When most people talk about European vehicles, the first thing that pops into your head might be a Volkswagen Jetta or even a BMW M3. European automakers are known for their sports cars, but did you know Volkswagen was known for its pickup trucks in the 80s?

Thanks to one of the biggest West Coast European car meets of the year, vehicles such as the Volkswagen Caddy truck and the BMW X5 got the chance to shine at the seventh-annual BIG SocalEuro Gathering on June 27 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif. With more than 1600 vehicles on display, it wasn't hard to spot the rare trucks and tuned SUVs. Word of this event has spread far over the years--people from Nevada, Arizona, and one of the biggest groups of retro-first-gen and second-gen water-cooled Volkswagen clubs from Tijuana, Mexico made the trip.

This is the seventh year that the guys and gals at SocalEuro.com (SCE) hosted the free event presented by Falken Tires. They got key sponsors to donate prizes for a raffle that featured amazing giveaways from companies like Toyo Tires, GIAC USA, K1 Speed, Nitto Tires, B&G Suspensions, Eibach, Falken, and Sparco. Altogether, the event raised nearly $2500 for the American Chinese Culture and Education Foundation. It doesn't seem like much coming from an event as big as this one, but everyone scraped together to give what they could in these tough times. SCE has always held the philosophy that the people come first; the cars just bring them together.

Everything from air-cooled Volkswagens busses, modified Porsche Cayennes, grocery-getting Audi wagons, and a Ferrari on a tow truck were in attendance, not to mention Volvos, Minis, Smarts, Mercedes-Benzes, and a few supercars. Little villages of E-Z Up tents and the smell of BBQ filled the air around the vehicles. Members of the crowd could sign up for the BMW Car Club of America Driving Clinic and car control exhibition featuring lots of smoke and screeching tires. The BMW CCA teaches drivers how to handle their vehicles for track racing and everyday situations with evasive handling techniques. We spotted a BMW X3, an X5, and a minivan getting a workout on the driving course and, needless to say, the minivan was a crowd favorite.

The team at SCE deserves a huge Thank You for their efforts in bringing a car meet of this magnitude together for the Euro car enthusiasts who made the trip. Stay tuned to SocalEuro.com as next year's meet is already being planned.

About SocalEuro.com
Started as Socalaudi.com and Socalivw.com with the motto "4 rings + 1," SCE quickly diverged into other makes to include BMW, Volvo, and Mercedes-Benz, ultimately creating a universal portal called SocalEuro.com. SCE has become the largest European car community in Southern California.