Another year, another Big SoCal Euro. I’ve attended this event for the last five years (except last year due to a scheduling mishap), and I’ve consistently said this is one of my favorite events of the year. You can check out past year’s coverage here: (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015), but what I love most is the huge turnout of super eclectic yet heavily modified cars; it’s like SEMA only totally free to the public and a little less over-the-top. As long as it’s European (and even that rule isn’t very strict), you can find it here. This year was no different, and despite some rain early on, the turnout was great.
Like previous years there was general parking (completely free) as well as VIP booths and Vendor/Sponsor parking. Because Southern California has such an active car culture, the VIP & Vendor parking areas fill up quick, and fill up with awesome cars. Major sponsors included TAG Motorsports, Toyo Tires, GIAC, 034 Motorsport, Elite Finish Detailing, Audi San Diego, Unitronic, VMR, and many others. These sponsors brought their A-game in terms of both sponsoring the event and bringing cool cars to show off.
Because this show gets such a diverse (and massive!) turnout, I like to use it as a barometer of trends in the car scene. I remember one year everything was about bags, then riveted fender flares, and then there was the track prepped phase, and finally crazy vinyl wraps. This year; however, I couldn’t identify a central or underlying theme. After years of huge fads that tended to dominate everything, the car scene has kind of decentralized to include a little bit of everything. This newly found balance is a welcomed trend in my book, as more and more cars are seeking not just form but function too.
This year was also a spectator & photographer’s delight, as the unusually overcast weather meant great lighting for pictures and less heat for walking around. In previous years I remember sweating all day long and having over-exposed photographs, but today was super comfortable. There was rain early-on but most folks spray detailed & dried their cars afterwards, creating the ideal setting for a car show.
Another cool thing about the event is that there are exotics sprinkled in with everyday cars; most car shows tend to gravitate towards one of the other, but here at Big SoCal Euro everything goes. There was even a sizable turnout of Saabs and Volvos.
One highlight was seeing my first modified RS3. This particular example was modified by TAG Motorsport just a few days prior to the show and included prototype lowering springs, custom HRE wheels, and tint dark enough that even the mafia might think is overkill. It looked damn good and made me really want one, even despite of its automatic transmission.
Another highlight was talking to the 034 Motorsport gang. Troy from 034 recently picked up this MK3 TTRS after owning a MK2 TTRS for a long time, and it was neat to hear his feedback as well as pick his brain about my car. 034 Motorsport really emphasizes creating great driver’s cars first and foremost, and their tunes and products are all centered around that OEM plus experience. I have a feeling that more 034 parts are in my near-term future.
There were a lot of other really great “show” cars in the show, like Tom’s S3 rocking Fifteen52 wheels and a new front lip at the Pure Motorsport booth. Tom, much like myself, spent a great deal of time detailing his car before the show…but the great thing is that with great detailing products, a little rain water wipes off really easy and won’t spoil your show.
No matter what you were into, the show delivered. There was even drag racing going on, and while I only caught a few pulls it was fun to watch. BMWs were out in full force, as well as Mercedes/AMG, and even a few domestics here and there.
I’ve included a few more of my favorite pictures in this post, but for my full coverage head on over to my Flickr gallery where I have over 120 high res pictures to check out. If you share any on your social media channels, please tag Nick’s Car Blog (@nickscarblog on IG and Twitter) for credit. A big shout-out goes to Lon Mok and the SoCal Euro crew for organizing such a great event consistently year after year after year.
Full album/slideshow, including the SDAC pre-meet at Fry’s Electronics: