2004 H2O International Report

While other parts of the nation had to deal with various hurricanes and heavy rain, the 2004 H20 International VW/Audi show was being held under crystal blue skies at the Ocean Downs Raceway in Ocean City, Maryland.

For the numerous worn-out show vendors who’ve been bouncing from show to show during the summer event season, H20 International signals the last leg of a demanding and rewarding show season. While at this time we do not have exact figures, by our estimate event organizer Jay Shoup and ClubH20 easily surpassed last year’s 7,000+ attendees.

The show officially got underway with the traditional ReggaeFest/Big Ass BBQ on Saturday. Certainly, there is no better way to get a car show off to a great start than with a large bash. Afterwards, show attendees continued the festivities at local establishments while others chose to partake in on-track action at the local go-kart tracks.

On Sunday, the weather held up and turned out to be spectacular which, incidentally, also describes the show fields. While not quite the size of Waterfest (the benchmark for attendance figures in terms of VW/Audi shows in North America), H20 International made up for any shortcomings with the sheer quality of entrants. We saw supercharged A1 Rabbit GTIs, a mid-engine turbocharged Corrado VR6, as well as various other enthusiastically modified GTIs, Jettas and Golfs. Walking the show fields we got the sense of a true VW/Audi community – one where attendees were there primarily because of their love for the cars, their respective clubs and the opportunity to meet fellow enthusiasts. Many of the larger shows would be wise to attempt to replicate this environment in some way.

Scattered among the other show classes was a new class, simply called POS (aka Piece of Sh*t). Located in the far corner of the show field, this motley crew of VW enthusiasts displayed their daily runners, uncompleted project cars, winter beaters, etc. Juxtaposed with the gleaming rows of spotless show cars, the POS class seemed to hold its own, though we have no doubt that more than a few of those folks entered in the traditional show car field likely cringed at the thought of their own cars ever getting so dirty. Suffice to say, this small group stood out in the crowd even though they were somewhat hidden away from the rest of the field.

H2O International is one of those events that people will travel far and wide in order to attend. We saw plates representing Florida, Tennessee, Maine, Kentucky, and more. The most notable effort would have to be one Erin Wilson, who drove 24 hours straight from Houston, Texas to attend this show. Now THAT was something we found amazing.

Hats off to Jay Shoup and staff for once more pulling off this yearly event. All the folks that we had the opportunity to talk to while wandering the field universally agreed that this was the best H20 International to date. With the unsurpassed success of this year ‘s event might we possibly see a Spring H20 in 2005 to kick off next year’s show season? We think that’s a question for Jay Shoup and his staff to think about!

So, Jay – what do you say?

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For more photos of the car in this story, click on the link to our gallery at the right.