Six years ago, SocalEuro set out to create a European car-based community in an effort to bring like-minded enthusiasts together. That goal hit a high point on August 11, 2007, when more than 850 vehicles and 3,000 spectators took part in the fifth annual "Big SocalEuro Gathering" at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. Site founder Lon Mok and co-founder Paul Chan were able to secure backing from a few big automotive names and aftermarket manufacturers from Southern California in order to cover costs and make it a free event for all.
The gathering has grown from a couple friends hanging out in a parking lot to a massive event with a cultlike following that is now held at the home of the San Diego Chargers. It started out with a few Volkswagen and Audi owners and has grown tremendously to include vehicles from Porsche, Lotus, Alfa, BMW, MINI, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and Saab, among others.
Penske Audi of West Covina, California, brought out Audi's hottest sport coupe -- the R8 -- a rare sight for most of the crowd that had only seen it in magazines and on the Internet. Volvo also had its new C30 hatchback on display that is just hitting showrooms.
When most people think of what a European car should be, the words "Jetta," "Beetle," and even "sports car" are the first things that likely come to mind. Here at Truck Trend, we look at things a little differently. When we think Euro, we think Mercedes G-Class, BMW X5, or even the classic Volkswagen Caddy pickups from over two decades ago.
The Volkswagen Caddy made its debut in the U.S in the early '80s when it was introduced as a light-truck known as a Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup. The term "Caddy" wasn't used in the U.S., but has now found its way into the lingo when describing the vehicle. This highly sought after compact truck is the envy of many European auto enthusiasts. Of course, the Caddys at this event have had a lot of TLC and extra goodies added that have set them apart from those that rolled out of the Westmoreland County plant in Pennsylvania some 25 years ago.
VW Touaregs, Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUVS and the ever-so-powerful Volvo turbo brick wagons stood out in the sea of compact hatchbacks and midsize sedans. Although this was a Euro meet, some longtime members also took their not-so-Euro SUVs. You didn't have to be an owner to love European automobiles -- that's the idea behind this community.
The cool coastal breeze made the day all the more enjoyable and the aroma from tailgating BBQs made this event feel like a family reunion. Bringing like-minded auto enthusiasts together to show their rides and meet new friends, there was something for everyone and no two vehicles looked alike. SocalEuro has always catered to the people behind the vehicles and the gathering is a way to say thanks to its growing community.
CLICK HERE to see more of this year's coverage at MotorTrend.com, and click below for more of the trucks and SUVs from the event.