If you’re a true enthusiast, there is little that can stand in your way when you set your mind to something. For our four-man team that trekked up to Wisconsin last weekend for Udderly Euro, that certainly rings true. Fortunately, we made it safely despite the extreme exhaustion, challenges, and lengthy drive. Nothing can stop us from doing what we love, which is exactly why we were hell-bent on joining all of our friends for a weekend full of beautiful cars in historic Neenah. With that, welcome to the Udderly Euro 2021 full coverage. We sincerely hope you enjoy it!
Thursday morning, bright and early, we convened with the MK7 GTI, B8.5 S4, F82 M4, and our recently-lettered Sprinter van to head out for what we expected to be around a ten-hour drive. We departed our facility and were instantly wrought with unplanned delays. Our original schedule had us (hopefully) clearing through Chicago right between the lunch rush and afternoon traffic, but those dreams died quickly when the oil pressure light flickered on the Sprinter’s dash. We were forced to pull over, not even thirty minutes away from our facility.
As luck would have it, when we replaced the oil pan the night before, the pressure sensor had not been plugged in all the way, which caused the sporadic warning light. We quickly rectified that and continued on our way, ready to make some real progress on the trip. No sooner had we settled back into our rhythm on the road, though, the front right tire of our van blew to pieces on the highway. It was a fairly new tire, was the correct PSI, and showed no signs of anything worrying before the drive. Something just decided we should spend an hour or so on the side of the road replacing it in a tick-filled section of the Ohio Turnpike…
After that debacle, we continued onward, already dreading the upcoming traffic we were sure to experience through Chicago. That gridlock stalled us much earlier than expected shortly down the road, as much of the Turnpike’s stretch to Indiana was reduced to a single lane and brought everyone to a standstill in a hair-raising, ABS-inducing, stop. It would seem the gods of travel were not smiling on us as we inched along, mile after mile, through what seemed like a never-ending dimension of construction. Despite these setbacks, we soldiered on, at this point simply to spite whatever bad spirits had chosen to heckle our crew.
When it seemed like we finally were able to free ourselves from the highway of horrors, yet another mechanical gremlin reared its ugly head our way. The MK7, running a fresh tune to support the big turbo and our manifold, was no longer willing to fire all of its cylinders consistently. The telltale sound of a Subaru emanated from the exhaust and we pulled off the road yet again to investigate. We had a spare set of new coil packs just in case, but we didn’t have something with us to counter-hold the acorn nuts on top of the hold-downs, so we chose to ignore it and just keep going. The solution was to turn the car off when it started missing, turn it back on, and continue driving for twenty or so miles before repeating the process.
By the end of the drive, as we drove under the blinding flashes of a looming storm, the MK7 was missing consistently with no quick-fix giving us even a moment of respite. Road-weary and somehow covered in ticks we had yet to find, we just pushed through the final leg and arrived at our destination quite ready for a beverage or five. Or, we would have been. We quickly discovered the township of Neenah restricts beverage sales after 9 PM and it becomes a barren wasteland of sobriety. What joy. With that, we turned in for the evening, ready to wake up fresh to what we hoped would be a day that would wash away the hardships of our drive.
The next morning, we awoke with simple missions: coordinate with the Eurotrash crew, find a new spare tire for the Sprinter, replace the MK7 coil packs, and meet up with anyone already in town for the show. A breakfast meeting and show venue walk gave us the chance to plan the following day’s final layout and work out what we could do to help, but the best part of the day came as the result of our previous day’s tire fiasco.
After calling around to find a shop with a balancer that could handle the massive Sprinter wheel center bore, we were directed to a local facility that worked primarily with that type of commercial vehicle. They had a single matching tire in stock. Just one. We split up our group to cover more ground and sent half of us on a supply run while the other half took the van for a new tire. While there, Dave Siebert, our fearless leader for the event, realized that Fitment Industries, some contemporaries of ours, were a mere mile up the road from the tire shop. With the tire replaced, they popped over for a surprise meet-and-greet with the Fi crew.
From misfortune comes opportunity, it seems, as, without the blowout, we’d have never been awarded the chance to meet a truly great group of enthusiasts. The Fi folks welcomed us with open arms when two of our crew showed up unannounced at their office. Sean and Mariah invited us to their house that evening for some hang time in the garage while they put the Imola B5 S4 back together for the show on Saturday, which we were happy to join them for after dinner.
At Sean and Mariah’s house, we had a chance to talk shop and become quick friends while Dave helped install fresh engine mounts for the 2.7T. With Fitment Industries, the assumption we had was that they were primarily JDM-focused. Surprisingly, Sean and Mariah are both massive Euro enthusiasts, with an X5 diesel, E55 AMG, and B5 S4 between the two of them currently in their stable. This common ground of car culture was enough of an ice breaker for us to feel completely at home in their driveway.
This is one of the beautiful aspects of our shared passion; the ability to form a lasting relationship with someone nearly instantly is likely quite exclusive to this hobby. We spent hours discussing our current cars, previous builds, sharing stories, and providing insights into the slight differences between our two companies. It was here that we found the possibility of a potential partnership, all thanks to an unfortunate blowout and friendly townsfolk who sent us to a tire shop that set up this whole happy coincidence.
The following morning, we set out bright and early for a quick bite, show prep, and booth setup. With the event set to begin officially in the early afternoon, we didn’t have much time to make anything happen. We’d been informed that a local car wash would be our best bet for a quick scrub down, but a better option quickly presented itself. Some local attendees and friends of Brad and Dinah at Euro Trash invited us to their house to use their driveway and supplies, which sounded preferable to feeding quarters into a machine, so we took them up on their offer.
Once again, the friendliness of locals and fellow enthusiasts came through to show us wonderful hospitality. Matt and Scott Krahenbuhl, two brothers with some wicked cars, took us in and shared their personal garage with us shortly before the show. We washed up, enjoyed some unadulterated access to their builds, and quickly fell in love with what they were taking. Matt, the owner of this insane period-correct VRT MK4 build, took some time to walk us through everything he’d done with this incredible machine. The attention to detail, from the painted two-tone livery to the polished and shaved underhood goodies, spoke volumes to the level of dedication he’s shown over more than a decade with this car.
His brother, as it turns out, was an 80Eighty sweepstakes winner who took home a gorgeous FD RX-7 Turbo courtesy of their giveaway. With that RX-7, he was able to enjoy an unreal build for several months before turning it in for the car of his dreams, this Audi C7 S6 sitting beautifully on a set of BBS LMs converted to true three-piece construction and laid out perfectly on a set of coilovers.
Following our lovely detailing session at the Krahenbuhl’s house, they escorted us to the event through town with our caravan of booth cars trailed by our Sprinter. We quickly arrived and began our setup, ready to enjoy a full day in the amazing weather by the water in historic downtown Neenah, Wisconsin.
The event was certainly one for the books. Many of the people there at Udderly Euro we’d had the pleasure of meeting at previous shows hosted by Euro Trash, which was a pleasant change of pace from our normal meet-and-greet style. Seeing friendly familiar faces come by to catch up was welcomed heartily by our crew, especially considering the volume of attendees we hosted at our booth. It was a nonstop buzz of energy around us as we rapid-fire placed orders, handed out tons of swag, and answered questions ranging from product fitment to build advice.
We were also happy to host Kayla Kolben, of YouTube fame, along with her friend Brooklynne. Their MK7 Golf R and B8.5 S4 sitting on air suspension complimented our layout nicely and we can’t thank them enough for joining us on such short notice.
With so much time dedicated to working the booth, it was hard to get away and enjoy all Udderly Euro had to offer, but we managed to make some quick trips to walk the show in between greeting and conversing with attendees. Something different about this crowd seemed readily apparent with the presence of rather unique vehicles. To compare, while this event is hosted by the same group that hosts Euro District in Jeffersonville, Indiana, the northern Wisconsin enthusiasts that attended Udderly offered a rather varied range of cars. Of course, there were the usual EV Garage cars that absolutely floor everyone with their impeccable attention to detail, but what struck us was the number of truly oddball cars.
Lifted Volvos, a smattering of VW busses of different configurations, a crew-cab Caddy, Rolls Corniche Drophead, and a surprising number of Mercedes AMG cars attended, which gave this show a unique diversity that we certainly didn’t expect. Traditionally, these primarily Volkswagen-centric shows attract a specific enthusiast. With the common trends and themes becoming so universal among Volkswagen builds, regardless of how clean the execution, the lack of variety can be rather stale. This is something others have noted about the Volkswagen scene’s contribution to car modification trends as a whole.
The shaved bays, polished engine components, flawless paint, fender to lip fitment on rare vintage wheels, leather-wrapped and diamond-stitched interiors, creative air management setups, and affinity for new-old-stock OEM+ goodies always deliver, but that trend has so explosively dominated nearly every avenue of enthusiast builds even outside the Euro scene for so long, it’s a welcomed sight to see someone try something new. The presence of oddball cars, unique exhaust dumps, painstaking attention to detail, and extreme variety Udderly Euro offered made this ‘not just another VW show’ for us. For that, we have Brad, Dinah, and the rest of the Euro Trash Apparel group to thank.
They consistently attract such an amazing segment of our community that seems to share in our interests and appreciations, as was evident by the total show attendance there at Udderly. As we learned last year at Euro District, these shows truly are about the people, the atmosphere, and the shared interest. One particular example of the kind of folks you can expect at Udderly, Euro District, or anything Dinah and Brad organize, is during the awards ceremony. At many shows, even specific make/model-focused events, the attendees and entries who know they aren’t taking anything home tend to leave. Here, the Top 20 and Best of Show recipients are all corralled in a ‘winner’s circle,’ of sorts, so everyone knows instantly whether they were selected or not. The fact that almost the entirety of those in attendance showed up just to watch the awards speaks volumes about the people there.
This crowd, these enthusiasts, are the type that celebrates the success of others as much as they celebrate their own successes. That selflessness, that pure love for the community as a whole, was a consistent theme throughout the weekend. All the people who were happy to host us, help us find a tire, help us wash our cars, set up our booth, and engage with us reinforced that sentiment time and again. Without our hardships on the way up, without the motivation-killing hit after hit, we would never have experienced that amount of love and support. We certainly would have seen it, no question about it, the community this event drew in demonstrated that even outside of our direct experience, but we wouldn’t have seen that or experienced it so firsthand. So, one thing we can take away besides that community attitude is that through struggles and roadblocks come opportunities to make new friends, see the absolute good in the community, and experience something special for a weekend all about what we love.
A special thank you is deserved for Dinah, Brad, Josh, Pat, and everyone from Euro Trash Apparel. Additionally, we’d like to thank Sean and Mariah along with the whole Fitment Industries crew for welcoming us into their facility and home, thank you to Kayla and Brooklynne for the last-minute additions to our booth, for helping us at the show, and for being continued supporters of ECS that allow us to do what we do. Thank you to Matt and Scotty Krahenbuhl for the hospitality, we are eternally grateful to have met you guys and for letting us use your home to detail our cars. Finally, thank you to everyone who came and made this such a wonderful event, made us feel welcome in Wisconsin, and reinforced our faith that we hold so dearly for the Volkswagen, Audi, and entire Euro-car enthusiast community. We can’t wait to see you all here on July 24th for Turbos and Tacos, then again this fall at Euro District in Jeffersonville, Indiana. If you’d like more information about the upcoming events, you can check out our event schedule page and register for the upcoming shows so you have a spot to spend a weekend with us enjoying our shared hobby.