The Power Big Accommodated is the bigger American car appearance in the world—and it takes abode in Västerås, a baby boondocks in axial Sweden. This year, 17,000 car owners from all over the apple aggregate at the three-day accident in aboriginal July to do what car enthusiasts adulation to do—stand around, attending at anniversary others’ cars, rev their engines, and shoot the shit.
The accident comes out of Sweden’s “raggar” subculture, which emerged in 1950s and was aggressive by American greasers. Raggare are mostly from baby towns and are accepted for their adulation of rockabilly music, covering vests, pomade, and, of course, cars—the raggare’s approach of transport, sleeping place, banty magnet, and affair venue.
Thanks to the raggar culture, Sweden is a hub for adequate 1950s American cars. By some accounts there are now added of them in Sweden than in the absolute US. At Power Big Accommodated you’ll acquisition Street Rods, Customs, 50s cruisers, 60s beef cars, Corvettes, Mustangs, Camaros—you name it. I went there to photograph the raggare and see what they had to say for themselves.
Nathalie Rothschild is a freelance journalist. Follow her on Twitter @n_rothschild and on her nathalierothschild.com.
The American banderole and 50s pop ability symbols are everywhere at the Power Big Meet. Rockabilly music blares out from car speakers. Hamburgers and hotdogs are dished out at makeshift stands. It’s about the alone abode in the apple area down-covered dice are still cool.
I’m not abiding that parrots are allotment of the raggar culture, but this guy had one anyway.
Bertil Johansson, 67, makes 50s-inspired birdhouses. The car-shaped ones were airtight up on the aboriginal day of Power Big Meet, but on the third and final day, Bertil still had these Elvis-themed ones left. They’re 800 Swedish kronor (or $115), if you’re curious. “I’ve been absorbed in cars aback I was born,” said Bertil. “But today all the cars attending the same. They’re all artificial and awful. And you accept to booty your car to the boutique for every little thing. You can’t alike change the advocate on your own these days.”
Sebastian Stridh, 24, comes from Årjäng in Värmland County, Sweden. Årjäng has a citizenry of about 10,000 people. His dad is a raggare too, but he was too old to accomplish the trip. For Sebastian and his accompany the car is a attribute of freedom. “The car is central. It’s actual important aback you’re adolescent and active in such a baby abode as Årjäng. It gives you a activity that you can get out. Me and my accompany ride about and booze in our cars.”
Niklas Berggren, 28, apparent actuality aptitude adjoin his brother’s Chevy, which was bought in Flordia, thinks the 1950s was a abundant nicer era than the present. “I would rather accept lived aback then,” he said. “Everything seemed so easy. You aloof took activity as it came. Award assignment was not a problem. You aloof had to go up to addition and ask for a job and they’d accord you one. Neither of my parents had any agitation award jobs alike as teenagers.”
A adolescent brace watches the awards ceremony, which has prizes for car owners aggressive in 12 categories, including Hot Rod, Custom, Street Machine, Pickup & Jeep, and Best in Show.
Berra Andersson from Upplands Väsby in Stockholm won aboriginal award-winning in the 1964 – 1973 Adamantine Top class for his bright red Buick Wildcat 1968, which he’s assuming with here. “I grew up with cars. My dad was additionally into this actuality and, well, it’s a affectionate of ancestral disease,” Berra said.
But what’s so appropriate about American best cars in particular? “Well, aboriginal of all the car is one of the greatest inventions in the world. But I additionally like aggregate about it: the music, the clothes and all that. There’s a abundant association spirit here.”
Erik and Anita, 58, appear from Borås, a boondocks on the west bank of Sweden. They own a 1966 Dodge Charger. Erik is captivation his new bays for third award-winning in the 1964 – 1973 Adamantine Top category. For Erik, the Accommodated is a adventitious to bethink about the past. “We acclimated to ride about Borås and the cops would hunt us,” he said. “I was chock-full 23 times in two years aback I was in my 20s. We acquainted a bit like rebels.”
Anita, who insisted on alteration from sneakers to pumps afore actuality photographed, said she has become a “raggar chick” in contempo years because of her husband’s car hobby. “We adulation to appear to contest like this and accommodated people. I adulation the music from the 1950s and the clothes… It will never go away. Aloof attending at all the youngsters and accouchement who are here. They are built-in into this ability and they’ll accumulate it alive.”
The Accommodated is a adventitious for owners of best American cars to buy and barter additional genitalia and accessories that can contrarily be adamantine to appear by. Like hubcaps, aloof for instance.
Apart from swapping and admiring cars, Power Big Accommodated is a adventitious to affair hard. Rockabilly music and Swedish dancehall favourites bellow out from aggressive loudspeakers. Beer cans are broadcast beyond the field. Dudes put on dresses. Why not?
Anna-Lena Borgkvist, 41, is a raggar chick. “I absorb weekends in my man’s blush Chevy Nova,” she says. “He chooses the car.”
Bart Mazur and Jeanetta Izdebzka, a Polish couple, were amid the abounding adopted visitors at the Meet. Last year, there were visitors from over 40 countries, including the US, Russia, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Japan, Israel, Turkey, and Morocco.
Bart knows his Confederate banderole bodice it is associated with bullwork and racism, but insisted he wears it because “it represents apostasy and actuality adjoin all amusing norms.” The Confederate banderole (along with the star-spangled banner, the Swedish flag, and Viking symbols) is a accepted allotment of raggar paraphernalia. It has led to accusations of racism in the past, but raggare assert that it was adopted as a attribute of the American South, which raggare accept commonly looked up to as a abode with a alienated spirit and as the birthplace of bedrock ‘n’ roll.
Polished to perfection, this was one of the added bright cars at the Meet.
Magnus Andsveden, Petra Lövqvist, and their babe Gloria appear from Katrineholm on the southeast bank of Sweden. Katrineholm acclimated to accept a “raggar street” in the 1950s area raggare would go on cruises to appearance off their cars and aces up girls.
Magnus and Petra, are admiring to the 1950s and the raggar subculture mainly because of the styles, the music, the design, and the adventurous colors. “I adulation the sharp, adventuresome colors,” said Magnus. “Who today would accomplish a blush or a azure car?”
Magnus and Petra accept that things were absolutely bigger in the past. “Nowadays adolescent bodies are sitting axial in advanced of their TV screens and their computers”, said Magnus. “Back again they acclimated to accommodated up a lot added and associate alfresco with friends.”
Many adolescent couples army to the Power Big Meet.
Who needs a abode to get bashed and canyon out in aback you accept a car?
A blithe assemblage of accompany from Falun and Borlänge, two towns in axial Sweden. After the Power Big Meet, they’ll possibly accompany the black cruise through Västerås. Cruises are raggares’ adventitious to appearance off their cars, comedy loud music, flirt, and account a ruckus. “The badge are usually OK,” the Power Big Accommodated website advises, “but sometimes the booze checkpoints are absolutely frequent.”
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