If someone had asked me what I thought of Swedish or Scandinavian Car Culture a few months ago, I probably would have responded with thoughts about lots of rally-type cars, some lowered Volvos, a few Mercedes, BMWs, and the occasional Audi sprinkled into the mix, even though Sweden is the home of the supercar brand Koenigsegg. While that answer wouldn’t have been entirely inaccurate, it would not have been the whole truth either. I recently got the opportunity to travel to Sweden to take part in their equivalent of SEMA, better known as the Bilsport Performance and Custom Motor Show in the Elmia convention center, about 3 hours southwest of Stockholm. The show took place over 4 days on Easter Weekend, from April 14th to April 17th. Vendors had been getting set up for weeks in advance and it showed. The Booths may not have been as grandiose as some of the ones you see at the SEMA Show in Vegas, but that didn’t stop them from being extremely well organized and very presentable.
My primary function on this trip was brand promotion for the company I work for (Ferrada Wheels) as well as providing fitment and product support to our Scandinavian Dealer at the Show, additionally I was producing media content for our brand in Sweden. The result of wearing all these hats meant, I was either glued to the booth, or I was outside the show shooting and filming content for future use. Fortunately on the last day of the show, the slowest day, I got the chance to do a little walk around and check out the rest of the show. A massive undertaking to try and accomplish in a couple of hours, but I did manage to catch at least a glimpse of most of the show. The Show was divided into 4 Halls, Halls A, B, C, and you guessed it, D. You could spend a couple of hours in each, if you had that kind of time, there was a lot to see!
Hall A was filled to the brim with the Custom Euro and Import car section, with a few other gems tucked in. Everything from slammed Volvos, to a Lexus with custom-made mahogany wood trim, inside and out, and even one vintage Peterbilt Big-Rig with custom work adorning almost every inch of the truck. Additionally, a few other odds and ends made their way into the hall, leaving me with the impression that the car culture is alive and well in Sweden, with solid representation across many categories.
Use your arrow keys to easily navigate the above gallery of the cars on display from Hall A.
Hall B, or ‘The Performance Hall’, was dedicated more to fully extreme builds and their vendors, displayed alongside a mixture of other various team booths and cars. This was the hall that I spent the most time in as it was where my company’s booth was stationed. This hall was definitely filled with just as many eye-catching rides. So many things of such a wide variety to see, rare R34 Nissans, original Audi 100 coupes, Alfa wagons, and center stage in the hall was a 1968 Dodge Charger that you had to see to believe, but more on that in a future article. 😉
Now, unfortunately, Hall C was the one hall, that due to time constraints, I had to skip over. However, I did hear that it housed a massive amount of vintage and rare euro racing cars, a sight I was very sad to miss, but I won’t make that mistake next year. Hall D, I have to say, was a pleasant surprise. For those of you that don’t know me, I love cars, all cars, imports, exotics, rarities and oddities, but if I had to pick one category, I’ve always been a huge fan of American Hot Rods and Muscle Cars, and Hall D was like a playground to me. It was like walking onto the set of American Graffiti and each car was a pristine, yet well driven and loved, car.
The show left me feeling nostalgic for car shows of the past in North America. The people in the Swedish car culture still have a strong attachment to their cars, and it’s personal, you could, more often than not, walk up to any car and its owner and strike up a conversation and talk like you were the best of friends just catching up on the latest news. The fact that I don’t speak Swedish did not, in any way, seem to diminish their enthusiasm to talk with me about their vehicles in great detail and with an obvious passion. While you hear about cars being a lifestyle in the United States, they live it in Sweden everyday. It’s a family affair for many there and don’t even get me started on the rest of the country, aside from the cold, Sweden is absolutely breathtaking. Looking forward to next year’s event already!