As already mentioned in the headline and also promised by many friends, the 11th tuning fair in Rotterdam/Netherlands was very small but “Ahoy”. The fairground itself could be found at Europe’s biggest seaport in Rotterdam. After an all-night party in the city’s bars and a loss of memory concerning Saturday evening, we started our trip to the event directly after breakfast on Sunday morning. Arriving at the fairground at exactly 9am, we had one more hour to take some pictures and get an overview of the “cute” venue. As this had been the last day of “Ahoy”, the event was planned to start at 10am. According to the organizers, more than 42.000 visitors were walking through the five small halls which had been very impressive and amazing, even for an “experienced event and fair participant” like me.
Online, the most popular fair of the Benelux countries had been advertised in advance with many exciting attractions and a great program. The mix of show cars, car entertainment as well as different design and performance trends set new standards for me, even if this had actually been the 11th time the event took place. I was really impressed of how the fair had been organized. It is not possible to apply for places in one of the halls as so called “car hunters” are scouting the best cars of the international tuning scene during the whole year. No wonder the quality of about 150 selected cars had been unbelievably amazing – I really saw no standard vehicle there. And to be honest, at the “Ahoy”, Germany’s best show cars would only be in the middle range. No matter where you were looking – gold, chrome and polished stainless steel could be found everywhere. In principle, every single hall could be passed in about two minutes; however, you actually needed a lot more time as you walked from the left to the right and straight back to see everything shining and sparkling.
Looking for a “visual break” and bass sounds, I went into the car hi-fi hall which had also been called the “audio village”. In there, I met my host from Rockford Fosgate at his huge stand. After drinking a coke, I quickly moved on to the other side of the hall as something quite interesting seemed to be going on there.
A so called “audio installer battle” took place here. In advance, different companies had been contacted in order to find some volunteers for a complete car hi-fi installation, live and under enormous pressure. Certainly, not only the loudspeakers had to be changed – the car’s boot had to be completely upgraded, for example with MDF, GFK or even leather-working. Therefore, some lucky winners of a prize competition got the chance to have a complete hi-fi system installed in their car. Five to seven people were working on each car and tried to polish, fill and cover particular car parts as fast as possible. I had never seen something like this before – instead of two teams, four to six teams were contemporaneously working on their projects, trying to bring their installations to perfection.
Afterwards, I decided to go to the “corner of fame” which was supposed to be the most impressive hall at the event. Definitely the most exclusive cars, other dealers and further possibilities for “tuning freaks” to do some shopping could have been found there. From exhausts with NO expertise up to ap-coilover kits everything could be found. It had also been possible to buy some shirts, stickers and a lot of care products at the so called outlet zone. But if you ask me, all those dealers selling stickers and base caps actually had nothing to do with such a high-level tuning event. However, these dealers should have had a great turnover certainly. The guys from ap did not sell that much as it is almost impossible to bring all necessary goods to the event. Nonetheless, it had been possible to enjoy a perfect counselling interview there, to take a refreshment, to order a coilover kit or even to drive with the famous RaceRoom simulators.
Just to have a little bit of fun, I decided to join a trip in a WRC simulator. In the end, driving through the French forests in a rally car or rather the simulator had been the most senseless. Thing I ever did, especially as I had to pay five Euros!
Passing the hall, I discovered a further battle – the so called “Carwrap contest”. Similar to the “Car hi-fi battle”, every team had its own project. The cars they worked on had probably been the winners of another prize competition. As I also have some experience with transparencies, I took a closer look on what they actually did there.
I got a little bit confused as I suddenly heard some noise very close to where I had been. The visitors were all very excited and burning rubber could have been smelt – the perfect time for me to go to the action area without any further delay. We all know that the Dutch are famous for loving drift sports like Germans are famous for loving soccer and of course, every nation is more successful in the kind of sports they do. Nonetheless, their presentation at the event had definitely been over the top! BMW E30 V8 or an E36 M3-type with a 3.2 liter engine are famous for being used in drift sports, however an E30 equipped with a Corvette’s V8 engine really fascinated me. Only a few centimeters between the car’s back buffer-bar and the cement barrier as well as the brothers Mark and Rick drifting that close to the visitors made me feel kind of strange, so I totally forgot to take a photo! In fact, the impression of safety the cement barriers had conveyed first immediately vanished after the show had started.
After I enjoyed the drift show a second time, there had only been one further thing for me to see. Dr. Dre and Snoop Dog beats lead me to my actual destination. Passing a lot of US Custom cars, those being so big that they might probably have had an own postal code, I finally arrived at the lowrider show. A Dutch told me the show had been boring, but as I only knew the German lowrider Shows, I was quite impressed and finally had to admit – I like the Netherlands!
Hundreds of visitors on the grandstand and a few in at least five lowrider cars, all screaming and having fun, that’s what I actually imagine when thinking about an event like that and a well-planned program.
My personal result after a 600km ride (one-way!) and two days later: I really wish to see more cars of such a high quality on German events! The time needed for driving to the event is not in any proportion to the time you would actually need to see everything there as it is quite small, nonetheless I took the chance to talk to different traders and to make some new contacts. Concerning the program and arrangement of cars, I would certainly think about how to use these points for participations on events and really praise the organizer’s imagination. The Dutch are ALL happy and have fun throughout the day what is definitely reflected at the whole Event.
In 2016, I will be there once more and take the chance to have a closer look on the event and its attractions.
I would especially like to thank John and Mark of Rockford Fosgate / Audio Design which actually invited us and organized a perfect trip including hotel and party. Furthermore, I would like to thank the team of ap Sportfahrwerke for the delicious dinner and the nice time together, particularly at your booth. I am glad about being member of the team!
“Stay tuned” and on line because we will participate in the S.E.M.A Motorshow in Las Vegas in two weeks which would be the absolutely highlight of my career as reporter.
Pictures: Denis Phoenixx Marasciulo