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Theme Tuesdays: ‘Tis The Season 2016

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It’s that time of year again, the holidays are right around the corner and instead of wrapping gifts or tending to other priorities you’re here on checking for another ‘Tis The Season post.

I appreciate your procrastination, I really do, and this year I’ve kept it all to real cars no illustrations this time around.

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The owner of this car , is actually an awesome local Toronto photographer I was previously on aware of
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makes it two seasonal Theme Tuesdays in a row, this time with a little support from the man in red
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has such a great looking car, really love this livery
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Unexpected tree hauler is unexpected. I imagine it didn’t drive like this… via
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plans on driving his R8 throughout the entire winter, and why not they are all wheel drive after all
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also uses his R8 to bring home trees
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Up until about a week ago Ontario was looking pretty green like in this photo by
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Perfect setting for a winter photo shoot in this photo fond on
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Another contirbution from  one would assume its a warmer climate but some of the Hot Rod guys are really dedicated so you never know
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I wish this photo was a little bigger but I doubt a larger original exists!
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No trees or snow here but has Rudolph’s antlers going
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caught Santa Ridin’ Dirty
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Adam Szarmack took of this ’57 that we’ll end this year’s off with. His  so definitely check it out.

I’ll have one or two more posts until Christmas but if this is the last you read until then Merry Christmas, and if you don’t celebrate Happy Holidays!

WTF Friday: All Mixed Up

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Ah the great giver of WTF Friday content. On any given day a quick search can lead to hours of wading through layers of ridiculous while looking at, and searching for, things one never knew they needed.

Today’s find is a ’54 Ford F100 ‘Rat Rod’ that’s been customized in a fairly unorthodox manner.

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The cab and frame are original Ford pieces, and the hood and fenders have been removed up front to get the rat rod look the owner was looking for.

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For some reason the hood made its way to where the bed would have been, and has been transformed into a bed of sorts…

The gas tank is the keg you see there, but I am not sure what purpose, if any, the other container holds.

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Inside racing buckets have been added, and it’s got an entirely new floor and what looks to be a traditional body drop so if you’re tall this might not be the truck for you.

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Motor wise it’s got a ’79 Camaro 305 with turbo 350 transmission that’s been wired up with a painless system. It looks like there are custom headers (or just plain flipped stock ones) and more vintage headlights thrown into the mix as well, in addition to a grill sourced from who knows where.

The entire thing is which, according to the owner, is less than what he has in it. If a more traditional build is your choice this might not be the best pick, but if you and the owner share the same vision then it’s still up for grabs.

‘There Are No Cool Cars In Ontario.’

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I know, I know, I need to stop with the sensationalist titles, but I’ve heard and read variants of “there are no cool cars in Toronto” for years and usually they are precursors to the blanket statement that there are no cool cars in all of Ontario.

Whenever these discussions start, be it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or otherwise I have to wonder if people are talking about the same province in which I reside. No I’m not delusional, I know that Ontario is not California, Vegas or Austin, and certainly not Japan, but that doesn’t mean the scene here is terrible or in dire straits.

To prove this point I’ve interspersed photos of several unique, creative, high quality (or all of the above) builds into this post. Something that, if the title statement were true, I wouldn’t be able to do.

To double down on my point all of these photos are exclusively from the 2016 season.

In the time I’ve spent shooting and writing about vehicles in Ontario I have, year in year out, come across builds that are just as creative as the ones I see online from other parts of the globe. The rub is that these cool builds are not going to roll past your front porch while you shake your cane at those damn kids with their titled wheels, or drop you an just because you discovered a cool cursive font to use for a logo, and put the letters ‘est’ in front of the current calendar year.

Finding the true gems takes a little effort.

fitted-lifestyle-2016-1936-copperhead-3-dtBy a little effort I mean making a point to check out events different from the ones you usually do, rather than going to the same shows year after year and being disappointed.

If you don’t like a particular show for whatever reason, be it previous experiences or the type of vehicle they cater to, then don’t go, it’s that simple.

2016-autofest-15Going, then complaining after the fact is counter productive. There are several shows in the area that simply exist to make money, it’s unfortunate but it’s true, and as long as they have the entry fee of the participants and enough spectator ticket sales to make it into the black, these shows are not going to lose sleep over criticisms lobbied after the fact. Why? Because based on support (read: dollars) there is no reason that they should.

The only way these shows and events will realize that people are tired of their lather rinse repeat approach is if their pocket books are affected.

2016-northern-showdown-13Otherwise come the same time next year they will wind their marketing machine up making claims of quality, but ultimately failing to deliver because they’ve done nothing to attract or uphold any level of quality or originality at their event.

On the other side of the coin if you run a show and are constantly taking shots at the local scene leading up to, and after, your event ask yourself what are you doing to encourage the creativity and eye for detail you’ve identified as a problem.

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Do you start to let cars slip past your “rigorous” screening process once it becomes clear you’re not going to met your minimums? If so perhaps you ought to take a page from some of the more pro active events in the area.

It’s no secret that I hold in high regard as one of the better outdoor shows in the surrounding greater Toronto area. The organizers not only put in a lot of work the day of to make sure things go smoothly, they spend the months leading up to the event hitting the pavement and finding the quality builds hiding out in the pockets of Ontario.

2016-autofest-5This proactive approach has allowed them to maintain and grow a fresh show field full of vehicles that are both of high standard and unique. Doing away with the typical first through third class in model for awards and opting for an over all top 50 is a quick way to cut through the politics that often ruin shows and prevent people from returning.

I’m not encouraging trophy hunting by any means but if the same cars win the same awards year after year, especially when there are better cars in the venue, why should people come to your event with their latest build?

2016-jalopy-jam-up-39Showdown isn’t alone either, the Jalopy Jam Up is another show born from a desire to do better. Jeff Norwell and crew didn’t see an event catering to the traditional hot rods they wanted to see locally so the Jam Up was born, which isn’t too far off from what David Soo at Fitted did on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, or what the organizers of Berlin Klassik have done with their events.

20160711_191512Shows of course only represent a subset of the community here in Ontario and anyone criticizing the local scene that hasn’t been to a cruise-in isn’t giving Ontario it’s fair shake.

Some of the craziest builds I’ve come across were not found at shows but instead casual weekly, free, cruise-ins that take place all over the province.

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Any enthusiasts skipping out on these free events is doing themselves a disservice, and if you’re from the greater Toronto area and have never been to ‘s Cars and Coffee you’re missing out on a great monthly summer event.

cars-and-coffee-toronto-finale-2016-4Still find the cars you see there lackluster? Then dig deeper still, go to BBQs and open houses held by local shops and at these events make friends and connections, word of mouth is how I’ve become aware of many of the best events I’ve ever been to.

money-gang-bbq-f20-ae86-2You’d be surprised just what level of build lay in some of the most unassuming garages in the corners of town you don’t often travel. This is to say nothing about the absolutely mind-blowing projects sitting at some of the higher end outfits in the area.

miro-charger-10Getting to know people at these events also allows you to become better embedded into your local scene rather than someone who sits on the side wagging a disapproving finger.

hitman-hot-rods-32Still disappointed? Then maybe stationary cars are not your thing, instead of taking time out of your day to harp on those who don’t like to go fast take advantage of the plethora of track events, and race series, we’re lucky to call our own in Ontario.

formula-drift-canada-2016-round-2-show-z31It’s impossible to go to a track event and not see something cool on the track and in the parking lot, and if you want the best if both worlds the is a great place to start.

formula-drift-canada-2016-round-2-mats-baribeau-5Finally if you’re standards are so high that you really can’t find any cool cars to your liking then build one yourself. Become the bar that you want people to aspire to, if absolutely nothing else at least the journey along the way will be worth it, and you will have a great build to show for your efforts.

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No cool cars in Ontario? Well that statement just couldn’t be any further from the truth and if you think it is I urge you to put in a little effort to take a better look around or pick up a wrench and show us all how it’s done.

Theme Tuesdays: Subaru 360s

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This week’s Theme Tuesday is the direct result of watching BMX videos while listening to a Subaru burble on by my office at an opportune time; Subaru + 360.

Now the Subaru 360, in all of its variations, is not one of the most commonly modified (or plain common) vehicles –especially in North America– so this isn’t the longest Theme Tuesday ever, but I did what I could with the challenging constraints I put on myself.

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This particular van holds the distinction of being one of the more popular 360s ever built, featured in   some years back
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This photo really puts into perspective just how small these vans really are, especially when on the ground
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I’ve come across this exact photo a few times over the years looking for random cars
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This angle however is new to me and shows that it is indeed a complete build through and through
Judging by what appears to be the stock motor the wheelie bars are probably more of a tongue in cheek joke than anything else
Judging by what appears to be the stock motor, the wheelie bars are probably more of a tongue in cheek joke than anything else, more pictures are here at
Same 360 different paint job, earlier I believe.
And if black is more your color, I believe this is the same one at an earlier state 
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Sorry for the postage stamp sizing but these are the only photos I could find of this 360 project started by Bobby DeCola in the days of 28.8k modems. via
Japan Delivering like only Japan can with this 360 hot rod built by Soul Art N Rod
 built this 360 that was at what looks to be a Mooneyes Japan event
Here's a rear shot courtesy of Speedhunters
If memory serves me its had some Volkswagen injected into it

 

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While in the vault I came out with this black 360, which looks to be pumped up at all four corners
This car was originally built for Lemons before it didn't meet wheel base requirments and the owner's rebuilt the car and put a Honda CBR954RR Fireblade behind the driver
This car was originally built for Lemons but didn’t meet the wheelbase requirements so it became something much more; a Honda powered just for fun car
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The motor is apparently packaged so tightly that the car basically has to be taken apart to view it, and it uses a fairly complex transmission that apparently has 30 forward gears.. which is nuts. You can and watch a shake down video below

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To end this one off here’s one of the first Subaru 360 photos I ever stumbled across, I beleive I found it on

Should more Small/Micro cars be the subject of Theme Tuesdays? We don’t have a ton here but I could start with the locals and branch off.

Swift GTI perhaps?

Scandanavian Slug

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I’m pretty sure I can count the number of Volvo P1800s I’ve seen in person on one hand, perhaps even two fingers, and zero of those two have been on air.

Thankfully the internet seems capable of producing darn near anything on air ride including the P1800.

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Known as the Mustard Mouse this particular P1800 is a ’76 shooting brake model that the owner Nick is using as a project car for his company

Being such a unique car Nick has opted to only modify it in ways that are reversible, which means the body has stayed stock including the original golden color it rolled off the assembly line with.

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Image original posted on

There’s no denying that the resulting “wheels and a drop” aesthetic works with this car, being so unique, and with it closer to the ground it looks as though the roof has been chopped even though its standard height.

The relaxed pillars all around give the car a real laid back look about it and I bet it looks pretty cool riding Cali (nose up).

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Image originally posted on:

The wheels tucked up in the wheels are indeed fake splits, but before you nay-sayers take away points keep in mind that it probably isn’t all that easy to find wheels that would suit this car.

Additionally the owner says in his feature on  that he did try to get some original design wire wheels but it didn’t pan out (I’d love to see this on wires!) .

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Image original posted on

The Mustard Mouse is a cool little car and if you want to read more about it checkout the aforementioned feature on and this quick post on .

Be sure to give a follow as well.

 

WTF Friday: F20 All The Things!

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F20 –or F22s I am not great at telling them apart admittedly– motors have made their way into quite a few different vehicles (see this Theme Tuesday and it’s follow-up for proof) but this is, as far as I know, the first domestic truck to get the high reving 4 cylinder Honda Motor.

Spotted on Facebook via , this truck apparently resides somewhere in New York.

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As you can see from the photo there isn’t just a motor swap going on, a honking turbo has been thrown into the mix, positioned significantly above the motor.

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With the hood closed and the turbo sitting in it’s mailbox like enclosure its hard to notice anything else but if you look at the rest of the truck you’ll see a Colorado bumper swap and what might be early Nissan 370z wheels as well.

I have no further information on the s10, but I’d love some, so if you recognize it or better yer own it, hit me up!

Theme Tuesdays: Impalas

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Sometimes the most obvious cars are the ones that get overlooked for Theme Tuesdays and that is certainly the case with Impalas.

Heavily featured in Boyz N The Hood, and rap videos I had on repeat growing up I quickly became a fan of the classic ’64 on wires. As I got more into cars as a whole I also began to enjoy pro touring and drag prepped Impalas as well.

One of the most iconic, and well-known American cars ever built, the almighty Impala was long overdue for a Theme Tuesday.

Would this classify as a low-rod?
Spinning the clock back to my first SEMA experience this car, black, on what looks to be black Supremes still does it for me

Here it is last year right before sale
These are actually two different cars, with this one being sold, but close enough for a before and afer
I love resto mods, one day... one day..
Before Megaspeed and Motorama there was Performance World where I saw this RPM Motors build
And one of the builds that the more you look the more you notice, for example I didn't notice the wind-shield in person
I’ve never seen this car again but it was a very, very different Impala (see: Windshield frame or lack there of)
It was a great looking build
These pictures don’t really do it justice in hindsight…
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A lot of this post (naturally) centers around mid 60s Impalas, but all generations seem to handle wires and low quite well
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This even includes the later models
I find I don't see these nearly enough
If wire wheels are not your thing don’t fret, simple five spokes also work quite well
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Dale’s Impala was one of the first features on this site, it’s a great looking summer cruiser I see fairly often
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…and if the car above were a wagon
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If memory serves this wagon belongs to the late Jae Bueno’s Wife
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This photo, via Howard Gribble, is the original Bloody Mary car
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and this one via is a mighty fine tribute
Thing's were looking pretty good
This car,broke very shortly after this photo was taken
Who doesn't love a good all metal drag car?
Who doesn’t love a good all metal drag car?
This is the Impalasaurus video of it can be seen below, it runs 8s
This is the Impalasaurus video of it can be seen below, it runs 8s and weighs 3400lbs

Being x-framed cars Impalas do lots of funky things given the right amount of torque
Being x-framed cars Impalas do lots of funky things given the right amount of torque

This video is a whopping eight years old!

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Going to end this one with more Impalas on wires just because honestly it is just the right thing to do
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Lil chippin’ ain’t hurt anyone

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Event Preview: Lexus High Performance Driving Program

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has been an active participant in the Toronto enthusiast space for the past few years having done a number of collaborations with Grosirbajuanak partner , as well as a number of other shows in the area and Vossen wheels.

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A few months ago they reached out to wanting to bounce some ideas around on how the Grosirbajuanak brand and brand could work together.

While I would love to tell you we are collaborating on a new luxury sports car build, reality set in and that wasn’t exactly going to happen, at least not this time around.

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However  is offering me the next best thing by sending me on their .

Taking place in the winter at venues in Quebec, Ontario and Edmonton (Mecaglisse, Minden Fairgrounds, Castrol Raceway respectively) this course is designed to get Lexus car owners more familiar with the performance and safety capabilities of their cars.

lexus-canada-2It features slalom activities, defensive collision avoidance, and cornering techniques, all great skills to have here in Ontario during the colder months, but more importantly a fun way to spend a day on the track in the dead of winter.

lexus-canada-3So with all that said on February 9th of 2017 I’ll be spending a day behind the wheel of a Lexus with my foot to the floor and a driving instructor at my side.

lexus-canada-1As always you can expect lots of pictures both here and on  so check back in February, while I’m not in the market for a Lexus just yet I must admit it’s pretty cool of to give me an opportunity.

If you own a Lexus and would like to join in on the fun visit and to reserve your spot.

Theme Tuesdays: Mazda Cosmos

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Theme Tuesdays are getting difficult, I’m not complaining don’t get me wrong, but finding new vehicle to post after seven years is a bit of a challenge. Especially since of late I like to keep things a little a-typical to keep things fresh.

For today’s selection I’ve settled on the Mazda Eunos Cosmo, a car that before this year I had never seen in person.

For those not familar the Cosmo is a grand tourer Mazda produced from ’67 to 95. It was a rotary powered car that was known for its luxury and technological features more than blazing speed.

A Japanese market vehicle these cars are rare birds in North America but more than deserving of a Theme Tuesday.

Note: apologies for the small sizes and lack of credit for many of these photos, several came from long since abandoned forums/forum threads.

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I’m fairly confident that this is a model of a first gen Cosmo, but it is an amazing “what if?” build
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This is a second generation model very tastefully modified in Japan – via
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This Bosokou styled one also comes from
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This a third generation Cosmo that (81-89) and the angular lines and flip-up headlights are perfect styling cues from that era –
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It’s always interesting how different a car looks with its ‘eyes open’ – Via
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The fourth generation models, available with a 13 or 20b are the ones I am most familiar with
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It looks like there were a variety of interesting kits available for the car in its heyday
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The rear tuck on this car makes me think of dtm racers
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I’d gladly run those LMs
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Like any rotary, people have stuck turbos on them. This photo (via SE photography) looks to be from Australia and we all know they love their rotaries in Australia
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As far as I’m aware this is the only Cosmo in the Gta and perhaps even all of Canada
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Miraculously everything works as it should
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*Obvious Seinfeld reference goes here*

The 929 and the Cosmo are pretty closely related so perhaps I should look at the 929 for a Theme Tuesday in the not so distant future?

Someone Finally Did It

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As some of you may or may not know much of my formative years as a car enthusiast were spent getting intimately familiar with the Pontiac Fiero. In auto-shop we complete making one look like a Countach and made significant progress on converting a second to a Ferrari kit before I graduated.

Through that entire process one thing that stuck with me is that Fieros don’t like to get really low for a variety of reasons, with awkwardly placed cooling tubes being high on the list.

Never the less I’ve still wanted to see a low clean example and Josh Mawdesley aka has delivered.

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Josh actually owns three Fieros (and a Pontiac GTP) which makes him the perfect person to get the job done.

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On 1320video’s , where I first saw the car, a asked what it was or assumed it was an import. As someone who saw a lot of them growing up it seems bizarre to think that people might not know anything about Pontiac’s quirky mid engine car but perhaps that’s just the old curmudgeon on me talking.

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Regardless Josh has put a fine-looking example and I’m curious to see what he does with the other two, hopefully his progress doesn’t get lost among Instagram algorithms and I can post some more here.

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