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Sweden's Power Big Meet: hub caps, hair grease, and 'Happy Days'

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Sweden's Power Big Meet: hub caps, hair grease, and 'Happy Days'
10:26 CEST+02:00
The Power Big Meet car show in Västerås is an annual tradition for Swedes with a passion for 1950s-era Americana cars and culture. Contributor Nathalie Rothschild offers up a stunning photo essay of this year's event.

The Power Big Meet is the biggest American car show in the world - and it takes place in Västerås, a small town in central Sweden.

The three-day event attracts 17,000 American car owners from across Sweden and from around the world.

They gather to swap, admire and drive cars.

Clich here to view the 2012 Power Big Meet photo essay

The event is tied to the "raggar" subculture, which emerged in Sweden in the 1950s and was inspired by the American greasers.

"Raggare" are mostly small-town gangs known for their love of rockabilly music, leather vests, pomade and, of course, cars - the raggare's mode of transport, sleeping place, chick magnet and party venue.

Thanks to the raggar culture, there are more restored 1950s American cars in Sweden than in the entire US.

At Power Big Meet you'll find Street Rods, Customs, 50s cruisers, 60s muscle cars, Corvettes, Mustangs, Camaros - you name it.

The sometimes surreal scene feels like a throw back from the era depicted in the US television show "Happy Days" or the film "American Graffiti".

For 28-year-old Niklas Berggren, the event is a time to wax nostalgic about the good old times.

"I would rather have lived back then. Everything seemed so easy. You just took life as it came. Finding work was not a problem," he tells The Local.

67-year-old Beril Johansson makes 1950s-inspired bird nesting boxes and drives a Fiat 500 with a trailer attached comes here every year to get a taste of genuine vintage car handicraft.

"I've been interested in cars since I was born. But today all the cars look the same. They're all plasticy and awful. And you have to take your car to the workshop for every little thing," he says.

See more from scenes and descriptions from the 2012 Power Big Meet by clicking on the photo gallery link below.

Nathalie Rothschild is a freelance journalist. Follow her on her website www.nathalierothschild.com and on Twitter

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