Now, over the past calendar year I’ve really grown out of the “Stance” community. It’s not to say that I don’t like it or don’t appreciate it anymore. It’s just that I’ve moved on to other forms of automotive enjoyment with my personal cars and projects. However, I can’t pass up the opportunity to go on an adventure and travel a few hours to experience some car culture. I thrive for that sort of thing. So, when the offer arose to attend the 2016 Water by the Bridge Euro show in Louisville, Kentucky, I was chomping at the bit to get to work.
A call time of 5:00am awaited me the next morning at a local diner here in Fort Wayne. The reason for the location, it was where I was to meet the Fort Euro Gruppe. If you follow us on social media you might have seen them before. They are a group (or gruppe) of Euro car enthusiasts form Fort Wayne and the surrounding area. I would be tagging along with them and riding down to the show.
A little while later our convoy of four Volkswagens and one Volvo ventured out onto the dark, pre-dawn highways of Northwest Indiana heading for Indianapolis. A couple of pitch black hours later, we arrived at a car wash just north of Indy to meet up with a few other people who lived down in the Circle City.
We met up with a very tidy example of an 8v Mk2 Golf GTI and a MK4 GTI on Fifteen52 Tarmacs. I made use of the lighting at the wash to get some hero shots of the cars before the sun (and the rain) came.
We stood around and chatted among each other for a few minutes until we saddled up and once again headed out into the darkness. With the sunrise came the rain, a gloomy early spring Indiana day. While the rain itself wasn’t that heavy, it was persistent. Once the sun had fully risen behind the cloud cover I decided it was time to shoot some rollers of everyone’s cars. After doing so, I can say with compete confidence that shooting rolling photos is one of my favorite things to do with a car and a camera. Compared to shooting stationary I greatly prefer when an automobile is in motion. Like a big cat roaming the Serengeti, their true beauty comes forth when on the on the prowl. On the move, you get to see the cars doing what they were made to do.
While the photos didn’t turn out the best, the combination of the overcast sky, the rain, and the wet road surface made for some very cool looking photos. After that, we only had an hour or so before we crossed the Ohio River into Kentucky and entered Louisville. We were greeted by the same, gloomy overcast skies. On the bright side, the rain was letting up and the weather forecast said that by the mid afternoon we might see some of the sun. So a promising day was ahead.
As I said above, even though my opinions on the show car scene have changed over the past year or so, that didn’t mean I wasn’t trying to make the best of my day and trying to get out there and see what was on offer. After all of the Fort Euro Gruppe cars were parked and situated on the showgrounds, I grabbed my bag and ventured out into the sea (or river) of cars in search of gold.
One of the first things that greeted show goers as they walked onto the grounds was this positively scrumptious Lamborghini Countach 5000 Quattrovalvole. In a white on white on white color scheme, it looked like the Jordan Belfort had just parked it up and set out to peruse the show. While the Wolf of Wall Street’s name wasn’t on the title for the 80’s pin up car, the actual owner was kind enough to start it up every once and a while and let throngs of eager twenty-somethings get an earful of 5.1 liters of V12 music.
As for the rest of the show, I was greeted by two things, low and three piece wheels, some real some not. While there were a few gems in the crowd. In my opinion, the Volkswagen scene has been really lacking diversity as of late. Lucky for me though, it wasn’t just VWs.
A few feet from the cocaine colored Lambo were these two other 80’s European icons. A white BMW E28 525e and a beige E30 325is sat there quietly underneath the highway overpass. Each given a considerable amount of low, and shod is their respective sets of BBS wheels. Style 5’s for the E28 and RS’s for the E30. Interior wise, each were equipped with Nardi Classic wood steering wheels. While the E28 sported the factory interior, the E30 had a set of recline-able Recaro seats that were trimmed in beige leather to match the rest of the interior.
It’s very easy to see where the trends are going in the VW scene as of late. Air ride is the go to choice for the suspension setup. Wheels by Rotiform, CCW, and WatercooledIND in the multipiece variety make up the footwork. As for the cars themselves, MK5, 6, and 7 Golfs and Jettas are more common than Kanye West’s losing attempts at getting a clothing brand off the ground. It’s been getting very repetitive and dare I say it, boring as of late.
Don’t get me wrong, they don’t look BAD. I like the look. The cars are usually very clean and very well looked after. I just feel that people aren’t as willing to go out on a limb and do something different from the norm as of late. It’s not just the VW scene, or the Euro scene. The whole “stance” culture as a whole has plateaued. People don’t seem to be building their cars for themselves anymore. They do it of likes and support on social media. Modifications are chosen, not for the improvement of the driving experience or the enjoyment and satisfaction of the owner, but to please the general public.
I can appreciate the hard work, time and money that went into each one of the cars that were in the show. I just guess that this style of vehicle and modification just isn’t my cup of tea anymore. That’s enough of a rant from me, lets get into some of my favorites from the show.
A real standout for me was this MK2 Golf GTI 16v. It had a Recaro confetti interior, with a Italvolanti BBS steering wheel to match the gold and polished RS’s attached to the four corners of the car. Other notables are crosshair headlights, smoked tails, a Heckblende, Wolfsburg badges and various Porsche bits adorning the interior.
M Works brought out a few cars to the show, one of my favorites was the Imola Red E30 Touring. This being my first Touring model I’ve seen since they’ve become legal in the U.S. it’s safe to say I wanted a closer look at it. While is was equipped with an automatic transmission, the car was sporting a set of delicious black Epsilon mesh wheels and a pair of Recaros for the driver and passenger to ride in.
This E21 never ceases to amaze me every time I see it. E21 parts are extremely hard to find, so seeing one this clean is definitely a privilege. Let alone one modified like this. Even though the mods seem to be kept to an air setup and appropriately sized BBS RS’s. A matching Nardi classic wood wheel, and shift knob give the interior a little more class.
This MK2 Golf Rallye was a good one too, with it’s turbo VR6 and a set of golf BBS LMs that contrast perfectly with the dark green paint. The BBS’s were hiding a set of racing brakes. I surely hope that those get put to use every once and a while as opposed to be only installed for the looks.
This rather pedestrian looking Volvo was sporting a Japanese heart. In the form of a 1jz out of a Toyota Soarer. This car, when finished , will be a street sleeper for sure. The only things the owner still has to to is a bit of wiring, plumbing some charge pipes, and some other odds and ends. Once it is done though, look for it terrorizing muscle cars and other more sporty cars.
The car that stole the show for me though, was this Alpinweiss E30 M3. I am a little biased. As the first generation M3 is probably my favorite car of all time. Slap a set of my new favorite wheels (a set of Epsilon Mesh wheels) and give it a blood red interior and you have a winning combo.
After some lunch up at the Joe’s Crab shack on the wharf that the show was on. The weather cleared up. I made my rounds through the show to see if anything had changed. Met up with my friend Spencer and his girlfriend, hopped in his wagon, and hitched a ride back home.
I enjoyed my day, had a good time, met some good people. While this really isn’t my scene anymore and I have some pretty harsh opinions about the happenings within it. But, that didn’t stop people from putting on a pretty good show. I don’t think I would go out of my way to attend it again. If I got the invite to go back, I don’t think I would be able to say no. Thanks again to the Fort Euro Gruppe guys and gals for showing me a good time and to the staff and volunteers who made WBTB a good event once again!
You can view the full gallery of photos from the event on our Flickr (here)