American Appeal; H2O International show report

Always fancied visiting New York? Why not tie it in with a trip to one of the largest VW shows in the USA at the same time? That’s what VW Heritage’s purchasing director Paul did. Read on to find out more..

As it happens, Paul chose to fly to Baltimore, Washington, to take in a few sights including The White house etc before making a three-hour drive to Ocean City, Maryland for the show. He would drive back to Washington and fly to New York, before he came back to the UK.

Once in Maryland, Paul found the show is split across two venues. The first is a wooded campsite called Fort Whaley, which is about 15 miles inland from Ocean City. Whilst the actual show is held here, and it is a campsite, no camping actually takes place! Everyone chooses to drive out and stay in Ocean City itself.


Ocean City is the venue for the ‘rest of the show’. Built on a very narrow spit of land that sits in front of a big lagoon, it has a golden sandy beach with a board walk its entire length, and every inch of spare land is covered with hotels, motels and holiday flats. Paul sums it up as “a cross between Southend and Blackpool and the town from Jaws 1!”. There is only one way in and out, and that’s by bridge, unless you take a long drive north up the coast.

H2oi officially starts at the campsite on Saturday morning with a music festival and BBQ; but Ocean City starts seeing visitors arrive from the Monday. To get you in the mood for the main event there are get-togethers and impromptu shows popping up in eateries and car parks just off the main road all week. There was a huge meet at Walmart, that could of been mistaken for the official show. Click here to see how busy your social calendar could be with all the side shows going on!

philly vw -VW vortex

Whether you spent Saturday at Fort Whaley,  or you were chatting to friends in carparks all day, you are naturally drawn back to Ocean City for the evening. Sat outside the hotel you could car watch all night; lots of ground scraping and loud exhausts, Paul was unsure if the Police were tolerant or just couldn’t cope with the volume of traffic, although forum threads would appear to tell a different story. It’s not just VW traffic that catches the eye either, Ocean City attracts all manner of modified metal over the weekend, Japanese imports, supercars, motorbikes and US custom cars, there’s plenty to go round!


Sunday is the main show day at the campsite; although very busy still, some cars had clearly left, with Saturday night cruising being their weekend highlight. The show, much like those in the UK, offers a mix of cars, traders peddling their wares and an array of food for when you get hungry.

Orchid Euro stand

Orchid Euro and PVW magazine had put together a selection of ex feature cars, and projects that Jamie (Orchid Euro’s main man) had been involved with. Orchid Euro specialise in importing European and RHD spec parts into the USA, including complete cars that were never sold over there – Rallyes and Lupos for example, not to mention full RHD conversions for LHD project cars, for those really wanting to be different!


Come Sunday evening Ocean City is like a ghost town in comparison to the rest of the week. Paul was informed after H20i most of the resort starts to shut down in time for winter.

With the show over it was time for Paul to drive back to Washington and fly to New York. Of course there would be some amazing things to see there, but this show definitely left its mark too. While he may not be flying out every year, there’s rumour of a Corrado purchase in the future! You can find the rest of Paul’s photos over on Flickr.


The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of VW Heritage

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