Only one car club can boast that their hometown show is held at Volkswagen of America’s headquarters. That exclusive distinction goes to the Michigan Volkswagen Enthusiasts, and the show is MIVE’s annual Motorstadt, held this year on Saturday, June 2.
”MIVE is very fortunate to have VWoA as a sponsor this year and the ability to use their lot again for the third year in a row,” said Matt Denner, one of the show’s organizers. “It means quite a bit to us as a club.”
Audi and VW both provided display cars from their current lineups, including a silver R8, which quickly became a spectator favorite, and a Mk.5 R32. Another unique and popular attraction was the Volkswagen museum located inside the building, where VW displays a vehicular retrospective of the company’s history. The show was also a rare chance to rub elbows with corporate staff, some of whom had their own project cars amongst the crowd. Keith Price of VW’s public relations department brought his syncro Vanagon and track-day Cabriolet, and Patrick Hespen of Audi public relations showed off his Rabbit GTI with a 16v swap.
Altogether, the show brought together 192 entries, just shy of the club’s goal of 200, but a significant jump from last year’s 147 show cars. A handful of cars showed up to represent the aircooled faction, including Alexander Dienst’s red 1973 Beetle with about 70,000 miles on the odometer, super-clean despite its trek from Stowe, VT.
Subtlety was not the strong point of the early water-cooled cars. One unusual entry was a VR6-converted Vanagon riding on Porsche phone dial wheels. Mandy Brown-Yildiz’s BBS body-kitted Cabriolet attracted the sunlight from behind the clouds with glittery yellow House of Kolor paint. A black leather interior, tinted taillights, and black Dodge Omni GLH wheels provided contrast. Look for an upcoming feature on this perky topless Rabbit. And representing the Sciroccos, Matt Denner took a trophy with his gray 1.8T Megasquirt conversion.
The Mk.2 owners put on a strong showing, especially Scott Mason’s maroon 1988 GTI VR6 and Tony Cressey’s smooth gunmetal 1992 GTI 1.8T with Audi door handles, shaved hatch, Sparco fuel door, and OZ wheels.
Nate Little’s 1552 Design Jetta coupe put in an appearance; known as Project X, the car always draws a crowd. Another standout Mk.4, a Rave Green GTI featuring color-matched wheels and a painted engine cover, turned heads across the parking lot.
The Audi collective was not to be outdone. An impressive collection of time-capsule cars captured most of the attention, including a pristine 30,723-mile Audi 5000 CS Quattro. Original owner Gary Palombit was only too happy to reminisce over the car’s various stickers, brochures, and dealer souvenirs. Tucked away to the side was Francois Faloppa’s red 1973 Audi coupe S, which he imported from France in 2005. The car, which was never sold in the US, sported a smooth sloping roof line, loads of black leather, and sleek polished wood interior trim. It was easy to see how Audi’s designs and styling have evolved to form the sea of modern sedans and Avants that occupied the rest of the show grounds.
A total of 68 trophies were awarded, but despite the competition, MIVE managed to keep the competition friendly and there were a few unusual classes to keep things interesting. The club has a proud tradition of encouraging participation of beaters and project cars, and to that end award a trophy for “Best No-Go,” bestowed upon the most interesting car towed, pushed, or pulled into the parking lot. This year, the award went to the owners of a 1987 Cabriolet who caught a ride to the show after the car broke down en route.
Although most class winners were selected by spectator vote, there was a notable exception. A panel of Volkswagen staff was responsible for selecting the recipient of the Manufacturer’s Choice Award, which Matt said is “given to the car that best represents the culture of Volkswagen tuning in America.” That distinction was earned by Ben Zeeuw’s black 1990 16v turbo Corrado, and the award was presented by Steve Neder of Volkswagen’s product planning department.
“To see all the cars here and see all the work you guys put into them, it’s unbelievable,” said Steve.
Organizers deemed the show a success, and participants seemed to agree. Although the cloud cover threatened to break all day, the rain held off until just after the last trophy was awarded, and thanks to MIVE’s laid-back style, the atmosphere was second-to-none. Thanks to MIVE, Volkswagen of America, Audi of America, Motorstadt’s many generous sponsors, and all the show’s participants for making the day possible.
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