Mark Seto took his passion and side hustle of putting small Edmonton car shows together and turned it the largest after-market car show in Canada
By Liam Newbigging | June 7, 2023
Mark Seto remembers putting on his first car show 20 years ago at a tiny ice rink in his hometown of Edmonton. It started out as a side hustle with a couple of others from the car community. When they first started, tickets were only $5.
“I got into it just being a car guy in a car club,” Seto says. “We started with a small car show. It started getting bigger, and then we started booking bigger venues. Some guys lost interest in it — I continued to grow it.”
Years later, Seto lost his job, putting him at a crossroads. With a family of twins and a newborn, he was in a tough position. He says he wasn’t sure if he should go back to a regular 9 to 5 job or if he could try and take his car show to the next level, devoting all his time to see “if it grows into something that could really feed a family.”
Today Seto provides for his family, but now he also feeds a national audience of hungry custom-car enthusiasts, serving up the biggest aftermarket auto show in Canada, called Driven.
Driven tours across Canada, stopping at nine different cities. There are 18 national sponsors, including eBay Motors, Yokohama Tires and Xpel. There is a whole garage of unique vehicles. Each event has around 300 cars and 100 exhibitors, drawing in thousands of people from each city.
Seto and his team make sure to vet each car entry so that only the most unique are showcased, and while there are many local entries, Driven makes sure that 40 per cent of all the vehicles are special customs sourced from out of town. “I would be doing the city a huge injustice if all I did was throw a roof over the local Friday night meets,” he says.
For Seto, the most exciting car this year is an RWB Porsche, custom designed by automotive legend Akira Nakai. The vehicle was built in Vancouver and then customized by DPLS in Los Angeles with a full Astro Boy-themed livery. But you don’t need a $400,000 vehicle like the Astro Boy Porsche to wow the folks at Driven — the key is personality.
“That’s not what this scene’s about,” says Seto. “We love it when we have somebody who has just been very creative and just created a really cool car.”