Unlike Super Street Editor-in-Chief, Sam Du, who achieved a lengthy tenure at Eurotuner Magazine before coming to the dark side that is JDM, I've always been sort of a Euro newb. Don't get me wrong—I've always loved Porsche, and Italy's various exotics. Jaguar's XJ220 is still one of my absolute dream cars. I just spent too much time breaking Japanese cars to really get into the Euro tuning scene.
But, as it turns out, one trip to the annual Big SoCal Euro (BSE) meet was all it took for me to start rethinking my past. Now in its 12th year since settling on their annual home turf of San Diego's SDCCU Stadium (formerly Qualcomm Stadium), the BSE is very truly a big meet, in the purest sense of the word.
No professional drifters demoing in the parking lot (though Tanner Foust's VW Passat "drift taxi" was there), no musical acts, no bikini contests or foam pits (one could only wish, right?). But also, no admission, either.
What was there was a vast and impressive vendor area, the people's choice Euro Showdown (where votes were cast via text and tallied by the staff), the Dyno Competition, and tons upon tons of crowd-organized make/model corrals, lots of team presence, and general parking as far as the eye could see.
Also light was Italian exotic involvement, save for the random Lamborghini Huracan Performante and the like.
Early favorites of mine became Toyo Tires-affiliated vehicles, which seemed to span that spectrum both new and vintage.
Remark exhausts and Titan 7 once again joined forces for a dual display rife with sport-tuned versions of Bavaria's finest.
Flanking the Integrated Engineering booth were two of our favorite cars of the event: the Tsitlakidis bros' two Malaka MotorSports 700-plus hp 2018 Audi RS3s, one of which you'll recall from our feature of it last year when it was making less power and still running 9s in the quarter.
Another familiar grille: that of Steven Nadaskai's 2011 VW GTI, which Steven drove and showed quite impressively during this year's Show Car Shootout, thanks in large part to its performance-tuned Air Lift suspension.
As you might suspect, there was plenty more Euro love (with a few JDM party crashers!) to be found on Air Lift's official grounds nearby.
VW proper showed up as well, swagging out showgoers in their latest merch, hosting fun festival games and vehicle immersions, and leading the way into a corral of some of the cleanest VWs in attendance.
And this brings me to two through-and-through Euros I have always loved: the Audi Quattro and VW Corrado. Both had a big presence at the BSE (along with some Sciroccos, scattered about) and I sort of geeked out about that.
Whether powered by the supercharged 1.8L G60 inline-four, or the VR6 staggered V6 engine, both were fast in their day and can be made even faster today with plentiful aftermarket support and an undying cult following.
Elsewhere, S.D. local and Team Hybrid co-founder Scott Dean brought out his M3 'vert ...
... the Pizza Planet VW Rabbit Pickup also made an appearance, now on Ronal Teddy Bear wheels ...
And in the "rally-esque" department, we even saw a Red Bull WRC-inspired Saabaru wagon, and Ken Block-autographed fifteen52 Tarmacs on some kid's Jetta.
Of course, this doesn't cover one tenth of all there was to see, hear, and do at this year's successful Big SoCal Euro show. And while I'd love to drag this out and tell you more about all the awesome Euro things I discovered, you're probably miles ahead of me in that department. So, check out the gallery to see more of it for yourself, and count me in for next year's bash: