Gallery>> Kevin Raekelboom Euro Photography

It's a little bit of a sore point for me that Speedhunters hasn't really repped the Euro tuning scene as much as it deserves. It was never really our full intention to become a Japanese car centric website, but instead show case car cultures around the world that we feel are forward thinking, relevant and edgy. So Japanese automotive culture certainly is a big part of this vision, but it also doesn't exclude the possibility that we can also showcase automotive scenes of European or American origins. So rather than looking at country of origin, we tend to use the following paradyms to decide if a car is going to get a Speedhunters feature or not:

1: street style: it's a real car, not a PR build… or if a race car, is related back to machines that people drive on the road.

2: relevant: the car is forward thinking, not outdated and stale

3: quality: the car deliberate in it's construction, and doesn't have any glaring problem areas for what it is trying to acheive.

4: really bloody fast: not always necessary, but performance cars are usually inspirational

5: universal: can excite a generalized car fan or someone from a different scene…. the character of the car is that cool

Sounds ok to you? Think we are missing any thing?

Fans of Japanese car tuning do spend a lot of time looking at the latest thinking and styling coming from Japan, but what about Europe? Shouldn't we also have a window in on the latest movements of this rich and varied scene?…. Well I think so, which is why we are going to be pushing to feature more European based car meets and machines for year two of Speedhunters. This will not be at the expense of our Japanese car features, but more an addition to.

 In the US, we've seen a very strong movement away from the neon-hyper-plastic-fiberglass-over-vinyled-mega-rice-boy-spo-com style for some time now…. But on the European continent the parallel evolution is still mid-stride. There are still plenty of "baroque" show and shine cars in the tuning scene there. So Speedhunters' showcase of the Euro scene is going to be a bit of a challenge, as there is bit a blurry line IMHO between the cheesy and the cool.

None the less, there are many very exciting cars to choose from… just takes a bit a good eye and perhaps a bit of awareness of the parallel movements in the Japanese car scenes across the world.

One person who appears to be in the center of the action in Benelux and Germany is photographer Kevin Raekelboom. I've been checking out at his photography recently at am quite impressed with what I see. Not all the cars on his site are to my taste, but looking at his larger body of work (including those he's getting published in European and UK mags) I quite like a lot of the vehicles he's choosing to shoot.

Here is a question for you: Is offset really everything? Is this the fundamental number one area to work on with a car?

Let's me challenge this notion, and propose that stance is everything. This is a universality that transcends all types of modified cars, from Rods, Lowriders, and Kustoms, to Drift Machines, Lowdown and VIP Style cars… Would you agree with this premise? Offset wheels are not always relevant to all applications, but getting the height of a machine just so… well that is really where everything starts isn't it?

While we ponder this thought, let us appreciated the stance on this Passat together… tres cool!

And here we have a European car, repping a style with its origin in the US of A… Cal Look… This car is very similar to my first
car!… Love it…

The Euro-smooth style (someone correct me if I am using the wrong term) is an area that sometimes looks alien to my current viewpoint…. If we try and look at this Rover with an objective eye, it carries many styling cues that you could directly compare to an extreme VIP style car. The tires are stretched and fit tight to the wheel wells. The body work is clean. The stance is low and wide… all good yes?

But I'm slightly on the fence if it is cool or not. 

Is my bias the fact that this started life as really cheap car which likely doesn't have any real performance mods? Hmmm… let's run it past the Speedhunters Razors I listed before:

 1: street style: The Rover does have air ride so can be raised for normal driving circumstances. So I am going to assume it is a daily driver.

2: relevant: hmmm…. The Euro scene is an international movement but the
Euro-smooth style growing or not really going any where? Not sure..
perhaps I don't know enough to comment.

3: quality: looks good from where I'm standing!

4: really bloody fast: no, but then again is a bosozuku car or a VIP Estima? Is the paradox that we more expect a small hatch back to be speed focused? Am I thinking about this too much? It's worth bearing in mind that in some European countries it is illegal to modify your engine components, so visual customization is the only way for young folks to personalize their inexpensive cars. Performance customization is a no-go zone.

5: universally inspirational:  I'm going to say a NO here simply because the car started life as a cheap FF econo-box…. I'm pretty sure some people are going to be turned off by this. We have enough problems posting Hondas let alone Rovers.

How would you answer these questions? Remember we don't need to say yes
to all of the above points for a car or style to be considered
Speedhunters worthy. I'm interested to know what you think. Win or lose?

 Euro community people please speak up!

Thanks to Kevin for the photos…. We hope to feature more of his work in the near future especially his bank of Golfs, BMWs, Audis, Corrados and Autobahn machines!


Kevin Raekelboom's Website



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

"We have enough problems posting Hondas"???


The Rover is rice, plain and simple. The bodykit is ugly, wheel fitments looks wrong (for an FF car) and interior wise looks like what a ricer would do. Show cage anyone? But everything else is a perfect example of Euro tuning.


the Smooth style is allso referred to as "Cleaning", no badges etc. (im surprized this car has doorhandles!) and just bigass bumper and stretched tires


@Muzaffar: That rover's bodykit is hand made and the rims are just a style, if the rims @ the back are smaller than the front rims it would be ugly.


That is the only example of a Euro Rover ive ever seen... lets hope its the last.. in fact lets hope its the last rover i ever see on speedhunters!

Euro is a big look, BUT not on a Rover..!


This rover represent typical spanish/french style which is not quite popular in other european countries

It looks cheap.


How come there are so many Honda haters, ive never understood it?


That Beetle isn't cal-look at all


it's a Jetta, not a Passat... Nice photos though!


By the way, most Japanese VIP enthusiests do performance modifications as well. They DO have big V8s. ;)

I'm ALL for more Euro, anything that is LOW. The Euro scene is filled with the creative type and you can see ANYTHING done to a Euro car.


I have been folowing your site from awhile now and i can say i like the most of it, i'm from Europe the continent in wich was invented the car and bike tuning .

Even if i travel a lot (germany, hungary, austria, italy) the japoneze car culture reduces to a few honda toyota and mazda tuning and silvia's gtr's are rare and most of lexus or infinity owners are not the kind who improoves their cars. About the european tuning scene what can i say to you it has werry many forms like: full tuning (body, engine/whole car) mostly profesionally done for/by streetracers - enthusiast and some werry pro company's, body tuning (just the car's body suffers modificatons and usualy the outcome is some flashy kitch like that rover witch comes from spain, france or maybe france), just engine tuning with werry slightly exterior tunes mostly the owners are street racers and the do not want to outstand from the crowd mostly they can be notice by someone with a bit trained eye in germany and uk, cult tuning (like the blue golf mk1) witch mostly refers to older 10-20 year old cars wich are tuned and in the same time they keep they retro look even if fitted with bodykit.


allow me and my few cents,

The Rover and other cars like it? Go ahead. Speedhunters should just show it. If there's a car sub-culture out there that has a big enough community supporting it, I'd say Speedhunters could cover it.

Drift, Show, Rods, Drag, VIP, face it... there would always be fans and haters. But Speedhunters have been coming up with awesome coverage with no bias (okay, maybe not on Antonio and his offset wheels, haha). Just cause it's not really cool with some of them, means Speedhunters have to avoid them. Just like Mike giving us an insight on Bozos. Most of us wouldn't be caught dead driving one of those but we love reading about them and the motoring life in Japan. Another example is The Bucket Golf. What an inspiring read.

So, my point is, if there's a fan base out there for that particular type of cars, BRING IT ON, SPEEDHUNTERS!


Those last 2 cars...... Ugh.... DO NOT WANT!!!

The others are fine, though.


That Corsa and Rover are chavvy as hell and are probably driven by twats in baseball caps.

That Beetle looks amazing though, thats just how a Bug should look, rusty and lowered with nice rims. Beetle's in perfect condition don't do anything for me.


Unfortunately, the current Euro tuning scene is in turmoil.

The only guys doing a good job are the classic VW guys which value offset and stance just as much as any japanese. There are also some that use the same clean, low style on other cars, like Peugeots or Renault.

In the middle of the pack are the undecided guys, the ones that want "the whole package" but don't have a clue about what that is, the ones that have red Corsas with old-school rims, brown interiors and chromed roll-bars! *puke* That and the Rover are the purest form of Euro "rice". In Japan and US, people have gotten over the rice era. I could say the tuning scene matured there. Unfortunately, the Corsa and Rover are still considered "cool" in some parts of Europe :(

Going higher up, we have the big house tuners who only seem to be building PR cars. You barely see any of their cars on the roads They always seem to build these cars on a "heavily chip tuned" entry-level diesel version and put on the most expensive parts they have. They made this "sheep in wolf's clothing" very popular around here. Of course, they brag it's "environmental", but driving the bolts out of a puny diesel is nowhere near "green", as is running the heck out of a puny gas engine... These guys have more taste than the average "ricer" when it comes to body kits and wheels, but their products are fairly expensive and they lack the fanbase to be considered a culture.

There are of course a lot of very good examples, like the Lancia Delta featured recently here, but these guys get a lot less publicity than they deserve...


why the honda hate rod?


European tuning has lot more to say in my opinion, maybe it isn't as good as the japanese (better saying radical), but anyway it do has it's good things.

About the ''baroque'' cars, well, I think it depends on the owner, it's a style that I don't really like at all... unfortunetly here in Spain you can find a lot of them...


there is a new retro style emerjing in spain at the mo its kinda like the sean in japan as far as classics are conserned but with out the insain cambe angles wich is a shame and insten of toyotas and datsuns there useing cars like renult 8s seat 124 (the same as the fiat of the same name) simca 1000s and even the odd seat 600 or autobianachi a112 altho so far its just a rural thing this car style is growing and these things are sexy so ceep a look out


I second the comments from "Hon, Malaysia." You're about bringing the world car culture to the world... So, Bring It!!


No thnks on Euro and USDM, the only thing i wan't to see is JDM!


as was mentioned before, that's a mk5 jetta, and not a b6 passat, but the error is forgiven :P


as a HUGE euro fan, i really appreciate the effort on your part, Rod, and look forward to seeing what else you guys can bring to us in terms of european car scene coverage. i'll do my part as best as i can to enlighten or educate, and if i get the chance, contribute myself.


the "euro-smooth" look is usually referred to (or at least here in ontario) as "clean". see

i agree with the majority of people on here when i say that the example you've shown is not exactly the prettiest, and there are still a whole whack of "chav" or overdone such clean-look cars. that isn't to suggest that clean cannot be done properly. i'm thoroughly impressed by the dedication the boys in Belgium have to putting air-ride in EVERYTHING and dropping it as hard as possible on a set of unique or imaginative rims. I remember when the B6 passat had been released for but a week and already there were shots of one showing up at treffens just scraping its belly on the gravel on a set of large, black RS6 rims. a lot of the time this works, unfortunately not always, but i'd say the majority of what makes it through the taste filters before it reaches me here in canada is still very well done.


anyway looking forward to more, good effort so far! :P




I do have to admit that the rover looks like horse c**p, however I think that the euro scene does have more to offer than these rice cars, like the DAHLBACK GOLF TURBO and many others...


I can't speak for the rest of the world, but here in the USA I think you've got plenty of quality European cars to choose from with regards to style, originality and power. Skim the forums at, maybe search "stance" and see what comes up. Plenty of speedhunter worthy cars IMO.


I'm from the US and I do have to say that there is alot to cover in the Euroscene (that is not rice) that would be a great add to Speedhunters.

If you're going to start focusing on Euro-spec tuning cars, I'd suggest focusing on enthusiasts cars than spend more time being weekend-track day warriors then Euro-show cars. One of the reasons that the Japanese scene seems to be so popular is because of the multi-facited used that their street machines go through. It's not uncommon to see a street-prepped machine doing drift work on one weekend, then grip work on another. Now that, regardless of what type of cars you like, that is cool.

There are alot of quality privateer tuned cars in Europe that one can see lapping Silverstone, Brands Hatch, or the Nurburgring on the weekends. From Hot hatches to pure performance cars. Plenty of car clubs, tuning shops and etc. If Speedhunters wants to keep a strong performance and inspirational outlook, I would suggest looking at these types of machines.

Personally what turned me off to the Euro show scene are the stupid wheels, and ugly body kits that vomit over those rides. Although I see those spo-com trends in the Japanese and American scenes too, so it's not just exclusive to Euro.

Function >Form

There are several magazines that you can check out just for some inspiration from the UK. "Banzai, Japanese Performance Car, Performance Car, Evo and CAR" just to name a few. Even in Europe, there is a strong Japanese tuning car scene, as well as tuning scene of thier own brands. (Renualt, Peogeots, etc) I've got tons of magazines gracing my place that are from the UK featuring shops and tuning cars that Speedhunters could feature that wouldn't garbage up the sight and keep a strong performance feel.

Please keep this mind and stay away from the Euro-Rice...

Also there are plenty of classic racing cars from all the major European manufactuers from Ferrari, Alfa, Renault, Porsche, pretty much any of the greats in Rally, Touring Car and Endurance Racing that would be great features. (Audi Quattro Rally Car? Ferrari 288 GTO? Renault Williams Cup Car?)

Also what about the supercars? Pagani Zonda's, CCRs from Konigsegg (spelled that wrong), Ascari's? Anyone gone to the Ascari Track and Resort in Spain? That would make another great feature. It's a racing resort with a track custom built with some of the greatest corners replicated there. (Go onto the Ascari website and you'll see what I'm talking about) Just for example.

Long story short, you can over the european scene without showing vomit-rice. Look to the track days, look towards European Tuning Shops, look towards the super cars and look toward the racing cars and you will find great builds and features that will add seemlessly onto the site.

You can also feature OEM performance cars (Renualt Clio Cup Car anyone?) new and classic (Renault 5 Turbo or 106 Rallye anyone?) that would be a great add to the site.

If you need some suggestions of features to cover, just let me know ;) Haha.


....I'm sorry Rod....but the examples shown above don't cut it (at least for me)....and that's ok, 'cause you can't please everyone.

What I consider true European tuning is EVOLVE (and their Volvo C30):

Or Dalback (mainly Golf's tuning):

Or Norwegian Tommy Schonberg's Audi RS3:

Or how about featuring cars like this:

Those in my opinion those are just few example of European tuning.....


All good feedback guys! Sorry about the Jetta/Passat error! I should know better!


Very well written Rod, i like the way you outlined the article objectively.

Guy from Europe had a great point, about the rover being french/spanish style.

Like every other part of the world there are regional styles.

The rover displays that region. When I traveled to France/Spain and even Switzerland.

I saw a lot of Seat Ibiza's, Peugeot and Citroens in a style that resembled the show scene of late 1990's in Cali. Granted this was almost 7 years ago, so I'm not up to date on the current trends.

I'm all for Speedhunters posting something that is relevant to different styles around the world.

Most of the new Style that are current are a mixture of cross bread styles anyways. IE - Time Attack rims. Hell, even take a look at the Cuban ghetto fabbed Old 1950's American Style lol.

Anyways, Here is a shop that really stays on point with a perfect stance on their cars.


Lets just face it Europe is not as car friendly as the US. Labor in the northern part of europe is verry expensive and to get the job done one must do a lot work one selves. Like one guy said the Lexus scene is almost absent from the european shows + all the tuning of cars with 100-200 diesel hp is just sorry. Japan on the other hand is a great secene cuz it is a relative small contry size wise but not population wice, witch means lots of customers and lots of good club/track meetings. UK is likely the most similar 2 Japan here in Europe. And than we have the language problem with Scandinavian/English/German/French/Italy/Spain++++ i can go on and on + this means that if there is a realy good show in Romainia you don't hear ablut it before it's to late cuz there is no way to get ahold of a Romainian tuning mag promoting that show here in Scandinavia.


also retro car mag is back in production woop woop


Wow, nice to see some Europe stuff here :) Thanks.

Well, I've to say that Rover is über fugly ! Sorry. But the Passat is hellabadass ! I'm proud to be Belgian (yup, that's a Belgian plate on it).