We believe it’s so important to meet our fellow gearheads around the world, we’re blowing our race car build fund on ten days in northern Europe! And, because we’ve done this before and had such a great time doing it, we wanted to give you a look at what we’ve got planned so far, in the hopes that it might help YOU plan a trip to another part of the world to party with your international gearhead friends.
Air travel provided by: Virgin Atlantic
We love Lufthansa, but we’ve heard more than a couple gearhead friends online say very nice things about Virgin Atlantic so we decided to give them a try. Not only did we speak with a real person when we booked the flights, but she gave us her name and direct extension in case we had any questions at all. If the service on the plane is half as good as it was on the phone, I think we’re in for a treat! [Disclaimer: We paid full retail price for our plane tickets. Virgin-Atlantic has in no way compensated us.]
UK accommodations provided by: @FastestCat
Our good friend Cat Lund has offered to host us at her cottage in Northampton, about an hour outside London. Would you believe her cottage is on the grounds of a Monestary which was built in the year 1145AD? 1145. That’s over 300 years before “The New World” was discovered and 631 years before the United States of America was founded. On top of that, Cat’s going to play tour guide and show us around so we get a real taste of English country life. Fish and chips and a pint in a real English pub? YES PLEASE.
(And maybe I learn a thing or two about proper afternoon tea parties for after my daughter is born, yeah?)
Ground transportation provided by: Mitsubishi Motors UK!
That’s right! Thanks in part to the good words said on our behalf by a number of our UK friends – namely Darin Frow of the Mitsubishi Lancer Register and Adnan Ebrahim of CarThrottle.com – Mitsubishi UK is providing us with a press car for our time in the UK. We won’t tell you what it is yet, but there’s room for four adults and we’ll be taking a lot of pictures of it while we’re there. As we’re Mitsubishi enthusiasts, we can’t express how excited we about this! If you’re on Twitter, give @MitsubishiPress a shout of thank you, for us.
Our dance card is filling up quickly, but we’re still very much in the planning stages at this point. Of course we want to check out the tourist attractions. The Crown Jewels, Big Ben, Parliament, the Tower of London, these are must-see things on our list. We also want to get out to see Stonehenge. (And I promise, despite my respect and admiration of Clark W. Griswold, no shenanigans at Stonehenge.)
Remember this guy?
Like we said, we’re Mitsubishi fans here at GBXM. And Darin has made arrangements for us to tour the facilities at MML Sports! Who is MML Sports, you might ask? Well, they’re only the people who BUILT the WRC Lancer Evolutions which dominated the World Rally Championship in the 90s. Today, they still specialize in Lancer Evolution race prep. Frankly, the only way this could get any better would be if Tommi just happened to show up.
We’re also going to attend an as-yet un-planned meet-n-greet with Lancer Register owners at some point. We’re really looking forward to getting to know some UK Mitsubishi enthusiasts and comparing notes in person instead online for once. Will Andy make it down with his Evo IX GT? Will Karl show with his Evo V RS? We don’t know yet, but we’re stoked!
10 days, 5 countries, 2 cars
Unfortunately, Mitsubishi can’t allow us to leave the UK with the press car, so we’ll have to secure a rental (still on the to-do list). We found a guy in the London area willing to rent his Colt on a site called WhipCar, but they can’t insure foreigners, so we’re going to have to cross our fingers and hope the agency we pick at random will have the odd Colt or Galant available.
As you can see in the map above, we aren’t staying in the UK. On Thursday morning, we’ll take the Chunnel over to France and head immediately east. Hopefully we’ll have time to stop In Bruges, on our way to The Netherlands, where we (Brian & Vanessa) will meet our business partner in GBXM, Dennis, face-to-face. If we don’t crash with Dennis, we’ll at least stay in-town.
ET PHONE HOME
And the event that got this whole ball of wax rolling? Elbetreffen. Friday afternoon, the three of us will roll into Pretzsch-Elbe for the start of the biggest Mitsubishi meet in Germany. We’re expecting somewhere on the order of 400 Mitsubishis to show up from across Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, and beyond. I’ve heard guys show from as far away as Finland sometimes. This is HUGE, and we never would have known about it were it not for our Baden-Württemburg Mitsu-Fruende family.
The TODO List
I need to get some custom GBXM “World Tour” shirts made for Dennis, Ingmar, Ralph, Tschippi, and order a set of side markers for Ingmar’s Lancer as well. We still need to choose our car rental for ET, find a hotel near Gatwick for the day before our flight home after ET, and double check out budget for things like the conversion rates between the British Pound Sterling and Euro, the high price of fuel in Europe relative the US, fees for things we want to see or will have to do (Chunnel, anyone), and so on.
There is still much left to do on our list. This is in no way complete. There are still easily half a dozen people we’re trying to coordinate face time with while we’re over there. 30 days from now, the GBXM 2012 World Tour will be nearly complete, for now, we enjoy the thrill of adventure on the horizon.
We hope to see you there.
And if not, we hope our story will give you some ideas for planning your own international gearhead adventures in the future. This really is some of the most fun you can have away from home. It’s a great, big world. Get out and explore it!