A Change of Scene: My First Modified Show

Before you continue reading this, this article contains no supercars. Nope, I haven’t gone mad – I’m purely exploring other aspects of the car community. Feel free to continue reading about my first experience of a modified car show below!

So I’m writing this the day after my first experience of a ‘scene’ show. What is a scene show you may ask? A scene show usually relates to a car show where people display their modified cars, showing off their mods which make their cars unique to everyone else on the scene. Now I’m completely oblivious when it comes to these shows, the etiquette, the terminology, the… well, everything really. Okay, that’s not exactly true. So if you did read my earlier post about my view on London’s ever-growing car spotting scene (here), you may know that I was a keen JDM and StanceNation fan from the beginning but I never pursued that scene as a photographer. I’d been playing with the idea in my head of going to a scene show after talking to a few friends of mine who regularly attended these shows and they mentioned there was one coming up soon in my home county of Essex called Roll Hard.

Now I know what you’re thinking, modified car show in Essex… You’re probably imagining Max Power 2003 down at Southend Seafront but I was assured this wasn’t the case. I’d never heard of this show but from some quick Google-ing I gathered it’s a show that originated in Belgium and had a large number of cars coming from all over the UK and Europe to be at the event. The event promised a variety of rides old and new, chill vibes and all set in a unique location. I mean, if there’s people willing to travel across continents it’s gotta be good right? So camera in hand, equipped with a 18-35mm I took to the show with the help of my pal (and now trusty tour guide) Wilbur.

The first thing I noticed before I even got into the show was the sheer variety of cars that turned up. I was mainly expecting Euro and VAG stuff (Golfs and the like) but the mix of cars was really great to see. I was queuing up behind a bright yellow Volvo and behind me was a S15 which obviously had a lot of work done to it. In fact, aside from a couple lost Bob and Mary’s on their way to the nearest garden centre, I’m pretty sure I had the stock-est car in the queue. If anything, it made me start thinking about things I could do to my car.

The second thing I noticed (once I had actually got out of my car) was the atmosphere, it was completely different to what I’m used to. When you’re at an event which even suggests even a whiff of supercars being present it usually attracts hordes of people that constantly crowd the cars, the stereotypical “let’s take a photo with someone else’s Ferrari and front that it’s mine” posers and owners trying not to cringe when they’re seeing children getting their hands all over their freshly detailed paintwork and windows. As a whole, supercar events (from a photographers point of view at least) are pointless if you’re trying to get a clean shot unless you’re willing to get to the venue at silly o’ clock or wait after hours – not ideal. In comparison, everyone at Roll Hard was there to check out other people’s rides, seeing what new mods other people have done (especially if they own the same car as them) and have a good time with their mates.

There seemed to be a level of respect maintained at the event and everyone seemed pretty approachable to ask about their rides. After speaking to one guy about his Polo Cross 3 Door, the amount of blood, sweat and tears (and money) this guy had spent on his ride was astonishing but the outcome is really clean.

Another thing I also noticed was the level of appreciation of anyone who had something with a lens. People stop when you’re taking a photo and I even had people approach me and ask about my social media pages. Again, this is something unheard of in the Supercar world (usually).

Moving onto the main attraction, the cars. There was a massive turnout at the event (I believe this is the second year the show is running in the UK) so big in fact, that at one point I was told there was a two hour wait to get in and they eventually ended up shutting the entrance as the venue was at full capacity. Some of the cars on display ranged from AE86’s, to 964’s and even a Camaro dragster.

The sheer variety of cars was insane from the cars out on the green, to the cars in the village and in the barns. It was very well organised so hats off to the hosts and crew for executing it all so well!

There were some things I picked up from the show that I still didn’t really get and had to get Wilbur to explain to me. The main one being everyone’s obsession with US spec indicators and reflectors etc. Again, this is something I compared to the world of supercars because the general view on US spec cars when it comes to those cars are, well… let’s just say not positive. You’ll only need to go to Google and search for images of a US spec Countach to understand the mass hate towards US spec cars but in the scene world it’s deemed popular… Again I still don’t get it, but I don’t think I ever will.

Well other than that, I learned a new use for lanyards (to keep your bonnet and or boot open to show off your air ride setup or engine bay) and that you can never have too much low. Although having said that, in England it is very much easier said than done. I did love the atmosphere of the event and I admire the work and the effort people make to modify their cars to truly make them their own (although a few are subjective).

I’m sure I’ll attend another scene event when I can.

Big thanks to Wilbur again for showing me around the show.

Additional photos from the show:

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