Have you ever ever seen archive footage from Wörthersee again within the Eighties and ’90s, wishing you possibly can have skilled it when it was new? Properly, I form of obtained a possibility to just do that.
For 41 years, each Might, VW and German automobile fans from all world wide would collect collectively within the Austrian city of Wörthersee for every week of automobile meets, occasions and normal celebration of our passion. Within the final 10 years, the event has grown dramatically in measurement. It was an occasion that far outgrew the city that hosted it, and final yr the Austrian authorities lastly buckled and requested for the annual gathering to cease happening in Wörthersee.
One of many headline occasions from the Wörthersee agenda, XS CarNight, determined to use this as an alternative to start out one thing recent and new.
We misplaced entry to stunning Wörthersee, positive, however there was nonetheless a whole lot of mountainous Europe left for automobile fans to collect at and discover while having fun with the automobiles that introduced us collectively within the first place. When one door closes, one other one opens, and so forth.
XS ended up negotiating with native authorities to permit them to host an occasion in Italy’s northernmost mountainous area of South Tyrol. It’s a fantastically scenic a part of Europe, bordering Austria and, importantly, only a stone’s throw away from Wörthersee. XS gained permission to organise three different occasions on days both aspect of the primary CarNight present, and the scene was set.
Titled the #BetterDaysAhead Tour, XS gave everybody an alternative choice to Wörthersee and the chance to be concerned within the begin of one thing new. For all I do know, this may very well be the way forward for European automobile tradition conferences for the subsequent 40 years. To me, this may very well be what Wörthersee was to these earlier than my time.
With all this in thoughts, I grabbed a couple of plucky mates, packed up my BMW E38 for the journey, and drove 1,100 miles from London to South Tyrol.
The primary problem appeared once we obtained there. Aside from the 4 occasions XS organised, we had no thought the place the native hangout spots could be.
Wörthersee had its ‘Turbo Curve’, the long-lasting Eni station, the primary city alongside an infinite quantity of automobile parks within the space at which there could be a automobile meet taking place at any level within the day.
South Tyrol’s geography is slightly totally different; every city is located about half-hour drive from one another. This isn’t an issue, however as every city is comparatively much like the opposite, every part appeared much more unfold out and we by no means unintentionally came upon automobile meets the way in which we did at Wörthersee occasions prior to now.
We quickly discovered of the Q8 petrol station, quarter-hour from the primary city that hosted the XS CarNight occasion.
This place gave us the strongest Wörthersee vibe. The car parking zone across the again was enormous, the service station amenities had been fashionable and greater than able to internet hosting everybody as automobiles saved coming in and leaving. It was the very best sort of automobile present of all of them: a rolling automobile present. Seeing these automobiles on the transfer, listening to the engines and chatting with the house owners stuffed us with power and optimism for the occasion as a complete.
There had been many thrilling automobiles on present right here, with my favorite of the bunch in all probability being this Alfa Romeo Guilia. I feel they’re infinitely sexier than any equal AMG or M automobile, but nowhere close to as widespread sadly.
One other sizzling spot was the Meran 2000 peak, a big automobile park located quarter-hour up a mountain from the primary Bolzano space the place we stayed. Right here, we attended an organised Saturday morning automobiles and occasional occasion merely referred to as the Traditional Meet. Because the title recommended, a big chunk of the automobiles on present had been old skool. Immaculate paint and OEM+ touches are positively on the forefront of automobile modifications right here in Europe.
It was at Meran 2000 the place I additionally discovered my favorite automobile combo of the entire journey. This Mk2 Volkswagen Golf on 15-inch BBS RS wheels and the curious Porsche 993 rolled in collectively and immediately attracted a crowd. As you’ll be able to see within the images, this was a fairly particular pairing.
So, expensive reader, which one are you taking residence?
Jet washes are endlessly scattered round South Tyrol for anybody to make use of. Preserving your automobile clear right here is tremendous straightforward, and with so many present automobiles on the go these locations turned little occasions in themselves.
Take a look at this Fiat Tipo Sedicivalvole I stumbled upon at one of many jet washes. Owned by a stunning gent referred to as Rene, the automobile is completely model new after a winter’s price of restoration work.
It’s these kind of hidden motoring nuggets that make journeys like this actually rewarding, encouraging you to drive round discovering increasingly more automobiles and attention-grabbing individuals as you go.
The opposite XS occasion we attended was a Friday automobiles and occasional morning. Being the very first thing we attended once we arrived at South Tyrol, it was this morning that set the foundations for what the XS #BetterDaysAhead Tour was all about.
A mixture of individuals having fun with their challenge automobiles from all corners of Europe. The authorities had been there to verify every part ran easily and handle site visitors movement, however there have been no points between the automobiles and the regulation in Italy. This was a complete distinction to latest years in Austria, the place attending virtually turned a raffle to see if you happen to may make it out and in with out receiving fines.
So then, let’s deal with the query I set myself within the title of this text. Briefly, no, South Tyrol is just not a brand new Wörthersee. However that’s as a result of it by no means got down to be. With out getting all poetic, the entire level of the #BetterDaysAhead Tour, so far as I may inform, was to discover new prospects of the place we are able to collect to take pleasure in our ardour and passion.
It’s our accountability as automobile fans to do that with respect, and deal with the place we go together with upmost integrity. South Tyrol presents us a possibility to do this, and we have to take it. Who is aware of, perhaps I’ll be reminiscing about this occasion in 40 years time, while sitting at Q8 wanting on the 2063 Mk16 Golf on the most recent levitating Hoverlift suspension.
Till subsequent time, South Tyrol.