Event Report: Waterwagens 2007

Summer is a cause for celebration for Pacific Northwest Audi and Volkswagen enthusiasts, and there’s a reason for it; the warm weather brings with it a constant flow of festivities leading up to one of the biggest shows in the West Coast.

As in previous years, summer was once again nowhere to be found for Waterwagens 2007, at least not at first light. As if it had been some sort of twisted premonition, the only day with rain in a 12 day long stretch of picture-perfect summer weather marked the date for the much anticipated 7th Annual Waterwagens 2007 at Pacific Raceways in Kent, Washington. Good thing the Pacific Northwest enthusiast scene is not a stranger to damp weather.

Show participants arrived early to get situated in the large paved grounds of the complex that would housed the highest number of attendees in the show’s history. Over 3500 participants made their way through an orderly maze of over 350 cars on display, out of which 240 were to be judged by an all-enthusiast formed judge body, which is a tough job considering the quality of vehicles we saw.

As in previous years, many vendors from far and wide made their way to the show to display their wares. This year’s title sponsor, Futrell Autowerks, displayed a nicely equipped booth adorned with a brand-spanking new black Audi RS4. We hear APR’s Keith Lucas and Chris George were present on Saturday to answer general questions about their products. On Sunday, APR was also set up on vendor aisle, giving away free software trials. Hartmann/Achtuning! was also displaying in force this year; we spotted their much anticipated replica Lamborghini Gallardo wheels at the booth along with many other very attractive designs. Other notable vendors in attendance were Griot’s Garage, Fine Tuning, TKO Motowerks, SK Motorsport, Matrix Integrated, WRD, and of course, Meguiars.

This year’s event also featured drag racing, sponsored by Techtonics Tuning. The event provided ample entertainment for gear heads and onlookers alike with over 120 cars. Some amazingly tuned cars were seen racing for best times down the quarter mile strip. New for this year, however, was the inclusion of Vintage Volkswagen Drag Racing. Seeing air cooled Volkswagens mix and mingle with water cooled cars was refreshing and great sight.

All new for 2007, Waterwagens featured a Vintage Show and Shine area that had some very cool air-cooled cars on display for our visual enjoyment. A separate swap meet area was also set up for water-cooled cars.

Also new for this year’s show, Waterwagens featured an expansive Exhibition Parking area for general attendees to strut their stuff. This non-judged area made up for interesting show and shine displays with some very cool vehicles.

Although Volkswagen still far outnumbers Audis at the show, as was the case in previous years, we spotted some amazing Audi offerings on display such as Carson Yang’s 2004 Dolphin Gray Audi S4 and Victor Bartosek’s amazing Audi ur-quattro.At the Volkswagen end of the floor we spotted many unique cars and some familiar faces. Hard to forget Eric Didier’s 1990 Red Doka that had been fitted with a WRX engine and super-wide Porsche-style wheels.

The Mk1, Mk2 and Mk3 classes were particularly crowded with quality vehicles for display. Some of the ones that come to mind are Mark & Jessica Manning’s beautiful Helios Blue 1989 VR6 GTI, Lance LaPrarie’s uber-clean 1988 Scirocco 16v, Ryan Love’s wide-body 1999 Mk3 GTI and Van Vorwerk’s 1981 Red Jetta. Tom Lindmark’s pristine 1991 Corrado G60 stood out as the only G60 in the show this year, and even though we spotted several clean VR6 Corrados, such as Anthony Cruther’s black on black wheels, we have to wonder where the rest of the G60s were this time around.

On the post-1999 era, we saw many fantastic cars, as well. Austin Staunton’s VWvortex-featured Imola Yellow 20th Anniversary GTI was spotted sporting A8 monoblocks. Near by, Dave Meister’s gorgeous 2003 Jazz Blue 20th was seen sitting spotless on three Oettinger five-spoked wheels to display large rotors and a custom-labeled red big brake kit. The Mk4 R32 class also had a lot of quality cars on display such as Rick Miller’s and Christopher Kenning’s two black beauties. Mario Sweeney’s Blue R32 with Jetta front end and mesh-style Rial wheels was also an impressive sight. The Passat class was very well represented again this year with several fine examples of clean OEM plus style throughout the show. The Mk5 display was somewhat small albeit high in quality. We spotted a few Fahrenheit GTIs and GLIs around and a handful of nicely modded Jettas, Golfs, GTIs and GLIs. We’re certain this class will grow as the generation matures into its third year for 2008.

Late in the afternoon, the show began to wind down after the drag racing came to an end. The award hand-out topped it all off among cheers for those awarded. Overall, Waterwagens 2007 was an excellent show. It implemented several changes that we feel made for a more interesting and exciting event. It was well organized and planned, although we do hope autocross is back next year. That being said, Waterwagens has quickly positioned itself as one of the largest Volkswagen/Audi enthusiast events in the west coast and certainly one not to be missed. The fun and easy-going atmosphere, amazing vehicles on display, and great selection of sponsors and vendors made the show a great success. Even through we were unable to be officially present this year, we will, rain or shine, be back for more next year.

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