Welcome to the party. It’s Saturday evening, and you join me at the end of my XS #BetterDaysAhead Tour of beautiful South Tyrol. Situated in the thick of Italy’s northernmost mountainous province, XS CarNight Italy is the main event of what can only be referred to as a four-day-long celebration of European modified car culture. There’s a lot of people here, and for good reason. Let’s get amongst them and have a look around.
XS CarNight events fall neatly under the XS World umbrella brand. Its owner, Andy Füllborn, has been pioneering XS with his team for over a decade now through a mixture of printed magazines, clothing and events. During this time, XS has grown to become one of the largest hubs of modified car culture in Central Europe, with their CarNight events being the flagship attractions.
I visited some smaller XS events back in 2019, but attending a leading CarNight event like this was a first for me. I’d heard great stories of both the quality of cars on show as well as some incredible venues XS gets to work with, so I was excited to see what was in store for me. Being in Italy for XS CarNight was new for everyone attending though, as this was the first time XS had ventured to this part of the world. I’ll touch on why later on.
For now, let’s have a closer look at some of the metal on show…
I’ll get the obvious out of the way first: most cars at the event were built to a really high standard. Having such a huge presence in Europe means XS brings out the best of the best, including high-end supercars that are usually reserved for the pages of Instagram. Without a shadow of a doubt though, my number one stand out from the event was the car that attracted the biggest crowd.
That’s partly because they clock in with a cool average price tag of US$1,500,000 if you actually want to buy one. The 300 SL Gullwing is unquestionably Mercedes-Benz’s most iconic car, and you’d be forgiven for dropping your jaw on the floor the first time you laid eyes on this one at the event. What sort of maniac slams one of these on the floor?
Well, don’t be too disappointed when I tell you that this is a replica. A bloody good one at that though!
We couldn’t quite work out what the base car for the conversion was. The brakes and a few suspension components on show seemed to be from a C208 CLK, with the main giveaways for the conversion being aftermarket glass all round and only two, modern pedals under the dash.
The quality of the kit was incredible though. Once you think of this as a digital render being turned into reality, you really begin to appreciate the craftsmanship and general bravery it takes to create such a thing. A quick bit of research on the internet tells me that there’s an E55 AMG Kompressor M113 powering the car too. Amazing.
Next on the list was this body-dropped Volkswagen Golf. Built back in 2019 by Low Car Scene, the Mk6 was chopped up to demo the shop’s fabrication abilities. Everything on the car, and I mean everything, has been cut and raised to allow the door line to sit on the floor.
Opel was one of the event’s title sponsors so, naturally, there were a few examples dotted around the event. Work Emitz wheels on a Vectra estate, anyone?
Annoyingly though, the crowd surrounding Opel’s race car display was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, giving me little to no opportunity to photograph one of my favourites at the event: a 2001 Opel Astra X-Treme Concept. Twenty-inch wheels, gullwing doors, a 4.0L V8 and an endless number of DTM-flavoured touches around the car make this something I need to see again.
One of the things I love about European shows is their appreciation for Soviet-era motoring. When I was a tiny little boy still living in Poland, my grandad’s best friend had a Wartburg 353. It’s a 993cc two-stroke powered machine with an extravagant 58bhp, but represents a time in history where individuals made the most of what they had. The Wartburg helped to get the East moving before the fall of the Iron Curtain, which is an accolade not many cars can claim.
I couldn’t quite comprehend how many individuals attended this event. The queues to get in resembled those you see for a world touring band more so than a car event. The infrastructure around the venue really was being utilised to 110%. XS CarNight was definitely the headline show of the 2023 XS #BetterDaysAhead Tour, and proves the European hunger for more car events. Everyone here wanted to be part of the big occasion, and XS gives them the chance to do just that.
But there is a great deal more to cover about the rest of the XS tour. It could be argued that this event was pivotal for Central and Southern Europe, and I’ll tell you why in my next article where we’ll look at the larger picture of the tour as a whole. I assure you, there’s still a whole lot more to take in. In the meantime, enjoy all the extra images below.