Welcome to the European Experience, the American show dedicated to European cars.
It’s interesting to note that even with the advent of the internet and the homogenising effect it has undoubtedly had on global car culture, key differences between the scenes of different countries remain. Think about it, there’s still a fair amount of difference between the way those in Eastern Europe approach car modification, the same can be said of our friends in South Africa, and the Japanese? Well they’re famed for doing their own thing, and to hell with what the rest of the globe thinks.
The fascinating differences between automotive cultures meant that we really didn’t need to be asked twice when we were invited along to the European Experience or EuEX as its become know , an American show dedicated to European cars. We couldn’t pass up the chance to see just how our friends on the other side of the pond approach tuning the various European models they get Stateside and within weeks we were jetting across to Georgia.
Held on Hutchinson Island at the Grand Prize of America track in Savannah EuEx is now in its second year. That says a lot about the popularity of European cars in America, as did the sheer quality (and quantity) of cars which made the pilgrimage in 2017. The stunning reliably stunning weather no doubt helped the excellent turnout, and it was hard to escape the feeling that America’s VAG and Euro community is at heart an overwhelmingly positive and friendly one.
EuEx kicked off on the Thursday with a preshow warm up held at Tybee Island, an achingly pretty location with attractive people, great drinks, better cars and best of all, a stunning beach. Santa Pod eat your heart out! This then morphed into a Thursday evening event focussed around 20 of the best cars on display, all contained within one of Savannah’s equally attractive public squares, which allowed the city and its residents to gain an insight into the coming weekend’s automotive flavour. It’s a smart way of getting the residents and businesses on side, making them feel part of the proceedings and reducing the risk of complaints.
Friday morning dawned hot, dry and sunny (as it invariably does in the South), perfect weather for the EuEx’s vendor setup day. A massive trade village soon sprung up out of nowhere, one selling everything from number plate (ok, license plate) surrounds to aftermarket turbo kits, more than enough to coax drowsy, slightly worse for wear show-goers from their beds! By this point there was no shortage of modified VWs and Audis to ogle, and a Friday drive-in movie night to round off the proceedings.
Saturday was the big day, show time, and the reason for EuEx’s move from the city of Helen to Savannah became clear almost right away; a full 20,000 enthusiasts and 3800 cars descended on this sleepy part of Georgia, all of them modified to some degree. In terms of standout cars, well, we really were spoilt for choice,
Unitronic were again title sponsors bringing an impressive display of tuned cars and hardware.
The event having managed to attract the cream of the USA’s tweaked VAG community. We were especially enamoured by a wide-arched, splitter-shod Mk7 Golf GTI covered in DWS Parts graphics, a Mk2 Audi R8 in full LMS attire (seriously, it looked like it could’ve escaped from the nearby Atlanta Speedway) and a Ferrari-wheeled Corrado. Eclectic doesn’t even begin to cover it, and we haven’t even touched upon the lines of BMWs, Mercedes and even the odd Renault, a manufacturer the yanks haven’t been able to buy since 1992!
If you hadn’t already gleaned from the above we well and truly fell over heels with EuEx and its mix of stunning cars, weather and chilled out atmosphere. It provided proof (if it were needed) that the USA’s European car scene is every bit as creative as our own. We want to go back again, and so should you! If you do fancy it, add next year’s dates to your diary; May 18-20, 2018
Words & photos Pro-motiv