Tuning World Bodensee, for everyone

As I was saying in the RWB Osechi feature, tuning is not dead in Europe. Proof of that is the quantity of custom cars that were seen during the weekend of the Tuning World in Germany’s Friedrichshafen. There was a bit of everything for everyone.

Even though German cars were a majority, that didn’t prevent the visitors from seeing all other kind of projects: some of them purely JDM, others which were more oriented to car-audio and even some American and hot rod builds.

But what caught my attention the most was that 00’s tuning still exists in Germany. It was nothing more than a fad in some countries, but in the Tuning World there were a lot, and, on top of that, they were nicely done. Liking the style or not is very personal, but what’s clear is that their owners keep enjoying them and don’t care about the actual trends. In fact, who knows how many of us will still like riveted widebody kits or stretched tyres?

For example, check out this Honda CRX. It wouldn’t have been out of place on the streets in 2001, right? Or this Opel Calibra with the complete blast-from-the-past kit: Lambo doors, chrome wheels and a big subwoofer in the trunk. Something I really liked was the big quantity of cars that were being shown by the own visitors and not the companies which had a booth in the venue. I mean, usually, it’s the big names with lots of money to spend who showcase the nicest cars, like it happened in Tokyo. But by doing so, this “human touch” in the event is lost. That wasn’t the case at Tuning World though, as enthusiasts had half of the halls exclusively for them and their cars. There were also contests in which all visitors could play their part by judging and so on. All in all, I don’t think any person who attended the event had a bad time. The staff had everything under control and made sure everyone had a good time.

While I walked around the contest area, I noticed that the flags of all the participants’ countries had been hanged. That meant some of them had traveled hundreds, or even thousands of kilometers, only to be there and give support to an event like this. Sadly for me, there was no sign of a Spanish flag. I wonder if the reason was the distance or because there’s simply not enough quality builds in our country (apart from the drift ones, which have been improving year after year lately).

One of the most interesting cars in there was this S14 with a Rocket Bunny kit, which includes a full “face” swap and it makes it look more of an American muscle car than a Japanese coupé. I had my doubts with this kit before I saw it in person, but as I already did, I can now saw that I don’t like it at all. The front view is very, very well made, but the side view looks like it’s missing something, it’s like they chopped two cars and welded them together. And in the rear it’s even worse: there’s no RB rear bumper, so you either use the OEM one or don’t run a bumper at all.

I understand that Rocket-Bunnying everything is the trend right now, but with the prices these kits have, they really should put a bit more effort into them. I have similar feelings with the kit the released not so long ago for the Mazda Miata: looks unfinished.

There were also quite a few American cars, the majority of them were done with really good taste, and you could really see the amount of work that had been put on them. But if I had to choose only one, it would be this Corvette C2 ZR1 from 1964 which had been completely modified from the bottom to the top: from a carbon fiber body to a LS9 supercharged engine under the hood, and some big as hell carbon ceramic brakes. It was a car to admire for hours. There were also other cars which, without having the same level of awesomeness, were also built with such good taste. And halfway through Europe and America was this MINI, whose body had been extensively modified to resemble a hot rod. “Yeah, they’re cool cars… To have parked” someone could say. And that person would be right, but as I was saying at the beginning, in this show there was something for everyone. This GT86 with Rocket Bunny kit was not only for the looks, it was built with top-notch quality parts, but not only for scene points. To its side, there was a paper with some numbers on this particular car: 7:55 in Nürburging BTG. It’s great to know that at least some of these cars are enjoyed for what they were conceived, to tear up the roads. And speaking of tearing things up, check out this drag Opel Corsa with 1000hp provided by not one, but two engines, one for each axle: I didn’t know what I was going to see when I got to this event, but, truth be told, what I saw left me really satisfied. In fact, I came back to Spain a bit sad about the fact that we can’t enjoy these types of events in our country, and I mean that in many ways: organization, quality of the builds we have here and even attendance (which is perhaps the saddest of it all).

We can only hope the economy gets better, that car aficionados start doing cool things again and we are able to enjoy an event like this in Spain soon. Meanwhile, we’ll have to keep on seeing these builds in front of a computer.