Since 2001, SoCal Euro has put together a massive annual gathering of all European makes and models known as Big SoCal Euro. Over that time, the event has grown, brought in new generations of car enthusiasts, and earned a reputation as the premier “can’t miss” event for the Euro enthusiast crowd.
Presented by Volkswagen and powered by Optima Batteries, this year’s event took place at the Irwindale dragstrip, about 120 miles north of its long-standing home base at SDCCU Stadium in San Diego. The change of venue was necessary as demolition of that stadium began earlier this year. With events no longer taking place at the Mission Valley landmark, a move to Irwindale seemed liked a natural step, given the activities that take place during Big Euro.
Irwindale’s vast layout and official dragstrip, as compared to the old location’s makeshift set up, served as the perfect transition for an event that has seen over 3,000 cars on display in some instances. Along with the drag racing option for attendees, drift and burnout sessions were organized, as well as a crowd favorite two-step competition. At the end of the day, awards were handed out and raffle numbers announced.
As with previous years, supporting vendors were on hand to show off new products and demo cars. This included some well-recognized groups, including Toyo Tires, Pacific German, KW Suspensions, and a host of others.
You probably recognize this Mk1 Volkswagen Scirocco, owned by Rotiform co-founder Jason Whipple, which has run the rounds ever since its debut at the 2018 SEMA show. If the clean appearance of the often-overlooked 1980s-child doesn’t pull you in, its unique exterior treatment, applied by artist Nicolai Sclater, certainly will.
After sitting around without an engine for about four decades, this Renault Dauphine was picked up by Justin Cashmore, who has thoroughly reworked it from front to back. The long list of modifications goes well beyond the wheel and tire package stuffed under add-on fender flares. Take for instance its one-off cantilever suspension set up, 12-point roll cage, right-hand drive conversion, and the overwhelming jump in motivation thanks to a VW-sourced 2.8-liter V-6 (or VR6 in VW parlance) engine swap.
This BMW 2002, owned by Rial Barnett is much more than just a pretty face. Although it did make an appearance in the Eibach booth at SEMA for a week, it was built to turn laps and it does just that, competing in the B-sedan challenge. As a bonus, it was also replicated in 1:64 scale, courtesy of Hot Wheels.
Any new car that debuts these days is a target for social media users foaming at the mouth to pick designs apart and demand designers be fired. The latest generation BMW M3 caught copious amounts of flack online due to its controversial front grille treatment. Something tells us that people will eventually calm down, and as the car continues to gain aftermarket support and custom versions like this matte orange example are born, that grill will magically begin to shrink in most fans’ eyes.
Nguyen Vo’s Porsche 911 GT3 looks like it just rolled off the paddock, ready to rip more laps. It’s also been seen on the street quite a bit. A sight to witness, especially from behind, as the wing towers over a low-slung diffuser that sits just below a strategically cut rear bumper.
With so much attention surrounding the VW, Porsche, and BMW crowds, Audi fans are sometimes forgotten about, but not at this event. In fact, a specific section was set up for Audi Fest—essentially an event of its own, within the Big Euro celebration.
Not your social studies teacher’s Mercedes, this duo sits much lower and atop carefully selected wheels that narrowly tuck under the fenders of their razor-straight bodies.
This sedan, however, sits just as low on factory refinished wheels and gets a considerable increase in grunt from an LS swap, which seems to fit comfortably within the Merc’s chest cavity.
You’ve seen Japanese wheels on European cars and vice-versa, but these days it’s become much more common. This bright red Porsche 911 sports Regamaster Evos, which have recently been introduced in Porsche-friendly sizing. A long-time favorite among the Nissan and Honda crowd, the classic five-spoke seems to suit P-cars well.
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