Euro Auto Festival – Greenville, South Carolina’s Premier Auto Event

The Euro Auto Festival is the premier auto show in the Upstate of South Carolina. This event is just one notch down from a full fledged Concours d’Elegance event, the very high end collector cars that vie for a Concours prestigious win being the only vehicles missing.

Held on the beautiful greens and fairways of The Preserve at Verdae in our hometown of Greenville, South Carolina, Roo and I are so lucky to be able to drive just four miles to see some of the most astounding automobiles anywhere.

Nothing else need be said about this Lamborghini

The greens and fairways were filled with beautiful automobiles and crowds of people. Every year a particular country’s autos or a particular marque are showcased at the show. This year featured the Cars of Italy. Of course, the particular marque within that broad category that had a large and in charge presence was none other than Ferrari.

There were plenty of other European auto manufacturers here besides those from Italy. But being that the Italians had such a large presence, I decided to give them their own, exclusive post, as it should be. It is their show this year, after all.

In a previous post I mentioned my having had a Triumph Spitfire 1500 Roadster. Well, as we walked around, another old sports car flame came into view, a car that I absolutely loved and had a blast driving. Known affectionately (and literally, in my case) as the “poor man’s Corvette”, a 1973 Opel GT.

Seeing one would be great, but three, and in beautiful shape! 

I had one just like this, right down to the color. These were really fun cars to drive and garnered a lot of attention!

Cute as a bugs ear!

The requisite faux dog peeing on a car tire. Seems to be at least one at every show.

When was the last time you saw a Renault LeCar?

Jaguar had a great lineup of it’s classic and modern cars. Jaguar, in my mind, is the only other auto manufacturer’s cars that you can actually say have some sex appeal, which strikes me as odd, because you know, being British and the upper crust who can afford to buy these cars…… Italian cars, on the other hand just ooze sex appeal. Careful, you might slip……

What would a European auto show be without Triumph, makers of the quintessential two seat roadster?

Austin Healey, another classic British marque

After viewing all the cars that mere mortal enthusiasts are wont to drive, we ventured across the fairway to a seemingly other worldly automotive scene, Automobiles that know no limits of technology, no know limits of cost, know no limits of power, These cars are in your face, over the top, excessive, look at me; don’t you wish you had one creations that bend your mind.

Supercars and Hypercars

These cars are mind-boggling. Knowing they are totally out of reach for Roo and I makes it all the more desirable to seek them out in order to gawk and marvel at the creative genius they exemplify with their beauty, technology, and stratospheric power.

If you are looking for a Concours style, high class auto show in a beautiful setting, and you are a European motorcycle and car enthusiast, it is worth the trip to Greenville to join in the fun, held every year in October. Maybe we’ll see you there in 2019!

Bikes on the Back 9

I have always enjoyed going to motorcycle shows that take place at a golf venue. The atmosphere is different, evoking a sense of elegance, upscale and affluence, real or imagined. Like the Quail Gathering on the West coast, or the Riding Into History event in St. Augustine, FL. Even the bikes seem to have an extra layer of shine and finish to them, as if to say “we deserve to be here.”

My hometown of Greenville, South Carolina is host to such an event. The Euro Auto Festival is held each October at the Preserve at Verdae Golf Club, a beautifully wooded golf venue. As the name implies, it is an event showcasing over one hundred beautiful European automobiles on the golf course (more in a later post), with a large contingent of motorcycles.

Euro is the name of the game here. All European motorcycles on the green from modern sport bikes (Ducati/Triumph), to a vintage scooter (Moto Guzzi), and the usual ’60’s and ’70’s Triumphs and BSA’s in between. A great showing of beauty on two wheels. Enjoy the show.

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There’s The Show, and then, There’s The Bike Show……Brit Bikes in the Carolina Mountains

 

The show was the Autumn in the Mountains British Car Show in Asheville, North Carolina (post forthcoming). But, the show  were the British motorcycles on display. However, I was a bit disappointed at the turnout of bikes. Granted, it was a car show after all, and the motorbikes were the red headed stepchildren at this event. However,  what did show up was excellent: two 1970’s Triumph Bonnevilles, an awesome looking Triumph X-75, a very cool Rat Triumph, and a Norton Commando.But where were the other great marques like BSA, Ariel, Vincent, JAP, and AJS to name a few? They’re out there. Just not here. I’m sure we’ll see them in upcoming vintage bike shows we’ll be attending. Enjoy the Gallery.

Motorbikes at EuroFest Greenville, South Carolina

 

EuroFest is a European car, judged show. But before you blow off this post because of the word “car”, let it be known they had some pretty sharp motorcycles at this premier auto event as well.

Roo and I, two moto and auto enthusiasts in our Mazda Miata, and another couple in their Porsche, drove to the Euro Auto Festival venue, the Verdae Greens golf course, on a gorgeous Saturday morning. Honestly, I did not know there were going to be motorbikes here, so imagine our delight when we came upon the sign shown above. Not a whole lot of bikes showcased, but hey, it is a “car” show.

There were a number of marques represented here: Aprilia, Ducati, Triumph, BSA, Norton, even a Greeves! BMW Touring Sport, our local BMW, Triumph and Ducati dealer, had a vendor tent set up and a Zero motorcycle (electric) whirring around the golf course all day! Awesome! Enough words. Enjoy the show!

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Next year, the featured automobiles will be Italian marques. Maybe more Italian motorbikes also? We will definitely be there. Viva Italia!

VINTAGE

Vintage. The word itself conjures up images of fine wine, art deco wall posters, and old clothing of a bygone era. And motorcycles. I love vintage bikes, especially Cafe racers. I consider myself a touring motorcyclist, and probably ninety percent of my moto time is spent doing just that. But there’s that small part of my motorcycle persona that keeps tugging in the direction of vintage and modern retro two wheeled art. Yes, I have a split motorcycle personality.

I view vintage bikes and Cafe racers aesthetically and viscerally. I didn’t ride these machines in my teens and twenty’s, so there is no personal connection to them. Nor did I ever tune an engine to wring out more power or build a bike from scratch. Viscerally, what motorcyclist worth his Pirelli’s doesn’t get off on the intoxicating smell and sound of a 1960’s Triumph, BSA or Vincent? Aesthetically, I find them to be works of art, which, of course, was the last thing on the minds of the men (boys) of the 50’s and 60’s whose sole objective was to “do the ton” (hit 100 MPH). Little did they know the following that would blossom fifty years later.

So, with much anticipation, on a beautiful Saturday morning on the last day of April, I rolled the ST out of the garage for a visit to Hendersonville, North Carolina, and the 16th annual Motorcycle Meltdown Vintage and Cafe Racer Motorcycle Show. I would have loved to ride Roo’s little Suzuki Cafe TU ( she would fit right in) but afternoon weather called for heavy rain, and that’s no bike to be caught on when weather turns dicey.

meltdown

The motorbikes, of course, are the main event. But, just as much, what brings me back to this event, are the people and the atmosphere. Folks here are unpretentious, not caring what you ride. The only colors flying here are the Ton Up Highlands club who sponsor this amazing show each year. Men, women, kids, dogs, all running about. Old men who rode these bikes “back in the day” talking shop with hipsters that weren’t even a horny moment in daddy’s eyes yet, that rediscovered the bikes and culture and who restore these machines today. Everyone is happy & smiling; it’s a carnival atmosphere around motorcycles, because of motorcycles.

THE MOTORBIKES

All the big players from the “ton up” days were here.

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Moto Guzzi was a show in force

The lone Suzuki: 1967 125cc. Wish I rode our’s up……….

Triumphs, of course, were everywhere……….

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Back in the day, this is the bike everyone wanted but couldn’t afford. Some just built it……………. the Triton

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Beautiful to behold, the power of a Triumph engine surrounded by the steadfastness of a Norton frame. This was the quintessential British Cafe Racer to have in the 60’s and 70’s.

The one thing all these bikes have, both vintage and modern retro, that other modern bikes do not, is the cool factor. They just exude cool, like Steve McQueen and the 1960’s Twilight Zone’s Rod Serling. Cool cannot be faked or fabricated. You either have it or you don’t. Steve had it, Rod had it, and these bikes have it. Cool.

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THE PEOPLE – Rockers & Mods…….NOT!

As I mentioned earlier, the folks gathered here for the love of vintage and retro motorbikes and to participate at an event in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina on a beautiful southern spring day.

Old, young, old hippies, young hipsters, women, girls, teens, kids and dogs. All mixing it up among the bikes.

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and personalities abound……………….

and the band played on

Passing on the knowledge

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These guys  are the new generation of vintage and Cafe bike builders. Carrying the torch, keeping the bikes and the Ton Up culture alive……………

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All too soon, it was time for me to head back home.I made numerous passes through the lineup of bikes, seeing something new and interesting each time. Satisfied, I got back on the big Honda, and headed south towards the state line.

Oh, the rain. Did I get caught in the wet weather? Sure did. The sky’s opened up exactly 1/2 mile from home. But I was still smiling!