Ultimate Dubs. The perfect way to spend a weekend drooling over the works of devotion that many VW devotees spend years, months, weeks and many a long winter night restoring, repairing and fettling to a standard that makes them almost too perfect to drive on filthy, pot-hole strewn UK roads.
The best thing about being a part of Europe’s vibrant VW scene is getting to experience a handful of static indoors shows that are all about community and coming together following a winter of not seeing your ‘car friends’. It’s probably much the same with Japanese events, Ford gatherings or any other marque specific get together. The sense of coming together under one roof, which is perfectly adjacent to a couple of hotels where everyone gathers for a swift half in the evening, makes Telford International Centre, and Ultimate Dubs in particular, something of a season opener for anyone who has been accepted into the hallowed halls with their beloved VW.
The culmination of many a late winter night spent grinding, welding, tweaking, buffing and polishing, UD (as it’s known in VW circles) has become an official season-opener amongst Volkswagen aficionados over the years, and is now in it’s fiftieth year since Dean Bergeson and his trusty band of followers started hosting the show in 2004. For one weekend only in March the entire town of Telford is taken over by modified cars from the VAG stable, nightlife escalates and the population grows considerably as people from all across Europe drive to the West Midlands town to check out the latest trends and fashions in modified car culture. Say what you will about the VW scene, but it still sets the tone when it comes to determining what’s to be hot over the next year or so. Short of going to something as all-consuming as SEMA in Vegas or the Worthersee Treffern in Austria, shows such as UD still highlight the way. Smooth engine bays, stance fanaticism, air ride and wheels that many bank managers may scoff at were in attendance.
It’s not all VWs either, as many of the trade stands manage to sneak in some sublime machinery from other makes and marques.
2019 was no exception, Plush Automotive always make a big impact when it arrives at shows like this and the almost factory fresh Porsche 911 Carrera GTS (992) on AirLift air ride and 21-inch Rotiform wheels had everyone praying at the mecca of Plush once again. Revered as one of the UK’s boundary defining air ride installers, Luke Massey and his team once again stole the show with a display par excellence. Featuring a Mercedes AMG Black Edition, a brand new VW Tiguan on air and a handful of large and exceptionally capable Audis (R8 and A8 anyone?) this young man continues to innovate and excite with modern metal creations that pretty much define the term hellaflush – a term that denotes the fitment of the wheel to ‘arch gap. For those who like negative camber and stretched tyres, this three hall display case really could be your kind of nirvana.
Considered a ‘youth culture’ segment of automotive obsession, largely because the buzzword of ‘stance’ dominates amongst this particular breed of car devotee, there’s plenty to take away from the show and shine side of the event. With a hotly contested top 20 awards dished out to the entrants who are lucky enough to be hand-picked to be indoors, the judges agonise over the shortlist with fanatical precision. The coveted best of show going this year went to a beyond immaculate, clinically clean Mk3 Golf fitted with a heavily breathed upon Audi 20 valve turbo engine. Really, this show is all about keeping car styling clean, subtle and simple, so much so that many onlookers will probably question what makes the vehicles indoors so special, but to the educated few who spot the intricacies and are prepared to analyse the attention to detail that goes into every build, this show season opener is a fantastic way to spend a couple of days hanging out with friend’s both old and new.
Detailing remains a key pursuit for many of the owners and it’s here that the devotion is clear to see. Fully stocked kit bags occupy almost every boot, owners often draft in professional detailers for last minute paint correction sessions on the show floor, and the car park outside is awash with suds as the onsite water supply is really put to the test. Reflections then bounce off every vehicle under the harsh fluorescent light, owners and loved ones probably having spent the week prior to the event on hands and knees ensuring every nook and cranny of every vehicle is attended to.
Some say that in this crazy economic climate many of the youngsters who have invested their hard-earned cash into metal works of garage art, do so because they can’t get onto the property ladder, investing any disposal cash into a wide variety of Polos, Golfs and a smattering of Audi, Porsche, BMWs and Lamborghinis as well. It’s all about understating the culture that motivates such a quest for restoration or paint perfection though, it’s about hanging out with friends, sharing a swift half at the bar and socialising with car people who you’ve never met before, maybe will never meet again. People are always better when we’re with other people, and long may that continue with shows such as Ultimate Dubs always shining a light for the UK car culture that refuses to lay down and die. Business is generally brisk for those who book a trade stand, and the endless sea of bodies that flow through the halls on Saturday evening and all-day Sunday, suggests the popularity of Ultimate Dubs won’t decrease for some time to come. This is about more than just a car show, it’s about being part of a lifestyle – fashion, music, cars, socialising – it all melds into one thing, and here at Autoglym we’re proud to be a part of car culture in all its glorious forms. Whether we’re at Hampton Court caring for 60 of the world’s rarest cars as part of the Concours d’Elegance, or Telford International centre for Ultimate Dubs, the same sort of passion for perfection still applies and long may it continue! Nothing warms our heart like seeing these good people apply finishing touches with Rapid Detailer, Instant Show Shine, Fast Glass and the like. Godspeed one and all for show season!