Sciroccos in Southern Ohio: Cincy 20

It’s happened again. After my fourth Scirocco event in southern Ohio, I’m sitting here with Post-Cincy Depression (PCD). What is PCD, you ask? And, more importantly, what the heck is Cincy and how has it been going on for 20 years?

Let me tell you about Cincy. If you are an auto enthusiast, and if you’re coming to VWvortex I bet you are, Cincy is what most car events should be. It’s part car show, part wrench-fest, part swapmeet, part beer tasting (and beer swapping), and part stand-around-BSing-about-cars event. But most of all, it’s really a family reunion. It’s old friends and new friends all getting together around the campfire to catch up and spend time together. Only there’s no campfire (side note: why didn’t we light that fire pit?). Nope, at Cincy we gather around a different form of fire; internal combustion. And this fire comes wrapped in a slinky, low-slung coupe; the Volkswagen Scirocco.

This year marks the 20th year of Cincy and it dawned on me today that this wonderful event has been going on longer than the Scirocco was in production. You see, Volkswagen only sold the Scirocco for 16 years. From 1974 to 1990, Wilhelm Karmann GmbH cranked out these little coupes. They were sold in the States through 1988, in Canada through 1989, and into 1990 in Europe. And yes, VW sold a third generation in Europe in the 2000s, but almost all Scirocco owners turn their noses up on the too wide, too ugly (yeah, I said it), too bread-boxy model. And for three days, Scirocco enthusiasts gathered to celebrate this car.

It all started on Friday, May 31st when Sciroccos from all over the country started gathering at Moriane Airpark just outside of Dayton, Ohio. For 20 years, Daun Yeagley (VWvortex member vwdaun) has organized and hosted Scirocco owners from around the world. Yes, the world; last year Grant Bingley joined us from Australia. Unfortunately, he didn’t drive (wink). Cincy started in Cincinnati, Ohio back in 1999, and has moved along with Daun to Dayton, but the name Cincy has stuck. And for the past 20 years, what started as a love for a car has grown into an extended family. A weird, wild, every-walk-of-life family. Cincy ended on Sunday, June 2nd with a cruise to Young’s Jersey Dairy where we all ate at picnic tables outside. Some folks skipped traditional burgers and fries and instead opting for a double-scoop cone for lunch. No judgments from anyone.

Like any car event, at Cincy there’s a healthy dose of looking at cars, and this year was no exception. As a new car arrives, folks gather around to check it out. Someone mentions they have a part the new owner needs, and the group moves to that new thing. And along the way, there’s friendly handshakes and lots of hugs. Hugs at a car event? Yes: honest-to-God bear hugs. Like I said: family.

One of the most refreshing aspects of Cincy though is the lack of automotive judgment. Take a look at the photos in the gallery: you’ll see a couple pristine S1 ‘Roccos, some good looking S2s, and an equal amount of not-even-close-to-pristine ones. Here’s the true spirit of Cincy: the participants are thrilled to see these cars staying on the road, no matter what the condition. There are no “awards” at Cincy (well, not real ones), so there’s no competition. Scirocco owners love to see these cars being cared for and driven. Faded paint? Rust? Worn seats? Who cares! You’re driving a Scirocco!

If you boil it down, yes, Cincy is about the cars, but the true focus, the true power (yeah, I said power) is the people. You keep a Scirocco on the road, and your fellow owners embrace you no matter what condition your car is in.

And oh, the cars. VWvortex member echassin drove his incredible S1 Mars Red Scirocco S from Chicago, member TheTimob came in an S2 Scirocco “Overland” from Colorado Springs (which I fell in love with), and Daun brought not one, but three Sciroccos including a white-on-white S2 Wolfsburg Edition with only 37,000 miles. There was one more completely wild Scirocco that everyone drooled over; there are photos in the gallery of it, but you’ll see more about it in my Forum Friday article this week.

Overall, there were around 24 Sciroccos on hand for Cincy 20. I know that’s not a lot, but there are fewer and fewer of these cars on the road every year. Not everyone could bring theirs but instead puttered in Kias from around the country. Cincy inside joke: any car that’s not a Scirocco is a Kia, and it doesn’t matter if it’s an actual Kia or not – there were Kia Beetles, Kia Cherokees, a Kia Cabriolet 16V, and even an electric Kia Model 3. That’s how close a clan this is; their car might not run, or they might have sold their Scirocco years earlier, but they still come for the camaraderie and friendship.

And so now you see why I sit here with PCD. Cincy is something very special. I hope there are other car events like this elsewhere in the world. A place where car nerds of any type can gather around a vehicle they love, get to know others, fix problems alongside people they just met, talk about all kinds of cars (goofy topics included rotary engined cars with “floppy Dorito” internals, FJ40s, and Teslas), drink beer (or whatever fuels your engine), and just freaking enjoy each other’s company. The cars may bring the people together, but the people are the real focus of Cincy.

So if you’ve lost faith in the general automotive community, maybe you need to find your own Cincy-like event. Or better yet, find a Scirocco (or a Kia), and join us: Cincy 21 is already being planned.

To my fellow Cincy-goers: I salute you. You’ve built an incredible event, and I’m so thankful to have been part of it for four years. I wish I’d gotten to one sooner. To Daun, Brad (Saturday night’s “caterer” and maker of homemade ice cream), and everyone else who helps with Cincy, a HUGE thank you. You’ve really built something that might be even more special than the little car Volkswagen built way back in 1974.

Most photos by the author. Additional photos courtesy of Sarah Cringan and Larry Boehm.