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WTF Friday: 1JZ Third Gen Camaro


In the heyday of message boards the thread on Volkswagen Vortex was the jam, and contributed to many WTF Friday posts.

It more or less fell off about three years ago, but occasionally I get an notification telling me that it was updated.

The most recent of those updates contained the engine bay of a fairly down on its luck looking third generation Camaro. That engine bay didn’t contain a 305 TPI or some such paperweight but rather a Toyota 1JZ.

The builder on vortex, offered little in the way of information about the swap, but, one of his previous threads about his Subaru builds suggests he knows his way around a wrench.

The photo of the car at a gas station also alludes to the fact that the car is indeed driveable. Hopefully he posts some more on this build soon, as I’m pretty sure at this point it is completely one of a kind.

Celebrating Fifteen Years: The 2017 CSCS Season Finale


As I rounded the final corner on Kohler Road towards Toronto Motorsports Park Cayuga, ‘It’s Been A Long Time’ cued up on my car stereo.

A classic DJ Premier produced track is always appropriate, but it was especially fitting this day because it had indeed been a long time since I’d personally attended a event. Been a long time also applies to how long CSCS has been in operation, fifteen years as of 2017.

Keeping a multi faceted event like this running for fifteen years is no small feat, and it is one that the organizers of CSCS are rightfully proud of.

The event staff, many of whom have been around since day one, remember the humble beginnings of the event and shared anecdotes of those early days on the mic throughout the day.

Starting with little more than a stop watch, a pop up tent and house speakers it’s taken a lot of hard work and dedication to grow the series into what it has become today.

Their dedication is extremely appreciated by the community. Evidence of this is in the attendance numbers of the final round.

The venue was absolutely packed full of enthusiasts. Admittedly I can’t speak for every round of 2017, but if the turnout has been like this all year, then CSCS has had a very successful fifteenth season.

For me CSCS was a bit of a reunion, catching up with several people I have not seen since my last round in 2014. It was great to see not only how much the event had changed, but how much many of the cars had as well.

Up above is Tim’s previously texture painted Subaru in its new wrapped guise.

Another welcomed familiar face was Emilio Ciccarelli of TWOLITREmedia, a fellow photographer and Honda enthusiast who I’ve not seen in a number of years.

Though I didn’t clue in right away, I honestly should have known the Civic above was his the second I saw it.

The exacting level of detail and tasteful modifications could only come from someone who’s as dedicated to the EK chassis as Emilio is.

Familiar faces, and familiar cars, didn’t just end in the show and shine. Some of my favorite local drivers, Mike Gardner, James Houghton, and Dov Arnoff were all at the finale round looking faster than ever in cars that looked better than ever.

Dov and James also managed to convince some friends from the United States to come out to the finale and try their hand at the challenging Cayuga race course.

One such friend piloted this monster of a Nissan 240 that I had to track down in the pits for a closer look.

Extreme is the only way to describe this car and watching it run around the track was quite exciting.

Despite being fit with functional aero — designed via 3D scanning and simulation– the car still looked to be a handful to drive, wanting to step out sideways every hard corner exit.

Blisteringly fast regardless, Bill Washburn () put down a time of 1.13.1 before being forced to retire due to unfortunate mechanical failure.

All was not for not however as that time was good enough for first place in the unlimited rear wheel drive class, and just 3/10ths of a second off the track record.

Being the last round drivers were chasing podium spots and track records quite aggressively. A new track record did get set shortly after at 1:08.335 by Richard Boake in his Subaru known as “Black Storm”.

On the drift side of things the level of driving at CSCS has certainly improved considerably.

Again, there were plenty of familiar faces in the field but also a few new comers from my perspective.

CSCS was the first drift event I had the pleasure of photographing, and remains one of my favorites to shoot. Though I’m not to proud to admit  it took me a few extra moments to remember exactly how to shoot drifting.

I’ll spare you guys the number of blurry photos I silently deleted from this post.

A real highlight of this round was the battle between local driver and friend Pat Cyr and Pennsylvanian Troy Manners, two drivers I am more accustom to seeing at Formula Drift Canada.

Both great drivers, their tandem battles were incredibly close. After a OMT Troy ended up the victor, and later the over all winner for the day.

A new addition to the CSCS daily schedule is the ever popular car limbo.

As is usually the case Miatas stole the show, but ‘s beautiful FC did a good job of holding things down for those of us who are not hair dressers.

I found myself going back to look at her car a couple of times throughout the day. I’ve always thought myself more of an FD fan, but now I am beginning to wonder…

As a whole the CSCS show and shine had a large showing of well put together cars and trucks.

Again, it’s great to see that the show and shine has grown in size and quality with the rest of the event.

My favorite entrant of the extensive field had to be the beetle that I started out this post with.

It’s a simple car at first glance, but the execution is what really puts it over the top.

Nothing was left un resorted and period correct additions were added throughout. Overall the car was also absolutely spotless.

If you have not been to CSCS event in few years like myself I encourage you yo make an effort to attend at least one next year, you won’t be disappointed.

Congrats to the entire CSCS staff for a surveillance fifteenth season and I’ll try not to be as much of a stranger in season sixteen.

Theme Tuesdays: Vibrant Performance/Speed Academy Retro Header Build Off


Usually I reserve video based Theme Tuesday posts for the end of month ‘Recently Viewed’ round up, but I am making an exception this week for what, in my opinion, is a stand out series of videos put together by And .

As you’re no doubt already well aware, I am a big fan of both of these local content outlets and an even larger fan of this series where they’ve faced off against each other to build custom headers for their classic cars.

In Vibrant’s corner Aaron Weir is building a header for Art’s BMW 2002, while in Speed Academy’s ‘California’ Jay is building a header for ‘Connie’, Dave’s 1977 Toyota Celica GT.

Both take a different approach to the project, Vibrant’s is a bit more of a one off creation and Speed Academy’s is set up to be a part that could be replicated, exactly, several times over.

As a basic fabricator I like the trial and error approach of Vibrant’s method, but as a bit of a tech geek I appreciate the technical approach behind Speed Academy’s approach.

The entire series isn’t quite done yet, so when it is I will update this post, but it is certainly worth catching up on if this is your first time hearing about it.

If you can recommend any further videos of the same vein I’d love to see them.

WTF Friday: If Four Doors Are Good, Are Six Better?


Four doors for more whores, one of the most commonly heard expressions whenever a cool four door appears.

Another commonly used phrase is everything is bigger in Texas. Combine the two and you end up with this.

“This”, in this case being a six door 1980 Chevy dually pick up. Finished in a reddish brown hue, and looking to be fairly straight and clean all things considered.

Seating consist of four custom upholstered bucket seats and a bench seat equating to essentially room for everyone in your immediate and extended family.

To make things better this truck is on Air Ride,  –it’s not body dropped, which would be the icing on the cake– but it is still pretty awesome.

There’s a few Cadillac bits strewn about, which is a love hate thing, but again its still pretty clean. Power for this truck comes from a 454 but given it’s size all out performance is likely not high up on this vehicles capabilities.

It is for $10,000 USD but the price is firm and negotiable all at the same time so who knows how much you could actually get it for. Maybe start donations for gas if you decided to get it though.

Theme Tuesdays: Diesel Motors In Everything


There was a time when the words ‘diesel’ and ‘performance’ were seemingly at odds with one another. Those days are quickly becoming a thing of the past as diesel tuning progresses at an alarming rate year after year.

As a result diesel motors are starting to appear as a performance alternative to gas motors in all sorts of different applications.

Depending on where you source the motors these swaps can range from straight forward and low/modest budget (Cummins 4bt) to expensive and complicated (common rail Cummins), but when you consider that at their core diesel motors are quite simple I imagine even more vehicles will be ‘rolling coal’ in the years to come.

Bob Ward found the 7.3 International diesel motor for his truck from a Ford E series van, he then strapped a large Holset to it for some more power
If you have not read the feature on this truck it’s up here
This truck has since undergone a bit of an overhaul since these photos, but the swap remains
It looks a little utilitarian here, but has since been cleaned up quite a bit as seen below

A post shared by (@saint_jeffrey) on

What in tarnation, Is that a Cummins in a Power Wagon?
Why yes, yes it is. This cool truck was spotted at Berlin Klassik in 2014, and if I recall correctly was built in Ottawa Ontario
made diesel swaps incredibly popular with this photo of their diesel rod
This ’28 Dodge has a 12V Cummins in it, the motors been worked over to put out 1270 ft.-lbs of torque and 693 rwhp
This Cummins powered C10 is known as the ‘Diezl Rat’

It’s a pretty gnarly looking truck, impossible to miss and I post it often
I don’t have a photo of the motor in this, unfortunately, but it’s actually a chassis swap

The underpinnings of the truck are Dodge, and the motor is a Cummins, obviously
Nearing the end of the local swaps with this 4bt swapped Miata – Photo:
Packaging is one of the hardest parts of diesel swaps, as you can tell with how well this motor ‘fits’ – Photo:

Not to be outdone by the Miata, put 6.0L Power Stroke Diesel V8 into a skyline with two BorgWarner turbos hanging off it. Argus is hoping the car will eventually put down 650 hp to the wheels and 1200 foot pounds of torque – Photo:

The 240 below is one of the first 4bt imports I came across. It might be the first, but I don’t have records to prove or disprove that

Switch things up and keep it classy with a Cummins powered Bentley
No engine bay shots of this one sadly

Here’s another diesel swapped B machine, this one with a motor 3.0 VW TDI motor

This semi truck themed Nova is from a previous WTF Friday post

For those who might like their Diesel (Durmax in this case) cars to be a little bit more traditional looking, Mike Racke built this back in 2009 – Photo:
Pacific Performance Engineering is a big name in diesel performance and they had a hand in this gorgeous twin turbo engine bay
SEMA is just around the corner, and this 1950 Cadillac was the topic of – Photo:
That’s a 5.9L cummins under the hood. – Photo:

Got a favorite diesel swap of your own that I missed? Let me know so I can pull together a part II of this post!

Stranger Danger


The owner of this 1967 Camaro approached me at a cruise night this summer asking if I was shooting for anyone. Not an uncommon occurrence because usually I’m one of the few people walking around with an SLR glued to their face.

I handed him Grosirbajuanak business card and suggested shooting me an if they didn’t appear on the site soon. This was about a month ago, and I assume the card got lost as business cards usually do.

However last night will trying editing on a few photos from cruise ins like this I ran across the set.

I assume the card got lost as business cards do, but last night when running through a few photos to practice new editing techniques on I ran across the set.

Visually the car is fairly standard fare resto-mod 67 SS, nothing too over the top visually but incredibly clean.

The blue on the car is a custom color that is meant to look as though it could have come in 1967, but also set the car out from the pack when posted up in a line of ’67s.

It’s not stock under the hood, and I seem to remember it being in and around the 400 or 500 horse power range. Enough grunt to be fun for sure, but I don’t think it was ever meant to be a straight line terror.

The brakes and suspension have been upgraded as well, as you can see the Caltracs just peeking out in the photo above and there are discs on all four corners.

If you’re the owner of this car and out there reading this here are the photos. See you at the next show!

WTF Friday: The 8th Dwarf


One of the best things about the car hobby is that there are literally no boundaries to what you can create, so long as you want something bad enough.

If, say, what you want is a 1/4 size (give or take) replica of a car you already own, well then, the only thing stopping you is several thousand man hours.

Photo: Casey Simspon

I saw this car in a Facebook group I am a part of, and while it was my first time seeing it, the car has actually been around for some time.

Built from scratch by a determined man named Gene Tweedy this car is actually 11/16th scale when compared to the original 1:1 version he owns and modeled the car after.

The chassis of the car, which took five years to craft, was made of flat stock and the body was crafted out of refrigerator metal a tactic that was originally used by Ernie Adams the definitive god father of Dwarf Cars.

Running gear wise the car borrows a lot of parts from a 1970 Toyota Corolla, meaning it has a proper 4 cylinder motor rather than say a go kart motor or something of the like.

The dwarf Bel Air and a Corolla are apparently not all that dissimilar in weight so no motor modifications were done. Dwarf cars are legally registered to drive which means that they are not just an artful exercise.

Photo: Casey Simspon

Below, Ernie Adams (whom I alluded to above as the Dwarf car originator) talks about how he started out building Dwarf cars.

Ernie didn’t build the Bel Air that triggered my trip down Dwarf car lane, but in he also recognizes Gene as the only person he considers to have built a dwarf car to his exacting standards.

The (Aka where Ernie houses all his creations and seemingly sometimes Genes) is in Arizona. I don’t know if I will ever be in Arizona myself, but at least now I have a touristy thing to do if I am.


The dwarf race cars look particularly bad-ass wonder how they’d go with a GSXR motor or something similar…

Theme Tuesdays: GTA Then And Now – Pt. 3


There are a lot of photos on this site and with each event coverage post I add to the ongoing history that is created by said collection of photos.

Going back through the archives is a great way to see not only how much the scene as a whole has changed over the years, but how much specific cars have as well.

Some have changed quite subtly, color changes and wheel swaps, where others have gone through several motors or even had a set of doors added.

Hai Tran’s 1958 Bel Air

This car is a pretty good example of the ‘wheels are everything’ motto that Mark over at is a proponent of.

The wires wheels on this car make a huge visual impact. Changing it from an awesome cruiser to a true and proper lowrider. The car looks exceptional on the new wires.

Kevin Grasely’s 1939 Ford ‘Thunderball’

These photos are going to look very similar, but trust me quite a bit has changed with this survivor custom car.

In the photos above this heavily modified custom, was just pulled from a barn. At that point it was sitting on a fairly rotten frame with most of a mouses nest still inside.

Below the car has gone through an extensive overhaul, and made driveable, but what makes the Thunderball, the Thunderball has been retained because that cannot be replaced.

I won’t go too deep into the story here, because I hope to one day feature the car properly, but in a nutshell the person who found the Ford gifted it to Kevin’s Son and now Kevin and his son are the cars current care takers.

Luigi Saullo’s Genesis

A lot has changed on this car from 2016 to 2017 but, I actually only have photos of the outside. Last year it was covered in the quite popular black rose wrap.

This year its got a custom color by Smart Automotive done with Autodip. Yes that means it is somewhere between paint, and dip.

The car retains it’s full trunk set up done by Chop Shop but now the diamond stitching in the trunk area carries through the entire car.

Jason Gale’s Varis Kamikaze Nissan 370Z

I alluded to this transformation in the recent Importfest coverage, but here’s a direct before and after of the car.

It started as North Ameircan’s first Varis Arising II kitted car, and now it’s North America’s first Varis Kamikaze equipped car. I do believe it is also the only car with the Kamikaze kit molded to it.

In additon to the kit the car has new HRE wheels and healthy amounts of Carbon Fiber additions.

The Instigator

I saw this Mercury Comet Gasser for the first time at Motorama in 2015. Apparently at that time the car had already been sold, being purchased at Autorama a few weeks before.

The raised rear end sort of kills gasser look of the car, but the new owner mentioned that the car rubbed quite a bit. Personally I would have tried another option but it is not my car.

In addition to the stance being changed, the intake set up has also tweaked. Originally it had an Edlebrock X-C8 dual quad cross ram intake with side by side Holley carbs, but now it has a more straight forward intake with a single carb. It has also, judging by those headers, seen a few miles.

Jon Fiddy’s GTR

Seeing Jon Fiddy’s car at Cars & Coffee was a complete shock. After eventually disappearing from the competitive field of CSCS racing I assumed the car had died a quiet unceremonious death.

Unbeknownst to all, or at least most, of us he was bringing the car back better than the last time it left.

As you can tell being a competition vehicle took its toll on the car leaving it pretty rough in spots. It’s not uncommon for a purpose built car to have some rough spots but Jon clearly decided the car deserved better and brought it back as you see below.

I don’t think the car gets slid much anymore, but after restoring it to the shape it is now I don’t blame Jon for not wanting to slap the car around.

Jordan White’s Ford F-100

When I saw this truck at the E.L.T.A. Summer Bash I was absolutely blown away by it. The attention to detail and craftsmanship is really quite incredible.

It’s not just chassis work, or engine work, or body work on the car that is incredible. All of it has been finished to an incredibly high standard.

After drooling over the photos I decided to take a look back in the archives and see if I had seen the truck before. Turns out I had, at Northern Showdown in 2015.

At that point it was very much a work in progress but the potential for awesome was certainly there.

If you want to see more photos of this truck head over to the E.L.T.A Summer Bash/Big Go Drags coverage for more.

Keith’s ‘Binbrook’ Coupe

Keith has had his T coupe for such a long time, I feel like going on 15 years, and in that time he’s done a few modifications to make it more road worthy, but nothing like its most recent rebuild.

Torn completely down and redone in every way possible it is almost hard to belive that it is the same car above and below.

Like the Thunderball this is another car that I hope to catch up with and tell its story.

Chris Matton’s 1930 Ford

Truth be told, until I started digging for before and after pictures of Keith’s car I didn’t know I had before and after pictures of Chris’ ’30.

I seemingly only saw the car unpainted once, at a Roadmates Corn Roast (that I unfortunately missed this year). Much like Keith’s car the spirit of the car remains the same but it was given a proper once over and a lot of shine before reassembly.

Rob’s International

I’ve talked about this transformation before, and I’m sure most of you are wise to it. But this truck did indeed gain two more doors over the years.

The swap was accomplished by using a 1963 International Travellete cab with the original 1977 Loadster fenders and hood. The chassis also looks to have changed slightly and the wheels change back and forth between Alcoas and the wheels above.

Obviously I can’t do an International Theme Tuesday without a fe photos of Rob’s International

Any number or doors, and any color the truck remians awesome.

Javed’s EL

I’ve always been a fan of Javed’s car and even though it totally could remain the same it changes year after year.

The car hasn’t just changed visually however, it has continued to evolve under the hood. From B series, to K series, and now back to turbo B.

No matter what motor sits between the strut powers however the swap looks darn good.

That’s it for this round of Then and Now but you can take a look at parts one and two here and here.

WTF Friday: Tangerine Dream


Nash Metropolitans are cool, they are also somewhat rare. A small, sub compact car before sub compact was coined, the car was sold for 8 years. Which isn’t all that long but also not all that short.

I’ve seen a few over the years, most of which have been hot rodded, but somehow this one from Barrie has managed to elude me. So when I saw it on kijiji last night cruising for WTF Friday picks, I knew I found what I needed.

Now I know there are plenty of Nash’s with 355s or similar under the hood, but this one looks, well, rather odd.

Well maybe odd is a bit harsh, but definitely quite different. At certain angles the front wheels are all but hidden and the side skirts are quite aggressive.

Never-mind the orange on orange with a splash of green for that 90s flavor.

Now the , and thus so is this post, but I think this car was just crazy enough to share even though it’s a little light on the details. Hopefully you agree.

Event Coverage: Importfest 2017


With so many new shows popping up in Ontario there’s a lot of pressure on to live up to their ‘Biggest and Baddest Slogan’. With over 15 years of events behind them the Importfest staff is of course used to this pressure and manages to rise to the task every time.

Putting on an indoor event, in the middle of summer, in downtown Toronto, is not an easy task. In fact it is a very large production with logistic considerations and overhead that I don’t even want to imagine.

With this comes a higher than average entry fee of $30, at that price anything but an A-list selection of cars simply wouldn’t do.

Importfest uses their screening processes, combined with a network they’ve grown through the years of running the show, to put together a competitive field of the best show cars currently active in the community as well as a few heavy hitters from eras gone by.

I have not been able to attend the past two events personally, but from what I’ve been told the quality has seriously been ramped up both years.

For 2017 all of the usual suspects were well represented; Nextmod, Next Level, Alpha Motorsports, BMW True North, Elevated, Grounded Conceptz, Team Mayzn, Royalty Auto spa and more were joined by groups from the United States that came to join the party.

Stateside entrants also drove from Boston, New York and Buffalo to see what the Canadian hype was about.

If Instagram and Facebook are to tell the story, it sounds like these out-of-town folks enjoyed their stay in the city.

Like any show of this size there were plenty of cars with bolt on wide bodies and fender flares.

To many this look is getting a bit long in the tooth, but it’s really hard to argue with its popularity given the sheer number of cars that use it.

That said while there are plenty of poor examples floating around Imporftest showcased some of the more tasteful applications of Liberty Walk, Rocket Bunny, and Clinched body parts.

M-tech Auto and Nextmod collaborated on this Pandem e46.

The gold BBS wheels and livery are reminiscent of “classic” BMW builds which is something that I can really appreciate. I’d be curious to see how many of those stickers remain on the car for day-to-day use.

revealed their Pandem R32 which is the first of its kind in Canada. Previously fuchsia and known as “Pinky” the car looks great in its new more contemporary styling.

The kit and wheels on the car look great. But –sorry Neal– I’m eagerly waiting for those coils to be wound down a bit.

That said the car is part of the Performance Auto And Sound Tuner Battlegrounds competition. The grand prize for that includes a trip to SEMA and Airlift Performance Suspension so maybe if we all throw him we can bring the car closer to the ground.

When the kits were released I knew it would only be a matter of time before they ended up in Toronto, but I really didn’t expect their to be two cars fit with the kit so fast.

The first car, dubbed Ultron, was part of an elaborate /tires display. It’s one of the best looking displays I’ve seen out of Nextmod and that’s really saying something considering their previous displays.

and Importfest collaborated on the second car, that sat right down on the red carpet thanks to an air ride installation done by .

The Florida based crew at Vossen loves Importfest so it wasn’t surprising to see that they pulled out all the stops for this show.

Vossen doubled down on thier Porsche offerings with a bagged Rocket Bunny Cayman.

The car was fit with one of the first sets of USA made Vossen three-piece wheels. Vossen’s catalog gets deeper and deeper year after year, and their marketing machine just doesn’t quit.

Jason Gale’s, Galeforce 370z, is currently the only car in North Maeirca with the Varis Kamikaze 370z kit. To kick things up another notch the kit has been molded to the car making it a true 1 of 1.

One of the most complete show cars in the area, it took home a well deserved best of show at Importfest 2017.

The amount of carbon fiber on this car is mind-boggling and while I liked the Volk Wheels it wore last time I saw it, the HREs are a better fit for the new aggressive aero.

Eschewing the wide bodies for a minute, this Toyota Celsior is an excellent example of restraint. In comparison to many of the other cars in the venue it is fairly understated. Less is more here for sure.

MKII Gollfs are seldom seen outside of Volkswagen specific shows these days so I wasn’t expecting to see this car in Chris’ coverage.

The grey paint and Simmons wheels on this car are a great match for one another.

Under the hood (if there were a hood) is a shaved, contrasting color, engine bay that draws your eye to the 1.8 T motor swap.

For another dose of stock body perfection one needs look no further than the ‘Project 86’. In conjunction with Toyota Canada Pat and the guys at Cyrious Garageworks put this car together in 86 short days as a project for Toyota Canada.

Unlike some of the other project’s he’s built for Toyota Pat gets to keep this car at the end of the day, so really he built his dream ae86.

A black top 4AG sits under the hood and it’s been fit with ITBS on the intake side and a pretty wild-looking Cyrious built header on the exhaust side.

On the extreme end of the ae86 spectrum turbo F20 powered ae86 is always worth a second look.

At this angle the snail on this car almost looks larger than the motor itself, but that’s always been the Dyna Motorsports way.

With Cyrious bringing a street car, the drift contingent had to be represented by someone else and for that the job went to Peter Chrisikopoulos who brought out his 2JZ swapped S13.

This car was completed a few years ago, and participated in a few events, but I don’t think it ever ran quite as well as Peter hoped.

So he did the only logical thing to an enthusiast, he tore it apart and rebuilt it. The car is now in running condition but I think there’s a few more things yet before he takes it back out into competition.

Clearly the owner of this S2000 has a brand loyalty to Spoon, rocking both the front bumper and fenders. It’s a really great combo when paired with an aggressive CF lip, Volk Racing wheels and a black hard top. A very tasteful car overall.

Actually if pictures tell the story, most of the Hondas at Importfest 2017 were done quite tastefully. Which is always nice to see considering how much flack the Honda community still receives online based on stereotypes from days gone by.

I thought all the Del Sols had more or less vanished but Elevated added this one to their 2017 Importfest line up. Much like the header on Pat’s ae86 the one on this car is a work of art.

This MK4 Jetta is a car that I’ve posted a few times on the site, mostly because I can’t get enough of the air set up.

The vintage extingishers and polished hardlines just look so good in the trunk. Especially under the led lighting.

Inside the interior is absolutely crazy.  is responsible for this one as well as a few other, similarly impressive, interiors at the show.

Two completely unexpected ‘star cars’s made their way out to Importfest. It’s pretty funny to look back at these cars now. I imagine sixteen years from now the cars that look popular currently will look about as strange.

Going to close out this year’s coverage with some more photos from Chris Johnston.

It looks like it was a great show this year and hopefully I can return next year as I’m sure 2018 will be just as good if not better.