Before Covid temporarily put an end to VW Days’ 20-year run after the 2019 event, I had attended the yearly get-together in France for the previous three years straight.
To say I’d simply become fond of this annual pilgrimage across the English Channel to Calais and then east to the event in Saint-Quentin would be an understatement. I love everything about the VW Days weekend.
There’s the journey for a start, especially the roads. The motorways in Europe are smoother, wider and have less turns than those in Britain. They tend to be sunnier too. I love the fact most of my friends come along to the event with me, and I love the fact I get to spend the weekend abroad.
As a show, VW Days stands out to me for three reasons. Firstly, it’s a camping-based event, inviting people to arrive on Friday and stay onsite until Sunday. The camping area is huge and hosts people from all corners of Europe.
Secondly, the show is organised by Club Golf IDF. These people love and represent anything VW Golf in France, and that reason, most of the cars in attendance are VW Golfs. Formally though, VW Days is a VAG family event, so anything Volkswagen Audi Group goes – Porsche, Skoda, Seat… etc.
That’s not to say other makes can’t be a part of it though. After all, variety is the spice of life.
And thirdly, the show ground is home to giant wind turbines. Who doesn’t love those?
With all this in mind for VW Days’ return in 2022, I booked my tickets and prepared my trusty brown BMW E38 to drive myself and my co-pilot to and through a foreign country. This was my very first time driving abroad in my own car, so excitement was at an all-time high.
Despite owning BMWs my whole life, I must admit I love a well-sorted Volkswagen. This show is my yearly dose of Golfs, covering everything from immaculate modified examples, like this Mk2 GTI on gold-faced BBS RMs…
…To equally immaculate, standard classics. This Electric Green VR6 looked brand new, in a spec I rarely get to see in the UK.
Another rare-spec car that I’ve never even seen at a show in the UK was this early, small rear light Mk1 GTI.
To complement the Golfs, you have an endless array of VW’s greatest hits – Corrados, old Campers and Sciroccos. You name it, it’s here.
Out of the bunch, this Mk1 ‘Swallowtail’ stood out to me most. Swallowtail models are super-early, 1974/75 examples that have swage lines in the boot lid running underneath the numberplate. While I originally assumed Swallowtail implies the smaller rear lights, not all small rear light models have this specific detail. As an example, the Mk1 GTI I showed you just a moment ago doesn’t.
Next up is this R32-swapped Mk2. There is pristine colour-coordination going on here, with the Ronal wheel detailing matching up with the R32 badges, seat trim and steering wheel. If you look closely, you’ll also spot a digital, but very-’90s-looking rev counter replacing the standard dials.
The Golf’s smaller siblings also made an appearance at the show. This Mk2F G40 really took me by surprise. What from a distance looked like standard plastic trim turned out to be endless amounts of carbon fibre.
The front bumper, wing mirrors, boot lid trim, badge and rear bumper are all made from the composite material. It looks stunning and complements the gold touches around the car really well. The interior is the same, with the dashboard facia and glovebox comportments receiving the carbon treatment. And how about that tiny steering wheel.
This VW Up! GTI, a contemporary pocket rocket amongst the older GTI greats, must be pure driving pleasure. Surprisingly, there weren’t many Lupo GTIs to go hand-in-hand with the Up! at VW Days.
You may be thinking at this point, ‘Michal, this is great but predictable. Surely there’s more to VW Days than meets the eye?’
And you’d be right. There’s a whole world of weird and wonderful cars at this event, including a number of European-specific models that never made it to the USA or the UK, let alone further afield.
Those cars however deserve their own post, so think of this as course one of a two-course dining experience. I’ll be back with the second half shortly.
More stories from France on Speedhunters