What do you get if you add 3 weeks of stupendous sunshine, a big blue lake, mountains topped with snow and an infinite amount of cars from all over Europe. Wörthersee is the answer.
Over here in the UK and even parts of Europe we're kind of in the same frame of mind to what a car show is. You wake up stupidly early in the morning, convoy towards the shows location, spend ages in a que to be shown to the car park, pay to enter and see all the cars selected for Show and Shine. You have a walk around, see builds you've followed on Social Media or Forums, you come across some cars you never knew existed and fall slightly in love. Eventually the trophies get handed out, everyones had a good day, you go home and rejoice on the best parts of the day you've just witnessed.
Sound familiar? See this is where Wörthersee throws all of that out of the window and throws so many different things at your face. I'll never forgot the first time I rolled onto whats known as the Velden strip outside the well known Velden Casino and relativity expensive bar. The vast amount of people just sat at the side of the road, beverage in hand, pretty much every car in the traffic being a modified car, cars parked all over the show most likely wearing the famous parking ticket, the occasional shout of "Gummi" and some VR Turbo or Donkey Tec Mk2 boosting and popping away with everyone smiling of joy. I think this first encounter of Worthersee will stay with me a long time. The complete difference to anything I had experienced before was just shocking.
I should mention that Wörthersee is officially known as GTI-Treffen. A huge show conducted by VW themselves and all other marques under the VAG badge who provide the construction of a huge performance and exhibit space. Since 1981 for 4 days it's a chance for new cars and concepts to be revealed and to celebrate as a whole what has been achieved. But to us modified car guys and what we know Wörthersee stands for is the weeks leading up to this main event. As said enthusiasts from all over Europe bring they're VW's, Seat's, Audi's, Porsche's and many other marques, even ones not in the VAG group and descend onto the towns surrounding the lake known as Wörthersee. The two most popular towns being Velden-am-Wörthersee and Reifnitz along with Faaker-See, which is located just west of the main lake and were a lot of action takes place.
Over the next few weeks I shall be going back into my photo archives and bringing you a small series of blog posts showing what goes on, giving you some information so that you can drool and plan you're own 3000 mile round trip and experience it for yourselves. Also while I'm out there this year I'll be sending back live coverage throughout the 4 days we're there and the other adventures we'll be getting up to. From cruising through Belgium and Germany, driving around Monaco in the most fitting car possible and to a place many will say is very me, Bordeaux. Its going to be a blast. This is something I highly recommend to every enthusiast to do at least once no matter where you're from. Even if it's just from being a passenger, building and driving your own car down, build a car specifically for the trip with 3 friends and all travel over together, as I did on my first year or flying over the pond from the US like our guy Alex. It's so worth it! Feel free to send over any questions for any information about everything. Us here at Rollhard would be happy to help in anyway we can. After all we're all just one big family.
For this blog post though I'm going to touch on the first year that a lot of us from Rollhard decided to go over as a group. The years before this Elmo and the gang had gone over with the well known photographer Si Gray (worthersigray) and had an epic time so they managed to encourage more of us to join for the following year.
So year one. Well one thing we learnt, things don't always go to plan. Our cars as we all know sometimes don't like to play ball. They like the throw the odd hissy fit to just try and ruin the fun, but I guess that is the fun in the end! From getting 5 miles from home and grabbing a puncture, realising that you're going to be about 8 hours late for the Ferry because of your Volvo or breaking down due to an overheating Mk2 in Brussel's wonderful rush hour. So basically all smooth sailing and we weren't even 300 miles into the trip...
There's so many different routes down to Austria so leading up to the trip you make another one of the annoying Whatsapp group conversations and start to plan and choose places people would like to visit. You can do England to Austria in one hit. It's been done many times, the going rate is about 16 to 17 hours with a few breaks and I'm pretty sure the record I've heard is around 14 hours and that included getting up to Leeds. German Autobahns are wonderful if you have the car right?
We as a group decided we'd like to visit either the Porsche Museum or Mercedes Museum. Both are located in Stuttgart so we agreed to make this the first stop. It's a good 10 hour plus drive but it is a good 'halfway' point. Makes the next day a more relaxing 6 hour drive. Obviously with everything going perfect, not missing the ferry or breaking down we actually arrived in Stuttgart at around midnight, making it an 18 hour trip... We did have word the Volvo was en-route too who we were then united with the next morning. Last year when I was with Adam and Alex in the S500 we headed further east and went to Wolfsburg first to visit the VW Museum and Autostradt and made it a 3 day trip to Austria. They'll be more on that later in this Series. All off these Museums I would recommend with the Porsche being my favourite. I've now been there twice, and this coming year I'll be there for the third time. Just something about it even though I never see myself actually owning one. The Volkswagen Museum was a great place to walk around too. Get to see a lot of old school air-cooled in that place!
Taking the morning and early afternoon to have a look around the Museums you'll still get plenty of time to cruise down the A10 and enjoy the scenery Germany and Austria have to show, which pops up out of nowhere by the way, boom you can see mountains and boom you're in between them rolling side by side with huge grins and eyes wide open taking in the breathtaking views.
Booking for a hotel I would suggest booking quite in advance. It does tend to book up really quick, especially this year as it's the 35th anniversary, but if you want a good spot. I'd recommend staying in Velden, it's where we've stayed both times. Right in the heart of the action, has a good bar and the best Kebabs ever!! Adam and Alex will back me up on this, also has the cheapest Corona on the strip at 2am.. Faaker-see is another good place that the Frameslayer guys stayed at last year and they rate it highly.
As you can see here for this coming year everywhere is pretty much fully booked unless you can happily drop £500+ a night. Thats the dream.
Faaker-See's probably a place you'll recognise, the road out front with masses of cars around with people sat alongside and the car park which you could associate closest to a proper show. Security is here by the way which means the Police tend to stay away and just pass through but also it keeps the traffic moving. Throughout the few weeks, day in day out from around 12pm to 12am you'll find a great selection of cars here. Anything goings basically so you can find some real gems hidden away and there's always something new pulling in that will catch everyones attention. Just up the road is a Garage which has the facilities to clean your car which is very handy. You will find a great place across the road from the car park which does excellent food in a buffet style, just don't get to carried away otherwise you'll end up spending 35 euros on lunch. Remind yourself its weighed at the end.
We're really looking forward to this year. Another 4000 mile trip for myself and another great time will be spent at Worthersee by all I can guarantee. We will have live coverage whist we're out there so keep an eye out on Instagram, Snapchat (@rollhardd), Facebook and Tumblr and follow #rollhardinworthersee. I hope we make you jealous enough that you end up there in 2017! I suppose I better pack as we leave tomorrow so I'll just leave a load of photos!
Photography and Words - Jonny Smith.