FOLLOW ALONG WITH WHAT I GOT GOING ON
Brandon Burrell's "Toy House"
Brandon Burrell is a remarkable dude. He says he enjoys "tinkering" in his garage, but what he does is so much more than tinkering. He has created a number of amazing custom vehicles over the years and maintains a strong social media presence that allows him to showcase his passion for everything custom with thousands, perhaps millions of followers. I was humbled when Brandon mentioned my garage was part of the inspiration behind his own garage. As you will see, he has created a space that is truly special and unique, and is the perfect environment to create and play with his toys. It has been cool getting to know Brandon and I am really enjoying following along with all his amazing projects, especially his current "cRAMbury" build featuring a 2019 Ram. I am confident you will enjoy his story as much as I have.
Name: Brandon Burrell
Location: Asheville, NC
Type: 2-car attached
Dimensions: 19' x 22'
Date of construction: Late-2014
Brandon refers to his garage as a "two civic" garage because of its modest size, but lack of acreage hasn't stopped him from accomplishing some remarkable custom builds. Located in a suburban area consisting of 600 homes, this garage is currently home to Brandon's #cRAMbury build which promises to snap necks at this year's SEMA show. He enjoys tinkering on his and friends' vehicles, detailing, and displaying various automobile paraphernalia along with his extensive array of Adam's Polishes products. I am pleased that Brandon agreed to this blog feature. I haven't known him for a long time, but in our conversations I have found him to be an incredibly down-to-earth car guy with an incredible eye for detail and his "automotive portfolio" demonstrates a ridiculously high level of vision, creativity and execution.
What projects have you tackled in your garage?
I currently park my #cRAMbury build in it. I use the garage to tinker on mine and friends' custom vehicles, detail my vehicles and some others from time to time. We have built three full custom Honda Groms, a custom motorcycle trailer (with speakers, lighting, etc), a Subaru WRX that was at the 2016 and 2017 SEMA shows, a 2015 Tundra that was at the 2017 SEMA show and a custom lifted golf cart in this garage.
Greg & Nancy's special place
I am excited to share a very unique and inspiring garage story with you. I have been a fan of Greg and Nancy's space since they began sharing it on Garage Journal back in January of 2016. They have purchased a private storage condominium suite at "The Place" which is located in the St. Louis area. The Place has a motto: "For when your passion outgrows your garage" and it is one example of a steady movement that is spreading across North America. People in need of more space, but not in a position to expand or move, can purchase a suite where they can enjoy extra space while also becoming part of a collective community. These facilities usually have a common space where people can host social events or just hang out. Greg and Nancy have done a tremendous job of appointing and finishing their condo and I was excited when they agreed to allow me to feature their space on my blog. I furnished Greg and Nancy with some questions about their car condo experience and I have no doubt you will enjoy their responses along with the photos that effectively showcase the high quality of planning and execution that went into its completion.
Name | Greg & Nancy
Location | The Place, Chesterfield, MO –
Unit | 25
What attracted you to the idea of a car condo?
I came by an interest in cars honestly as we averaged about 15 cars at any time, scattered around our house (in the driveway, in the garage, in the front and back yards) at any given moment while I was growing up. But as much as I could blame myself alone, my wife certainly had a part in it as well. She was driving a manual Toyota MR2 Turbo when we were dating and always liked fast cars. Our 10th wedding anniversary was spent at Mid-Ohio, taking a 3-day driving course. Although we both loved cars, I was only expecting us to just each have a single nice car that fit in our small 2-car garage. The turning point happened when my wife was fighting through cancer. Part of our discussions as we sat talking during chemo sessions was that she should buy her “bucket list car” when she beat it. Once she was declared in remission, she found her dream car; a 2009 Porsche 911 C4S PDK. However, she didn’t want to sell her VW EOS, so now we had 4 cars, and with our daughters getting to driving age (meaning more cars to be acquired in the near future), our little two car garage was not going to cut it. Expanding the house garage was not an option, due to the small lot. We considered moving to a bigger house/garage, but didn’t want the larger yard and maintenance. My wife saw an advertisement for The Place and the rest is history.
Memory lane: Canadian Tire
Like most Canadians, I have a love-hate affair with Canadian Tire. On one hand, it is so convenient to drop by the local store and browse the aisles for whatever you may need. On the other hand, they have been known to stock their shelves with products of questionable quality. Whatever the case may be, I cannot help but get nostalgic when I stroll my way past the wall of car cleaning products at my local store. I remember scouring this wall as a young lad in search of the latest, greatest product that was going to help me perfect my car's finish. In fact, it wasn't until about six or seven years ago, when my obsession began to take hold, that I began sourcing products from other stores and sites on the Internet.
That means the Canadian Tire automotive cleaning products aisle has been a part of my life for the better part of 30 years. For that, it still gets my respect.
If you take a close look at these two photos, you will see some pretty decent products for sale. And, you'll see some not-so-good ones as well.
Replacement items from Adam's
A few weeks back, an order of Adam's products arrived on my doorstep frozen solid. I contacted the team at Adam's and they put together this care package of replacement items along with some other goodies. They do know how to treat their customers. Here's a look at what I came home to last Tuesday.
I still have to follow up with the staff at Adam's to ensure the other items that I received in my frozen order escaped physical and chemical damage. I'm assuming that they are fine since the team at Adam's didn't send replacements for those products but I will double check. At any rate, I am fortunate to have the support of Adam's behind me and I know these products will find a lot of use once I get back to my regular detailing routine.
Cleaning floor mats is something I take pride in. Because winters in my world make it virtually impossible to maintain a clean exterior, I take solace in the tidiness of my car's interior. I heard it once said that the floor mats are the windows to a car's soul, so I spent a couple of hours cleaning up the floors of my SQ5. Here's the process I follow when my mats and carpet need some cleaning.
As you can see, there is a significant amount of salt residue that has hardened to my floor mats. When snow melts on my mats, the salty run-off can leak out on the front corners of the mats. I have some strips of microfiber towels positioned to combat that run-off which prevents the salt from penetrating my carpets. The mats and the microfiber needed a good clean.
Using my long blue bucket as a catch basin, I spray the mats down with warm water. This results in a bucket of very dirty water. Next, I spray the mats with a couple squirts of Adam's Rubber Mat & Liner Cleaner. This is a highly effective spray liquid that, in combination with a green medium-bristle brush, made quick work of the leftover residue and buildup. A final rinse in the blue bucket and the mats are hung to dry on my "mat wall".
Quick floor clean
This city has been caught in the icy clench of a nasty cold spell for two weeks and counting. There has been no opportunity for me to do any major cleaning of my garage floor. Day after day, I track mud, rocks, salt, and all kinds of debris into the garage where it falls onto the floor, dries out and creates an unsightly mess. Today, I finally found the inspiration to tackle the job.
Step 1: Vacuum
Step 2: Mop
Step 3: Scrub
Step 4: Mop
An absolute dream
I have been an admirer of this garage for years, so I was pumped when the owner agreed to having it featured on my humble blog. This is a true car lover's dream garage that I really hope to one day see in the flesh. Everything you see here was created by the owner with the help of his family. I have followed each evolutionary change that he has made and the level of execution is simply amazing. You can learn a lot more about the history of this garage by checking out the build thread on garagejournal.com or his photo album on Photobucket. It's amazing to see how Chad and his family transformed this regular garage into something truly special and unique.
Location: Nashville, TN
What inspired you to create the garage you created?
I have always loved fixing ugly things up and that applied to garages too. I have enjoyed taking several houses that had the nastiest and ugliest regular old garages and trying to turn them into something that wows you when you open the door. With this house, we usually come in through the garage and my wife and I wanted to make it a beautiful and inspiring path to come into the house. She is a car fanatic too!
Memory lane: Ron Joyce's Viper
I have been going through some old car related photos, and I stumbled upon this beauty. This photo features a red Dodge Viper belonging to Tim Horton's co-founder, Ron Joyce. I was working as a counselor at Tim Horton's Children's Ranch during the summer of '96 when Ron and Bobby Hull came out to visit and drove this sweet Viper. Imagine my delight when Ron threw me the keys and let Steve and I take it for a quick rip up Highway 40 in Kananaskis Country. It is still one of the most insane cars I have ever had the pleasure of driving. The boss of the camp had a fit, but I didn't care then, and I definitely don't care now. When someone lets you drive a Viper, you drive it.
Painting the ceiling
This was a job that I had been putting off for years. I painted the entire garage with a white primer back when I first took possession of our house in 2010. Since then, I have been meaning to put a proper coat of paint up there, but I just never seemed to find the time or desire. When I ripped up the RaceDeck floor to sell, I took advantage and got 'er done. Capturing the results is tricky with my iPhone, but hopefully these pics will give you an idea of how things turned out. I like how the paint added a reflective effect to the ceiling.
Here is a link to the paint I used. It is a "semi-gloss finish" interior acrylic latex paint from Rona.
Our friend came by last weekend to photograph my garage. Heather is super talented and I am very pleased with the final results of her work. Here's a little gallery highlighting her talent and the beauty of my place!
Orland Park Audi Oasis
I have met a lot of guys through the garage and Audi worlds and while everyone has their own unique personality and story, everyone I have come to know demonstrates a high degree of attention to detail. This garage story is no exception. Located approximately 40 km southwest of Chicago, this Orland Park triple garage demonstrates how a well organized and executed garage can enhance life in the 'burbs, and support the activities that come with raising three active kids. My thanks to this garage owner for allowing me to share his garage story with my audience and for approaching my questions with such attention to detail.
My wife and I purchased our home in Orland Park, IL, USA in 2006. It was a spec house that was already built, but never occupied, so we got to start from scratch, but that also meant that there were certain things about the garage that I couldn’t build in, like I might have wanted to.
The garage is a 3 bay and is attached to the house. Unfortunately, it did not have a floor drain or a water run, so I’ve had to make do without those things, since I didn’t think to address these needs before I finished it. I’ve outfitted the back wall and one side wall with SlatWall that I purchased from Menard’s in a slate gray color. This has proved to be durable and quite versatile over the last 10+ years. In the time since, various modular wall storage slats from Gladiator and others have become popular, but these were not widely available when I finished mine, so I went with the melamine slatwall. No big regrets here.
Since my house serves my wife and I and our 3 children, as well as various extended family at various points, we knew that having a lot of storage in the garage was key. My dad and I installed 6 Gladiator wall cabinets across the back wall, in conjunction with a workbench, with two tool carts that slot into it. I then got two large cabinets and another tool cart that I’ve fashioned into an island of sorts to block up the space, as we only use 2 of the bays for das autos.
Absolutely blown away
Prior to Christmas, I had the opportunity to visit an old friend's amazing glass blowing studio. His garage has been transformed into the most spectacular industrial art space I have ever seen. His oversized double garage had everything you could ever imagine. I was absolutely floored. After telling me all about the garage and the work he does in it, he offered to help my son create his own unique tree ornament so I took him up on his generous offer. Here are some photos from that amazing moment. I can't say enough good things about this experience. Our family will forever cherish this special keepsake my old high school friend helped my son create.
If you are interested in learning more about my buddy's work you can visit normsgarage.ca or visit his company website to see all the amazing marketing work he completes.
If you have had an amazing idea for your garage but wondered how you would ever go about making it, you need to speak with Cory. He has the skill and expertise to make anything happen.
Solid products, literally!
I was expecting an Adam's order to arrive on January 24th, but FedEx lost track of the package on the 21st and didn't recover it until the other day. In that time, the weather took a drastic turn for the worse. Had this package arrived on the 24th, everything would have been fine, but the package arrived on my doorstep frozen solid. I put the various items in a warm bath to thaw them out. The All Purpose Cleaner bottle burst, but I was able to salvage 80% of the contents and use an extra bottle I had laying around. The label on the aerosol Window Cleaner was ruined due to the spillage, but it works. The worst part of all involves the Ceramic Spray Coating bottle. I thought everything was fine, but when I awoke this morning, I was shocked to discover that the entire contents of the bottle had leaked through a tiny crack and completely saturated my workbench (no pics - too dramatic!). I have contacted the team at Adam's to see what they can do to help me get my life back on track. I'm afraid that the chemical integrity of some liquids has been compromised by the freeze/thaw cycle. I'll let you know how it goes...
16 oz liquids
Aerosol Window Cleaner 19oz
Which of these products do you think have been compromised by the freeze/thaw cycle?
Retro Audi reviews on Motorweek
Lately, I've been obsessed with watching Retro Reviews on Motorweek. It is like traveling back in time to when all I did was read Motor Trend, Road & Track and Car and Driver magazines. Here are some incredible reviews of classic Audis:
1983 Audi Quattro
"It's from West Germany" - amazing. Only 500 of these made their way to the US. I've never seen one in the flesh. The 2.1L 5-cylinder put out 156 horsepower and they called it exotic! My 1986 Dodge Omni GLH Turbo had 146 horsepower! Somehow, I can't see my GLH garnering almost $50K at auction like this Quattro.
1993 Audi 100CS Quattro
The dog of a 2.8L V6 propelled it to 60 mph in 12.7 seconds, but it looks so good through the cones. I'd love to have a mint version of this sweet wagon. I love the supple white interior on this test model and the body design is just superb with the broad taillights across the back. I find it funny that Motorweek chose the Range Rover County LWB as a comparison vehicle. There must not have been many AWD wagons on the market back in the early-90's.
New tour video on YouTube
I uploaded a new tour video to my YouTube channel. It had been a couple of years since I posted the last one and there have been a number of changes and updates in that time. I am hopeful that my garage will be chosen for inclusion in Pan the Organizer's series, "Pan & the Organizers". I sent him a 90-second video and I have my fingers crossed he will choose to feature it in his next video in the series. I'll post a link to the first episode he posted along with a link to my new tour video. Enjoy.
Family photo shoot
Last weekend, a good friend came by to snap some photographs. She is quite talented so I am very eager to see how they turned out. She sent a few teaser pics and they look great. I even convinced my family to pose for a few. My plan is to use her shots to update my website. Since I had the garage tidied up, I did a new tour video because the last tour video is a couple of years old and things have changed a bit since then.
Recent Adam's arrivals
I was fortunate to receive a care package from Adam's Canada yesterday. It was chalk full of amazing goodies. Here's some pics and I included a breakdown of the order below. I'm very excited to play with all the products, especially the Foam Gun and the Ceramic Spray. Just need this weather to warm up. Many of the liquids arrived frozen (see Car Syrup below) so I had a bit of cleaning up to do since a few of the bottles burst their seals. No big deal.
Liquids (16 oz)
Ceramic Spray Coating 9H (8 oz)
Limited Edition Red Standard Foam Gun (32 oz)
5 Gallon Detailing Bucket with Grit Guard Insert
Pro Tire Hex Grip Applicator (For Tires & Trim)
Back in junior high school, I had a buddy whose dad loved European cars. This was in the late-80's when most dads in the neighborhood were rocking big American luxury sedans. The first real experience I had with Audis was when his dad traded in his Volvo for an Audi 5000 CD Quattro. I lost my favorite car magazine to a bet because I didn't believe him when he told me his dad's car had a 5-cylinder engine. I thought all 4-door sedans had high displacement V8's, like any red-blooded Canadian kid in the 80's thought.
Recently, I stumbled upon this MotorWeek Retro Review of the quirky and awkward Audi V8 Quattro. I was curious why it wasn't dubbed a "5000" model. I enjoyed this retro review and it got me thinking more about the history of the Audi 5000/100 model.
At the beginning of the piece, Jon mentions that Audi is back on track after, "Years of negative publicity". This comment piqued my interest. I don't have any first-hand memories of dark times regarding Audis, but after some digging I quickly learned that, starting in the early-80's, the company became shrouded in controversy involving claims of unintended acceleration linked to a number of injury accidents. It's still not quite exactly clear what caused these incidents, or to what extent Audi was libel, but from what I have read it seems there was nothing actually wrong with the Audi 5000. That didn't stop CBS's 60 Minutes from airing a damning episode which devastated the company's North American sales numbers. It later became known that 60 Minutes falsely demonstrated the unintentional acceleration by having some "expert" pump air into the transmission. This, and a pile of class-action lawsuits, was enough to cause sales numbers to plummet from 75,000 units in 1984 to 12,000 in 1991. I'm still reading about this scandal, but here's a pretty decent summary of the story. One commenter on the Reddit forum claims the phrase, "I'm Audi 5000" meaning "I'm outta here", stems from this controversy.
Do you remember anything about this period of Audi's history? If so, leave a comment below.
RAD GARAGE is my personal detailing theatre. I am a teacher who finds immense pleasure in completing deeply therapeutic, thorough and highly satisfying detailing projects in my residential garage. I have converted my suburban double car garage into a world class detailing environment and I enjoy caring for my own car and select cars belonging to others. The garage and the work I complete in it have allowed me to connect with other detailing enthusiasts from around the world.
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Carzilla is a local detailing store that caters to the North American community of professional and enthusiast detailers. I have been a longtime customer and I am fortunate to call the owner a friend. Besides stocking a vast quantity of top quality detailing products, the owner has supported various garage and detailing projects of mine over the years.
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