About a year ago, I had the opportunity to witness the world’s biggest American classic cars gathering called the Power Big Meet held in Västerås, Sweden, just about 110km away from Stockholm; Well guess what, I managed to catch it again this year too! And while my editor reels in jealousy, continue reading to find out more about the ‘Big Meet’.
For 2015, the inaugural event was held between 2 and 4 July 2014 and as I promised last year, I did plan to return this time around to attend the classic car event. After all, it’s not everyday you get to see a small town filled with a parade of thousands of American vintage, classic and muscle cars on the streets. Västerås is usually quiet for most of the year, but explodes during Power Big Meet and it is transformed into a 50s pop-culture city where you’ll find some Swedes dressed up in 1950’s clothing, while rock’n roll music blares out from their cars’ speakers as they cruise down the road on a warm summer day.
While Sweden is widely associated with sensible ‘safe’ cars like Volvo’s, the Power Big Meet is the only time of the year where you get to witness a unique side of the Swedish subculture called the ‘Raggare‘. Their huge obsession with classic American cars and culture dates back in the 50s where many young Swedes created a rebellious, drunken and sometimes violent ‘greaser’ subculture around them, much to the trepidation and angst of local authorities. Unlike half a century ago, this wild subculture has now faded, but the cars remained. These days, many owners have grey hair instead of grease hair (lol) and let’s just say, are less scarier than you would have imagined. As the newer generation keeps up the tradition, “ragga” which roughly translates as “to drive around” in Swedish, is pretty much what they do these days, of course besides drinking beers and having a great time!
When the Power Big Meet started back in the 1978, there were only 400 visitors and 80 cars. The event continuously attracted more American car collectors in Sweden and its neighboring countries though, and this year, more than 20,000 classic vehicles gathered in a large open air field. Some even told me that the amount of the classic American cars found in Sweden has outgrown the number of classics available in the United States (!) where thousands are being imported into the country every year. The showground at the Johannisberg Airfield is normally jam-packed and only exhibition cars are allowed to enter the area.
So my friends and I decided to attend one of the cruising sessions on Saturday evening where we had the chance to see the finest classics that made it to the final round of the judging process. As expected, there was a large turn-out of spectators sitting on deck chairs or blankets by side of the road, slugging down beers whilst waiting for the beautiful looking vintage cars to pass by.
The sight of muscle cars, hot rods, cruisers, low riders, from pretty much every car brand ever made on American soil like the Mustangs, Bonnevilles and Dogdes, Pontiacs, Lincolns, Buicks, cruising down the street were everywhere, bumper to bumper. Most of these cars are so well-preserved, it looked like they just came out of a factory. They are perfectly restored, nicely painted with even the customary fuzzy-dice hanging from their rear view mirrors.
Enough said, scroll through the photo gallery below to view these cool classic machines!