Throughout the pandemic, some events have gone on in Finland, but restrictions kept many people at home. So these events never felt like they did in pre-Covid times. But as restrictions lift, this is starting to change. If I needed any proof of that, the first SPD HKD meet of 2022 – promoted under the ‘Back At It’ slogan – was it.
Leading up to the event, social media channels were abuzz. People were bringing out cars from the far reaches of Finland, many making their first road trip in two years. I, along with a couple of mates, jumped on the first ferry of the morning from Estonia, arriving early to shoot a few cars before the event kicked off.
Every time I heard an incoming car, I got excited, but after a couple of hours the floodgates really opened and these individual exhaust notes gave way to a full-on cacophony. The organizers had the task of picking the creme of the crop to park in a designated area next to the SPD HKD garage, something tough at the best of times, let alone when so many amazing cars were trying to get into the venue.
I quickly stopped counting the number of familiar faces and fist-bumps exchanged (shaking hands is still uncomfortable to many here), but I did keep tabs on the number of cars that I’ve featured on Speedhunters before – nine.
For me, the best part of any car show is seeing how projects have progressed over the years. This restored Opel Kadett, which I spotlighted in 2020, looked the same at first glance, but on closer inspection it has new side skirts, an added splitter, modified bumpers and an Air Lift Performance suspension kit. The owner probably rattled off at least a dozen more changes too.
There were numerous standouts for me, including a bonkers Ford Escort, Subaru Impreza WRX STI Type R wearing carbon-Kevlar overalls, and a rather rare rear-engined Škoda. But my absolute favorite was a track-spec Suzuki Samurai with a rotary engine. I will be bringing you a closer look at all these builds in the very near future.
When the rain started the spectator numbers did thin a little, but that just made it easier to grab a clean photo, so I wasn’t complaining.
The meet didn’t have a theme and everybody was welcome, which for me is the best scenario as I love a bit of everything. A hot rod next to a stanced Miata doesn’t irritate me in the slightest; it’s how it should be when everyone and all automotive tastes are respected.
Take a look at the general visitor area too – Finland truly has so many car lovers.
The main takeaway from SPD HKD for me was this: Long dark winters in Northern Europe can make you feel a little depressed, but as soon as you lift yourself up and spend a day with like-minded people, you instantly feel better. “It’s good to be back,” Roni and many of his friends were chanting throughout the event, and I couldn’t agree with them more.
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