Adulting. Its no where near as fun as it was made out to be when we were all kids. The seemingly endless monthly task of paying bills for things like, staying alive for example. Going to work at the place that provides us a means for being able to do things we enjoy, like cracking cold ones with the boyos. But every now and then we need a break from the 9-10 hour work days, the saving money towards paying off that student loan, and other countless tasks that require heavy procrastination.
Most people combat adulting by going on a weekend trip with friends to get somewhat intoxicated and forget about real life. So that’s exactly what we did by heading down south to Euro Tripper 6 in Fort Myers. We’ll breakdown the trip, the people, and obviously the wide range of cars that attended the event.
Look if you don’t know about EuroTripper by now then you’ve obviously been black listed from social media by the FBI or some other shadow agency. An event, held stateside in Fort Myers, FL, that’s heavily influenced by VW Days in France. Run by the man, the myth, the MKII legend himself Mr. Paul Barney and his exceptional staff. Six years in the running and the event has flourished incredibly. From a small lot in the St. Germain Arena the very first year, to a giant lot at JetBlue Park. Not to mention the high level of quality VAG, BMW, Mercedes, Porsches, and other European vehicles. But we firmly believe it’s the people and the memories that make the trip that much better.
But before we break down the event, why don’t we start from the top. From the moment we clocked out of work and simultaneously from being an adult (for the most part). Unlike our fearless leader (Alex) and conspiracy investigator (George), myself and Prezzi left Orlando Friday night to head down south. This after a frantic rush home from work to shower and pack, because c’mon who packs the night before. Once arriving at Casa De Prezzi and non-patiently waiting for Nova to be ready (and by waiting I mean we left him), the adventure began. Our chariot, Prezzi’s ‘03 Mercedes S550 on 20x10 Vossen VLE1’s. Now listen, if you’ve never been inside of one of these things, PLEASE DO SO. The leg room, the seats, the ride quality, the level of tech from ‘03, it was basically like riding down in a Gulfstream G6 or Citation X. Now, most people will tell you it takes “3 hours” to go from Orlando to Ft. Myers. Don’t trust those people. Once on the road our pilot set the cruise to 75mph, long talks regarding our week ensued, and before we knew it we arrived. Total time, 2 hours.
Upon arrival we were greeted by our earlier arriving homies as well as a ton of other familiar faces including the Williams brothers, Spencer Barr, Mike Robuls, and Johnathan Dehate to name a few. The only greeting we didn’t appreciate was by the cold ass weather that was also partaking in the event. Bags were promptly dropped off into the room, a brief hello was said to our incoherent vegan (George), and then the beer began to flow. Conversations left and right, laughs abundant, and overall good vibes being had. Its safe to say there weren’t any complaints. All of this overlooking the small Days Inn parking lot full of VW’s, and Spencer’s Mini.
As 2am and sleep began to creep upon us, a lone truck pulled into the lot towing an immaculate MKI Caddy. After gawking over the level of detail we had a chance to meet the owner Juan Ragusa. The Caddy is bagged via AirLift 3H and paired with a set of Carlines that were apparently a pain in the ass to fit. The bed adorned with slabs of wood and tan interior paired with a set of Recaros that absolutely set the car off. Needless to say it was a pleasant way to end the night.
The next morning began at the crack of dawn by gathering the cooler and other items crammed into the hotel room. We then grabbed a quick breakfast downstairs and proceeded to wait in the lot for everyone to ride out together. Instead of roosters crowing, we were greeted by the noise of 12 cylinders roaring at peak RPM courtesy of a LP-640 Murcielago and its owner. Outside of a Pagani Cinque, this for me is easily one of the best exhaust notes by any production car. After soaking in the noise, we ran over to CVS to purchase a small brewery and an ice berg as the day would require a decent amount of thirst quenching hops. Finessing our way into the show grounds we quickly assembled our booth and finagled the cars where they needed to be.
If you didn’t get a chance to attend we had the pleasure of hosting Benny Boyle’s and his MKII VR Jetta, Izzy Tobar and his MK7 Golf R, and local boyo Kevin Brown and the Crayon (MKIV GLI) at our booth. We also debuted our newest shirt, which happens to be a recreation of one of our old designs. We can’t thank our long time friend Joey Burdette enough for designing the new “Praise the Lowered” shirt. If you haven’t already, we highly recommend looking at all of his hand drawn work.
Break time! Here is your chance to look at our all new "Praise the Lowered" tee and the rest of our ET6 Collection. (click image)
Soon after setting up, the rows of cars and people began to flood into the show grounds. Familiar faces began to pool around the booth, Paul zipping by on his golf kart making sure all is well, and our own Dub Empire family coming by to kick it. Hell we even saw some of our EuroCrew PR family who flew up from Puerto Rico to attend. That moment, seeing friends who we’ve written about and talked with online and built an amazing friendship because of these cars with. That moment. That’s what defines shows like Euro tripper. Yes the cars are nice to admire, yes there’s plenty of booths and merch to purchase, but seeing friends as if not a day has passed by. That’s why we continue.
Once the rounds had been made and familiar faces had been seen. Some of us decided to cruise the show grounds and see all that came to attended. And good lord was there a giant amount of cars out. From Tom Kelly’s Brasilia, Aaron Shadle’s SLC Corrado, the Bynum Built MKI Rabbit, and of course CFL homies such as the MK3 Squad.
One unique thing this year compared to others was the amazing support Volkswagen of America gave to Euro Tripper. From their amazing line-up of cars, including the all new MK7 Jetta that will be released later this year to all the free goodies they were giving away. If you ask us which car manufacturer is the most involved in a community, it will hands down go to Volkswagen, no ifs or buts.
Other cars that caught our eye were Alex Lahey’s S500, Mike Romanchock’s MKI Rabbit, Tim Razzor’s MK7 GTI, and of course VW’s line up including Tanner Foust’s Atlas and a GTI Sportwagen. And then all of a sudden, the king of VW Beetles stepped forward with a pack of very expensive Lamborghini’s. And by King of Beetles I mean a Bugatti Chiron. The exterior adorned with wet red carbon, red interior, and the 1500hp W16 poking out the rear asking, “have you heard of our lord and savior, boost?”. The Lambo’s were a bit too colorful for my taste, but the LP-720 SV and Huracan Performante happened to wet the pallet even more.
After basically stopping the entire event so people could dream over the multi-million dollar lineup, the pack slowly cruises out the lot (while making ear drums bleed). Around this time is when the announcements came for the winners of each respective class and the over all top 30. But if we’re being honest with you, we didn’t really pay much attention to who won. Not because we weren’t interested, but because we were having too good of a time with our DE family and all the friends who still happened to be at the booth. But we do wish all the winners the best regards and a strong congratulations for winning. We also want to commend those who didn’t win, because at the end of the day we all build cars with a focus towards the style that we like individually. So thank you simply to everyone who came out and showed support for the event on a whole.
After the awards had been handed out, and our goodbyes said to those who we wouldn’t being seeing after the event, it was time to back up our small caravan of items. But before departing SWFL, we had to get some food in us. Luckily for us, Fat Katz restaurant was quite literally down the street from the hotel. After stuffing our faces and easing tensions with the empty pit (also known as the stomach), it was time to say bye to those who wouldn’t be staying the night with us. In fact, a lot of people left after the show which slightly disappointed us as we would’ve like more time with all of the homies. But then adulting comes in and we all already know what that’s like. The night was spent poolside with beers and kicking it with some CFL/Daytona Beach folk. The next morning started bright and early for our return trip home. However, it wouldn’t be right if we left without first going to breakfast a Mel’s Diner with Paul and some of the ET6 staff. After an incredible breakfast (especially for me as I do not normally partake in such activities), after many goodbyes, it was time to head home. All in all, ET6 was an excellent weekend for all of us. A nice break from the mundane 8-5 job and constant adulting. A break from the real world if you will. A much needed break. As always, hats off to Paul and all of the staff for putting on such a well organized event. Thank you to all of you, anyone who stopped by the booth simply to say hi or purchase merchandise, to those who showed up for the event to make it as big as it was. We’re looking forward to seeing what the future holds for Euro Tripper and look forward to a possible 7th event! Thank you all, until next time!
Full photo coverage: Click Here
Words by Sean O'Connor
Photos by George Malioras, Jeffrey Moreno and Giovanni Gonzalez