RollHard: The Show 2016

Established back in 2010, RollHard is now one of the most recognised groups in the modified car scene... They choose to focus on the sense of community that comes with the lifestyle of a petrolhead, "All makes, all models, one community" as they state, which I absolutely love. It's not hard to work out why so many car enthusiasts choose to be a part of RH and of course rock the stickers on their cars. Let's face it, if you're into cars, you've heard of RollHard. They're everywhere, and even have a huge following over in Europe. Having previously held a few events (RollHard Duxford back in 2013, The Belgian Chapter in 2014 and 2015, and their Charity event also in 2015), a new idea was brought to life this year after discovering an absolute gem of a location in Essex - the Cressing Temple Barns. Imagine a beautiful, scenic venue in the remote countryside, featuring 13th Century Medieval barns, outbuildings, gardens, and paddocks. Not your usual recipe for a car show, but that's what made this one just that extra bit special. With plenty of nooks and crannies throughout the venue, cars were dotted all over the place, which made it more fun to explore than say, strolling past rows upon rows of cars like at other shows. Usually, I'm not the biggest fan of car events on grass, but the quirkiness of this venue definitely made up for it. So, sit back and check out the highlights below...

FittedUK 2016 – Part 2

Welcome back to our FittedUK coverage - in this final part I'll take you through the remaining highlights from the incredible show at EventCity, the new location for 2016. You've already seen that the event was full of high quality cars and now it's about to get even better. It's time to take a look into the carpeted hall, show a few gems that we missed from the rest of the venue and even more of the cars from the Slam Sanctuary booth. There's something special about an event of this size. All the excess space glorifies the cars on show, allowing you to fully admire them. When they're squashed together (like at a lot of smaller shows) you're much more likely to walk straight past or pay less attention. FittedUK was like an art exhibition for cars... They truly nailed what a static automotive event should be. Anyway, on to the all-important photos...

FittedUK 2016 – Part 1

If you were to step inside FittedUK's new venue for 2016, you wouldn't believe that they're only into their third year of putting on events. Now, I thought their show was big last year, but this time they've taken it to the next level and beyond by renting out EventCity in Manchester. That's 28,000 square metres of indoor space, making it the UK's biggest indoor car show... Quite a step up from Wetherby Racecourse, leaving a hell of a lot of space to fill with cars, traders and public ticket-holders of course. The FittedUK team have been promoting this year's event throughout social media and constantly teasing us with photographs and videos showing off the size of the venue - so turning up on the day before the show to set up the Slam Sanctuary trade stand was an incredible chance to see it all come together and watch Alex and the team's vision come into fruition. To be honest, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect.. could they deliver on everyone's high expectations? Well, sure enough Sunday morning arrived, the doors opened to the public, and rest-assured, people started flowing in. It was BUSY - all day long. Normally at shows, people tend to get bored towards the end of the day, but with an event this big - there was always something new to see. So much in fact, that we've had to split our photo coverage into two articles! So sit back and enjoy Part 1 below...

Gravity 2016

Launching a new automotive event in the congested UK show circuit is a daunting task. For people that do what we do, a dedicated show is the ultimate dream and accomplishment, which our friends at Slammed UK have managed to achieve this year with their debut show 'Gravity'. With more and more shows popping up on the calendar, the venue has become the 'make or break' factor. Jordan, the main man behind Slammed UK and Gravity, spent a lot of time getting it right, opting for NAEC at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire - just outside of Coventry. An ideal central location, easily accessible for the rest of the country, and with plenty of indoor space - absolutely critical now that the British weather has become as unpredictable as ever. With two halls; a VIP-style room similar to those at Ultimate Dubs, a main hall with barn-like lighting & attributes, plus a large outside area, there was a nice contrast of backdrops which makes for an overall captivating feeling. Slammed UK are known for their variation in the car scene and their show was the perfect example of that. Take a look at our highlights...

Dorset Volksfest 2016

We've been supporting Dorset Volksfest (DVF) since their first show back in 2013. Being on our doorstep, DVF brings our local Volkswagen community together over a long weekend (Friday-Sunday). It's the perfect excuse to have a short break with family and friends and admire some awesome VW's at the same time. The show has continued to grow, with 2016 no doubt being their biggest and best event yet. It's even started to attract people from all over the country which is truly amazing to see - it means Richie and the DVF crew are doing something right! If you're looking for a chilled weekend away with plenty of food & drink, trade stalls and entertainment, then this is the show for you. This year we turned up on the Sunday and set up our pop-up store - thanks to everyone that stopped by and picked up some gear! Of course, whilst juggling the store, we managed to take a look around the Show & Shine area as well as the many cool cars dotted around the show field. Here's our highlights...

Kustom Kolors’ Open Day 2016

If you haven't heard of Kustom Kolors, well you're in for a treat... They're a local bodyshop specialising in everything from crash repairs to full restorations and custom work with plenty resulting in magazine features. Some of the rarest and most exotic cars pass through the workshop, so when Colin (the head honcho) got in touch a few months ago and suggested that I come along with the Slam Sanctuary pop-up store for their 2016 Open Day, I was completely game. In the past, their open days have always been a massive success, bringing numerous local car enthusiasts together. It's awesome to team up with nearby businesses to show off what our area has to offer. Plus, being neighbours, Jimmy's Iced Coffee got involved with sponsoring the event and came down in their huge Mercedes-Benz camper truck and were offering free iced coffee all day - perfect on a sunny day, which it was! Oh, did I mention that there was a free BBQ all day, too?

In The Blood – Adam Hodge’s 2009 Audi S3 8P

If you're from Dorset and have an interest in modified cars, then you'll probably know of Adam Hodge. He's one of our county's most well known people when it comes to tasteful low cars. Being a mechanic at a VAG Specialist (VAS Works) as well as having owned twelve of these cars, he's become the source of all information for everyone who wants help getting their A3/S3 quicker or closer to the ground. If you're into your A3's and S3's, face it, you've heard of him. Seriously, the amount of queries he gets is mind-blowing. But when you do something so well, it's hardly surprising that so many people want to replicate it. So, when Adam told me that his first ever car was actually an A3, I was hardly surprised! He first caused a stir a few years ago with a bright orange S3 on air ride, which was one of the first cars in the UK on AccuAir's e-Level. After that he switched back to static suspension with a gorgeous TT which did the rounds last year, but he still can't seem to get the S3 out of his system. At the beginning of 2016 he went and picked up another example, but his time he's opted for a more subtle, OEM+ approach.

VW Days 2016

This year is all about the European car shows here at Slam Sanctuary. I'd heard numerous good things about VW Days, which is organised every year by 'Club Golf Ile de France' and held in a quiet town just outside of Saint Quentin. This is nice for us Brits as the venue is less than a two-hour drive from the Calais terminal, and essentially one stress-free smooth toll road. Being a two day event, we set off on the Saturday morning from the Eurotunnel and decided to stay overnight in a hotel just ten minutes away, although for a majority of the show goers, it's all about the camping experience. This year though, the weather on Saturday was horrendous - so I'm glad I had a hotel room! The rain put a few people off on day one making it a washout, but come Sunday the sun was out and the show transformed into something epic. I even came home with some sunburn! Much like when we were in Belgium, it was a nice change to see what the Europeans are building. To adhere to the name VW Days, the event is very VAG-orientated, understandably, with a few exceptions that you'll find throughout the article. All in all, I was blown away by the variety of builds and the sheer size of the show. Here are the cars that stood out from the crowd...

Players Classic 2016

Players Classic 2016 is a big one for me, it marks the 3 year anniversary of Slam Sanctuary, as this was the show that kickstarted my love of photographing cars. Since then the car scene has come a huge way in terms of quality and builds, just as this show has. Every year the team somehow seem to take over more and more of the Goodwood Motor Circuit grounds to the point where you'll fail to find a patch of land that isn't taken up by a show car. Players Classic is the biggest show of the year since Ultimate Dubs back at the start of the season. It's become so popular that a lot of the show is now largely filled with cars that have made the journey over from Europe. Also, Players is so well-known in the car world that people even fly over from the USA to check out the show and network. It's become one of the coolest events on the calendar, much down to the venue itself and of course the incredible diversity of cars that are selected and shown throughout Goodwood's historic paddock. In addition to numerous companies trading in the exclusive 'Trade Village' (including us this year!), 'Classic' combines a static show with plenty of track action including the pre-booked track day experience and various drifting displays throughout the day - plenty to keep you entertained. Well, on to our photo coverage, it's another long one, so you might want to grab a cuppa!

OEM+ РNick Sahota’s 1994 BMW E34 540i

If you're an avid BMW fan, you've most probably heard of Nick Sahota, the owner of the bright orange E30 M3 on air that we recently featured. Sure, the M3 is an incredible car, but it's just one of the many stunning vehicles in his garage, which also includes a brand new X6 M, supercharged Kahn Range Rover, Aston Martin V8 Vantage - plus the recently acquired Ferrari Testarossa and Lamborghini Diablo. So yeah, there's no hiding that Nick likes to splash the cash on his toys, but he still stays true to his motoring roots, a marque which he can never seem to get away from, BMW. He grew up with these cars, and is still a true enthusiast at heart. He also owns several E30's to go along with the M3, in addition to an E34 M5 and E34 Alpina B10, which brings us on nicely to today's feature car, the E34 540i. Unsurprisingly, he actually owned a 540i/6 a few years ago, which became an engine donor for his E30 V8 project car, alas the rest of the car was broken and sold on for parts. In hindsight, I'm sure he somewhat regrets it now...