We all know that 2020 sucked worse than a five-dollar ho – and without the happy ending! – but we thought we’d try to take a more fun look back at the year from a MAXERS perspective. So, without further ado, here’s our take on the events, modded cars and people that helped make 2020 bearable.
It all started off pretty well from an events point of view. Autosport International allowed Dan to re-find his mojo in front of the video camera which was bad news for promo models (at least I clipped my finger nails! - Dan). The show also had a whole hall devoted to modified cars and it’s fair to say they were pulling in the crowds. In fact, it felt like a small slice of Max Power Live, what with it being at the N.E.C. too.
Ultimate Dubs in Telford also had a sweet ‘mini Max Power Live’ type vibe, albeit without the half-naked chicks (could not find a single one. Livid! - Dan). The VW-based show revealed plenty of mint builds as you’d expect, but perhaps left us thinking more radical things might be appreciated.
Outside of shows we tagged on to an Essex Scooby Crew run to Southend which was the burble and flame fest you’d hope for, open days at 6two1 and R2 Automotive, and later went back to Southend for an old school ‘legal’ cruise. The turnout was impressive and certainly reminiscent of the old days… although it only took a brief slip of the clutch and puff of tyre smoke to have the old bill pulling you over with ticket in hand.
Then it all got a bit weird. Shows were cancelled all over the place as COVID-19 got a grip on things. Events we’d been looking forward to like Modified Nationals and Players bit the dust. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Amid the various lifts on restrictions we found ourselves frequenting the monthly Essex Allsorts meets at the Dick Turpin pub. We went to a Slammed UK event in a park and ride car park of all places that had an awesome turnout of modified metal, and popped along to the first ever Go Japan! show at Brands Hatch.
What these three events highlighted to us were three things: one; life is good when you’re surrounded by like-minded petrol heads, two; decent car events can happen just about anywhere, and three; Go Japan / Modified Live shows strike a great balance between car clubs, show cars and track spectacles, and we really can’t wait until the next ones.
Who knows what will happen in 2021, but we’ll be hoping we can get to more events across the country. Mark at the Instagram fan-page ‘Max Power Reunion’ is putting together an event in September with the hope of getting as many Max Power era cars along as possible… so if you’ve got one then drop him a DM. We’ll be there, mainly to check he’s putting enough period-correct chicks in bikinis on show. Hell, we may even have a stand and bring some of our own! (my mum's up for it! - Dan)
We’d planned to feature a bunch of cars this year, but what with COVID and Dan’s special strains of certain STIs becoming increasingly viral we thought it best to not get too close to the owners. We did feature James Pearson’s mint Astra convertible and VXR, as well as James and Dee Barrett’s pair of very sweet Beemers, but we wish we could have got to more.
There was plenty of Max Power-inspired good news though. First up, Carisma’s old TVR cover car resurfaced under new ownership and is gradually being restored to something near its former glory. Then we got in touch with the Haynes Museum and found out Project Slam was to be auctioned off. We deliberated placing a bid but realised the extent of work needed wasn’t suited to a pair of halfwits with the spanner spinning abilities of poorly trained monkeys, so figured we’d just cross our fingers and hope to find out who ended up taking it home.
We didn’t have to wait long and were chuffed to find out it’s now in very good hands (check out Workshop_504 on Instagram). What’s more, they’ve also gone and found Calibre’s old Astra coupe (the one that ended up in flames) and have added that to their project list. Those boys are well overdue a visit.
Other cars of the Max Power era kept popping up too, including the legendary Capri Cosworth built by Rusty who sadly passed away this year. We’ll hopefully see that up close soon. And then, just recently, Kingdom Developments’ CRX Del Sol cover car has resurfaced. So that’s at least three Max Power cover cars, a cruising legend and one Max Power project car that are being saved from scrapyard doom.
And like most of you, lockdown also gave us the time to focus a bit on our own cars as the MAXERS Project Car Build-Off started heating up. Millsy’s M3 got treated to new coilovers, Alcon front brakes and a rear subframe reinforcement courtesy of ETA Motorsport before being shipped off to Kode Performance for a respray. Having teased people about the colour choice for weeks he finally ended up revealing it… in pink! Ok, so it’s Rubystone Red officially but to the untrained eye it’s most definitely pink. Needless to say it splits opinions, but those who like it really seem to like it. Girls mostly (or moistly?!).
Dan meanwhile bought an EP3 Civic Type R with an awesome K24 engine in it. He just forgot to check the actual car for rust. So, while he’d started fitting pretty much all the awesome tuning goodies Tegiwa can supply for this chassis, he then had to unbolt them all again and attach them to a second, rust-free EP Civic shell (frickin' livid! - Dan). This unintentional ground-up build is happening now with the able support of R2 Automotive and the paint mastery of Kode Performance… we’ve just got to wait for it to be finished. And then for Dan to crash it! (gonna look real pretty in that ditch! - Dan)
As for cars we haven’t featured, that haven’t been in Max Power and we haven’t attempted to build ourselves there’s been a few of note. Perhaps the one that got the most attention was Carl Taylor (of Players fame) and his Rubystone Red Escort RS Turbo. What made it kind of unique was the fact it was revealed on social media at the same time it dropped on Fast Car’s cover. Old school! Millsy loved it as it was the same colour as his car (he reckons he’s a trendsetter!) and an RS Turbo, but also hates it as the boys at Carrera did loads of the little touches to the Escort he’d been thinking of for the M3… but would now look like he’s copying. Gutted! Awesome car though.
Literally the first day of the year saw us catch up with Bluey and Junior, trimming maestros formerly of Carisma. We really got in the way of them trying to work for a few hours, smoked a load of fags, drank plenty of tea and got pretty misty-eyed about the old days. It was a great start.
Along the way we’ve captured numerous other victims on camera over on our YouTube channel, catching up with old modifying pals and meeting plenty of new ones, too. A massive thank you to everyone for supporting us so far. Even Kyra, who got her pert derriere out for the boys on our first MAXERS TV episode. We definitely need to do another one of those.
There was some sad news though. Keith Ripp, legendary godfather of modifying who gave us Ripspeed and then Xtreme and R-TEC with his sons Adrian and Jason sadly passed away. It honestly hit us like Beatles fans probably felt when Lennon died. You may not have known him, or know of him, but it’s safe to say that the UK modifying scene wouldn’t be what it was without him leading the way. A sad loss indeed.
We were also pretty gutted to hear that Jules, Midge and Glenn were all moving on from Fast Car magazine. While we obviously hate Fast Car with a passion, those boys were all plying their trade on the ‘opposition’ back when we were kicking their asses every month with Max Power. Guess they had a good innings though and hopefully they’ll still be around the modifying world somehow. Strange thing is that Dan Sherwood is taking over at Fast Car having seen the Japanese Performance mag he was editing disappear. Some of you may recall that Dan (or George as he was known) used to work for Max Power too… so, we just need to convince him to change the name and Max Power is back!
It was also pretty remarkable that one of the big insurance companies from back in the day put their faith in what we are doing with MAXERS and asked to partner-up with us for their itscompare.com website. Insurance in a necessary evil, but their new comparison site is perfect for what you and us need when it comes to declaring mods and getting decent prices. Give them a try at renewal time as it’s always good to support companies who are down with modifying.
So to everyone who has liked or commented on our posts or videos, sent us messages, checked out this website, and to companies like AB Carbon, Barret Motorwerks, Kode Performance, R2 Automotive, itscompare.com, Tegiwa, Yokohama, and more, who have shown us some love this year - thank you. While we take arsing about in cars pretty seriously, we also know that for many of you, in some small way, we’re representing a time in modifying history that is sorely missed. In 2021 we’ll continue trying to honour the Max vibe, without being too stuck in the past, so we can all have a little bit of Max Power goodness still in our lives. Who's up for the ride?!