Imagine, for a second, that you’re in a field, the sun is shining and you’re surrounded by great cars and wonderful people. The trees are a luscious shade of green, a faint buzz of excitement lingers in the air and chilled-out music blends into the background. It sounds a sweet dream, but EuroTreffen 2021 was an even better reality.
As the sun beat down atop a small slice of Northern Ireland – for a few hours at least – it almost felt like a novelty. Here, amongst the tall pines and bordering coastline, this small, secluded field of automotive goodness felt like a memory of times past.
EuroTreffen was a chance to get back – if only for a few hours – to a normality that has changed beyond recognition. When I left the 10th edition of Dubshed in April 2019, nobody could have foreseen what lay ahead.
The team at GTINI (GTI Northern Ireland) were in the same boat. Covid has put paid to Dubshed for two years now, so it was time to look at things afresh. EuroTreffen was that fresh look. A new event, a new location and a new openness to all things Euro. What they ended up with was a new success story.
All day, talk was of meeting friendly faces again after significant lengths of time, seeing new and familiar cars, and overall just enjoying a real positive vibe. There was no messing, just a shared sense of joy in being able to do car things again.
The pleasure of just parking up and talking engine codes or transmissions, wheels or suspension, quick detailer or ceramic coating, or anything. It felt like a release, and at times my head struggled to comprehend an onslaught of colours and shapes and styles in every direction. I suspect I was far from alone.
What EuroTreffen did was remind a lot of people how important it is to get out and enjoy cars in the real world. Interacting with fellow petrol- (and diesel-) heads is a way to learn and be inspired. Paddy had a similar take recently with ‘Remembering Why We Do This’, and EuroTreffen definitely lit a fire for myself and others.
Strolling around the show field, which was incredibly well laid out thanks to the massive effort from the team at GTINI (you’d know this wasn’t their first rodeo), was a never-ending series of discoveries. The open nature of the show ensured every row of cars was like a variety pack of goodness.Plenty Of Gems
One of the cars that really caught my eye as it rolled in was this incredibly original Mk1 VW Golf. I had a chance to spend a few minutes chatting the owner, an older gentleman, in the afternoon, and he was stunned at the reception that his pride and joy was receiving amongst a sea of modified cars. His passion for cars and life really made the day better. I nodded to him a few times as we passed throughout the day, his smile telling a story of another engine bay inspected or nod of admiration to something a world away from his own Golf.
It was no surprise to me that this BMW 2002 was selected as Car of the Show – jointly sharing the honour with an incredible Audi RS4 Avant that I somehow missed (terrible Speedhunting I know, but I was overcome with the vibes and incredible heat…).
The BMW is absolutely stunning, especially in the details. I had the pleasure of following this car on a recent Driven Run, and can confirm firsthand that it sounds incredible at full chat, and its owner, Chris, is not afraid to use and enjoy his machine.
Close to the BMW, a group of Ford Escorts sat proudly amongst a constant swarm of admirers all day. Of this trio, the real standout for me was the timeless shape of the Mk1, a sight now becoming increasingly rare, and perhaps even forgotten such is the sizeable shadow cast by the more renowned Mk2.
This four-door 1300GT runs a set of bike carbs attached to its Crossflow engine, and sits rather nicely on its 13-inch mesh wheels.
Rather alarmingly, over the course of EuroTreffen I became increasingly attracted to older VW Polos. A number of things struck me throughout the day: Why have I never thought about putting an actual loaf of bread into the rear of a MK2 ‘Breadvan’? When is the last time you saw a Polo Coupé in the wild? And how sweet does a 6N look lowered and on really nice BBS wheels?
MG Metro Turbo spottings are very few and far between now too. Now that I come to think of it, this might’ve been the first time I’d ever seen one up close in person.
In contrast, Mk2 Golfs were in abundance. Small wheel or big bumper, show car or race car, they all looked incredible.
Some even decided to add a few extra horsepower, live at the show. Cheaper than any re-map, everyone knows a Speedhunters sticker is good for a solid +10hp, right?!
Not that Ronan’s VR6 turbocharged Mk2 Golf ‘Fire & Ice’ is lacking in the power department.
Of all the cars on display though, if had to leave with just one – besides my 106 – it would’ve likely been this E28 BMW M5.
Yes, my little Peugeot was in the show too, and to my shock, it made it into the top 20 judged cars. That said, it didn’t look half bad after a proper paint restoration from Twenty20 Detailing the week before. This was the first time I’d ever entered a car in a show, so to take home a trophy was definitely unexpected.
EuroTreffen brought people out to enjoy cars again, and everyone left with a smile on their (sunburnt) face and a renewed sense of optimism that the car enthusiast world as we knew it will be back again, sooner or later. It’s got me excited, that’s for sure.
If you like what you’ve seen here, make sure to check out the huge gallery below.Cutting Room Floor