The weather is cold. It’s actually fucking freezing here. Across the street from my destination, the armpit of Southern Oshawa (a bar called the Down Omer) is almost vacant; Nothing surprising at 3 O’clock on a Thursday. Sandwiched between a 24 hour Mac’s Milk gas station and a privately owned drab Office Supplies Depot, you will find GT Custom Exhaust. A shop ran by Michael Catell and one of the main reasons the Money Gang Drift Team actually exists. Every one of the team members’ cars have been here at some point for one reason or another, and the shops casual yet busy environment makes it easy to drop in and say a quick hello. It’s here that I found a spare fifteen minutes of down time near the end of the day and some new film rolls to talk to Mike one on one to see what he’s been up to.
Devo: Hey Mike, whats up?
Mike: Just on Tinder right now.
Devo: Whats going on with your car?
Mike: Getting a single turbo setup for Marin’s new LS.
Devo: Is it hard to do?
Mike: Yes it is very challenging
Devo: How so?
Mike: The motors not made to be there, and now it is. They don’t sell a kit for this car. You have to make everything fit.
Devo: How long have you had the shop?
Mike: Two years in February. I’ve been doing this kind of stuff for five.
Devo: Whats going on with the FC?
Mike: The FC is on the back burner right now
Devo: Why’s that?
Mike: Bills to pay my dude
Devo: What are your plans for it?
Mike: Just making the car that I’ve always wanted. Build a car that I’ve always wanted to build; 1jz and a sentimental chassis. I’ve always wanted a JDM influenced slammed and stylish car thats fun. Not necessarily a race car, but a fun car. I want to be able to drive this thing every day; i like to admire my work. Its me. My car is me. Its the most accurate representation of who I am.
I’m half way through my first roll of film and have no clue how it’s going. It’s Monday evening and the daylight is already almost gone by the time I get to Kristoff and Steve’s place. Steve is at the shop, and Kristoff is working away in the garage on his E36; The car looks like its in a million pieces.
Devo: Hey dude whats going on?
Kristoff: I literally just said that I need to go get food
Devo: What are you doing with your car right now?
Kristoff: Sanding, prepping for paint, disassembling subframes… basically getting in over my head with no plan. A friend of mine just outside of Chicago named Chaz Edwards from Nerptech is making me some control arms and tie rods and tie relocation blocks to push the front track width out and get lots of angle.
Devo: What were some issues last year that you’re taking care of?
Kristoff: On the 17s I had clearance issues in the front with bone stock steering lock; no spacers, rack spacers or anything. The original plan was to just go for E46 stuff for the added track width and a little bit of extra steering lock, but then I started talking to Chaz and he offered me a deal I couldn’t resist. I don’t know, the thing with the steering mods; I felt I was already driving past the max potential of the stock BMW. Sure, I could have gone with more casual modifications like rack spacers as opposed to the full angle kit, but Chaz’s kit is super solid and the chance to get my hands on it was definitely an opportunity i wanted to pass up. It’s all stuff I wanted to get in the future anyway.
Devo: Why are you painting your car?
Kristoff: Team swag. Hahaha. I just want the car to look good for competitions; I want to do a lot of CSCS (Canadian Sport Compact Series) next season and don’t want to go in with a car that has 20 year old paint and dings. Repping the Money Gang well is important to me, maybe i’ll even attract some sponsors and other supporters. It was a group decision, so yeah. We’re all painting our cars grey so that’s a major factor.
Devo: How do you think your first year went?
Kristoff: i think it went pretty well. Everything I set out to do more or less in terms of personal driving accomplishments I got done and then some. Yeah, I think it was a super successful year to me and I enjoyed it.
Devo: Yeah your cars still here so..
Kristoff: Yeah, that too, the cars still here so yeah. I gave myself different goals each event to work on, and I made sure I got them done. Linking certain sections, trying different setups and learning to tandem are all super cool things I got done this year. I also hit the wall once or twice (the good way) and was still able to drive my car to work the next day. So that’s cool.
Devo: Any advice for beginners wanting to get their feet wet?
Kristoff: Buy an E36.
STEVE VAN SLUEWEN:
Steve’s E30 both inspired and pissed off many enthusiasts last year with its total makeover and transformation into a drift car. It sparked tons of interest and controversy all over the internet. After killing the Canadian Sport Compact Series Drift competition, his sights set on US Drift. I decided to meet Steve at Mitchy’s Speed Shop in the middle of fucking nowhere to check in on his progress in caging his new 2015 chassis: A BMW E46.
Devo: What made you decide to ditch the E30 and move onto the E46?
Steve: Uh, a ton of reasons but mostly the ability to be able to run more tire in the back, and E46s have a superior suspension design for more rear grip.
Devo: Whats been going on with the car since we saw it last?
Steve: I’ve bee in the lame process of stripping and caging it.
Devo: Where’d you get it caged?
Steve: Mitchyspeedshop. North of Mosport in a super tiny town in the middle of nowhere called Burketon
Devo: That’s pretty out of the way
Steve: Originally I was thinking of doing it myself but it wasn’t feasible with my budget. Mitch offered to Help me out and support my 2015 program and do my cage, and I’ve seen his work before with tubs and tube work so I knew he did good work.
Devo: Are you pleased with how it turned out?
Steve: Yeah above and beyond. The way it turned out, I wouldn’t have done it on my own. Incredible welding, and he was super smart with how he placed the pipe. The cage is so tight to the roof that the halo is welded to the roof, and the main hoop is so tight we had to remove sunroof structure. He listened to everything I wanted and did it super well and with ease.
Mike, Kristoff and Steve form part one of our look at Money Gang, Marin, Mitch and myself coming up in part two.