March 8, 2001

1552 Winter Treffen
Article and photos by George Achorn

A season opening show has become somewhat of a tradition for the staff at 1552 Design. Always billed as a low-key meeting time, rather than a high-production show, their late winter get-togethers always pull in many more attendees than you might expect.

Well into their second year in Florida, 1552's early season show has become all the more attractive as a welcome break from the frigid weather of colder climates.

However, when one considers just how far away Florida is from most east coast cities, and combine it with forest fires and Daytona 500 traffic, it might have been assumed that this year's Winter Treffen would be a bust due to all the logistical complications.

However complicated things may have been, the show turned out to be quite successful and much of this can be attributed to the large level of respect 1552 garners in the VW-enthusiast world.

Mirroring 1552's customer base, Winter Treffen is open to Volkswagens and Audis. No cover charge is made, and a local caterer kept concessions to a minimal price. 1552 has orchestrated the show as such to be almost the anti-commercialized show. One could easily mistake the event for just another get-together, though it is far from it.

Several friends were on hand to help out with the show and get a little exposure for themselves. The local Volkswagen and Audi dealer brought several Volkswagens and Audis out to share with people, even building several Volkswagens up with a host of factory accessories. Back on the show field, Eurotech displayed three of their cars and Eurotech's erstwhile owner Les could be seen aiding in the parking organization.

Alabama's own APR made the trek down, fresh from their own barbecue and open house the week prior. A black GTI 1.8T equipped with their new Stage III engine upgrade was on display, along with a large selection of new or soon-to-be-released products they have been working on.

A wide range of Volkswagens and Audis made a showing in varying degrees of modification. Owners came in from far off locales such as Texas and Washington, DC. Surprisingly, there was a heavy emphasis on newer cars with very few older Audis or Volkswagens.

With smoke occasionally detectable from the far off fires, safety was a large concern. All cars parked on the grassy field had to be turned off in order to keep the risk of fire down. Had one started, it is more than likely that many expensive cars could have gone up in smoke, leaving their owners to debate with their insurance companies on just what their car was worth.

Fortunately, no accidents happened and the day went off without a hitch. Winter Treffen could be the ultimate Spring Break escape for the VW enthusiast. We'll just have to wait until next year to see what 1552 pulls out of its hat. With rumors of an imminent return to the Washington, DC area, we're betting it won't be as warm or smokey.