Article and Photography by Jace Stout.
It seems that almost every region in the US has its own unique European car event that draws great numbers of enthusiasts from all over. The south has SOWO, the Northeast has H2O, while Southern California has more than a few. In the Pacific Northwest, that event is called the Leavenworth Drive.
Bellevue Community College fills up quickly the morning before everyone heads out.
Each year thousands of European cars gather just west of Seattle at Bellevue Community College for one of the most beautiful drives imaginable. Arriving at the community college is a show within a show, as you encounter a seemingly never-ending stream of cars. Volunteers guide incoming vehicles through the twists and turns of the parking lot before visitors reach the Leavenworth Drive booth, where they contribute $10 to a charitable cause, which is a really great part of this event. Each year a different charity is chosen, and all entrance fees go directly to it.
This 3.0 CSL was in immaculate condition, a car very rarely seen—proof that all sorts of cars make their way out of the woodwork to attend this event.
This executive-style brick sported flags on the fenders.
Once drivers are finally situated among the sea of enthusiasts, you are amazed by how many cars are actually there. It’s quite a beautiful sight to behold. The automobiles certainly help shape the visual landscape, but once everyone is out on the drive from Seattle to Leavenworth, the truly epic nature of the day is revealed.
Leaving Seattle, the next leg is to hop onto Highway 2, which winds up and over Stevens Pass and onto Leavenworth. Stevens Pass features some truly breathtaking views, and its daring corners are accentuated by the sweet sound of exhaust note music coming from thousands of Euros ripping up and over the pass.
Spotted this beautiful Cosworth just outside BCC.
Drivers eventually reach the peak and arrive at Stevens Pass Ski Resort, a very popular stopping point for many people during the drive. It’s a great place to stretch your legs, take pictures, and chat with one another. Another great thing about this stop is that it allows everyone to stand right off the highway and witness all the other drivers put the pedal down as they pass the ski resort.
While all these things are fantastic, the best part of this drive is the next section between the ski resort and the actual town of Leavenworth. After the resort, the highway drops down from the pass and follows the Wenatchee River into Leavenworth. While on this stretch of Highway 2, you can see the river’s massive rapids butting right up against the mountains—something equally as eye-catching as the cavalcade of Euro cars streaming by.
This 2.7t swapped B6 Avant was snarling and spitting flames like a dragon going up and down the pass.
This big turbo A4 was killing it up the pass.
Beautiful views as you drop down by the river near Leavenworth.
Upon arriving in Leavenworth, you’ll find yourself in a tiny Bavarian oasis in the middle of the Cascade Mountains, a dictionary definition of the Pacific Northwest. From here comes the most challenging aspect of Leavenworth . . . trying to find a place to park. Modified Euros seem to take up every single square inch of this tiny mountain town. It doesn't matter if it’s a side street, an alley, or a residential road. The town is generously overrun with European cars of all shapes and sizes. At least there’s plenty to look at while trying to find a resting spot.
At this point, the drive is technically over, but people still do their own thing for the rest of the time they’re in Leavenworth. Some choose to shop, while others flock to the beer gardens for bratwurst and some delicious Leavenworth beer. It’s really a fun little town to kick around in for the day, especially with all the beautiful scenery in every direction.
This gorgeous Ferrari 348 even found its way out to Leavenworth.
What goes better with German cars and German Beer? Polka of course!
Quite a few air-cooled VWs made an appearance as well.
These guys sure were having a good time with dual kegs mounted on the roof rack.
This Tiguan on air really caught some people’s attention, especially with those copper wheels.
What's a Euro event without the sighting of a Volkswagen Karmann Ghia?
If you are a European car enthusiast and you happen to be in the Pacific Northwest during the drive, there should be no reason to miss this event. It’s one that delivers time and time again in the best way possible.