Event Coverage: Sciroccos in “Cincy” 2018

Summer is here! Time for great car shows like Southern Worthersee, FixxFest, Waterfest, Wookies in the Woods, and Cincy

Wait: Cincy? What the heck is Cincy? Well, that’s a tough one. See, Cincy isn’t a show. Not in the traditional sense. It’s centered around Scirocco’s, but it’s not just about Sciroccos. It’s not a cruise. Well, there is a cruise, but not a traditional cruise. It’s titled “Cincy” (short for Cincinnati Ohio), but it’s not held in Cincy. There are “awards,” but they’re not awards. And there’s lots of Sciroccos and lots of Kias. Some of those Kias are actual Kias, but most are not.

What is Cincy? The best way I can describe it: a family reunion. It’s a weird, wacky, wonderful group of people that celebrate ancestry and history, not of a human family or bloodline, but the history and bloodline of Volkswagen’s Karmann-built sports coupe, the Scirocco. People come from all over the world for Cincy. It lasts three days. There’s beer drinking, wrenching, kids playing, home-made ice cream, and even on some occasions, plane rides. And Cincy’s been going on for 19 years.

Cincy started simply: notes on cars in parking lots around Cincinnati by Scirocco owner Greg Davis. They didn’t even call it Cincy, just some fellow owners meeting in a mall parking lot back in 1997 and some cruise-ins. Daun estimates there may have been 14 cars.

In 1999, Daun Yeagley (VWVortex member vwdaun) held the first “official” Cincy at his parent’s house just outside of Cincinnati. The internet was just taking off, and an invite was posted online. Like a high school party, more people showed than Daun expected: there were 15 – 20 cars. Toilets overflowed, the party went a little off the rails, yet somehow they got everything cleaned up 30 minutes before his parents came home. The event went so well, Daun (with the help of others) decided to make it an annual thing, and Cincy was born.

Cincy is a whole weekend affair. Last year the event moved from the Cincinnati area to Dayton, Ohio. Being a licensed pilot, Daun reserves an entire hangar at the airpark he belongs to for the event. Caravans of people come in from various locations: Canada, Illinois, Michigan, Philadelphia, Maryland. This year VWVortex member Roccodingo flew in from Australia just to attend. I’m telling you, these people are serious.

Friday night people gather for pizza, beer, catching up, and assessing damage from the long drive in. Some of these people have known each other for years, some have never met face-to-face, and some are complete newbs (lovingly called “Cincy virgins”). Sciroccos are parked in a designated area, all other cars (Kias) are parked a bit further away in their own area. Note: if you don’t come in a Scirocco, you came in a “Kia.” That could be a Kia Sedona, a Kia Vanagon, or a Kia 747. If ain’t a ‘Rocco, it is a Kia.

Saturday is the Cincy day. There’s breakfast in the morning in the hangar, looking at cars, and watching cars roll in. In the afternoon there’s a beer swap: people bring in local brews to exchange with others. Most of these are consumed throughout the day. Cars come and go, people come and go, dogs wander around looking for a dropped treat. It’s hard to determine how many cars there are in any given year since people come in and out. The height of Cincy was in 2002 when 60 cars were able to spell out “Scirocco” in a nearby field.

The great part of Cincy is the knowledge that is shared amongst the metal. As the number of Sciroccos dwindles (there are rumors of less than 2500 on the road in the United States and Canada), parts are becoming rarer. And the know-how to fix the quirks on these cars is going away  too. At Cincy, it’s not uncommon to see not only hoods open but cars up on ramps or on jack stands with more than one pair of shoes poking out. Your car isn’t idling properly? Someone’s more than willing to take a look. Have a weird rattle? Someone else has had that same issue. Unsure of the lineage of your car? Someone knows the ins and outs of every model year and trim level.

Saturday night wraps with dinner, homemade ice cream, and an “awards” ceremony. With tongues solidly in cheeks, Cathy Boyko (VWVortex member punchbug) may hand out some prizes for “Best Carnage”, “Furthest Distance Driven in a Scirocco”, and “Best Encounter with a Law Enforcement Officer.” I’ll come back to the awards in a minute. Sunday people gather in the morning and a long line of ‘Rocco’s and Kia’s cruise to Young’s Jersey Dairy for food and more ice cream. People say their goodbyes, and everyone starts the trek back home happy they had the time together, and sad that’s over. “Post-Cincy Depression” is a thing. I’ve experienced it myself.

So what is Cincy? The awards best sum up what it is: there are no awards for “Best Paint”, “Lowest Ride”, or “Most Original.” This is the anti-car show car show. Take a look at the photos in the gallery. Yes, there are pristine examples of gorgeous Sciroccos, but there are also everyday drivers. Cincy is not a competition, it’s a celebration. People don’t judge on the condition of your car but relish in the fact you are keeping it on the road. It’s passing along information, history, and helping each other out. It’s the older enthusiasts helping the younger enthusiasts, and this year we had one Scirocco owner, Jordan Nelson, who is working on getting his license. His (very proud) grandfather trailered his car up from Kentucky so Jordan could gain some knowledge and some very important behind-the-wheel time.

This was my third Cincy. To me, this show restores my faith in the car community. Cincy isn’t about showing off, or Concours-level appearance, or any of that. It’s an honest and genuine gathering of great people that happen to own, love, or simply desire a certain little car built by Volkswagen for only 14 years. My 1987 Scirocco 16V made the 450-mile round-trip journey flawlessly (with the exception of a very rattly heat shield). My ‘Rocco is my favorite possession, and I can’t imagine ever parting with it. It’s not perfect, and it never will be. But it’s something I love and for one weekend a year (or one day of one weekend), I get to hang with a bunch of weird family members who aren’t related by blood, but by love. And this family throws one hell of a reunion.

Thanks, Daun Yeagley, Cathy Boyko, Brad Templin (the cook), and countless others who coordinate this great event. Also thanks to Tony, Jillian, Gordy, and Eric for additional photos. See you in 2019 for Cincy 20!