2020 is upon us. Yesterday, we took a look back at some of the decade’s car trends and made some predictions about trends to come. Today, we’re just going to reminisce about 2019. We were quite busy this year, but some highlights stick out in my mind as the best moments throughout the year. These are those favorite experiences we enjoyed in 2019.

Riverside IV Chattanooga, March 2019

In March, I drove the E30 through absolutely torrential rains to go back to my hometown of Chattanooga to attend the 4th annual Riverside meet. While it was the first year my car was not selected for the showcase and it poured rain the entire weekend, I couldn’t have asked for a better trip to spend with some of my best friends. The show was bigger than ever, with more to see and more to do, but didn’t take away from the show’s roots. Riverside’s motto is ‘come for the cars, stay for the people.’ That motto rang true this year, as no one was without a smile as we enjoyed seeing old friends and making new ones despite the weather. Even me, months before I replaced the top on my vert, couldn’t be upset as it rained outside and inside my BMW.

European Experience, April 2019

A month after Riverside, I drove even farther south to the beach in Savannah, Georgia with my friends to EUEX 2019. This trip is one we have made for the past few years, even though the distance has doubled since I moved from Tennessee to Ohio. The show, unfortunately, will not be returning next year, so this may be the final EUEX anyone ever could experience. Fortunately, it was the relaxing, fun, beach weekend it always is for my friends and me. Sadly, as is tradition, I blew my car up nearly 1,000 miles from home and had to trailer it back on a very expensive U-Haul truck and trailer, which forced me to sell my rare ’84 323i E30 gray-market import I had just purchased back from the fellow I sold it to nearly three years ago. Even with that major setback, I still count the entire weekend as one of my favorites from 2019. It ended up being the catalyst to build my car even more, which has resulted in the best iteration since I initially built it in 2015.

Black Forest Industries B3 Passat Build, June 2019

This past Summer, Mike, Noah, and Adam from Black Forest Industries came to spend a week with us here at ECS Tuning where they attempted to build a B3 Passat with a G60 supercharger and a turbo to twin-charge the little VW and take it to Canada for a Volkswagen show with Orchid Euro’s Jamie Orr. While the team put in some incredible work, the wagon was forced to endure setback after setback that was outside anyone’s control that meant it didn’t quite make it in time to drive up north. Regardless, it was an excellent time and we were able to forge lifelong friendships with some of the purest car enthusiasts I have ever had the pleasure of working with.

BMWCCA Oktoberfest, South Carolina, October 2019

During the past year, we bought, built, and gave away a 2002 BMW E46 M3 as the third iteration of our Euro Car Sweepstakes. After a complete refresh, the M3 received an insane amount of modifications from the top performance companies in the business and a full Turner Motorsport treatment that included some brand-new parts we developed just for this build, like the CSL-Style Carbon Fiber Intake. In October, some of our team went to the BMWCCA O’Fest where they conducted the final drawing and the winner was selected who will take delivery of this amazing M3.

Black Forest Industries Oktoberfest, Cary, North Carolina, October 2019

While some of our team were at the BMWCCA O’Fest, my girlfriend and I drove the E30 down to stay with the same boys from BFI that we had befriended back in June. We made the trip to Cary, NC for the insane BFI O’Fest celebration and a weekend full of excellent beers, low Euro cars, and good friends. Having the chance to spend more time with Noah, Mike, and Adam was an amazing opportunity. As I mentioned, these guys are about as pure as you can be when it comes to car enthusiasts and constantly push me to set the bar higher in my cars to try and keep up with their trendsetting ways.

Rallywagen 2.0 Ohio-Argentina, November 2019

After the M3 was wrapped up, we partnered with Jamie Orr to do a sequel to the first Rallywagen we did last year, where he and our photographer went to the tip of the continent in Alaska. This year, we built a MK7 GTI 5-door manual that received a full complement of upgrades and custom work to make it a fitting successor to its older cousin that was sadly crushed after our trip last year. This one went from Ohio to SEMA in Vegas, was shipped to Columbia, South America, and then drove the distance to the southernmost tip of the continent in a short three weeks with Jamie Orr at the helm. This was great fun and we can’t wait to do part 3 next year.

All these experiences make up only a fraction of the fun we’ve had in 2019, but they certainly stick out prominently in my mind as some of our most memorable. We hope you enjoyed following all the adventures along with us. We are excited to top all of these journeys next year in 2020 and we hope you are too. See you in the next decade, fam.