New Jersey hosts one of the largest and oldest VAG shows in the United States. So it comes as no surprise to many that every year is another chance to out do itself. This was more than apparent to many show goers this year judging by a larger vendor area, show and shine lot and more drag racing than ever!
We look forward to Waterfest to connect with that inner tuner we all posses as we attempt to refine our tastes with age. Sure some never leave the scene and become old timing icons in the scene but most migrate up the VAG ladder of command. A VW becomes an Audi and eventually, if you save your pennies, you wind up in that ideal Porsche you've dreamt about. For many, Waterfest is the best place to pull the covers off that long term winter project or wow the crowd with your mind altering show car ready to inspire the next tuning trend. Either way, we turn up to experience it first hand. This year proved to outshine last with a show field nearly doubled in size and quality we had prime picking when it came to the best show cars, awesome Waterfest activities and, of course, fans.
Touted as one of the best parts of Waterfest, the vendor area is stuffed to the gills with the best tuners and hottest lifestyle brands in the industry. APR nearly doubled their size this year and had plenty of techs and install bays ready to go to ensure fans got exactly what they were after. Performance!
Stassis Revo Group (SRG) was also on hand with show cars, new products and of course, install bays. SRG's showcase was overflowing with new products and one project car that tugged at our heartstrings. Their Audi Q5 2.0T K04 kit was on hand with a car estimated at 269hp boost and 328 lb-ft with a set of 21x10" wheels takes the modern soccer mom into serious tire shredding territory. Also on display was SRG's R8 supercharger kit fitted to a red 2013 Spyder that had the crowds attention throughout the weekend.
Bagridders had an impressive display of fresh builds, so many we had a hard time choosing which to feature first while covering Waterfest. Luckily our freelance photo guru, Jordan Donnelly is tied in pretty tight with the crew that we will have more than enough well appointed stance machines to plaster on your computer home screen for quite sometime.
RSWorks displayed every single one of their customer cars on the latest HRE Wheels and in the hottest finishes. Vintage, S1 and FlowForm series wheels were on hand for VAG fans to drool over. Not to mention they were finished in the most desirable finishes. And since HRE Wheels is one of our main go-to wheel companies for our project cars, we can't blame them for making it a show car booth requirement.
Black Forest Industries brought their web famous 1.8T swapped MkIII GTI. This time the paint had been brought to a wonderful shine and the car was equipped with a set of BBS RS wheel and some subtle fender flares to keep with the cars new found performance theme. This was the hit of the show as many VAG fans have been following intently online of the company's production R&D of their newest swap kit. Seeing it in the flesh left us impressed with how every detailed seemed to be in order giving an OEM install look. This is one to follow well into the future as more performance goodies will be added as the project progresses.
Not since the original VW Bug received the SoCal look has the bubbly peoples car received such attention from enthusiasts of the VW nameplate. Since we'd like to think we had a hand in igniting the powder keg to this trend (ok, we'll tip our hats to VWVortex as well), we were more than happy to see DIY tuners putting their personal touches on the new Beetle. The car offers a new attitude that both genders can agree on and are applying respectable stance and performance modifications as if it were second nature. VW of America even brought out their Beetle R inspired racecar that had the entire show grounds buzzing with excitement. If the cars you see here are any indication as to the cars success as both a performance and show car platform then we expect to see plenty more of newest Beetle competing for top awards at shows across the country.
One aspect of Waterfest that keeps the fans entertained and provides the horsepower junkies with their fix is the dual motorsports events. We're of course talking about the autocross and drag racing venues that are held within earshot of the vendor and show field. Raceway Park is truly a playground for all things motorsports. Its large enough to hold a car show and various racing events to keep everybody happy all day long. This year we saw a few black sheep decided to run the tracks and enjoy in the two day festivities. Two, count them one, two, Porsche 911 GT2s turned up to jet down the drag strip to set respectable 12s runs.
What seemed like unfair matchups turned out to be some of the best racing of the heads up portion of the drag racing sessions. A highly modified Mk2 Jetta was staged next to a brand spanking new Audi RS5. As the lights on the Christmas tree flashed green the Mk2 leaped to life, leaving the RS5 at the line and completing a low 12s sprint handily. Having driven the RS5 myself I found it amazing that it was beaten so easily. This was one of the highlights that makes Waterfest so much fun to attend. You never know what is going to turn up and get your attention.
This year the show field seemed to fall off the horizon. I blame it mainly on the insane heat wave and overwhelming humidity playing with my mind but my exaggeration isn't without merit. The car show exhibit field was packed with over 20,000 attendees and 400+ show cars its no wonder my mind and feet felt like I'd never complete the rounds in one day.
Happily, we discovered this past winter seemed to inspire a number of well-appointed projects. Everything from neatly shaved engine bays, obsessive parts hording and color combinations that had us pointing and speed walking like kids at Disneyland seeing an oversized mouse for the first time. We also noticed a greater number of female owned vehicles that out shined some of the veteran males of the scene. It seems as if your loving girlfriends haven't just been sitting idly on the sidelines supporting your habit like you thought. They were secretly plotting to steal your trophy all along! Well done ladies.
For the first time in Waterfest history Afterfest was held on the Raceway Park grounds from 6-10 PM. Rather than risk the annual burnout and ticket fest on public street from Englishtown to New Brunswick, Waterfest organizers and APR decided to host an after hours hoon fest. This included a limbo, burnout, drag racing, dyno and invitation show car competitions well into the night. One look at the photos and you can tell, it was a major hit with Waterfest fans and despite the lack of shirts being worn due to the relentless heat, everybody seemed to let their inhibitions go and simply enjoy the best part about gathering at a VAG show... have a damn good time.
Check out these videos showcasing some of the more notable events that happened at Waterfest 19.
Plane lands on runway during drag racing session on Sunday:
Burnout Box at Afterfest (note the panda):
Afterfest Burnout S13 w/LS1:
Mk3 Golf blows out a fender: