Rollhard’s Belgian Chapter 6.0


Posted on: August 30, 2018

Words and Photography: Michal Fidowicz 

What a weekend. If you’ve been reading my articles for a while now, you should know that I am a big fan of European shows. Knowing that I’m going to a totally new environment surrounded by cars I’ve probably never seen before is really refreshing, and really, really exciting. This, paired up with the fact that the car show is hosted by one of the biggest car pages on the internet right now (Rollhard) is a recipe for an all round awesome day.

Now hear me out for a second. The best bit about going to Europe for a car show is the fact that you’re not really going for a car show. As soon as you even set off for the English channel you forget the fact you’re going to spend a day at a show. Literally everything gets knocked down a peg, and you stop driving towards a show, and rather start exploring somewhere you’ve never been before with a group of close friends.

Or perhaps people that will become good friends, for example last year when I visited Belgium for Rollhard I met Jamie and Bobby (E31 and S15.) Fast forward a year and our group chat is still active, and we still organise to meet up through-out the year. This trip is no exception, I hopped in shotgun with Olly again in his 430d and set off for our first stop.

Brugge.

 

Joining us we had Troy in his hyro’d Benz, Matt with his 7 series (he seems to follow me a lot,) Jack with his A3 and James with his absolutely spine tingling Supra. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a car sound like a super-turbo charged space ship until that Friday morning. I reckon there are secret American military bases out there making super sonic jets that aren’t half as loud and powerful as this thing.

 

 

On the way to Brugge all the chaps with no front number plates had a small encounter with De Belgische Polite. PC Janssens was not very impressed, and gave everyone a lovely 54 euro fine. It could be worse though, it could have been a £100 fine and a bollocking from PC Stevens. Anyway, we were abroad and surrounded by a fantastic selection of Belgian beer and an endless amount of Lays. Speaking on which, I’m currently tucking into a bag of Paprika flavoured Lays and believe me you’re missing out.

We arrived in Brugge just before lunch time and did some touristing. The usual: grabbed lunch, went exploring in the city, made the most of the hotel’s pool and got on the beers. Now let me tell you this, the Belgians know a thing or two about making a solid beer. Kwack, my darling. I’ll be back for you next year don’t you worry. And the garlic sauce in the burger shop. Damn, I need to go back.

Day two started with the usual combination of a hungover mixed with a mildly vivid hint of excitement for the day ahead.

This excitement was in full swing when we arrived at our AirBnB. Thanks to a very, very misleading advert we ended up in what can only be described as a brothel (if I’m polite) or a full on crack den for human traffickers (if I’m not polite.)

After more beers, we decided to seek refuge as far away from this AirBnB from hell as possible. In retrospect, this is probably the best decision we made all trip. If we didn’t get out of there I’m confident I would have woken up the next day neatly cubed into small chunks of human on the black market somewhere, or perhaps without a kidney in the best case scenario.

Don’t worry, the listing is now off the website. Anyway…

After what can only be described as a close call, we once again decided to go and drink more Belgian beer. This leads us neatly into Sunday morning, where we got the cars ready for the show ahead!

 

 

After a 25 minute drive, we finally arrived at the show. Now this is where it starts to get interesting!

 

 

This year’s Belgian Chapter had a change of location from last year. Whilst we did attend the show last year, I made the mistake of getting too much content. I was about 140 photos into editing all the goods and I wasn’t even a quarter of the way through all the photos. Burnt out and genuinely bored, I ditched the coverage and never released it. Let me tell you this though, last year’s enormity was tricky to top this year!

Regardless, we arrived at the new location blown away. It is literally the perfect place to hold a show. A mixture of old cobbled roads, with post war architecture and mass parking spaces for all the cars.

Let’s get into some pictures!

TURN DEVICE AND HOLD DOWN ON IMAGE TO SAVE IT.

 

 

I know, I know. You do not need me reminding you that the Europeans KNOW how to build a proper show car. In fact most of these aren’t even people’s show cars, but daily motors that munch miles (or kilometers) every day.

It’s a shame that I don’t know any of these owners. If you see a car you know, help a brother out and let the owner know it’s in here!

 

TURN DEVICE AND HOLD DOWN ON IMAGE TO SAVE IT.

 

 

The beautiful thing about all Rollhard shows is that they encourage difference styles and build ethos. Does it grab people’s attention? Is it cool? Does it scrape on the floor when it drives, or flow with the lines of the road stuck down like glue? Anything goes, and it’s very clear that those who attended the show have a clear vision and know what they want to set out with their builds.

While I’m only young, I have a good idea of what the Euro style of builds is. This show further reinforces to me what this style is and how it works, and it’s one I’m keen to see.

 

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Now, you all know I’m a big fan of BMWs. Whilst other kids had pictures of the Ford GT and a Ferrari 430 up on their bedroom walls, I had a poster of an E30. Fair to say when I saw the Bavarian metal on show here I was on cloud nine!

 

TURN DEVICE AND HOLD DOWN ON IMAGE TO SAVE IT.

 

 

 

Someone give me strength, for that E39 is perfection on wheels. In fact, it’s my first car of show from the day. Early pre-facelift model, dark SE exterior with chrome trim all around, cream individual leather interior with wooden trim, and with the proper manual transmition.

Give me strength! I want it and I need it. Damn.

Anyway, do you see what I mean about the cobbled street? It’s ace for photos!

 

 

 

England definitely doesn’t have enough cobble.

 

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The Rollhard stand had some genuine gems on display too. Now, we have to take a minute to appreciate what this team has done over here. They have managed to find a last minute venue, and host a show with 500+ killer cars, with a number of high quality trade stands and with good catering on site, in an absolutely stunning location. In the UK, this is easily a £20 per head show. Rollhard’s Belgian chapter on the other hand? €10 per car. Yes, that’s less than £10 per car… not per person. Per CAR. If you didn’t have a motor with you, you were free to roam around and take a look. This genuinely puts UK shows to shame, and it got us scratching our heads as to how some shows can justify charging £20 per head to see some Volkswagens parked in a field.

The beautiful thing about this is that the night before we were in a local bar where we made friends with some locals that spotted our cars around town and wanted to chat. This group of friends was an interesting mix which included a female stunt driver, a couple of chaps who fell in love with James’ JDM Supra, and a middle aged husband and wife who collect classic cars. You could tell they were the regulars who meet up for a drink on Saturdays. A handful of them didn’t even speak amazing English, yet we found a common ground of cars for a conversation to flourish. Many, many beers and hours later, we invited them to the show the next day and they turned up, and joined us for a gander around the cars on show.

Rollhard, thank you for making these things happen, and please never change the formula. These evenings and memories are what makes your event much more than a bunch of cars parked on some tarmac, and I’m sure many others that attended your show on the day had similar stories they could share.

You know a weekend was good if I’m already reminiscing about it 4 days after returning home.

There is still some cars I want to show you though, don’t worry!

 

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Now below, you’ll see a tiny little Fiat 126p. The P stands for Polski, and this little rear engined car was built between 1972 and 2000.

While they did make their way over the UK, it’s rare to find a P model. The P model cars were build in Poland under a Polish licence, and became a cult classic motor. They represented everything about the developing country, and were a motoring representation of how the country left the grasps of the Soviet State… sort of. I won’t bore you with the cold war history which I could geek over all day long, but the reading behind it is quite interesting! Think of this car as a Trabant, but for the masses of Poland.

A few of these have popped up in the car scene in Poland, so I was over the moon to get a chance to see one in show condition in Belgium. Something I did not expect!

 

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A genuine pleasure to see, and the second car of show for me – something that brings back memories of childhood before I migrated over to the UK with my family. My dad has told me stories of how notoriously awful these cars were, and how he went through 8 of them in a space of a year because it was more efficient to buy another one rather than to fix it. Incredible.

There’s still a few more cars I’d like to share with you though.

 

 

 

And that wraps up my Rollhard Belgian Chapter 6.0 coverage. Now it’s quite rare that I reach the end of the article and get all sad over how good of a time I had, but this little adventure is one I will treasure for a while. It was not my first time visiting Belgium for Rollhard, and it is definitely not the last.

Until next year, thank you!

 

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