If the high humidity doesn't leave you soaking wet, the torrential downpours will. There's a few things you can always count on at Waterfest; hundreds of nicely tuned VWs and Audis, thousands of diehard enthusiasts, hot and humid weather and a rainy Sunday afternoon. That's just the way it is. Many regular show attendees plan on the wet stuff and arm themselves with umbrellas. Others take the summer humidity and rain in stride. Where else can you take in all that is VW and Audi within the span of a single weekend?Now in its second decade, Waterfest is the preeminent VW/Audi event in the United States. Regardless of where you reside, enthusiasts and industry types alike travel from all regions of the country to be part of the spectacle. For a couple days in mid-July, the town and surrounding area is virtually overrun by the VW/Audi community.
Held at Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J., the spacious facility is ideal for the event, which offers something for everyone, including a giant car show, large vendor area, drag racing and autocross. Dyno testing, a sound-off, and a burnout competition are also thrown into the mix. Since the show area can only accommodate 500 vehicles, give or take a few, the remaining cars are parked in a non-judged area which takes on a persona of its own.
VWs and Audis of virtually every year and model dotted the main lot adjacent to an equally large lot for vendors and parts swappers.
Of the countless vehicles on display, a revival of well-modified Mk IIs took center stage. Many were dressed with a mix of understated Euro-styling mods and old school trends, while others were decked out in full custom regalia inside and out. Of course the field also comprised numerous Mk IIIs and IVs, Corrados and others as well as an equally impressive display of Audis, including S4s, Avants, TTs and a sea of A4s.
The tuner cars were also out in full force with offerings from all the big names, including APR Tuning, Neuspeed, HPA Motorsports, AWE, Bahn Brenner, EIP Tuning and others. It's the who's who of the industry elite. Of all the vendors on hand only Autotech and ABD Racing, however, showcased modified versions of the Golf and Jetta 5. Autotech featured its red GTI, which sports a Zender body kit and other mods, while ABD rolled out its new Jetta dressed in a Caractere styling package and large Axis wheels. The car also featured modified taillights among other cool accessories.Also popular was the tribute to the Golf on display by Vortex. Five pristine examples of each GTi generation were chronologically arranged.
Volkswagen's Accessories division was also on hand, and the manufacturer even brought out the all-new B6 Passat. To the surprise of many, Vice President of Volkswagen of America, Len Hunt, toured the event and spoke to many enthusiasts throughout the weekend. Talk about a focus group. Hunt even made a quarter-mile pass on the strip against VW Accessories Manager Robert Gal and promised to return next year with nothing less than 700 whp. He's a man of his word, and I wouldn't put it past him.
Simply put, the event once again lived up to its name and reputation. As far as the rain, thunder and lightning--hey it's all part of the show. It is, after all, called Waterfest.