Harrsion James, Contributor
August 17, 2016 at 6:00 a.m.: the start of the journey from Saskatoon to Vancouver to attend the Great Canadian Volkswagen (GCVW) show with a few friends.
We made the trip to Kelowna within the first day, only stopping for fuel and food. Not sure if that’s record time, but I think travelling approximately 1,200 kilometers in 13 hours is pretty decent. We were all pretty beat after the long drive so we grabbed some food nearby and crashed, only to wake up early the next morning to complete the trek to Vancouver.
As we rolled into Vancouver, we started to realize that one of the cars in the two-car caravan was having some tire troubles. Typically, this would be fine and a straightforward fix: find a tire shop, get new tires and move on with the trip… except the car in question is a MK6 Golf R running air ride, staggered BBS wheels with stretched tires, and it was going to be in the show on Sunday. This made things a bit difficult as we couldn’t go to any regular shop, but required one that was adept at working with modified cars and stretched tires.
Being from two provinces over, none of us had any real knowledge of local shops. Luckily, one of the guys with us had a few contacts in the area and after a few calls we were directed to a VWAG-specific shop – RPI Equipped. These guys are VW and Audi diehards and real stand up guys (the owner of the shop owns the aired out MK7 GTI above). After a call to them describing our situation, they lined up some new tires and told us to come by in a few hours for some pizza and to hang with some locals who were getting ready for the weekend.
When we arrived at the shop, there were modified Volkswagens and Audis lining the parking lot, with a few being washed and detailed in preparation for the show and events of the upcoming weekend. We had a mk3 Golf Cabrio with a VR6T swap, several bagged and static Audi A4 avants, an immaculate B7 RS4, APR tuned RS7, and a beautiful red Porsche 993.
With pizza provided and meeting new people, we definitely did not mind spending our first night in Vancouver at the RPI shop getting tires mounted. It is no easy task getting 215 tires onto 10 inch wide wheels, but after some elbow grease and determination, the guys at RPI got the tires mounted and back onto the car. So, a big thanks to everyone at RPI for giving us a helping hand and showing us Vancouver hospitality.
GCVW is not just a car show on Sunday – it’s a full weekend of activities. Friday night was drag night in Mission, BC. I spent some time around this Corrado. A few months ago, it received a VR6T swap to accompany the coilovers and Porsche brake set up. This car is made to feel at home on the twisty B.C. mountain roads, so it was a little strange at first to watch it do the straight line thing.
The races were in full swing when we got there. Everything from air-cooled Beetles running 20+ second quarters, to mk7 Golf R’s running 13’s, and even MK2 Golf’s running mid 9’s.
There was even this little blue old school Fiat 500 running what I believe to be an air-cooled beetle engine. Unfortunately I don’t remember the time it ran or the specifics of the engine, because when I saw it stand on its back end at the start line, I went into shock. Definitely wasn’t expecting that.
It was a street legal night and open to everyone besides Volkswagens. When the other groups started to head down the strip, I headed to the pit to see if there was anything interesting hanging out there. Being BC, it didn’t disappoint.
Of course, the air cooled crowd came out to cheer on their brethren in force. Beetles, buses, campers, square backs, and some cool Meyers Manx dune buggies. Of course, this wasn’t just an air-cooled car show. For those who enjoy the water cooled variety, don’t worry, I have you covered.
Some clean MK2’s were in attendance, along with other Corrados, MK4 GTIs and Jettas, some MK7 Golfs, and a few Audis sprinkled in for good measure. I’m sure there were more, but with the amount of cars and the constant moving of cars and people, I couldn’t catch everything.
Saturday was an all-day event at the grand opening of the Open Road VW Dealership in Burnaby, BC. I had made other plans with the guys that day, so I wasn’t able to check it out. But the people who did attend mentioned there was a pancake breakfast, a tour of the dealership and shop area, pizza supper and a showing of Herbie the Love Bug movie. Everyone I spoke to enjoyed the brand new dealership and the day they spent there.
I am going to end part one here and post part 2 in a little bit. So tune in next week for the rest of the story and coverage of the GCVW show!