2017 was an amazing year for the Minnesota car community. MNCEC grew a ton but, more importantly, our community as a whole grew even more. If you want evidence look no further than the record attendance that Ka Teng was able to drum up for Sport Compact Day at Rockfalls, it's in Wisconsin but it's also the closest 1/4 mile strip to the Twin Cities. Anyway, I wanted to take the time to sit back and look at some of the highlights of the year with everyone.
I don't want to say everything was roses all year, it had it's low points, but through those low points there was always good that could emerge. I am extremely proud of the state I live in and I look forward to what 2018 will bring.
The overall quality of cars built in Minnesota has improved exponentially over the last few years and that in of itself led us to create the MNCEC Blog with our first official post on February 21st. We wanted to give an outlet for aspiring Minnesota automotive photographers to grow their portfolio while also showing off that Minnesota is just as capable of building cars on the same level as Chicago, SoCal or Texas.
The inspiration of The MNCEC Blog was a direct response to our unprecedented turn out to the Winter Ramp Meet in February. We were expecting maybe 100 cars at most but we nearly filled the US Bank Stadium Ramp. That was the best prelude to the 2017 car show season we could have asked for.
On May 2nd we featured our first car, Austin Chercha's Blue CRX. With Khoua Eh Lee behind the camera we were able to show off what is arguably one of the best Honda builds in the country right now. You can find our other two features on Emilio Rescigno's Supra here and on Yuriy Gula's AutoVaz (Lada) here. I have plenty more features coming up for next year as well.
In May we also had our first show of the season, Ignition, and it was absolutely massive despite competing with two other shows on the same weekend. We ended up having to split our coverage into two posts here and here. The show was bigger than we could have hoped for and will be stepping up staffing and everything for 2018.
Then, on the same weekend as Proving Grounds, Back to the 80's was held. Although we didn't host the event it was still the first of what is sure to be one of the best show series in Minnesota. Alex Nelson also shot some amazing video coverage of Proving Grounds 2017 that I implore you to go watch here. Hopefully next year I can make it out to both events.
Although basic, I created the first technical article on The Blog regarding air filter quality you can see here. It was in response to a post made about a cheap quality velocity stack style air filter coming apart and destroying a turbocharger. We will be doing more advanced technical articles in the future but we want to get the basics sorted out beforehand.
July saw Light The Night at the US Bank Stadium lot and with the music and quality of cars in show, it's safe to say that was the best Light The Night we've ever had. The food trucks we had down on the street were also second to none and, man, I can't wait for next year's Light The Night! Maybe we can get the city to put the bathrooms in the right spot, not a block over from where they should be. I will also have to figure out how to top our trophies we had too, we definitely have our work set out for ourselves now.
Our final major event of the year was the Paul Walker Cruise looping around the southwest outer suburbs then finally meeting up at AutoMotorplex for a show. Despite the rain, the show was awesome, in fact the rain honestly made the photography even better. Besides, what's the Paul Walker Cruise without crappy weather?
As I mentioned before, not everything was peaches and cream. I lost an extremely close friend of mine after the end of the year and I took that time to put stuff in perspective. With everything that comes up in life, it's easy to lose track of your friends but after Devo passed I realized just how important it is to make time for the people in your life.
Our monthly DIY Garage Days have been growing over the years and back in November we even made it into the Star Tribune, which is pretty cool. The entire goal of MNCEC has been automotive education and what better way to learn hands on than to learn on your own car. Our DIY days will continue into 2018 and for the forseeable future so if you weren't able to make it out, you still have plenty of opportunities.
Next year is going to be radical. I am looking forward to everything we have planned, our Ignition show, Light The Night, Proving Grounds and all of it. At The Blog we will be adding more writers and stepping up our coverage of shows in addition to featuring more of the best builds to come from Minnesota and the surrounding area. I have more technical articles in the works and our DIY days will continue on a monthly basis for everyone to learn from. I am excited to see our community get bigger and better, happy new year everyone!
See you next year.