However, there are also many car communities that might not get as much publicity, but have great cars all the same. These hidden-gem locales exist not only in the United States, but everywhere across the globe.
Canada’s own Durham, Ontario, is a region just outside of Toronto, consisting of eight different towns and cities including Oshawa. Oshawa, Ontario, is home to a GM plant, and like most areas with a car manufacturing facility, Durham enjoys a diverse car loving culture that is several generations deep.
On any given day, but especially Sunday, there’s likely a show at a dealership, a cruise-in at a parts shop, or another event at a local park or community center.
Each of these events often include a car worthy of showcasing, and this post contains ten of our favorites from the Durham region.
1. The Troublemaker
There’s a saying that paraphrased says, a show car can’t be a race car, but a race car can be a show car. That is certainly the case with this Stan Mazur’s 67 Camaro known as the Troublemaker.
Black and red with a stripe of flames separating the transition, Stan’s Camaro is a purpose-built monster that also looks great on display. Sitting still is of course not this car’s home, and Stan sends the car down the strip regularly.
A Procharged big-block car, Stan has already run 9-second passes with the Camaro, and it has plenty left to give.
2. Pro Street Poster Child
Weld wheels, narrowed, axles, wheel tubs, and Mickey Thompson Sportsman tires. All are calling cards of the traditional Pro Street machine, and this ’68 Nova fits the part of Pro Street cruiser to a tee.
Painted vibrant red with purple and green accenting the body from the door back to the quarter-panel, this car is impossible to miss.
Caged and tubbed, but with a spartan yet complete interior, this classic Chevy strikes a mostly harmonious balance between street car and drag car.
We were lucky enough to hear this car thump by, and the idle suggested an aggressive cam. There’s no doubt in our minds that the massive Mickey Thompson tires on the car are well justified.
3. Can’t Drive 55
When a car’s owner can’t be found, custom plates can often give us a bit of insight into the mind of the vehicle’s builder.
The wide rear rubber on this Nova SS, along with the “I can’t drive 55” plate, paint a picture of someone who enjoys the occasional heavy right-foot sprint now and again.
The Holley supercharger protruding through the hood only confirms our suspicions.
Inside, a rollcage is hidden within a red fully-trimmed interior. A clean, silver exterior give this car an understated look that we appreciate.
4. Twin Turbo
Turbo fans reading among us, this Dodge Dart is for you. Under the hood of this black beauty is a 383 low deck with a turbo strapped to each side of it. The turbos are run in a blow through configuration, thanks to an Extreme Velocity carb hat, and what we only imagine to be quite a bit of custom engineering.
With no inner fenders in sight, this car dumps exhaust gases through waste gates that exit just in front of the front wheels.
The narrow front wheels hide behind them Wilwood brakes.
Black paint, restored bright work, and forged Weld Racing wheels complete the extremely aggressive overall package.
5. Street Freak
Street Freaks are a somewhat small niche. Characterized by their higher than normal ride height (that lacks the nose up rake of a gasser), low offset wheels, and louder than normal power plants, these cars are designed to cause a scene.
A serious number of cars have been done in this style over the years, but a Ford Fairlane? That’s something that might be exclusive to Durham, Ontario.
With a straight axle and leaf springs front and rear, we imagine that this car is a bit of a handful to pilot down the street.
Whatever the drive might be like, there is however, no denying that it looks pretty gnarly!
6. Bee Bop
With smooth paint, bright chrome, and an acute attention to detail, Kustoms are simply timeless. They are also impossible for us to walk past, which is why we took a few long moments following the flowing lines of this Ford.
Sitting low to the ground, this ’36 wears its wide white walls on Cadillac wheels very well. The Crown Royal purple paint contrasts the red interior exceptionally.
We unfortunately didn’t get a chance to catch up with the owner of this car when we saw it, but we will be looking for it again, hopefully for a proper full length feature.
7. Travelling Man
If you recently went to the 2017 Cruise-In Nationals in Santa Maria, you might be doing a bit of a double take looking at photos of the car below.
Though it is currently in California, this Cadillac is most certainly from Durham, Ontario.
Styled in a manner that is heavily influenced by cars in California, Fred Botcher’s ’57 is a work of art from front bumper to rear fin.
Sitting low to the ground on a hydraulic suspension, this car looks just as good cruising in Dundas street in Durham, as it would California’s Whittier Boulevard.
The car has a gorgeous red flake on the roof, and the interior (and fenderwells) are all white.
Under the louvered hood is a completely unexpected power plant; a Magnum 440 lifted from a Dodge!
This might not be a purist-appreciated car, but it is our kind of car. After its tour of the left coast, it will be back in Ontario.
8. Advanced Design
The Advanced Design (1947 – 1955) era of Chevrolet trucks has been one of the more popular hot-rodding platforms over the past few years, and this holds true in Durham, Ontario.
This particular AD truck was built by Hitman Hot Rods (a shop we visited earlier this year) and is the complete package.
The stance comes from a custom Hitman Hot Rods frame with independent front suspension and a one off four link in the rear.
Outside, the body received a lot of love and subtle modifications. The front bumper is gone, as is the chrome trim around the windows and door handles.
Frenched tail lights can be found in the rear fenders, and the steps have been smoothed as well. Matte red paint drapes the exterior with pinstripe details at the rear of the cab and under the hood.
Also under hood is a very healthy 454 big-block that fits nicely, thanks to a custom firewall.
9. Task Force
Following the Advanced Design was Chevy’s Task Force series of trucks (1955-1960), and these are perhaps equally popular among the enthusiast community.
We spotted this truck at a long running Durham event, The Oshawa Autofest Nationals.
Clearly a truck that once lived a hard working life, this Task Force enjoys retirement much closer to the ground.
We truly appreciate those that leave their trucks rough, rugged, and raw. A paint job can be re-created, but patina like this sure can’t.
Inside we had to do double take at the shifter! It’s not real, but it looked like it from a distance.
10. Round Trip
We didn’t have to guess about the power output of this car. It has 425 wheel horsepower, as noted on the fender. Said fender has been welded to the hood to create a one piece front end that’s been designed to tilt forward.
Under the hood of this Mercury Monarch – a Canadian-only variant of the Ford Granada – is a 383ci stroker. The exhaust gasses have two choices for exiting, the first is just after the front fender, and the second is just before the rear fender. Route one or two is an option chosen by the driver.
The Monarch also features several unique touches, including preserved gun shots in the rear quarter glass and fluid-filled shot glass turn signals.
We certainly took a round trip through Durham with this post and hopefully you enjoyed it.
If you’re ever in the area during the summer months, be sure to hop online and search for a cruise in or car show in the area, you won’t be disappointed. We sure weren’t.