When our East Coast brethren throw an end-of-year Euro bash, we certainly pay attention. Since we missed FixxFest 8, we felt it was only appropriate to catch a flight to see what #9 had in store.
Located at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Bradenton, FL, FixxFest has grown into the one of the largest European gatherings in the South East. The show takes place over two days, with the car show and drag racing followed by a cruise to a local state park overlooking sandy Floridian beaches. The BBQ pits were ready for us to relax and enjoy the company of fellow tuner's and share build stories.
We met with our local photographer, Jordan Donnelly, to ensure we found the best cars of the Sunshine State. After all, Jordan was the one who found the Penny for Your Thoughts VW GTI (EC 12/12) so we know he can sniff out the best.
The grounds were packed with cars from classic VWs to late models in various classes. And great to see each class full of everything from dailies to show cars.
In true VeeDub fashion, Fixxfest is about more than just polish and tire shine. Most people come to enjoy the great atmosphere and show participation is a secondary concern. In fact, some of the show cars were later discovered shredding rubber on the dragstrip once the judging was finally completed.
Top honors deservedly went to Paul Barney's Mk6 GTI. His car featured a set of Rotiforms with polished faces and gold windows, along with an AccuAir e-level suspension system. He also stuffed six-piston Brembo brakes up front and dual-floating calipers out back. Under the hood, Paul massaged the 2.0T with a stage 3 APR K04 kit, while inside featured a set of European Golf R racing seats. He did a great job building the GTI so stay tuned for a full feature at www.eurotuner.com
Other cars of note included Marcella, who's husband Alex Villacres snagged the final eurotuner cover feature with his Kool-Aid GTI. Marcella brought her lower-than-life Euro-spec VW CC tucking 19" VIP Modular VX-110 wheels. She and hubby Alex also assembled an R/C version of his GTI, sourcing parts from around the globe to accurately replicate the Volkswagen.
Walking the rows of show cars, we were delighted to find an E30 M3 inspired by the DTM race series. It arrived for a few brief moments and stole everybody's attention but disappeared again faster than some quarter-mile drag times.
In the Mk1 and Mk2 section of the show we found a Rabbit Diesel with a Pininfarina leather interior and a set of rare BBS Pininfarina two-piece Zomgrare wheels.
Another car that grabbed our attention was a handsome '74 Mercedes 280SEL sitting low on BBS RS. It was sporting a set of Euro tinted headlights and while the mods were slim pickings, most people respected the owner for going with a static drop rather than hacking the frame for airbags.
It's always encouraging to see a quarter-mile dragstrip when you arrive at a car show. It's even better when you see a selection of VW, Audi, BMW and Porsche warming their tires with a smoky burnout.
Throughout the day there were some good match-ups but local boys USP Motorsports again stole the show. The shop brought three cars that would all break the timing beam with some amazing performance.
Claimed to be the world's fastest Mk4 Jetta, a 10.63sec pass at 139mph had people rushing to the grandstands when the USP 1.8T began to warm its tires. The motor has a Precision 6057.63 A/R turbo and PagParts V-band kit with Eurodyne software to produce 650hp in a car that weighs 3200 lb. We couldn't help grinning as it demolished Porsches and BMWs all day.
We were surprised to find Patrick Soares running his Mk6 Jetta GLI on the strip as well. Apparently, it started life bagged and stanced but after he fitted a stage 3 APR turbo kit, he had a new vision. Addicted to speed, Pat switched to KW V3 coilovers, a Peloquin diff, Raxels and SuperPro front control arms.
After going through 15 sets of wheels during its previous life, Patrick now prefers 15x10" Centerline drag wheels with Mickey Thompson slicks. With this package, Pat set his fastest time of 11.49sec at 119mph in front of an appreciative crowd.
Unfortunately, the Jettas were overshadowed by the 9.48sec run at 160mph from the USP Audi S4 that dominated the "bat-shit crazy" category of the FixxFest 9 drag racing action. The VR6 24v turbo puts 932hp to all four wheels and was a tough act to beat.
So between the car show, drag racing, cruise and BBQ, we had a great time in Florida and encourage all you East Coast enthusiasts to mark it on your calendar for 2013. For more information about next year's show, visit fixxfest.com