Retro Rides Gathering 2017

Each year I try and get more and more people to go to Retro Rides Gathering (RRG), which I've been attending religiously since 2013. Why? It's unlike any other automotive event on the calendar... You can expect to see some of the rarest cars that were all the rage back in the day - it's truly amazing to experience so many retro rides in one place. RRG is all about acceptance... Whatever your car is, it's cool as long as it's old! You'll rarely come across any snobbery at the Gathering; people are there to hang out with friends, talk cars, enjoy some motorsport and party (If you're there for the camping!). What really makes this event special to me is that motorsport element, the Shelsley Walsh hill climb, which is what a lot of static car shows lack. Well, not Retro Rides, if you get bored looking at cars all day, you can experience the smell of gasoline and burning rubber from the paddocks, or way up on the hill. With morning and afternoon sessions, pretty much anyone can take their car up the historic hill if you register early enough. There are some special 'guest cars' - mostly hardcore race cars which are thoroughly breathtaking, but the majority tend to be completely random, from classic Datsun 240Z's to Ford KA's! Variety is commonplace here, just check out my photo coverage below and see for yourself...

RollHard: The Show 2017

When you've got an idyllic venue in the Essex countryside, tied with an incredible selection of show cars, it was no surprise that RollHard's first show at Cressing Temple Barns was going to be a huge hit. However, I'm not sure anyone, including RH themselves, were under the impression that 2017's show would be so popular that they'd have to close the gates half way through the day because it was so busy. To outgrow a venue in year two of an event is quite something, so props to them. Of course, this led to some nightmare traffic and parking situations for some people - but what do you expect when more people than they had anticipated turn up? (I think the majority of show-goers that turned up on time were okay, though). The quality of cars on display at this year's show was something else and right up there in terms of quality and pure variation. There was also an impressive turnout of Europeans who decided to make the trip over - it's always cool to see cars we don't see often! If you're an avid reader of Slam Sanctuary, you'll know we're big fans of classics cars... well, RollHard 2017 was an absolute haven for them. Anyway, I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking... Sit back and enjoy.

Kustom Kolors’ Open Day 2017

Following the success of their previous events, Kustom Kolors decided to open their doors to the public again this year. Based down in Christchurch on the South Coast (right on our doorstep), Kustom Kolors are expert vehicle refinishers specialising in custom paint, restorations, and crash repairs. You'll also find that they can help with pretty much anything auto-related, including servicing and even air installation. With so many shared interests, it made perfect sense to team up with Colin (KK's head honcho) and the team to bring you 2017's Open Day. The whole ethos behind our event was to create something with a chilled vibe, tasteful music, good food (not the usual boring burger van) thanks to 'The Laughing Street Chef' and of course some incredible cars. It worked out as a perfect opportunity for friends to meet up and spend the day with each other, as well as meeting other local's who may have not this sort of thing before (and by that I mean slammed cars!). Oh, and we had the amazing Jimmy's Iced Coffee in attendance, too, seeing as they're based across the road from Kustom Kolors HQ. They were kind enough to keep everyone hydrated and enthused with lots of FREE iced coffee. What more could you want?

FittedUK 2017

When FittedUK moved their show to Eventcity in Manchester last year, I wasn't really sure what to expect, as the venue was staggering in size. However, they pulled it off and the show was a huge success, marking it as one of the UK's largest indoor automotive events whilst catering for all sides of the industry, and the many styles that come with vehicle modification. The show has something for everyone... With four halls, 28,000 sq metres of indoor space, and 22,000 sq metres of outdoor space, it really is absolutely huge. You'd think it would be hard to fill such a vast space with quality cars, but yet again, the team at FittedUK smashed it and put on an incredible display. From new Lamborghini's to hot rods, from custom bikes to lowriders... the variation was seriously impressive. The coolest thing about FittedUK? It's got to be seeing select cars on raised podiums. Cool, or what? I've done my best to capture some of my favourite cars from the day, check them out below and don't forget to browse the 'Bonus Gallery' too.

Gravity 2017

When I think of SlammedUK, variation comes to mind. Regardless of their name, the brand is essentially an open book when it comes to their following of modified cars, which is why their show 'Gravity' appeals to all sorts of cars in the community. Following the success of last year's debut event, Gravity returned to Stoneleigh Park for a second year. I was seriously impressed with last year, but I have to say, the latest offering completely blew 2016 away in terms of cars, trade, music, and the sheer amount of public attendees. So, another congratulations is in order for Jordan and his team at SlammedUK! Whether you're into Volkswagens, BMWs, Lowriders, RWBs, or Jap cars... the list goes on. Gravity had it all within two huge indoor halls, as well a vast outdoor area (apologies - our booth was so busy that I didn't get a chance to photograph outside this time!). I managed to sneak around the show before it opened to the public to capture a few of our favourite cars.

Raceism THE Event 2017

Last year there was one event, in particular, that had me drooling all over my iPhone screen... the one and only Raceism Event, which boasted purely high-quality cars at a jaw-dropping venue. To top it off there was insane drifting taking place simultaneously, notably featuring a fully stanced, supercharged widebody E46 M3, going at it all weekend! It looked like my idea of heaven, so much so that I knew I had to get over to Poland for their next event. I initially considered driving over from the UK, but damn, Wrocław is a long way! So I looked into flying and amazingly managed to find flights from Stansted-Wrocław for just £50 return. It was decided, then, I was going to Poland! As the flight was so cheap, I just booked it and decided to worry about everything else later. It actually worked out really well. I split the whole trip with a friend, and we found accommodation for four nights for just £60 each and used UBER (which were also stupidly-cheap) to travel around. Raceism were kind enough to sort us out with some Media passes too, so we could get nice and close to the action. The event itself takes place at Wrocław's municipal stadium, a huge venue with an 'upper deck' area utilised for the static show, and a lower car park which is transformed into a drift circuit for the weekend. We arrived nice and early on the Friday, to watch all the show cars arrive and park up. The quality of cars was just as I imagined... next level. I mean, there were four RWB Porsche's in attendance. Yeah, four! It's no surprise that Raceism use the slogan "Go Hard" to promote their show... it sums it up perfectly. I could talk about it all day, but I'll let the photos speak for themselves. Sit back and enjoy...

Players Classic 2017

There's no better way to describe Players Classic than to call it the UK's premium event for modified cars. Everything here is just cool. I always look forward to this one because of the historic venue, Goodwood Motor Circuit, which is transformed and packed-out with high quality show cars for one day a year. If variation is what you want, then this event does this oh so well... Walking through the show you'll be presented with everything from pristine Porsche 356's, to drift cars, lowriders, and everything in between - and, luckily for us, plenty of slammed vehicles. Players Classic is a pre-approved event, which means the show organisers (Carl Taylor & Jay McToldridge) spend a lot of time choosing which cars will gain a place in the show, and decide on where they'll be placed. Clearly, they've become rather good at selecting a suitable mixture of absolute quality - the cars on display definitely seem to be getting better and better each year, they've got this on point. It's forever expanding too, which means if you're not lucky enough to gain a space for your car within the immediate show area, there are now even more locations within Goodwood's grounds in which you'd most likely be placed. This means there was even more to see this year, I've done my best to pick some of my favourites...

VW Days 2017

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.

The Auto Finesse Chill & Grill 2017

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.

Straight Outta Kempton 2017

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...