Moderate Florida weather in the winter means that local car events never truly stop here. If anything, our “season” (when the population doubles as northerners migrate south in search of warmth and sun) is the prime time to host an event. A perfect example of this is Euro Tripper 9, which was hosted at Jet Blue Park in Ft. Myers this past weekend.
This event features European marques and is open to anyone willing to make the drive and pay a nominal fee to show their car. We were invited to the event and opted to drive the 1952 Cunningham C-3 up to the show. We know what you must be thinking: That’s an American car, right? While this is technically true, Cunningham is famous for his All-American effort to win Le Mans, but the sleek body on the C-3 is all Italian. It’s a stretch perhaps, but the reality is that the C-3 just returned from being on loan and needed a good exercise before returning to the Gallery. The 30-mile trip up to Jet Blue Park fit the bill.
The event has grown year after year and this year featured a record turnout with over 1,100 cars. As you might expect, the field was dominated by VW group machinery. The ever-popular GTI, VW’s hot rod version of the Golf hatchback, was easily the most represented model. Still, there was plenty of variety on the field: classic VW busses and bugs, Porsches, and rat rod mashups that were completely custom.
The crowd steadily built up throughout the day and served as a reminder that fear of the younger generation not being interested in cars is unfounded. Which illustrates why it is important to bring cars like the C-3 to local shows such as this. Along with answering questions about the car on the show field, we drove the Cunningham onto the stage to talk about the history of the C-3. At the end of the day, it all boils down to sharing these vehicles with different audiences in an effort to increase the appreciation for the history of not only this particular car, but the history of the automobile in general.