– Words: Ryan Lewis. Photos: MJ Digital.
We’re not really sure why, but all of a sudden here at the-lowdown.com we’ve gone from owning Japanese cars to Euros. It wasn’t deliberate, but the Honda, Toyota and Mitsubishi we used to drive have all been sold, and in their place are three cars from the Volkswagen Auto Group. We still love JDM rides with a passion, and no doubt we will all own more in the future, but at this point in time the Euro bug has bitten, so we figured a road trip to Canberra for the annual German Auto Display was a pretty good idea.
The Mk1 Golf above is mine (Ryan’s), and GAD was basically the deadline for me to get it finished off. Since March it has had a complete tear down, an engine conversion, and what you could basically sum up as a new lease on life. Hitting the road early on Sunday morning, it was an awesome feeling being behind the wheel.
We drove down with a bunch of cars from Sydney including Jose’s insane Mk2 above.
As the name suggests, German Auto Display includes all cars from German automakers.
Some of our favourites on the day were these vintage 911s. Beautiful examples of the timeless shape.
Porsche themselves came down with a couple of their latest and greatest machines for the crowds to ogle.
As enthusiasts of good driving experience, there’s something about a 911 that gets the blood racing.
Canberra proves to be great middle ground for this event, with interstate attendees every year.
Of all the water-cooled Volkswagen models, it was the Mk3 Golf which had the best representation.
This BMW E30 Alpina C2 2.7 struck a cord with me as my first car was an E30. All Alpina models are highly regarded by BMW enthusiasts, and this particular example was absolutely perfect.
You can’t deny the legacy of the 3-series BMW, a consistent performer through all generations. Whether the E36 is destined for the same fame as the E30 is yet to be seen, but the E46 certainly is, in our opinion.
One of the most pristine E36 M3s we’ve seen, including those awesome ‘Vader’ seats.
Of course the more weird and wonderful your German car is the better!
Tried and true combo of BBS and VW.
Another car rolling on BBS wheels was this sick Audi 80 convertible. One of our favourite cars on the day.
Melbourne represented with a fleet of cars and this sweet trike.
We were pretty stoked to see this Mk1 Caddy turn up, surely one of the rarest VWs downunder. This particular Caddy is a US import with square headlights and big US bumpers, but it’s running an awesome Mk5 engine conversion including dash, steering wheel and seats.
A couple of the other Mk3s there on the day. We’re big supporters of the Vento front end swap as seen on the left above.
After a quick detail our old Golf was looking pretty decent under the Canberra sun, and managed to pick up a trophy for Best Mk1. A great recognition for all the hard work.
Jose’s two-door GTI was imported from England when he moved here. It’s air-bagged and incredibly detailed in every department. It deservingly took out Best Paint and Best Mk2 on the day.
One of the Melbourne boys showing off his adeptness at speed bump negotiation.
Best Polo went to this GTI, and it’s pretty easy to see why. So much good stuff under there.
One of the other beautiful Polos on display was this red Mk4 facelift from Melbourne on a really neat set of Ronal R10s.
It’s just as well VW Australia started bringing in the Scirocco locally, because just look at it.
You know what they say, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ Maybe that’s why every 911 looks the same.
You can’t really tell by looking at it, but this E46 M3 came with serious horsepower thanks to a turbo setup under the bonnet.
Strictly speaking a Škoda should be hanging out at Czech Auto Display (if there is such a thing), but since the Octavia is built on a VW platform, this blacked-out wagon was welcomed.
The Mercedes Benz 190SL is too cool for words. We were totally absorbed in this thing, and I will want one until the day I die. It wasn’t the only one at the show either.
No German car show would be complete without a strong field of air-cooled VWs, and GAD had us covered.
This little Beetle had a turbo Subaru engine conversion really neatly tucked in at the back.
Baja Bugs aren’t super rare, but good ones get so much attention on the road.
This one certainly does with it’s Subaru engine swap and prominently mounted turbo.
If you’ve never driven an E30 before I encourage you to do so. They’re relatively plentiful and such great fun to steer. It surprises me that there aren’t more in our Aussie scene.
A collection of Beetles should always cover the whole colour palette.
Mixed in with the newer Benzes were a couple of properly old and rare models, including the one above – some still driven by their original owners.
Roadtrips themselves are totally worthwhile, the journey is usually the best thing about them, but when you have an event like GAD in between drives it’s all the better.
Who knows what we’ll be driving this time next year, but if it’s German you’ll be seeing us in Canberra!