Motorama Mayhem: Toronto’s custom car and motorsports expo

Toronto, Ontario ⁠— Hundreds gathered Mississauga, Ont.’s International Centre on Friday and Saturday for the sixth annual Motorama Custom Car and Motorsports Expo, which saw plenty of custom builds, classic masterpieces and celebrity guests mingle on the show floor.

The show went on Friday and Saturday despite several conference cancellations due to ongoing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. On Sunday, Motorama officials announced that, after consulting with authorities, the event’s third day would be cancelled.

“After consultation with The International Centre and in consideration of the direction announced by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health to cancel events and gatherings exceeding 250 people, the promoters of the Motorama Custom Car & Motorsports Expo have determined that it’s not possible to open on Sunday, March 15, 2020,” read a news release.

Friday, however, saw the show floor rev up at 10 a.m. as more than 800 students from trade schools entered the colourful exhibition hall. 

While many of Motorama’s display vehicles were homegrown entries, some of this year’s must-see feature vehicles were brought in from the United States and viewable on Canadian soil for the first time.

Master-builder Eddie Pettus’ of Illinois’ Eddie’s Rod & Custom showcased a newly completed 1963 Corvette⁠—a retro-mod that looks stock, said Eddie, but has an LT4 motor under the hood coupled to a six-speed transmission. The car sports a dark blue hue, has one-off custom wheels and a black, custom leather interior.

Viv Agresti from nearby Bradford, Ontario brought his 1959 Corvette to the show. The car was not only an attraction at SEMA last November, but was also a part of the backdrop at the SEMA Hot Rod Banquet.

Big names were also present on the show floor⁠—celebrity appearances included Constance Nunes from Netflix’s CAR MASTERS: Rust to Riches, JF Launier (Ridler winner, Motorama Grand Champion and a regular on History Channel’s Rust Valley Restorers, celebrated Canadian automotive artist Ron Gibbs, Grant Schwartz of Schwartz’s Welding and Vegas Rat Rods and builders Eddie Pettus and Chad Martin.

The Pinty’s Stage saw a lot of action on Saturday during the two PANEL JAM events. Painters Ron Gibbs from Burlington, Ont., Danno Drouin of Brantford, Ont., and Rollie Guertin of Guelph, Ont. combined their skills to pinstripe three distinct panels in front of awestruck audiences. The trio wowed crowds all weekend and showcased their award-winning artwork in the show’s ‘Mayhem’ room.

BASF had arranged for Chip Foose, auto designer and star of the television series Overhaulin’ to appear but he cancelled on Thursday evening, citing the COVID-19 health crisis as a concern.

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