H2O International 2014 part 2
So after a long three prior days, Sunday has come around and today was show day at H2O International. Held at the Fort Whaley Campground on the bayside, this has been the home of H2Oi for the last three years and always draws the largest group of Volkswagen fan boys in America. After going all season from show to show on the East Coast, and for some even further away, H2Oi is the last major VAG related show in the U.S. and is marked on everyone’s calendar. Attendees build cars purposely for this event and debut them here during the last weekend of September. This year, the Top Dawg Competition turned out to be one of the best that we have seen in recent years.
Event organizers have been putting this show on for many years now and they always do a great job at executing the plans they work on all year. This year we decided to stay until Monday so instead of heading home right after the show, we got to enjoy the show and not feel rushed to get back on the road to head home. So on Sunday morning, we got breakfast at the good ol’ DD (Dunkin Donuts) and hit the 60th Street Bridge to make our way to the bayside. After making a little detour because I got off at the wrong exit……we found our way to the campgrounds and found ourselves waiting in a line full of Volkswagens and Audis. One cool aspect of this location is that the general parking is located in the wooded part of the campgrounds, which makes for great picture opportunities.
The Mk7 platform is beginning to pop up everywhere and one car I really wanted to see was the Mk7 R, which Volkswagen of America brought with them to the show. With an upgraded four-cylinder TSI engine, the Mk7 Golf R is going to produce a 5.3 second 0-60mph which is .4 seconds faster than the Mk6 in manual mode. The Mk7 will be offered in manual and DSG (automatic), which is awesome because it suits everyone’s taste. The Mk7 R is rated around 290hp which is 30hp more than the previous generation. It’s scheduled to arrive to the States in 2015. If only there were a way to get the R32 VR6 sound to come out of the Mk7 Golf R, then I think we would see these everywhere!
Since I recently acquired a Mk5 R32 in the springtime, I’ve been keeping an eye out for some ideas of modifications. I spotted a United Grey R32 sitting in the vendor area with a HPA turbo system and HPA supporting mods and I talked with the guy who owns the car. This gentleman convinced me that I need to go to Wookies in the Woods. Orchid Euro and PVW Magazine set up a huge booth at H2Oi featuring some of the high-quality builds in North America. They also had tons of European auto parts for sale for Volkswagens. The guys from M.I.V.W. show in Europe came over and also brought with them a special trophy to be awarded to one of the show field vehicles on Sunday. It’s amazing that attendees come from Europe for H2O International but it shows just how deep the VAG crowd goes.
As I mentioned earlier, the Top Dawg Competition was on point this year and the quality of cars on hand made it probably one of the best years they’ve held the competition with the quality of cars on hand. The guys at Unix Performance always build some incredible rides including the mint green Mk1 we saw last year. For this year, they brought a Mk2 Jetta with a 16v G60. This car was unbelievably clean. They also brought a Golf Rallye project car with an R36 engine and a DSG gearbox, sitting on custom billet Unix wheels. I highly recommend checking out these guys because the quality we’ve seen in the vehicles they build does the talking.
Another ride included in the Top Dawg Competition was a fully re-sprayed brown Mk3 with a shaved bay, air suspension, and Audi TT interior pieces. But the car to take the trophy home was the Mk3 Jetta TWIN TURBO custom-built and fabricated. I’m sure you have seen this car around the Internet since its debut in 2013; it’s just as good as the pictures make it look. With a vertically-positioned VR6 engine and a fully stripped interior with a custom roll cage, it sure had a lot of time and energy put into the project and it fully deserved first place.
On Sunday night, everybody usually shows up at the 45th Street Taphouse for one last night of hanging out with friends and looking at some sick cars. We got there after eating one last meal at Phillips and the mood was completely different from what we saw Friday and Saturday night. Everybody was calm and you would never have guessed that this was the H2Oi crowd that had caused a restless weekend for the town. A few cops stopped by and hung out with the show goers so I wandered over and had a conversation with one of them. Let’s just say the Ocean City Police Department is already planning for next year and it’s going to be worse in terms of cop presence……
Overall we had another excellent weekend in Ocean City and at H2O International. Sure, the police presence was a little overwhelming and put a damper on most of the get-togethers, but the show itself was great and the quality of cars on hand were the best we’ve seen in recent years. I CANNOT WAIT for next year’s show season to get here and I can’t wait for H2Oi 2015! Make sure you head over to the GALLERY page and check out all of our photos from H2Oi and give us a LIKE on our Facebook page!
Written by: Justin May
Photography: Justin May