Finding Ultimate Joy At Wörthersee
Let’s Make A Deal

I’m sitting downstairs in my living room, looking at the rain lashing against the windows of my house. It’s been 24 hours since I left the great southern lake of Wörthersee in Austria, an almost perfectly even 1,000 miles – and about 20 degrees celsius warmer – away. I’m struggling to organise my thoughts and memories into a coherent form. I’ve looked back through the first story, but although it was only written on Monday, it feels like a lifetime ago.

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Even when selecting and editing the images for this story, it feels almost surreal looking back at them. I can’t ever remember having this feeling after an event before. This feeling was present throughout the week too. I would leave the hotel early in the morning, shoot for a couple of hours, return to hotel and dump memory cards, head back out and come back late that night to dump cards and back everything up. Every night I would look back at that day’s work and usually surprise myself by what I had forgot about shooting.

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I hadn’t forgot in the bad way either. There’s so much quality metal and composite on display, that you would drool over something one minute only to be distracted by something even better the next. That’s not to take away from the original source of drool either. There were so many great cars and all great for so many different reasons.

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I’m sure by now that you’re familiar with the Wörthersee treffen and the happening which acts as a prelude to the official event. I’m sure you have your own opinions about it too. All that I ask though, for this one story, is that you keep an open mind and stay with me until the end. Deal?

Deal.
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Before we go any further, I want you to think about what you get from your automotive passion. What do cars do for you?

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I would like to think that there’s one thing that unites us all as car people. This thing is the exact same for all of us, regardless if you’re a muscle car or import person, a race driver or a stance scene member. Whilst how we go about extracting this thing from cars will wildly vary, the net result is always the same.

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This thing is joy.

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Cars bring us all joy and happiness. I can only speak for myself, but there is very little else in life that brings me the sort of joy that my automotive pursuits and adventures bring me. If you’re reading this, then I truly hope you feel the same.

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I think that this joy is something we should be grateful for. Some people spend their entire lives searching for joy, only to come up empty-handed. We are the lucky ones.

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This tangent that I’ve currently veered off does have a point, however. You see, it’s the joy that makes Wörthersee so special.

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It’s the basic emotion of happiness that you can find everywhere you look in any of the small towns that are dotted around Wörthersee. I think it’s partly the reason why Wörthersee as an event and happening has become so popular. In the five days I spent there, I honestly couldn’t even take a guess at the number of cars passing through. Some would stay for a while, others I would never see again.

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Everywhere there were convoys of fantastic cars either aimlessly cruising around or just parked up at the side of the road, their occupants sat roadside enjoying the view and letting the show, so to speak, come to them.

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I spotted vehicle registration plates from Austria, Germany, France, Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium, United Kingdom, Ireland, Slovenia, Poland, Hungary, Romania and even as far north as Norway. I had planned on driving the whole distance, but at approximately 37 hours each way (and a flight to Qatar booked for almost immediately after my return) I had to cheat and fly instead.

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Still, it should give you an idea of the dedication required just to make it to Wörthersee, let alone build a car worthy of attracting attention there.

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In a similar vein to Gatebil, you’re very much rewarded for your curiosity as things are rarely as they first appear. A clean and simple look is very rarely anything but simple to create…

Secret Power
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Whilst I would consider Wörthersee to be primarily about car style and aesthetics, there really was a huge presence of performance machinery at the event this year. Certainly more than I can previously remember.

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The VW Group cars certainly ruled the roost, with turbo VR6 motors being the most popular weapons of choice for the Alpine roads. There were several BMW M4s knocking around too, along with a host of exotic machinery.

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The new – and hugely popular – Golf R was well represented, along with its GTI brother. But there is a bit of a kicker to finding the more performance-orientated builds at Wörthersee.

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That is, it’s almost impossible to identify them amongst a crowd. The VW scene will always be the king of doing things in an understated and subtle manner and this stretches to the fast cars too. Generally, the first time you know something is packing a punch is when it vanishes up the road for the first time, never to be seen again.

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As a journalist, this was quite frustrating as you could never know a car was packing four or five or six hundred horsepower whilst it was parked on the side of the road or even driving by at a casual pace.

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But as a car guy, this was the best thing in the whole wide world. You literally never knew where the next source of anti-lag or high revving power delivery was going to come from. It could be quiet one minute and after some unexpected pops and bangs, it was gone the next.

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Are those Lamborghini brakes for show or do they serve a more deliberate purpose?

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I lost count of the RS and S variant Audis that were rolling around, terrorising others with their performance and practicality. Actually, these last two photos have just reminded me of another piece of the Wörthersee puzzle…

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That is, the lows. Everyone is familiar with the rise in popularity of air suspension and just how advanced the systems have become. At this point in time, it’s accepted by those who know that a good air suspension system can match a similar coil-over setup blow-for-blow in performance applications. It’s no wonder that now that the systems are so commonplace, you automatically assume that when a car is scraping the floor, it’s bagged.

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Assumption, as they say, is the mother of all screw ups, as I quickly found out. Whilst some used air ride just to drive exceptionally low to the point of making it almost impossible to tell the difference, others stayed static. It’s a personal preference at the end of the day and I’m definitely enjoying the ‘battle’ from the sidelines.

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If you were following our Instagram feed, you’ll have noticed a pretty strong showing of Audi’s supercar, the R8, at Wörthersee. I think Ben Chandler predicted this a couple of years back when we last visited, but when a used R8 can be got for less than a new Golf in certain parts of Europe, it was only a matter of time before people started to create these crazy variations of them.

Will this divide opinions? Absolutely. I’m sure there’s already people rushing to the comments already to express their outrage, but I’d like you to take a second to remember what we spoke about earlier. The joy. If this car brings someone happiness, then they’re doing it for the right reason, in my opinion. We all get our kicks different ways, so let’s focus on that.

One Last Hurrah
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As the days blurred into nights and the nights blurred into days, I found myself becoming obsessed with the hunt. Watching cars leaving Velden, I would sometimes follow them for a bit to see if they were heading to a meet outside of the town. More often than not, you would happen upon another meet that nobody knew about in the strangest of places. Only once did I end up following someone to their hotel.

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It was at night that Wörthersee really comes to life. Countless cars driving around in the dark, all with their own destinations in mind.

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No matter what though, everyone always seemed to gravitate back to the ENI station at the top of Velden town, the epicentre of Wörthersee.

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Hundreds of people hanging out on a petrol station forecourt, at night, would be considered a strange past time for most. But those who know, know.

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Isn’t it funny how a petrol station has become one of the most iconic automotive locations on earth? Home is where we make it I suppose.

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No matter how hard I try or how long I think about it, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to explain to you just how incredible Wörthersee is.

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Sure, it’s always going to have its detractors, you just have to look at the comments on the road trip post to see those. Do you know what though? It doesn’t matter what some anonymous internet user who likely doesn’t even own a car thinks, because when you’re stood on the side of the main street in Velden at midnight, and cars are slowly filing past, you cannot help but by enamoured by the atmosphere.

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Nobody here cares about what someone on the internet thinks about their car. All they care about is the now and the joy and the happiness of hanging out with thousands of like minded people from all around the world. People who want to extract as much enjoyment from life and from their passions as they possibly can.

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These are the people I want to get to know. These are the people I want to spend time with. And these are the people who I want to call my friends.

Let’s the drop the hate, it’s boring. Instead, let’s celebrate and enable our own joy of machine.

Paddy McGrath
Instagram: @pmcgphotos
Twitter: @pmcgphotos
paddy@speedhunters.com

Cutting Room Floor
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110 comments

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1

I can't do 2015 but here's a picture of mine for good measure

2

This picture is pure sex, just unbelievable!!!

3
kphillips9936

Nice post...I'll just leave it at that...

4
Jeroen Willemsen

Well spoken Paddy, love the photos

5

@Jeroen Willemsen Thanks, Jeroen!

6

kphillips9936 Thanks, mate. Appreciate that this might not be your thing but I hope you can find something that you can take away from it.

7

JakWhite There's a whole year to plan for 2016 :)

8

AEROHUNTER It's crazy right? I overheard someone saying it looked like something from I-Robot, which seemed pretty accurate.

9

Thanks Paddy for the awesome coverage! I'm an Aussie (mildly in the middle of nowhere) and to see this coverage is really eye opening! 
Does anyone know what rims that red R8 was running? They were interesting! The R8's definitely won me over...

10
SimonSheldrick

The wheels on the Bimmer in pic #53 are mesmerising, They give the impression of moving whilst stationary!  

Great pics and I do appreciate the sentiment. I'm an old skool cruiser guy myself, but anything lowered to the weeds, tweaked and given the smooth, sleeper look is something I will get all pouchy over.  And at the other end of the scale, 'rods and rats and outrageous creations are to marvel over, too.

It's my assertion that car culture in all its manifestations can unite the world: be you Euro, Asian, African, Arab, American, Brit, Scot, Irish, or Oz like me, cool cars are a universal currency. If we could just convince the self-interested elites that sending a delegation of cool cars and their owners to the worlds trouble spots for a bit of a show and shine would do more for world peace than decades of diplomacy, we would be sooo much closer to nirvana.

11

possibly one of the best articles I've ever read on SH, this hate-on-everything-that-isn't-stock seriously sucks!

13

Absolutely cracking article Paddy. Every scroll brought a new Matrix style Keanu Reeves 'Woah' out of me!

14
Throbbingsunburntplums

Never gets old.

15

The orange M3 and the Mk7 R Murdered was the best two , amazing by @nicksingsahota and @adam_7r

16

Lachys114 Theyre made by messer wheels

17
UWerqxTeam_MJ

You do have a bit of stuff about that 600-hp gated manual TT concept Audi rolled in there, right? Will it show up in another post?

18
turbo BEAMS ae86

which wheel in #16?  look villanous to me

19

@turbo BEAMS ae86 On The B5 RS4? OZ Racing Superleggera.

20

UWerqxTeam_MJ It won't be unveiled until next week at the official event, along with two other cars.

21

mlc5309 That would really, really suck.

22

@Ozy Dinc I can't remember seeing Adam's car, but Nick's M3 is epic.

24

SimonSheldrick Yup, 100% agreed with you. Cars create a universal attraction that brings together people of all colours and creed. Our world needs more love and camaraderie like this.

25

Amen.

26

"Cars bring us all joy and happiness. I can only speak for myself, but there is very little else in life that brings me the sort of joy that my automotive pursuits and adventures bring me. If you’re reading this, then I truly hope you feel the same. I think that this joy is something we should be grateful for. Some people spend their entire lives searching for joy, only to come up empty-handed. We are the lucky ones."

Very well said.

27

Dexter's car !!!

28
turbo BEAMS ae86

great photo
sure love R8..even base model..lowest of the low..i will still love it

29
turbo BEAMS ae86

Paddy McGrath bien

31
GrammarPatrol911

That red Oddie has taken the poke/camber cartoonishness to the next level.  Congrats to the owner.  #functional

32
GrammarPatrol911

@turbo BEAMS ae86 Count yourself lucky that you've never actually owned an Audi.  How can I tell?  Because you are still a fan.

33

Really good article, i hope you write another one about worthersee 2015. And something about the gepfeffert Full carbon golf would be cool.

34
turbo BEAMS ae86

GrammarPatrol911 true there..wuajaja

35

Ultimate ride? you will find it in Sweden.. Lotus Exige V10 GTR: http://rejsa.nu/forum/viewtopic.php?t=74693

36
SimonSheldrick

mlc5309 That is gob-smacking.  Manufacturers arguing that you don't own the vehicle. but are merely licensed to operate it by the factory?

I know that Amazon, itunes and the like do this with their on-line product and that in itself is really a bit rich, but applied to cars?  WTF?  And you can bet that this won't just be an American thing - Now that the car manufacturing industry has been gutted in Oz, our spineless elected representatives will gladly bend over for this.

I will be following this.

37

>At this point in time, it’s accepted by those who know that a good air suspension system can match a similar coil-over setup blow-for-blow in performance applications.


What. You must be joking, right?

38
Ildar Sadykov

Good work Paddy, good work!

39

This is definitely a bucket list event!

Awesome coverage

40

love speedhunters, but you're trolling trolls at this point. we all know SH likes liking all cars. ;)

41

mlc5309 I've heard about this from GM and Deere. Honestly, if I don't own my car, then i'm not paying property taxes, insurance, or registration. I'll just tell subaru they can pay for their own car if it's not mine.

Like that would actually do anything... .sigh

42

Awesome post though, I think shows like this are so cool because at the end of the day the show is constantly moving, and very public. It's one thing to see a show full of sweet rides, but seeing some modded vehicle screaming past you on the highway is like hearing a teacher use the 'fuck' word: awesome. Shows like this are the latter. Totally rad pictures. I had no idea the R8 would become this popular a platform, and those wheels!

43

SimonSheldrick You forgot legions of Russian cars and car enthusiasts from the former Soviet bloc.

44

Holy Volkswagen!!!

45

@DriveCircles No he's not. Air suspension systems have come a long way in the last few years. the only reason why people don't use them is because of the extra weight, Adjustability, and the reputation that air suspension has always had for being for show cars or being really bouncy, etc.. There was an article posted last year on speedhunters last year about air suspension systems and if I can find it then I'll make sure to provide a link for you.

46

http://www.speedhunters.com/2014/05/know-real-history-air-suspension/  Found it. I would really recommend reading it, it's actually a pretty interesting read.

47
MyLifeAsLouis

Gosh everything looks so clean and neat. Not only the cars, but the European scenery! Would love to visit Europe someday :)

48

Killer coverage Paddy McGrath! I need to get to Worthersee and experience the joy first-hand. Hell, I might just move there if R8's are as cheap as you say...

49

apieceobacon I know when I go to the track, the race cars are always on bags.   Tough to find a static setup.

I thought it was pretty obvious Paddy was trolling, think DriveCircles fell for it.

Great coverage though.  Out of curiosity, given the practicality alot of these cars still have .... did you see families out there?

50
kphillips9936

Paddy McGrath kphillips9936 There are a couple in there.

51

Seeing so many R8s done RIGHT really makes it plainly apparent how Audi mucked up the new one!

There are very few contemporary sports cars that just get it RIGHT straight out of the gates and the R8 was a perfect example...

Some of THE FEW perfect first generation models:
1. Audi R8
2. Audi TT
3. Infiniti G35 Coupe
4. Mercedes SLS Gullwing
5. Hyundai Genesis Coupe (Yep, deal with it.)

None of the above were or are in need of redesigns to date.

52

@THE GRINCH Always thought the MKI R8 was pretty much perfect, especially when the side vents were colour coded (although that's just a personal preference)

53

Blake Jones Paddy McGrath Hell yeah you should. On the flip side, I'd love to do SoWo to see the difference.

54

@MyLifeAsLouis Austria is a beautiful part of the world and during the summer it's even better.

55

AceAndrew2 apieceobacon I never said that and I wasn't trolling. From all of my peers who have experienced proper performance orientated air ride, they've all said the very same thing in that it far exceeds expectations. Don't knock it until you've tried it. I don't expect track cars to start running air, but it is a great alternative for those who want to drive their cars daily, track them, show them etc. You don't have to deal with the compromises or the impracticalities of running a low and super stiff setup on the street,

Funny you mention that, there was a family staying at my hotel with a B7 RS4 Avant, laid out with Porsche wheels, carbon ceramic brakes and a leather trimmed child's seat in the back for their kid. I thought that was pretty damn cool. Although most attending Wörthersee seemed to have left either their partners or kids at home...

56

MarcoGloeckl There will definitely be something about Andy's Golf :)

57

GrammarPatrol911 The wheel design makes the stretch / poke look far more extreme than it actually is. Once it aired up, it was much more sedate looking.

58

MOU89 Now I have Dexter's theme song in my head, thanks.

59
UWerqxTeam_MJ

Paddy McGrath UWerqxTeam_MJ Yep, the TT, the Skoda BRAT and what's the other car?

60

It's nice to have some Paddy material back!
Missing all those Irish Escorts....

61

For everyone interested, a few more pictures from "Vor dem See 2015" (pictures starting 3 weeks before the actual wörthersee event)
http://www.vw-page.com/gallery/index.php/ImageExtendedList/1404-Vor-dem-See-2015/?pageNo=1&sortField=uploadTime&sortOrder=DESC


You might as well have a look on youtube for wörthersee videos, usually they are pretty awesome.

Wörthersee is just for everyone, no matter what car make you drive. But be careful even if you drive a performance car, there are a lot of well tuned decent looking cars, that you shouldn't try to race.
I personally prefer the weeks before the actual event, because there are way more cars and more guys that are there because they love cars and not for partying. 

If you want to go there the next years just ask some guys there for the hotspots, but Velden, Reifnitz, Mischkulnig, Sabotnik, Faak, as well as Turbo(Donkey or Tutter) Brücke, Turbe/Dutter Kurve and Pyramidenkogel are always worth a visit.Hotspots: https://www.google.com/maps/d/embed?mid=zl0tj9uKQrgA.kRy1piGtbj8o

62

Hell yes.  Beautifully written and photographed, excellent work.  


What is that big Audi, e28 looking sedan in the bonus images?

63

Paddy McGrath MOU89 
Born free and life is worth living
But only worth living
Cause you're born Speedhunter !

64

I'm not a vw fanboy, and definately not a stance guy, but this was the most incredible meet - event I've ever seen in my entire life. Maybe it's the fact that living in Italy makes me appreciate a lot more the fact that in the other countries people can express and enjoy way more freely than us their passion for modifications, but if you decide to attend worthersee with an open mind and the only goal to have fun, you won't be disappointed. I will never build a car so low that can barely roll on the smooth tarmac of austrian roads without scraping, but you can bet I will be back to enjoy the party the next year. Ah I forgot one last thing GUMMIII!!!

65

Such a great article, and I 100% agree. People will do to their cars whatever makes them happy. Let's not waste our time and energy hating on those with different styles and just embrace automotive enthusiasm, however it may look.

66

It's a car show - people show there cars for attention. I keep forgetting that if you want to get along you have to go along and say everything is good or you're a "hater" - says the lambs

67

So much love. Definitely on the bucket list next time I'm in Europe

68
SimonSheldrick

Oops, you're right. Slight oversight there.... There's an interesting article waiting - contrasting car culture and enthusiasts world wide. What say you, Speedhunters - you could save the world? ;-)

69

I bet if you actually found automotive joy as described in the article you simply would not be trolling right now...you'd be happy road racing, auto-x'ing, etc., anything but "hating".

70

apieceobacon So you link an article that has nothing to do with air suspension in road racing applications?

71

Paddy McGrath AceAndrew2 apieceobacon 
>I don't expect track cars to start running air, but it is a great alternative for those who want to drive their cars daily, track them, show them etc. You don't have to deal with the compromises or the impracticalities of running a low and super stiff setup on the street


And that's well and good. However, that does not mean that they can match a similar coil-over system blow for blow, like you've written here.

72

Blue R8's wheels....tick
Red R8's wheels....cross

Everything else is nice.

73

Holy bonus images, Paddy! What are the wheels on the Audi wagon in the first pic of Chapter 3?

74

I just cant get hard over VW Golfs... It has to be a Euro thing... Every other car on here though, very nice.. That blue WRX would be a stand out over there....

75

KiwiMotoring OZ Racing Superleggera

76

Spaghetti KiwiMotoring Wrong, OZ ULTRALEGGERA

77

Great article. I totally agree with what your saying and the event looks awesome. I'll have to try attend at some point.

78

LOVE this article and that last one. Off the back of it, me and my mates are going next year without a doubt after reading this. 
I think you've captured this event brilliantly. The photography is exceptional as well. If mine are even half as good as this when I go I'll be delighted! Got a year to save for an R8!

79
Gonzalo Uruguay

I LOOOOVED this article!

80

Bonus image overload Paddy! Awesome!!

I particularly loved that "german look" beetle..... I wonder what it was packing in the engine bay....

81

YES Paddy! That blue R8 kills it. Hope you had fun. Sorry no man date this year :)

82
Speedhunters_Bryn

day_old_tofu I suspect it's this one I saw last year at Turbokurve, if so it's a turbocharged Type One motor. See the opening shot :)

http://www.speedhunters.com/2014/05/weapons-of-mass-acceleration-turbokurve-worthersee/

83
TheChickenwing100

so fucking cool

84

Just going to leave this here:

85

Tinj Pretty sure it's in the Audi 100/5000 family:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audi_100

86

afroguy It was funny when it first popped up about a year ago.

87

motorness It's not a car show either BTW. Just a whole heap of like minded people hanging out and enjoying common interests.

88

Paddy McGrath afroguy Would it be fun to stand out side and remark on his clothing choices every morning...no, it would be pointless....speaking of which I am outta here. Thanks for the pics, keep at it SH.

89

Great coverage! Joy is right. Since I was a kid something about vehicles has just intrigued me and I've never looked back. It's hard to put it into words for a non-enthusiast, but any other auto enthusiast instantly knows what you're talking about. Thanks for keeping it interesting and diverse, it's what I love about SH. I'm glad to see you guys look past the cliquey nature of some of these scenes, and just try to share the pure joy and community of it all.

90

LanciaHF46 Ok champ. Did it require the word "wrong" as if to bring me down. How about a simple correction. Ugh, the car scene these days. Sorry I tried to help the guy.....I won't bother in future.

91
JustinJadunath

Joy. It's why I like cars, too. Stanced, bagged, static, cambered, race... I don't give a shit. I like them all, and more. I've got Worthersee on my personal bucket list of things to so in life, and thanks to all of these amazing photos it's gonna stay on that list!

92
PabloNoriaLlanes

A lot of VWs, but I'm still not seeing any Volkswagen Gol (Pointer in Russia), Parati or Saveiro....

93

Same here.

94

Spaghetti LanciaHF46 Yeah, the car scene these days, to soft :) Sorry about that, I'm not a native speaker. I tried to help the guy too and because I have these wheels on my own car I was a little bit to quick with my reply.

95

Paddy McGrath afroguy Sorry for not posting up a more current meme, but looking at the played out #hellasflush #stancenation style on display I thought a played out meme suited quite nicely... 

#stancehunters

96

Time to find a job in Austria and relocate! Awesome article, really wish i could be there.

97

Well said !:)

98

afroguy 1st time seeing it and i think itsd fucking hilarious!!!!!!

99

i try not to hate but those R8's??....hurts my soul ruined that car...and for a bit of hyprocracy thar panamara was sweet!!! =P

100

LavarBowers afroguy I’m glad. It was
originally meant as a bit of tongue in cheek fun, but you know these
#stancenation overly sensitive types and all…

101

Paddy, after seeing these pics I really hope lots of features are coming! Some pretty wild cars

102

Paddy, you did a beautiful job capturing the spirit of the car scene and the awesome atmosphere of the show. The way you described everything is how I always feel about it; it can be difficult to put such a passion into words. Great shots! xx

103
Gianluca FairladyZ

Bravo Fritzolin! Wir wussten du schaffst es ;)!!!

104
SmoothAsButter

PabloNoriaLlanes The Volkswagen Gol doesn't exist in Europe.

105

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107

Ultimate Joy is the perfect encompassing phrase to describe what the vastly different automotive cultures bring to me. 
I love all things Japanese, from low ride height, high revving Vtec Honda's to old school Datsun/Nissan GTR, Fairlady Z and all manner of SR swapped S-Chassis'. 
I love massively displaced American V8's, supercharged or not, 60's and 70's era muscle. I love all things European, from the Bavarian stable, through to the classic lines of older Mercedes W114/5's, bagged and mint. 
But nothing speaks (shouts?) loader and more directly to me than the VW stable. The details, the LOW, the wheel fitments, brake upgrades, the shaven haven engine bays, the colours, interiors, the old just as much as the new.

Paddy, you have written here, what thoughts in my head could not put into words, and the shots you've taken have *inserted heavy breathing* and a few heart palpitations for good measure.

For someone locked in a country where examples of automotive enthusiast finesse and panache such as this only exist on the internet, I am very grateful to you sir.
Two thumbs way fuckin' up.

108

NG253 Tinj And what motor is in it? Looks clean..

109

The only hate you'll get from me is that I wasn't there!

110

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