After attending Club Golf IDF's VW Days last year for the first time, I knew it wasn't an event I wanted to miss again, so I made sure to booked my travel and accommodation for the 2017 show well in advance. Held over two days, this show makes the perfect long weekend, or mini holiday if you're travelling from another country. Whether you decide to camp at the show venue and take advantage of the onsite night-time entertainment, or stay in the nearby hotels and takeover the local town (which is what we did), VW Days is more about spending time with friends - it just so happens to be an incredible car show, too. With high quality cars attending from all over Europe, there was plenty to see - what they've achieved is, no doubt, France's answer to a premier car show. Although I'd say the event is 90% VAG, Ilce and the organisers are partial to the odd BMW, Mercedes-Benz and non-VAG car being allowed in, which makes for a nice change, because although the Europeans build some of the best Volkswagens and Audis that I've ever seen, it's still good to offer some variety - they seemed to get this just right.
If you're a car enthusiast, go to shows, or have an interest in car cleaning and detailing, chances are you've heard of Auto Finesse. They've been around since 1999, but seen a huge expansion over recent years, offering a huge range of quality car cleaning products and are known for their presence throughout the car show calendar. It was their demo vehicles which first had us noticing the brand, with a whole host of classic Volkswagens including a Mk1 Caddy, Type2 hightop, and a selection of incredible Mk2 Golfs (all fully built to a high standard), they certainly know how to attract attention to themselves. More recently they've been expanding into other marques with a bagged BMW F80 M3 and a Ford Transit Connect M Sport, to name a few - it's clear that James and the team at Auto Finesse absolutely love cars and aren't just in this to make a buck. Auto Finesse has become a household name within the car community, so what better way to get fans, customers, and those simply intrigued by the brand, together in one venue. This called for a special gathering, the 'Chill & Grill', which debuted last year with the help of The Star pub in Standon, Hertfordshire (not far from their HQ), hosting a BBQ and turning their car park and pub garden into a display of pre-selected show cars of every variety. Sadly we missed out in 2016, but when Team AF decided to bring it back this year, we jumped at the opportunity and made our way up to Hertfordshire.
Launching a new German car show in an already jam-packed season is brave, but with so many new events popping up each year, it just goes to show that there are still gaps to fill. We're always keen to check out new events whenever they're not clashing with our regulars. Straight Outta Kempton (SOK) set the bar high from the get-go, promoting the tagline "A car show like no other" ....That has a lot to live up to, but I have to say they definitely got it right with the location - the historic Kempton Park racecourse in Middlesex. A great location for anyone near London and the surrounding areas. So, what was really different about this show? I hear you asking... Well, SOK changed up the timetable from the usual car shows, opening their gates to the public at 2pm on a Saturday afternoon, with the notion of carrying it on until late that night (Show & Shine trophies were held at 7:30pm!). "No one likes getting up at 5am to go to car shows!" they stated, and we agree - it definitely set a much more chilled atmosphere for the afternoon and early evening. Okay, so a late start... But what were the cars like? SOK made the wise move of gathering numerous car clubs from across the UK - this ensured a high turnout and a strong mix of all sorts of German cars. Combined with pre-selected show cars, as well as Show & Shine area for cars that simply turned up on the day, there was plenty to look at - just check out our highlights...
I think that we may have a slight addiction to wagons, just check out a few of our recent features and all will become clear! Regardless of manufacturer, they just transform so well when introduced to a fancy wheels and lowered suspension. There's also something satisfying about essentially turning a 'boring' family car into something that can turn heads. Estate cars are ultimate practical cars, with plenty of people using them over small vans if they can get away with it, which is exactly what today's feature car is used for. It may not be a show piece, but Only Charged Dubs' Audi Allroad has been subtlety, yet tastefully, modified to handle their daily duties as well as transporting the OCD trade stand around the UK and Europe (just like we do with our own Audi wagon, in fact). Plus, it works hand-in-hand as a demo car for many of the products they offer, too, featuring an Airdynamiks air suspension package with AccuAir e-Level management and more.
Last year, Early Edition's future was not looking promising. With poor attendance and blatant slating happening within the community, something drastic had to be done to prevent the show from fading away - the Edition38 team clearly needed to reassess the whole event. Well, they did just that... Finally, a new venue was announced for 2017 - Sywell Aerodrome, just down the road from their main "Show & Shine" event at Overstone Park (held in September). With the disappointment of 2016's Early Edition, I don't think anyone, including ourselves, knew what to expect with the new venue. However, I'm pleased to report that Edition38 have well and truly bounced back with their latest offering, which was almost on par with their main event. Venue-wise, Sywell Aerodrome provided some well-needed hard ground, an indoor hangar (carpeted and looking rather exclusive), plenty of traders, food/drink, plus a HUGE field-based showground. With plenty of room for expansion too, there's no telling how big this event could now become... You know they've got it right when it actually feels like the Edition38 weekender on arrival - it had the vibe - something which the old venue just didn't ever possess. The weather always makes for a better day, right?
Back in the Spring of 2015 I was invited to an Open Day at The Wheel Specialist's (TWS) Fareham branch. Not knowing what to expect, it turned out to be one of the biggest Southern event's that I've attended with a surprisingly high standard of cars in attendance. Two years later, TWS got in touch to say they were organising another Open Day event to celebrate 10 years in business, and they wanted Slam Sanctuary to be involved. Naturally, I agreed, with the intention of targeting the sort of cars that we love - of the slammed variation of course. Well, TWS smashed it once again. The event was a huge success, with all sorts of cars taking over the surrounding industrial estate. With a DJ, burger van, a bar, and great coffee from The Splitscreen Barista, the vibe was perfectly chilled, giving us southerners a much-needed chance to catch up with one another as well as getting a chance to chat to TWS about their services and get an insight into what they do. With so many cool cars popping in and out throughout the day, I captured a few of my favourites, check them out...
After the success of last year's show, we decided to head back up to Rockingham Motor Speedway for 2017's offering of Stance Fever. Starting back in 2014 as a small event at the Ace Cafe in London, Stance Fever is the brainchild of Faz Ahmed (Specialist Tyres) and Nick Rance (Beds-Modified) who wanted to bring two rather different car cultures and styles together. It's no surprise, then, that a wide variation of cars and taste is commonplace at their show. Both well connected within the car community, Nick and Faz packed-out the Ace Cafe for their first event... Year two called for a bigger venue, and a move to Norton Heath Centre in Essex. With the high quality of cars, more and more people had their eyes on Stance Fever, thanks to their 'quality over quantity' vibe, visible from the get-go. In 2016, it was time to open up the show to a wider audience with the introduction of Rockingham Motor Speedway, which provided much more space for cars. Take a look at our highlights from last weekend...
If you're looking for a one-stop shop for all things Air Lift Performance, Rotiform wheels, and in-car entertainment, then Car Audio & Security (CAS) is the place to visit. Being the largest distributors in the UK and Europe, they've been on our radar ever since we started Slam Sanctuary. They're well known for having some of the most notable demo cars in the car industry and car community - you will have no doubt seen a few of them at the big car shows such as Ultimate Dubs and Players. Every year, CAS open their premises to the public to show off their latest cars and what they have to offer. To top things off, they also offer a massive sale on most products for one weekend only, which certainly attracts people from all over the country. This year, the team have expanded their HQ with the addition of yet another warehouse - a great opportunity to pack it full of more show cars. We made the trip down on Sunday, the final day of the Open Weekend, to take a look at their 2017 demo vehicles and everything else that turned up.
There's something about 90's Mercedes-Benz models that remains appealing to this day... whether it's the sharp, classic lines or those bold square headlights, I'm not entirely sure, but there's certainly something I love about them, I just can't put my finger on exactly what it is. Therefore, it should come to no surprise that this is the third W201 that we've featured on Slam Sanctuary, and possibly the best yet, but I'll let you be the judge of that. Connor Hollamby's 190E has been around for a while, but he's recently changed things up for the 2017 show season and I completely fell in love with the car again a couple of months ago when he fired over a few sneak-peek photos (whilst he was test-fitting his new wheels). This is one of those cars that will no doubt see a lot of attention throughout the rest of the year, so I made my way up to Connor as soon as possible for my chance to photograph it in the lush Surrey hills.
Elsecar at the Races is a new one for us at Slam Sanctuary, so let's begin with a little history... What started out as a car meet known as 'Elsecar Mega Meet' / 'Club GTI Mega Meet' a whole 19 years ago, this historical gathering of cars has grown into something much, much bigger. With previous meets taking place at the Elsecar Heritage Centre in Elsecar, Barnsley, they were seeing over 200 show cars and 200 club cars in attendance! With popularity continually growing, 2016 saw the organisers move the event to Doncaster Racecourse, which has the the capacity for 700+ vehicles. This went hand-in-hand with re-naming the show to 'Elsecar at the Races'. Our friends at Only Charged Dubs (and Elsecar show sponsors) had been raving about last year's show, which meant we had to come up this year to see what all the fuss was about. We were met with one of most chilled-out events we'd ever been to. The whole vibe was perfect and everyone was extremely welcoming and friendly to each other. Along with an excellent mix of stanced, classic, air-cooled, and a whole host of club stands on display, Elsecar is a show that any petrolhead can enjoy - catering for all tastes.