As car enthusiasts we can consider ourselves pretty lucky.
The world is in a time of relative austerity, yet we seem to be enjoying a boom in automotive-related gatherings. Certainly from my experiences over the past few years, the number of shows, events and meetings that I can fill up my calendar with have seen a rapid increase. I have a theory that, slowly but surely, car culture is becoming more socially acceptable, and the boom in gatherings (certainly here in the UK) seems to be reflecting this.
It’s been a busy year of Speedhunting out in the wild, so here is the top 10 most-viewed event stories from the last 12 months.
But first, a little clarity of how we’ve put this together before we start – this list is based solely on view count for each individual story in the ‘Event Coverage‘ category, rather than tallying up cumulative stories for each event, and not including special features or spotlights from that event. It doesn’t necessarily represent our, or your favourite events from the past 12 months, but rather shows you which individual stories went down especially well.
Without further delay, onto the list…
#10. The Sights Of HKS Premium Day
When legendary JDM tuning house HKS eases into the new year by hosting a get together at Fuji Speedway and invites a bunch of the best shops in Japan to come along too, you know you can expect good things. I’m sure none of us were in the slightest bit jealous that Dino got to wander the paddocks at Fuji and see some of these incredible machines in action.
The storied HKS R32 GT-R was joined by the latest time attack winged beasts, hilariously fun Kei cars and circuit-focused Ferraris amongst a wide variety of assorted automobiles. There was plenty of on-track action to keep you entertained as well as the ridiculous variety in the paddock. Incredible scenes.
#9. Walking The Halls Of Autosport International
January in the U.K. means Autosport International; the perfect way to shift that Christmas and New Year hangover. It’s an ideal chance to peruse some of the latest machines and products to take the motorsport world by storm.
What used to be solely a motorsport show has, in recent years, opened its arms up to the aftermarket industry too, so much so that I’m sure pretty soon modified road cars will outnumber race cars. The aftermarket seems to be booming where motorsport is in decline…
#8. SEMA 2018: The First Day Of Madness
It’s the big one – the SEMA show in Las Vegas is the one event at which the entire industry sits up and takes note. The biggest, most extreme and lavish builds are rolling out – sometimes minutes before the doors open – for the world to see.
This year, the Speedhunters team attacked en-masse, but Dino was the first to bring back a quick look at the movers and shakers from the convention centre, and it went down a storm.
#7. Standing Out From The Crowd At Ultimate Dubs
Fire up the comments section; it’s the one Volkswagen show that everyone loves to hate on. Show cars are an important part of the Speedhunters’ automotive spectrum, so shows like UD aren’t going anywhere. While some parts of Ultimate Dubs 2018 gave the naysayers plenty of fodder, on the whole, the show was refreshingly restrained.
There was everything from a restored OEM-spec selection of original cars in the foyer through to the predictable bagged and wheel’d German marques on display. Much to many show-goers dismay, there was also an increasing number on non-dubs stealing the limelight this year. It remains the one show that sets the scene and trends for the coming 12 months.
#6. The World’s Most Famous Gas Station
With a title like that, how could you resist? Of course Paddy was referring to the famous Wörthersee gathering – the car show where no-one goes to the show. Volkswagens and Audis have been invading this picturesque part of Austria for almost 40 years, and there’s no hotspot during the week of Wörthersee quite like this unassuming ENI gas station just outside Velden.
The visitors roll through, fill up with fuel or wash their cars, and then roll out. It’s an almost non-stop procession of modified VAG motors day and night, and presents the perfect place to set up shop and let the ‘show’ come to you.
#5. The BFG Of Players 12.0
BFG stands for Big Fun Gallery, I presume. I was unfortunately unable to make it to the 12th annual Players Show in Essex, so our own follicly-gifted Community Manager Mark Riccioni went along to photograph the proceedings. Paddy presented the affair as a Big Fun Gallery – minimum words, maximum pixels for your enjoyment.
Players never disappoints, and is the perfect window into the UK’s premium show scene. You guys seemed to enjoy the gallery format, too.
#4. The Best Show I’ve Never Been To: Players Select
Another Players show, another country – nay continent – and another BFG from the Mark and Paddy one-two combo. Players Select brought together the best SEMA builds in one place under the beautiful Californian sun.
I especially enjoyed the title here – it’s not easy writing about a show you’ve never been to, so Paddy just told it like it is. Maybe my Irish friend might get an invite in 2019?
#3. No Nonsense At The Juicebox BBQ
Here comes an odd sentence – Ireland is Europe’s Japan. The annual Juicebox BBQ represents this unusual train of thought perfectly.
There are many parallels to be drawn between the two – small but picturesque island? Check. Packed to the rafters with amazing cars and car culture? Check. Often incomprehensible language to those of us who only speak English? Check. See – Ireland is Europe’s Japan, told you.
#2. The Speedhunters Live Photoshoot Mega-Album
And now for something completely different. This year we hosted our first ever Speedhunters Live event at Fuji Speedway, and it was a roaring success. Dino, Ron and Blake were all on-hand to capture the gathering, and for a change of pace decided to create a mega gallery of owners and their cars.
It went down a storm, and putting a face to a build adds a nice personal touch to the fibreglass and metal that we usually see.
#1. Need For Swede: Bilsport Performance at Elmia
The most-viewed event coverage of 2018, and an IATS submission to boot. Norwegian photographer Henrik Oulie traipsed the halls of Elmia and showcased some of the most extreme metal to come out of Scandinavia.
Speedhunters has long had a close association with this part of the world, and for good reason – the quality, scope and ambition of the builds from Scandinavia is unlike anywhere else on earth. There’s no wonder Henrik’s Elmia coverage was so popular.
This is just a small sample of the hundreds of incredible events that went down in 2018, as voted for by your eyes. What events are you planning on making it out to in 2019?