Do you feel it? The crisp breeze of fall. The changing of the seasons. Too bad Florida is unaware that any of this is happening across the rest of the country. Then again the day was quite beautiful none the less. A less humid version of our normal 85°F swept across Destination Daytona, along with a less humid breeze. Ah yes, there couldn't have been a more perfect day to be at the event that keeps on giving, Simply Clean 7. An event where there are no trophies, no best of anything, no winners in general. Simply Clean is the Thanksgiving of the show season, because it brings out the best that any and everyone has to offer. And let me tell you there was a plethora of cleanly built vehicles. From the MK3 line up in the main parking area, to the WeDrift machines under the pavilion. Now we do have a strong hankering for exquisitely built machines from Japan and America, but c'mon you know what we came for.
And where to start? Maybe with Donato Dell'Api's (@donatodellapi) freshly bagged MKVII GTI on Rotiform TMBs parked next to Domenic Morelli's (@n0bler0t) Audi R8. Well, why don't we start with the ride out, the time spent, and then follow up with the cars? After drinking a lot more than I should have the night before, waking up at 1pm in the afternoon on a Friday wasn't all that bad. So after curing what seemed to be a never ending hangover, I properly packed my things and set off to the Dub Empire compound in an awfully late manner. Upon arrival, things were swiftly packed up into my GTI and long time friend/brethren Jeff Moreno's Jetta. After filling the tanks and turning around for a forgotten item (as what happens with all trips), we tore ass out to the coast.
Alas we reached Destination Daytona and promptly set up our booth and tables in what was not only a windy, but damn cold night. Sure during the day 85°F and dry is nice, but 59°F with wind is literally hell freezing over for Floridians. With this in mind what better thing to do then stop off at the hotel, which turned out to be a convection oven inside. After we escaped the kitchen we decided to stop off at the SC7 Pre-Meet, this year hosted by our very own local BC Racing at Buffalo Wild Wings near the International Speedway. Even though it was around 10pm by the time we pulled up, there was still a hefty amount of cars. Of which included a couple Mercedes C63 AMG's, an S4, and a McLaren MP4-12C.
The real party however, took place underneath the pavilion later that night. As cars began parking along side a frivolously working Nick, we couldn't think of a better time to kick back some brews and talk with old friends. Most of the night was spent chatting with one of our oldest buddies, Mr. Junito Maldonado. Long talks of SEMA and the resurrection of the prodigals son, who is Rusty Slammington, ensued. From there we spoke about the cars in the pavilion itself. From the triplet set of 964s owned by Sparky, Blair, and Dan that caught the gaze of onlookers, to Kevin Salinas (@klownshoe) wildely static Z3 that blew a couple minds.
The pavilion became a club in and of itself. Hell we didn't leave until around 4am, after downing a considerable amount of brews and chatting our heads off. Not the smartest idea considering we had to be up at
8:00am (8:30am) to finish setting up the booth. Obviously the morning sucked. But as the wave of cars and people began to roll in, the day brightened up a considerable amount.
It was nice to be set up and watch as different styles and builds crept past the booth. Austin Baris' (@thomasedwardson) E92 shouted from the bright purple wrap as it slid its way into the event parking. Parked not so far away from us at the DnD Garage (@dndgarage) booth was Mike Newton's killer Benz and Prezzi's RS4 Avant. One car that caught everyone's attention, even though it was bone stock, was the $200 MK2 Jetta that Si Gray purchased 7 weeks ago. It has gone from Salt Lake City, UT to New Jersey and damn near everywhere in between. A small mob of MK5 and MK6 GTI's swung by as they dodged pedestrians and cops on bikes.
Which brings us to our next point, wow there were so many of you guys out this weekend! At one point we all stopped in our booth and realized just how big this event has gotten. Sure last year was huge, even bigger than years in the past. But this year, this year was PACKED with people and cars alike. In that moment of awe, you realize you are in a car shangri la. A paradise. No one is hating one another. No one is picking apart other peoples cars. Because whats the point? No one is here to win anything, no bragging rights, just compliments and a good laugh.
The day was full of us catering to those who supported us. If you didn't happen to stop by, then you might have not seen Dub Empire's very own George's bagged CC on K3Projekt's (@stancyvw), along side our good friend Luis Ferrer's Audi A4 bagged on WCI's (@audi_luis). Thank you to any and all who purchased any stickers, shirts, or one of our new hats. We stopped and talked with so many of you, whether you be from across the state or from up North. Whether you be a VAG owner or anything else European, we appreciate you all. You and this event remind us, not only what our own community should be more like, but what all car communities must be like.
And not to mention Masa (@masavsmasa) who is friends with SC crew member Fernando (@rotodude) came all the way over from Japan to hang out with his pals and to finally check out what a Simply Clean show is all about. Even the language barrier couldn't stop us from having an hour long conversation about the car scene here versus in Japan and the different styles we come to appreciate on both sides of the pond. But that's what a car community to me, is about. It's suppose to be a gathering of those with a common bond, and an open mind to anyone's style. And what a better setting than at an event run by a man who can execute a flawless level of organization. The entire day was seamless, literally from beginning to end. And what a pleasure it was to watch a large piece of the show exit where our booth was.
Now even though the show was over, it didn't mean it was the end of the weekend. Sadly some of us had to depart home to Orlando or wherever we came in from after the show, but for the few who stayed the night went on for quite a while. Sunday no different. Many people out early in the wee hours to shoot on the beach, others to lunch across the A1A strip. Then there was us at home again, thinking about how much we should've stayed the night. All in all, what an excellent weekend it was. Hats off to Nickoli and his staff of patient and hard working folks. Thank you to those who came out and supported an amazing event and the vendors who came out to support you all.
Here's to another great year of Simply Clean, and on to many more years of such a highly sophisticated event. Who knows, maybe next year will be even more giving and we may get a chance to see Prezzis, as he's currently stranded in Brazil. Then again whats so bad about that, right? So what to look forward to for the rest of year? Wekfest is coming up in December down in (a city that hardly sleeps) Miami, FL. High on our list of events for next year is Euro Tripper 4, hosted by Paul Barney and his equally organized staff. Thanks again y'all!
Photos by Alexander Martinez, George Malioras, Skyelar Pifer and Tyler Nelson
Words by Sean O'Connor