KoolProjects Blog

The KoolProjects blog is your go-to place for company new and thought provoking articles on projects, people of interest and stories are posted. Here you'll also get a unique behind-the-scenes peek into KoolProjects and our team. Throughout the year, staff members are out and about meeting people are passionate about their projects and sharing their stories. Occasionally, we'll also feature inspiring members from within the community or have thought leaders contribute to our blog.

Posted on, 12th April 2016
Posted on, 29th September 2015
Posted on, 31st December 2014
Posted on, 23rd December 2014
Posted on, 12th September 2014
Posted on, 12th September 2014
Posted on, 12th April 2016

By Christopher J. Bakker:   

  Who ever said chicken coups were for the birds hasn’t met Zoltan Bod.  At the end of a winding, dusty gravel road in rural Abbotsford,  British Columbia, in  amongst the memories of chickens past is a 3600 sq/ft retro fitted coup now housing a fully functional,  one-man  automotive movement.

Auto restoration and car design is the passion and life’s work of Zoltan, and with over 30 years in the automotive restoration industry, Zoltan  has turned a  career of innovating and re-building existing rides into revolutionizing transportation itself.

 Upon entering the, tin roofed, wood clad coup, one is greeted by a 1965 Ford F100 Custom Cab on blocks, in the midst of being reborn as a slammed and  shaved custom ride. Zoltan picked up this project from a local golf course where the truck served as the operations daily service vehicle for many years.

When next put into service this amazing ride will have been dropped 10 inches, received a shaved back end and have over 350 horses up front. It’s the level of detail that puts the Custom Cab in a league of its  own however.  Every weld  was painstakingly carried out by hand, every seam fits, well…seamlessly, and every angle is square and true.  Zoltan’s 30 plus years of experience in this trade is on display 

 The F-100 is not the spokesman for the revolution Zoltan is carrying out. That mantle falls to a red, three wheeled, rocket found at the back of the coup, the  Zoleco, a futuristic 151 MPG Hypermiling Eco Exotic Sports Car. Zoleco, a mixture of its name sake  and its environmental purpose, will be a three wheeled,  gas powered car that will ultimately achieve over 100 miles per gallon of fuel. A lofty goal indeed, but being made from a metal skeleton clad in fiber glass,  the finished car will weigh no more than a few large Texans. Born from the need to squeeze every ounce on energy from  a gallon of fuel, the Zoleco sports  an outer shell straight out of the Jetsons but installs form and function into the future.  The shape is no accident.  The car industry continues to grappled with  finding a balance between style, function and efficiency for many years.  The Zoleco takes that  balance for granted finding style and function in the form of  efficiency.

 With over 2000 hours in and 4000 hours more to go, Zoltan has not only committed himself to  revolutionising the way cars will look and function but also how people will get around, in the future.Has  Zoltan gone to the birds?  His shop was once for the birds, but Zoltan’s passion, his intelligence and talent  behind Zoleco may just have the last word on the future of transportation.

 

 

Posted on, 29th September 2015

Artist around the country use U-Haul trucks to display work

Reading this article was so inspirational in creating great art exhition projects we had to ask Uhaul for the permisson to repost.  Thanks Uhaul for allowing us to re-tell your story.  "When U-Haul and Art Collidearticle was originally posted on the U-Haul blog: myuhaulstory.com 

Here at U-Haul, we want every customer to get the most out of their U-Haul truck and we’re always inspired by people who go above and beyond our expectations. Although they are advertised as moving trucks, it has become clear that with a little creativity U-Haul trucks can be utilized for so much more. From a new, interactive way to display student projects to a well-established pop-up art show, people all over the country are finding unique ways to use U-Haul trucks.

Cluster Truck

Truck - Art Exhibition  Pittsburgh–“Cluster Truck” was an outdoor art show that displayed works by students at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Art. As part of a class assignment, eight undergraduate students were each given a U-Haul truck to use as a personal gallery to show whatever they wanted.

The U-Haul trucks showcased each student’s unique projects, which ranged from sculptural installations to performance pieces. Some artists asked for the audience to interact with their trucks, while others offered a more traditional gallery viewing experience. In the end, the U-Haul truck art show was a hit with students and staff alike.

 

 

 

Mobile Gallery

  Atlanta–After a comical suggestion from a friend, photographer Kevin Dowling realized the potential in using a U-Haul truck as a mobile art gallery. While finding and affording gallery space is typically a difficult and expensive venture, all Dowling had to do was rent a U-Haul truck and get permission to park it somewhere.

“It made sense financially and allowed me to put the gallery wherever I wanted in the city,” Dowling explained. The move paid off, as he successfully sold his entire collection for $20,000! Now, he’s eager to try his mobile art gallery in other cities.

 

 

 

Pop-Up Truck Show

 Chicago–This summer marked the 10th year of the annual “Guerrilla Truck Show” held during Neocon, North America’s largest design exposition and trade fair. The truck show is hosted by designer Morlen Sinoway Atelier, who created the event as a platform for all types of artists and designers to showcase their work in a temporary gallery space within the back of a truck.

Held in a pop-up caravan of U-Haul trucks-turned-showrooms, the annual street show showcases art, furniture and a variety of locally made products. Over the years, the event has blossomed from six trucks in its first year to “over the limit” at 62 trucks exhibiting work this year.

 

Posted on, 31st December 2014

Iconic Shoe Designer Throws His Skill into Many Arenas

By Quinn Bender

 

 

It can be argued there are more prolific designers in the world, but in terms of versatility few, if any, can match the admiration people feel for John Fluevog. Whether it’s the design of a shoe, a car, a building or a pair of sunglasses, he brings together an unlikely cross-section admirers—from rock stars and fashionistas, to soccer moms and backyard mechanics. The obvious reason for his appeal is the uniqueness of his creations; he’s a self-described subversive designer with a deep streak of Rock ‘n Roll who speaks to our need for personal identity. It’s a level of creativity anyone can achieve, he says, which comes down to courage and authenticity.

 

John Fluevog

“That’s really important. Sometimes I follow trends, I skirt the edges of trends, but the fun things happen when I just go and do something completely wacky that’s all about myself.

“I think that people don’t have the confidence in themselves all the time. They’re afraid of this, that and the other. So it’s a lifetime of learning about yourself. Fortunately, we’re now in an era that a business and my personal self can interconnect.”

John Fluegov Shoe and bag designs

Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Fluevog acquired an early love of cars by working in his father’s drive-in ice cream parlour. But his reputation for automotive design wouldn’t take root for many decades after first making his mark as a shoe designer in the 1970s. The progressive entrepreneur was the first in North American merchant to import the hugely popular Doc Marten footwear, before seeing his own creations on the stage with iconoclasts like the Beach Boys and Alice Cooper. By the early 90s his “Angel” shoe became a trademark of Seattle’s Grunge scene, while his “Munsters” received 15 seconds of fame on Madonna's feet in her documentary Truth or Dare.

 

With his footwear now available in North America’s most important cosmopolitan centres, it was at this point in his career that his versatility in design started rolling out. Because to sell a shoe, one first needs a store. And by taking the lead in their design, Fluevog settled on some common elements, like unique leathers found in his shoe designs, but like his shoes, he ensured no two designs were alike.

 

“Small business can be an expression of who we are … if it’s not, you might as well give up and go home,” Fluevog says.

 

Last year Fluevog put those words to action yet again with the opening his flagship store in Vancouver’s historic Gastown district, just one block away from where he got his start in 1970 with then partner Peter Fox. The new store is nothing short of a minor tourist attraction. From street side, it gives the impression of being a vacant lot between two brick buildings. With a glass ceiling spanning the two structures, the store has been compared to a greenhouse, but in truth it seems to celebrate and mimic the gritty, back alley feel of the district. Inside, a rich palette of leathers and wood add warmth to the otherwise concrete and brick environment. The display shelves are made from slabs of old-growth trees and repurposed pipeline, which substitute as tables and stages during store events.  

Taking a parking lot and converting it into a Fluevog shoe store

 

Fluevog’s design approach might be best described as the improvement of existing designs. Like his shoes, building upon classic designs of the Art Deco era, the Vancouver store is both a reflection and improvement on one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods.

 

“It’s being able to see things,” he says. “It’s like any design, even if you’re building a house or your interior decorating or painting, you need to be able to see something first. Once you can see it, you need the humanity, the courage, the guts, the skill—even slight skill—just to go start and do it.”

 

Fluevog’s stores are now as much a part of his branding as his shoes themselves. Shoppers are likely to find any personal touch of decor imaginable, such as in the Portland location that houses 1965 Jaguar MK 10, fully redesigned by Fluevog and for which he has catapulted himself into a new realm of fame with auto enthusiasts.  

 

This was no restoration project, but a redesign. Purists will be quick to criticize Fluevog for abandoning the original design of the car, but true to his creative philosophy he is unapologetic for his actions, saying the original design was probably incomplete anyway, that car manufacturers, limited by budgets and technology, are constantly updating and improving designs every production year. His approach is to simply carry on with that tradition of renewal, asking himself what the original designers may have created if they faced no limitations.

Fluevog store design

 

“You need to see past what it is now, and see another vision for it,” he says. “I kind of closed my eyes halfway through and I thought, "What would the 

designer of this car have liked it to look like before the corporate heads got a hold of it?"

 

"When they did this car, they had a feeling for it, but they kind of got stuck with the structure that was in this car. They didn't have the freedom to take it where it could have gone."

 

Fluevog is currently redesigning another classic, this time a 1951 Jaguar drophead coup. With a steampunk theme, the finished product will surely inspire as many designers as it upsets the restoration community.

 

"But that's what good designers do," he says. "That's where it gets distinct and becomes complete and a whole."

 

 

 

Follow Quinn Bender on Twitter: @qbender

Posted on, 23rd December 2014

Wishing Everyone a Wonderful Holiday and Christmas Season.

May 2015 bring you much joy, happiness, wealth and some very, very cool projects.

 

 

Posted on, 8th November 2014

By Gary Nelson, PMP, Gazza's Guides

When I was in my late teens, I bought my first car. My friends were all doing the same - we all had our licenses and we wanted to put them to good use. Of course, not having a lot of money, we each ended up buying older, cheaper cars. I bought a 1974 Mazda RX4 from a family member, one friend bought an old Chevy Nova, another had an old sports car, and one had bought a 1977 Honda Civic.

CC Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1973-1978_Honda_Civic_5-door_hatchback_01.jpg

All of these cars were made near the end of an era- close to the last generationof vehicles you could actually fix yourselves. All of them even had carburetors - no fancy fuel injection, and definitely no computer control systems. My car had only an AM radio, which I updated to AM/FM (but no cassette deck). When these cars were made, most computers filled a small room, and Personal Computers were not yet available.

Wheels = Freedom

Well, we were all very happy to have our own set of wheels, so we took good care of our cars - washed them regularly, learned how to do our own repairs, change the oil and spark plugs, the whole bit. Besides, we couldn't afford to send them in to the shop for anything but the most significant of problems; the rest we did ourselves, brake pads, shocks and all.

Although we had our own cars, we helped each other and worked like a team. We learned from each other, and each became the "go-to" person for a particular specialty. Brian went into auto mechanics in a big way, eventually extending it into a career that included welding and being able to fix just about anything. He quickly became the expert in everything automotive, and for anything major we all went to him for help.

As you would expect, Brian was the one with the best car.

However, at the time, we didn't think so. My RX4 was sleek and fast, the Nova was solid and gutsy, and our other friends' cars were sporty. We all kind of felt sorry for our mechanic friend Brian who only had a little red Honda Civic.

I mean, a 1977 Honda Civic wasn't really a serious car. Sure it was small, and good on fuel - but it wasn't much for show, not really. Not something you would want to take a girl on a date with, compared to any of the other cars we had. It wasn't gutsy, it wasn't fast, it wasn't much more than a tin can on wheels. Four or five people could pick it up and move it (and occasionally we did).

But over the years, Brian proved us just how wrong we were about his car.

We smiled when he put a tow-bar on his Civic.

And yet, Brian spent several summers in a row, tree planting in the mountainous interior of British Columbia. Everywhere he went, he drove his little Honda Civic - up and down steep logging roads, across creek beds - all while towing a home-built tent trailer nearly as big as his car.

When his car broke down every so often, Brian was able to get it up and running again in a matter of minutes - he was never stranded anywhere for long. He kept a toolbox in his car that he refined over time - and he kept that little car humming along, no matter where he went.

When he had trouble with the ignition key, Brian just bypassed it and installed a push-button to start it, decades ahead of those hybrid cars. It may not have been very secure, but hey - who was going to steal an old Honda Civic?

When he went to the beach, Brian strapped his wind-surfer on the roof rack, and off he went - often with a car full of people. He could just squeeze in four passengers, all with their seat-belts on.

It even proved itself to be a stunt car - when it end up driving on two wheels after hitting a snowbank on the way back from camp one winter.

The car became a legend to us - it was practically invincible. It could go anywhere, pull anything, carry almost anything (including firewood and bags of manure). It was his pickup-truck, his 4X4, his go-anywhere-and-do-everything car, and he loved it to bits.

Brian finally admitted the car was perhaps close to its limits on one trip as he drove up the Coquihalla - the toll highway with a 20km long, continuous steep grade that once disabled my RX4 and killed hundreds of other vehicles. He had his windsurfer strapped on top, the tent trailer fully loaded and hitched on behind - and five people stuffed into the car.

The car crawled up the hill at little more than a jogging pace, but it finally made it - all the way up, over and beyond to the campground, then all the way home again.

It was a marvel of engineering - and persistence, of both car and driver.

If only we all had an old Honda Civic on our Projects

We learned a lot of lessons from that old Honda Civic and our patient friend, aside from the practical car maintenance skills. Practical lessons that we took with us into our lives and various careers - and of course into my projects.

The legend of that car was spread far and wide, wherever we went - it became our informal mascot, and a symbol for achieving what others might think impossible. We grew together as friends around our cars, and that little car became the most respected of them all. It taught is the value of persistence, and looking beyond the surface to what lay beneath - be it a hunk of metal with tires, or someone you just met.

We could all use something as tenacious, persistent and resilient as that old car on our projects. Whether you use some kind of a mascot as a rallying point, or develop a vibrant common spirit that is instilled throughout the team, every project needs that little something to keep you going when the times get tough. We all sometimes need encouragement to realize you can do it (whatever your goals are), despite the odds.

Now, that old Honda Civic has probably been long recycled by now, and besides there was only the one that Brian had, so it would be hard to share it with all of you. However, I give you your own Honda Civic today, to help you survive your projects - in the form of some practical lessons we learned from it.

(H) ave faith. Even small teams can deliver amazing results, as long as you support and believe in them. Conversely, a team that does not believe in themselves will accomplish little. If your team is lacking in self-confidence, help them build it up through a series of small successes. The Honda Civic tackled each new challenge with caution, but Brian had confidence that they would make it through - and they always did, together. Over the years, that little Honda Civic even went places that heavy 4X4s dared not go.

(O) verlook the small flaws. No car or person is perfect, so don't expect them to be. If you look past the surface imperfections you will see a vast range of possibilities. I am pretty sure Brian looked at his little Civic every morning and saw the heart of a Monster Truck lurking within. You should do the same with your team - look past their quirks and odd habits and you will see their potential.

(N) ever give up. Brian never did - and as a result, his car never let him down. They had to work together to achieve it, just as your teams do. You can't do much on your own, but together in small groups you can accomplish amazing things - as long as you don't give up.

(D) o the impossible. Everyone else is doing the ordinary, while most of our greatest inventions were simply impossible - until someone made it happen. Projects exist to create change, to make something new or to make things better. Nothing is impossible unless you let it be so. Brian took it as a personal challenge to see just how far he and his little Civic could go - and he regularly amazed us all.

(A) lways look ahead. Sound advice when you are driving of course, but it applies equally to your projects. You won't make any progress rehashing past failures; you need to put the past behind you. Learn from it, certainly - but don't live in the past. You can't navigate while you are watching the rear view mirror. Whenever we got back from a group trip together, Brian was already looking forward to the next one.

(C) hallenge yourself. Without challenges, we don't grow in capabilities and confidence. Stretch your limits and get outside your comfort zone, and you will be surprised how far you can go. There is no doubt that Brian challenged his car to perform to the extreme limits - and beyond.

(I) nvest your time. Whether it is a hobby you enjoy, a new skill you are trying to develop, or trying to build up a team, there is no substitute for time spent. There are no true short-cuts in life; what you spend time practicing, you get better at. Brian invested countless hours in the maintenance and upkeep of that car, and from that he developed the skills and self-confidence to do almost anything mechanical. His skills expanded into a career working on all kinds of equipment - even building boats. If you want to build a better team - spend time with them. Spend time working to improve your own leadership skills, whether it is in the form of additional training, working with a coach or mentor, or simply applying what you have learned.

(V) ehicles need people - and so do you. On its own, the Civic was just a lump of old metal on rubber tires, slowly rusting. What made it special was that Brian made it so - his care, attention and dogged expectations that it could do what he wanted it to do is what set that car apart from all the rest. On our own, we are each a lonely individual slowly growing old - it is in our relationships with other people that we truly live.

(I) mprovise. You won't always have all of the answers, or the right tools at hand. Don't be afraid to step out on a limb and try something new. At one camp, we had walked all the way down the mountain from the tent site to go for a drive into town for some more supplies. Brian found out he had left his keys back in the tent - all the way back up the hill. Not wanting to walk all the way back up and down, he borrowed the keys from another Honda Civic - these happened to open up Brian's hatch-back, but not the side doors or ignition. With the back open and access to his toolbox, he climbed over the seats and quickly bypassed the ignition key with a push-button switch, and we were on our way into town.

(C) ongratulate yourself for finally making it there in the end. Whether it is for making it over the summit of the Coquihalla Highway, finishing your project or accomplishing a goal you set for yourself or your team - take a little time to celebrate. Life is short - enjoy it, and recognize a job well done.

Summary

We learned many lessons from Brian and his old Civic. Of course, the car was just a car when he bought it - but under Brian's guiding hand, it grew into something much greater. It was a part of our shared experience, and it had more heart and character than all of our fancier vehicles put together. Brian finally let the Civic go, years after he had bought a newer vehicle and the Civic was turning to rust in the yard. But its memory - and legend - lives on in each of us.

http://www.oldparkedcars.com/2010/10/1978-honda-civic-1200-hatchback-first.html

Good luck, and may all your projects run as well as that old Honda Civic.

About the Author:

Gary NelsonGary Nelson is an IT Project Manager who has worked in the Telecom, Student Information Systems and Local Government sectors since 1989. His international experience includes projects in New Zealand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the US and Canada. He enjoys speaking and training, and has presented at several Project Management Institute (PMI) events and conferences.

As an author, Gary has published Gazza’s Guide to Practical Project Management, and the Project Kids Adventures children's book series, starting with The Ultimate Tree House Project.  You can read this blog and others on his Gazza’s Corner blog : http://www.gazzascorner.com  Twitter: @gazzaconsulting

 

Posted on, 12th September 2014
By KoolProjects Staff Writer: Quinn Bender
 

 Last year vintage car collector Jim Ratsoy unleashed a big bit of news that shook the industry with reactions of both excitement and sadness. Excitement, because he was selling his collection 125 vintage  automobiles, likely the largest private collection in Canada. Sadness, because Ratsoy is a passionate and highly-admired collector throughout North America. It was the end of an era.

 

 Ratsoy has been restoring cars since 1959, with a Model T Ford, in running condition, he bought from a farmer.  In 1957, after his father passed away, Ratsoy took over the family car dealership and soon  expanded the business to four dealerships in Richmond, BC. To say his vintage car collection has grown since then is an understatement. It includes a bevy of Ford convertibles from nearly every year  through the 1930, 1940s and the early 1950s, including a red ‘51, the first car Ratsoy ever owned. There is a stunning 1931 Cadillac V12 convertible without a single misplaced detail from its original build for  a Chicago car show 80 years ago. Ratsoy is so fond of the all-original parts in an otherwise impeccable, 1906 Stevens Touring, he refuses to replace the seat covers as the 100-year-old horse hair spilling out  testifies to the car’s purity. Two showrooms cover 30,000-square feet of space, decorated with staggering collections of automobile memorabilia, plus a fully-staffed workshop where Ratsoy has personally restored half of the cars in his collection.

But with his age, Ratsoy says the time has simply come to let it all go. “It’s not that I want to do it, but there just comes a time,” he says. “It’s something you have to face.”

In a perfect world Ratsoy will see a single buyer buy his entire collection of 125 automobiles, with an estimated value between $9 and $12 million, and keep it in the Lower Mainland.

For someone who’s been in the car business for as long as Ratsoy, he’s seen the trends in restoration change as much as the cars themselves. He feels today’s enthusiast needs a high amount of passion to justify the financial sacrifice, and he worries budding restorers, as he once was, are priced out of the market before they can get started.

“It’s become a big business. Fifteen years ago there wasn’t many in the business. Most people who get into it learn some lessons they’re not aware of it.”  

However, there are trade-offs with today’s market too. The soaring popularity of car restoration has created a wealth of resources, and with the internet it’s become a snap to find them. Ratsoy offers one bit of advice for anyone starting out: keep it pure, and focus on the car itself, not its history.

“I don’t care whose ass has sat in it,” he says. “In some cases, especially stateside, they’ll promote something like that quite heavily. And someone will fall into that trap. It’s just a car. It doesn’t matter who owned it. It’s about the restoration; what you produce, not who’s owned it and who hasn’t owned it.”

Ratsoy’s passion is palpable. A visit to his website, grandpasoldcars.ca, reveals approximately 75 articles he’s written on automobile history, specific cars, lines, companies and their founders. Over the years he’s shared his knowledge with other enthusiasts as best he could, and in return their reactions helped shape his collection.

“I used to have expensive cars, but I got rid of almost everyone because it didn’t relate to people. They would get excited when they found a car that a cousin or a dad had once owned, but when they saw the expensive cars they would just say, ‘this is nice,’ but they didn’t know what it was all about. It was an awakening for me. You had to see it happen.”

Few have left Ratsoy’s exhibit without an emotional reaction. One visitor who posted their experience online at yelp.com said he had to keep reminding himself that this was a private collection, not a museum’s. He was referring not just to the vintage cars, but the collection of jukeboxes, player pianos, radio paraphernalia, phonographs, pinball machines and gas pumps -- all in working order.

“I can't begin to tell you how extensive this collection is,” writes the visitor. “ There were some elderly people reminiscing about the good old days while having all of the gadgets and ancient electronic innovations trigger memories of when they were first released.”

Unfortunately, none of his children or grandchildren adopted his passion for vintage cars, and the number of mechanics he’s shared his knowledge with is limited. He says it’s hard to teach today, as mechanics now are usually “replacers; they’re not fixers.”   

But a big reason he’s sad to see the collection go is the annual Rosewood Manor Garden Party, an annual fundraising event held on Ratsoy’s property with proceeds going to Alzheimer’s and dementia care for the manor’s residents. In its 10 years, the garden party has become one of the most talked-about social events in the lower mainland, enticing car enthusiasts and the general public with gourmet meals and live entertainment set against the backdrop of Canada’s largest private car collection. Through auction donations of goods and services from individuals and businesses, the party has raised more than $2 million to date for Rosewood Manor.  

Alzheimer's care is a special interest of Ratsoy’s, as his wife, Marcia, has lived with the disease at Rosewood Manor for almost five years.

“She used to say she would rather go than let that happen to her,” says Ratsoy. “But it comes on gradually and you don’t realize it’s coming on until you just slip away.”

 At their Richmond home they built together, Marcia and Jim had hosted hundreds of gatherings over the years. Car clubs, individual enthusiasts and the general public will certainly miss their hospitality and  the absence of their magnificent collection of cars, but they will never be forgotten.

 “I enjoy people, no matter what I’ve done,” says Ratsoy. “I’ve been in the car business since ‘57. Although it becomes a headache sometimes, when you enjoy people it’s worth it.

Posted on, 12th September 2014

 Showcase Your Projects or Follow Your Passions

 It took us a few months but Hello World!  We are live! After months of building the KoolProjects social platform, testing, and rebuilding what was not working, we have finally took off  the “Coming Soon” wrapper and we have launched ourselves into the social world.

But wait, KoolProjects.com is not just another social platform.  We are offering a way for people with projects to showcase their passions from start to finish while building a community of followers who are interested or just as passionate about what you are doing.

 

Using KoolProjects is easy!

1.       Register its Free – Create your personal profile

2.       Create a project – upload images and start writing about it

3.       Tell your friends – showcase to the world your project or follow other projects

Going forward, we promise to continually expand our KoolProjects content and keep you updated with the latest information. So check back often, and connect with us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook

We’d love to hear what you think of KoolProjects. What would be the irresistible force that would engage you to sign-up for ww.koolprojects.com for either follow projects or showcase your projects? What features would you like to see as we continue to build on the platform?  How do we improve our social marketing efforts to turn awareness and enthusiasm into action?

Email us at feedback@koolprojects.com we’ll read and respond to all of your comments; please, engage with us and give us your thoughts!

By Christopher J. Bakker:   

  Who ever said chicken coups were for the birds hasn’t met Zoltan Bod.  At the end of a winding, dusty gravel road in rural Abbotsford,  British Columbia, in  amongst the memories of chickens past is a 3600 sq/ft retro fitted coup now housing a fully functional,  one-man  automotive movement.

Auto restoration and car design is the passion and life’s work of Zoltan, and with over 30 years in the automotive restoration industry, Zoltan  has turned a  career of innovating and re-building existing rides into revolutionizing transportation itself.

 Upon entering the, tin roofed, wood clad coup, one is greeted by a 1965 Ford F100 Custom Cab on blocks, in the midst of being reborn as a slammed and  shaved custom ride. Zoltan picked up this project from a local golf course where the truck served as the operations daily service vehicle for many years.

When next put into service this amazing ride will have been dropped 10 inches, received a shaved back end and have over 350 horses up front. It’s the level of detail that puts the Custom Cab in a league of its  own however.  Every weld  was painstakingly carried out by hand, every seam fits, well…seamlessly, and every angle is square and true.  Zoltan’s 30 plus years of experience in this trade is on display 

 The F-100 is not the spokesman for the revolution Zoltan is carrying out. That mantle falls to a red, three wheeled, rocket found at the back of the coup, the  Zoleco, a futuristic 151 MPG Hypermiling Eco Exotic Sports Car. Zoleco, a mixture of its name sake  and its environmental purpose, will be a three wheeled,  gas powered car that will ultimately achieve over 100 miles per gallon of fuel. A lofty goal indeed, but being made from a metal skeleton clad in fiber glass,  the finished car will weigh no more than a few large Texans. Born from the need to squeeze every ounce on energy from  a gallon of fuel, the Zoleco sports  an outer shell straight out of the Jetsons but installs form and function into the future.  The shape is no accident.  The car industry continues to grappled with  finding a balance between style, function and efficiency for many years.  The Zoleco takes that  balance for granted finding style and function in the form of  efficiency.

 With over 2000 hours in and 4000 hours more to go, Zoltan has not only committed himself to  revolutionising the way cars will look and function but also how people will get around, in the future.Has  Zoltan gone to the birds?  His shop was once for the birds, but Zoltan’s passion, his intelligence and talent  behind Zoleco may just have the last word on the future of transportation.

 

 

Artist around the country use U-Haul trucks to display work

Reading this article was so inspirational in creating great art exhition projects we had to ask Uhaul for the permisson to repost.  Thanks Uhaul for allowing us to re-tell your story.  "When U-Haul and Art Collidearticle was originally posted on the U-Haul blog: myuhaulstory.com 

Here at U-Haul, we want every customer to get the most out of their U-Haul truck and we’re always inspired by people who go above and beyond our expectations. Although they are advertised as moving trucks, it has become clear that with a little creativity U-Haul trucks can be utilized for so much more. From a new, interactive way to display student projects to a well-established pop-up art show, people all over the country are finding unique ways to use U-Haul trucks.

Cluster Truck

Truck - Art Exhibition  Pittsburgh–“Cluster Truck” was an outdoor art show that displayed works by students at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Art. As part of a class assignment, eight undergraduate students were each given a U-Haul truck to use as a personal gallery to show whatever they wanted.

The U-Haul trucks showcased each student’s unique projects, which ranged from sculptural installations to performance pieces. Some artists asked for the audience to interact with their trucks, while others offered a more traditional gallery viewing experience. In the end, the U-Haul truck art show was a hit with students and staff alike.

 

 

 

Mobile Gallery

  Atlanta–After a comical suggestion from a friend, photographer Kevin Dowling realized the potential in using a U-Haul truck as a mobile art gallery. While finding and affording gallery space is typically a difficult and expensive venture, all Dowling had to do was rent a U-Haul truck and get permission to park it somewhere.

“It made sense financially and allowed me to put the gallery wherever I wanted in the city,” Dowling explained. The move paid off, as he successfully sold his entire collection for $20,000! Now, he’s eager to try his mobile art gallery in other cities.

 

 

 

Pop-Up Truck Show

 Chicago–This summer marked the 10th year of the annual “Guerrilla Truck Show” held during Neocon, North America’s largest design exposition and trade fair. The truck show is hosted by designer Morlen Sinoway Atelier, who created the event as a platform for all types of artists and designers to showcase their work in a temporary gallery space within the back of a truck.

Held in a pop-up caravan of U-Haul trucks-turned-showrooms, the annual street show showcases art, furniture and a variety of locally made products. Over the years, the event has blossomed from six trucks in its first year to “over the limit” at 62 trucks exhibiting work this year.

 

Iconic Shoe Designer Throws His Skill into Many Arenas

By Quinn Bender

 

 

It can be argued there are more prolific designers in the world, but in terms of versatility few, if any, can match the admiration people feel for John Fluevog. Whether it’s the design of a shoe, a car, a building or a pair of sunglasses, he brings together an unlikely cross-section admirers—from rock stars and fashionistas, to soccer moms and backyard mechanics. The obvious reason for his appeal is the uniqueness of his creations; he’s a self-described subversive designer with a deep streak of Rock ‘n Roll who speaks to our need for personal identity. It’s a level of creativity anyone can achieve, he says, which comes down to courage and authenticity.

 

John Fluevog

“That’s really important. Sometimes I follow trends, I skirt the edges of trends, but the fun things happen when I just go and do something completely wacky that’s all about myself.

“I think that people don’t have the confidence in themselves all the time. They’re afraid of this, that and the other. So it’s a lifetime of learning about yourself. Fortunately, we’re now in an era that a business and my personal self can interconnect.”

John Fluegov Shoe and bag designs

Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Fluevog acquired an early love of cars by working in his father’s drive-in ice cream parlour. But his reputation for automotive design wouldn’t take root for many decades after first making his mark as a shoe designer in the 1970s. The progressive entrepreneur was the first in North American merchant to import the hugely popular Doc Marten footwear, before seeing his own creations on the stage with iconoclasts like the Beach Boys and Alice Cooper. By the early 90s his “Angel” shoe became a trademark of Seattle’s Grunge scene, while his “Munsters” received 15 seconds of fame on Madonna's feet in her documentary Truth or Dare.

 

With his footwear now available in North America’s most important cosmopolitan centres, it was at this point in his career that his versatility in design started rolling out. Because to sell a shoe, one first needs a store. And by taking the lead in their design, Fluevog settled on some common elements, like unique leathers found in his shoe designs, but like his shoes, he ensured no two designs were alike.

 

“Small business can be an expression of who we are … if it’s not, you might as well give up and go home,” Fluevog says.

 

Last year Fluevog put those words to action yet again with the opening his flagship store in Vancouver’s historic Gastown district, just one block away from where he got his start in 1970 with then partner Peter Fox. The new store is nothing short of a minor tourist attraction. From street side, it gives the impression of being a vacant lot between two brick buildings. With a glass ceiling spanning the two structures, the store has been compared to a greenhouse, but in truth it seems to celebrate and mimic the gritty, back alley feel of the district. Inside, a rich palette of leathers and wood add warmth to the otherwise concrete and brick environment. The display shelves are made from slabs of old-growth trees and repurposed pipeline, which substitute as tables and stages during store events.  

Taking a parking lot and converting it into a Fluevog shoe store

 

Fluevog’s design approach might be best described as the improvement of existing designs. Like his shoes, building upon classic designs of the Art Deco era, the Vancouver store is both a reflection and improvement on one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods.

 

“It’s being able to see things,” he says. “It’s like any design, even if you’re building a house or your interior decorating or painting, you need to be able to see something first. Once you can see it, you need the humanity, the courage, the guts, the skill—even slight skill—just to go start and do it.”

 

Fluevog’s stores are now as much a part of his branding as his shoes themselves. Shoppers are likely to find any personal touch of decor imaginable, such as in the Portland location that houses 1965 Jaguar MK 10, fully redesigned by Fluevog and for which he has catapulted himself into a new realm of fame with auto enthusiasts.  

 

This was no restoration project, but a redesign. Purists will be quick to criticize Fluevog for abandoning the original design of the car, but true to his creative philosophy he is unapologetic for his actions, saying the original design was probably incomplete anyway, that car manufacturers, limited by budgets and technology, are constantly updating and improving designs every production year. His approach is to simply carry on with that tradition of renewal, asking himself what the original designers may have created if they faced no limitations.

Fluevog store design

 

“You need to see past what it is now, and see another vision for it,” he says. “I kind of closed my eyes halfway through and I thought, "What would the 

designer of this car have liked it to look like before the corporate heads got a hold of it?"

 

"When they did this car, they had a feeling for it, but they kind of got stuck with the structure that was in this car. They didn't have the freedom to take it where it could have gone."

 

Fluevog is currently redesigning another classic, this time a 1951 Jaguar drophead coup. With a steampunk theme, the finished product will surely inspire as many designers as it upsets the restoration community.

 

"But that's what good designers do," he says. "That's where it gets distinct and becomes complete and a whole."

 

 

 

Follow Quinn Bender on Twitter: @qbender

Wishing Everyone a Wonderful Holiday and Christmas Season.

May 2015 bring you much joy, happiness, wealth and some very, very cool projects.

 

 

By Gary Nelson, PMP, Gazza's Guides

When I was in my late teens, I bought my first car. My friends were all doing the same - we all had our licenses and we wanted to put them to good use. Of course, not having a lot of money, we each ended up buying older, cheaper cars. I bought a 1974 Mazda RX4 from a family member, one friend bought an old Chevy Nova, another had an old sports car, and one had bought a 1977 Honda Civic.

CC Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1973-1978_Honda_Civic_5-door_hatchback_01.jpg

All of these cars were made near the end of an era- close to the last generationof vehicles you could actually fix yourselves. All of them even had carburetors - no fancy fuel injection, and definitely no computer control systems. My car had only an AM radio, which I updated to AM/FM (but no cassette deck). When these cars were made, most computers filled a small room, and Personal Computers were not yet available.

Wheels = Freedom

Well, we were all very happy to have our own set of wheels, so we took good care of our cars - washed them regularly, learned how to do our own repairs, change the oil and spark plugs, the whole bit. Besides, we couldn't afford to send them in to the shop for anything but the most significant of problems; the rest we did ourselves, brake pads, shocks and all.

Although we had our own cars, we helped each other and worked like a team. We learned from each other, and each became the "go-to" person for a particular specialty. Brian went into auto mechanics in a big way, eventually extending it into a career that included welding and being able to fix just about anything. He quickly became the expert in everything automotive, and for anything major we all went to him for help.

As you would expect, Brian was the one with the best car.

However, at the time, we didn't think so. My RX4 was sleek and fast, the Nova was solid and gutsy, and our other friends' cars were sporty. We all kind of felt sorry for our mechanic friend Brian who only had a little red Honda Civic.

I mean, a 1977 Honda Civic wasn't really a serious car. Sure it was small, and good on fuel - but it wasn't much for show, not really. Not something you would want to take a girl on a date with, compared to any of the other cars we had. It wasn't gutsy, it wasn't fast, it wasn't much more than a tin can on wheels. Four or five people could pick it up and move it (and occasionally we did).

But over the years, Brian proved us just how wrong we were about his car.

We smiled when he put a tow-bar on his Civic.

And yet, Brian spent several summers in a row, tree planting in the mountainous interior of British Columbia. Everywhere he went, he drove his little Honda Civic - up and down steep logging roads, across creek beds - all while towing a home-built tent trailer nearly as big as his car.

When his car broke down every so often, Brian was able to get it up and running again in a matter of minutes - he was never stranded anywhere for long. He kept a toolbox in his car that he refined over time - and he kept that little car humming along, no matter where he went.

When he had trouble with the ignition key, Brian just bypassed it and installed a push-button to start it, decades ahead of those hybrid cars. It may not have been very secure, but hey - who was going to steal an old Honda Civic?

When he went to the beach, Brian strapped his wind-surfer on the roof rack, and off he went - often with a car full of people. He could just squeeze in four passengers, all with their seat-belts on.

It even proved itself to be a stunt car - when it end up driving on two wheels after hitting a snowbank on the way back from camp one winter.

The car became a legend to us - it was practically invincible. It could go anywhere, pull anything, carry almost anything (including firewood and bags of manure). It was his pickup-truck, his 4X4, his go-anywhere-and-do-everything car, and he loved it to bits.

Brian finally admitted the car was perhaps close to its limits on one trip as he drove up the Coquihalla - the toll highway with a 20km long, continuous steep grade that once disabled my RX4 and killed hundreds of other vehicles. He had his windsurfer strapped on top, the tent trailer fully loaded and hitched on behind - and five people stuffed into the car.

The car crawled up the hill at little more than a jogging pace, but it finally made it - all the way up, over and beyond to the campground, then all the way home again.

It was a marvel of engineering - and persistence, of both car and driver.

If only we all had an old Honda Civic on our Projects

We learned a lot of lessons from that old Honda Civic and our patient friend, aside from the practical car maintenance skills. Practical lessons that we took with us into our lives and various careers - and of course into my projects.

The legend of that car was spread far and wide, wherever we went - it became our informal mascot, and a symbol for achieving what others might think impossible. We grew together as friends around our cars, and that little car became the most respected of them all. It taught is the value of persistence, and looking beyond the surface to what lay beneath - be it a hunk of metal with tires, or someone you just met.

We could all use something as tenacious, persistent and resilient as that old car on our projects. Whether you use some kind of a mascot as a rallying point, or develop a vibrant common spirit that is instilled throughout the team, every project needs that little something to keep you going when the times get tough. We all sometimes need encouragement to realize you can do it (whatever your goals are), despite the odds.

Now, that old Honda Civic has probably been long recycled by now, and besides there was only the one that Brian had, so it would be hard to share it with all of you. However, I give you your own Honda Civic today, to help you survive your projects - in the form of some practical lessons we learned from it.

(H) ave faith. Even small teams can deliver amazing results, as long as you support and believe in them. Conversely, a team that does not believe in themselves will accomplish little. If your team is lacking in self-confidence, help them build it up through a series of small successes. The Honda Civic tackled each new challenge with caution, but Brian had confidence that they would make it through - and they always did, together. Over the years, that little Honda Civic even went places that heavy 4X4s dared not go.

(O) verlook the small flaws. No car or person is perfect, so don't expect them to be. If you look past the surface imperfections you will see a vast range of possibilities. I am pretty sure Brian looked at his little Civic every morning and saw the heart of a Monster Truck lurking within. You should do the same with your team - look past their quirks and odd habits and you will see their potential.

(N) ever give up. Brian never did - and as a result, his car never let him down. They had to work together to achieve it, just as your teams do. You can't do much on your own, but together in small groups you can accomplish amazing things - as long as you don't give up.

(D) o the impossible. Everyone else is doing the ordinary, while most of our greatest inventions were simply impossible - until someone made it happen. Projects exist to create change, to make something new or to make things better. Nothing is impossible unless you let it be so. Brian took it as a personal challenge to see just how far he and his little Civic could go - and he regularly amazed us all.

(A) lways look ahead. Sound advice when you are driving of course, but it applies equally to your projects. You won't make any progress rehashing past failures; you need to put the past behind you. Learn from it, certainly - but don't live in the past. You can't navigate while you are watching the rear view mirror. Whenever we got back from a group trip together, Brian was already looking forward to the next one.

(C) hallenge yourself. Without challenges, we don't grow in capabilities and confidence. Stretch your limits and get outside your comfort zone, and you will be surprised how far you can go. There is no doubt that Brian challenged his car to perform to the extreme limits - and beyond.

(I) nvest your time. Whether it is a hobby you enjoy, a new skill you are trying to develop, or trying to build up a team, there is no substitute for time spent. There are no true short-cuts in life; what you spend time practicing, you get better at. Brian invested countless hours in the maintenance and upkeep of that car, and from that he developed the skills and self-confidence to do almost anything mechanical. His skills expanded into a career working on all kinds of equipment - even building boats. If you want to build a better team - spend time with them. Spend time working to improve your own leadership skills, whether it is in the form of additional training, working with a coach or mentor, or simply applying what you have learned.

(V) ehicles need people - and so do you. On its own, the Civic was just a lump of old metal on rubber tires, slowly rusting. What made it special was that Brian made it so - his care, attention and dogged expectations that it could do what he wanted it to do is what set that car apart from all the rest. On our own, we are each a lonely individual slowly growing old - it is in our relationships with other people that we truly live.

(I) mprovise. You won't always have all of the answers, or the right tools at hand. Don't be afraid to step out on a limb and try something new. At one camp, we had walked all the way down the mountain from the tent site to go for a drive into town for some more supplies. Brian found out he had left his keys back in the tent - all the way back up the hill. Not wanting to walk all the way back up and down, he borrowed the keys from another Honda Civic - these happened to open up Brian's hatch-back, but not the side doors or ignition. With the back open and access to his toolbox, he climbed over the seats and quickly bypassed the ignition key with a push-button switch, and we were on our way into town.

(C) ongratulate yourself for finally making it there in the end. Whether it is for making it over the summit of the Coquihalla Highway, finishing your project or accomplishing a goal you set for yourself or your team - take a little time to celebrate. Life is short - enjoy it, and recognize a job well done.

Summary

We learned many lessons from Brian and his old Civic. Of course, the car was just a car when he bought it - but under Brian's guiding hand, it grew into something much greater. It was a part of our shared experience, and it had more heart and character than all of our fancier vehicles put together. Brian finally let the Civic go, years after he had bought a newer vehicle and the Civic was turning to rust in the yard. But its memory - and legend - lives on in each of us.

http://www.oldparkedcars.com/2010/10/1978-honda-civic-1200-hatchback-first.html

Good luck, and may all your projects run as well as that old Honda Civic.

About the Author:

Gary NelsonGary Nelson is an IT Project Manager who has worked in the Telecom, Student Information Systems and Local Government sectors since 1989. His international experience includes projects in New Zealand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the US and Canada. He enjoys speaking and training, and has presented at several Project Management Institute (PMI) events and conferences.

As an author, Gary has published Gazza’s Guide to Practical Project Management, and the Project Kids Adventures children's book series, starting with The Ultimate Tree House Project.  You can read this blog and others on his Gazza’s Corner blog : http://www.gazzascorner.com  Twitter: @gazzaconsulting

 

By KoolProjects Staff Writer: Quinn Bender
 

 Last year vintage car collector Jim Ratsoy unleashed a big bit of news that shook the industry with reactions of both excitement and sadness. Excitement, because he was selling his collection 125 vintage  automobiles, likely the largest private collection in Canada. Sadness, because Ratsoy is a passionate and highly-admired collector throughout North America. It was the end of an era.

 

 Ratsoy has been restoring cars since 1959, with a Model T Ford, in running condition, he bought from a farmer.  In 1957, after his father passed away, Ratsoy took over the family car dealership and soon  expanded the business to four dealerships in Richmond, BC. To say his vintage car collection has grown since then is an understatement. It includes a bevy of Ford convertibles from nearly every year  through the 1930, 1940s and the early 1950s, including a red ‘51, the first car Ratsoy ever owned. There is a stunning 1931 Cadillac V12 convertible without a single misplaced detail from its original build for  a Chicago car show 80 years ago. Ratsoy is so fond of the all-original parts in an otherwise impeccable, 1906 Stevens Touring, he refuses to replace the seat covers as the 100-year-old horse hair spilling out  testifies to the car’s purity. Two showrooms cover 30,000-square feet of space, decorated with staggering collections of automobile memorabilia, plus a fully-staffed workshop where Ratsoy has personally restored half of the cars in his collection.

But with his age, Ratsoy says the time has simply come to let it all go. “It’s not that I want to do it, but there just comes a time,” he says. “It’s something you have to face.”

In a perfect world Ratsoy will see a single buyer buy his entire collection of 125 automobiles, with an estimated value between $9 and $12 million, and keep it in the Lower Mainland.

For someone who’s been in the car business for as long as Ratsoy, he’s seen the trends in restoration change as much as the cars themselves. He feels today’s enthusiast needs a high amount of passion to justify the financial sacrifice, and he worries budding restorers, as he once was, are priced out of the market before they can get started.

“It’s become a big business. Fifteen years ago there wasn’t many in the business. Most people who get into it learn some lessons they’re not aware of it.”  

However, there are trade-offs with today’s market too. The soaring popularity of car restoration has created a wealth of resources, and with the internet it’s become a snap to find them. Ratsoy offers one bit of advice for anyone starting out: keep it pure, and focus on the car itself, not its history.

“I don’t care whose ass has sat in it,” he says. “In some cases, especially stateside, they’ll promote something like that quite heavily. And someone will fall into that trap. It’s just a car. It doesn’t matter who owned it. It’s about the restoration; what you produce, not who’s owned it and who hasn’t owned it.”

Ratsoy’s passion is palpable. A visit to his website, grandpasoldcars.ca, reveals approximately 75 articles he’s written on automobile history, specific cars, lines, companies and their founders. Over the years he’s shared his knowledge with other enthusiasts as best he could, and in return their reactions helped shape his collection.

“I used to have expensive cars, but I got rid of almost everyone because it didn’t relate to people. They would get excited when they found a car that a cousin or a dad had once owned, but when they saw the expensive cars they would just say, ‘this is nice,’ but they didn’t know what it was all about. It was an awakening for me. You had to see it happen.”

Few have left Ratsoy’s exhibit without an emotional reaction. One visitor who posted their experience online at yelp.com said he had to keep reminding himself that this was a private collection, not a museum’s. He was referring not just to the vintage cars, but the collection of jukeboxes, player pianos, radio paraphernalia, phonographs, pinball machines and gas pumps -- all in working order.

“I can't begin to tell you how extensive this collection is,” writes the visitor. “ There were some elderly people reminiscing about the good old days while having all of the gadgets and ancient electronic innovations trigger memories of when they were first released.”

Unfortunately, none of his children or grandchildren adopted his passion for vintage cars, and the number of mechanics he’s shared his knowledge with is limited. He says it’s hard to teach today, as mechanics now are usually “replacers; they’re not fixers.”   

But a big reason he’s sad to see the collection go is the annual Rosewood Manor Garden Party, an annual fundraising event held on Ratsoy’s property with proceeds going to Alzheimer’s and dementia care for the manor’s residents. In its 10 years, the garden party has become one of the most talked-about social events in the lower mainland, enticing car enthusiasts and the general public with gourmet meals and live entertainment set against the backdrop of Canada’s largest private car collection. Through auction donations of goods and services from individuals and businesses, the party has raised more than $2 million to date for Rosewood Manor.  

Alzheimer's care is a special interest of Ratsoy’s, as his wife, Marcia, has lived with the disease at Rosewood Manor for almost five years.

“She used to say she would rather go than let that happen to her,” says Ratsoy. “But it comes on gradually and you don’t realize it’s coming on until you just slip away.”

 At their Richmond home they built together, Marcia and Jim had hosted hundreds of gatherings over the years. Car clubs, individual enthusiasts and the general public will certainly miss their hospitality and  the absence of their magnificent collection of cars, but they will never be forgotten.

 “I enjoy people, no matter what I’ve done,” says Ratsoy. “I’ve been in the car business since ‘57. Although it becomes a headache sometimes, when you enjoy people it’s worth it.

 Showcase Your Projects or Follow Your Passions

 It took us a few months but Hello World!  We are live! After months of building the KoolProjects social platform, testing, and rebuilding what was not working, we have finally took off  the “Coming Soon” wrapper and we have launched ourselves into the social world.

But wait, KoolProjects.com is not just another social platform.  We are offering a way for people with projects to showcase their passions from start to finish while building a community of followers who are interested or just as passionate about what you are doing.

 

Using KoolProjects is easy!

1.       Register its Free – Create your personal profile

2.       Create a project – upload images and start writing about it

3.       Tell your friends – showcase to the world your project or follow other projects

Going forward, we promise to continually expand our KoolProjects content and keep you updated with the latest information. So check back often, and connect with us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook

We’d love to hear what you think of KoolProjects. What would be the irresistible force that would engage you to sign-up for ww.koolprojects.com for either follow projects or showcase your projects? What features would you like to see as we continue to build on the platform?  How do we improve our social marketing efforts to turn awareness and enthusiasm into action?

Email us at feedback@koolprojects.com we’ll read and respond to all of your comments; please, engage with us and give us your thoughts!