and hydraulics this year there was a first generation Sonoma. Not too common to see trucks at these events but I appreciate the ones that do show up.

This Ford F-100 was a pretty cool driver painted a unique, almost mint green, color and riding on fat white walls.

In the bed was this a rad lowrider bike that was completely chromed out and sitting on radial spoked wheels with fitting white walls.

With so many great cars at this show it would be unfair to cut this coverage short just because I am running out of things to say.

Enjoy a few additional photos below, and if you were at the event and are wondering if myself or Drake took a photo of your car drop a comment and I will see what I can dig up.

The next lowrider BBQ is August 18th at Rowntree Mills park put on by the Luxurious Lowrider Club and following that Rollerz Only Niagara, and Rollerz Only Toronto is hosting one August 26th at Humber Bay Park West.

Both run 11-6 though 2pm is probably the best time to show up.

Theme Tuesdays: Pro Street


Am I the only one that is a fan of Pro Street Cars? I hope not because otherwise this week’s Theme Tuesday is going to land a bit flat.

By Pro street I mean drag race styled cars. Low front ends, stock height or raised rear ends, Weld Wheels, Hoosier Or Mickey Thompson tires, narrowed axles, tubs, cages, often wild paint, the whole nine yards as it were.

Basically cars that push the boundaries of ‘Street Legal’ to the point where you wonder whose palms were greased to allow the car to get registration.

The style may have lost some steam after being incredibly popular in the 80s and early 90s but I still see quite a few Pro Street styled cars in my travels so one could argue that is a timeless style.

Either way I like them, and hopefully you do too, enjoy!

This is one of the most easily found photos of a “Pro Street” car online, the wheel and tire set up on this car is massive.
While not quite as extreme as the car above, I’ve seen many a 60s era Camaro styled similarly
Street Classics Cruise Ins in Etobicoke are always worth attending if you are in the area, sadly I am in the area less and less these days
The Camaro and this Chevy II were at the same event as the car below
and this car was at the same event as…
…this one…
….and this Nova!
This ‘Yenko’ (not sure if it is real) is phenomenal, it’s been around for awhile and is always spotless
The Vega, Tri Five, and this car actually come from the same shop A&D Performance
Their builds can be spotted from Brampton to Etobicoke
As much as I do miss the Street Classics events the ones at Canadian Tire in Pickering are pretty great as well
Two cars over from that Trans Am was this Camaro sporting Mickey Thompson Sportsman tires and strange axles
And right near that was this Camaro that swallowed Hoosiers
Engine bay of the same Camaro, gotta have some power to turn those big wheels and tires
I have reason to believe that the owner of this Nova indeed cannot drive 55
This Holley blower is a contributing factor to that assumption of mine
This was actually a fairly clean build all around, the interior was quite nice as well
I’m fairly certain this car could have leapt out of the pages of Car Craft magazine in the 80s
On the topic of Magazine cars, featured this one
I’ve only seen this ’69 Mach 1 at a single event, it’s actually one of very few 60s Mustangs I’ve personally seen done Pro Street style
Trucks are not exempt from the Pro Street Style
Does anyone want to Hazard a guess at the average MPG of this post? 8 maybe?
I can’t imagine how often the headers on this car hit the ground
Reunited was a great show that sadly just never came back after one event, I’ve not seen this Nova since
Probably one of the coolest (if not the coolest) Chevettes in Ontario
I bet it is an absolute riot to drive
On the scale of ‘internet famous’ Pro Street builds this double blown GTO is high up there

Rock Dobbertin is perhaps the #1 Pro Street Icon with his crazy J2000 Pontiac
The car is absolutely looney, and hopefully still hiding away somewhere
Twin blowers, twin superchargers, and nitrous!


WTF Friday: Small Block Mini


I posted this on Facebook last Friday, but I am re-posting it here on the site in the hopes that one of you reading this has more information on this unique rear engine mini.

After years of hearing about this mini I finally ran across if first hand at an event in Tottenham Ontario. I was pretty excited to see it first hand because I’ve been asked on multiple occasions if I’ve ever seen the wide body Chevy 350 small block powered Mini.


When I saw the car the owner was nowhere to be found but through the grape vine I’ve heard that the motor is mated to an MR-2 transmission of all things.

Judging by its size, and choice in propulsion, I am going to assume that most everything under the mini body is custom.

My assumptions are further supported by the description from an expired Kijiji ad that states the car is on a custom space frame. Prior to the Avante Garde M220 wheels it wears now, the car actually sat on Fiero wheels, I wonder if any additional Fiero parts made their way into the final product?

The wrap on the car is new –up until last week the car was black– and the burnt race livery look is actually pretty fitting and convincing from afar.

All in all this is a really interesting car that I would love to know more about.