The fast and the curious

Jeff Borrowman has a collection of hot rods and classics — and they’re all just a few inches long.

When Calgary accountant Jeff Borrowman, 42, isn’t behind a computer screen working for Lafarge, a multinational construction material company, you will likely find him hard at work with an X-Acto knife, a saw, sanding sticks, glue and putty building one of his model cars. “I tend to have about three to four projects going at any given time, and I bounce back and forth between those projects depending on how the mood strikes me,” Borrowman says. “It’s definitely an escape. It’s a very good stress reliever because it’s such a creative type of endeavour.”

Model cars are roughly seven to eight inches long and can take more than a year to assemble. They’re usually near-replicas of existing cars, but some model car enthusiasts choose to customize them.

In the past 15 years, Borrowman has built about 25 model cars from different decades, with the oldest being a 1929 Ford Model A. While he’s a fan of hot rods and custom cars from the ’50s and ’60s, he is most proud of his ’80s-era pop culture cars, including the Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters and the DeLorean from Back to the Future.

He got his start with the hobby when he was about seven years old. “I developed a passion for it and it never really stopped. I never really outgrew it as most people do,” he says. “My dad got me started doing this when I was a kid. He has always been a car guy and he used to build model cars when he was young.”

A love of cars was one of the ways Borrowman bonded with his father, Morgan. “I was three [or] five years old, and my dad would take me out to the [Edmonton International Speedway] drag races and put his giant hands over my ears to try to muffle the noise a bit,” he recalls. “That was really cool. I enjoyed that.”

The fact that Borrowman is an accountant today may be his “dad’s fault, too,” he says laughing. “He was himself an accountant.”

Now with a son of his own, eight-year-old Adam, Borrowman has passed down the tradition. “I got him started on building a few model kits,” he says. “We’ve done a few of them together. He’s enjoying it as well.” Only time will tell if his son will become an accountant, too.