It’s hard to know what to say about a show which has changed so little over the past 13 years. Now, while that may sound like a negative statement, Castlewellan is my favourite show is this country. I’m not really sure why but I suppose when you combine the blissful setting of a forest park, consistently good weather and an atmosphere that shakes off the jumped up scene kid attitude it has to be good, right?
Castlewellan seems to be as popular with the non-vag crowd as it is with its own and offers prearranged club stands and entries for the non-vag types. Two of the stand out vehicles from “this side of the carpark” had to be Andy Cooper’s Lotus Evora and Geddis’ bagged and Cummins converted 130 Land Rover. It’s not too often you will get to type that line!
The VAG side of things was the usual affair of old and new with the focus more on the older stuff as is common at this show. A special mention has to go to Nigel for getting his Corrado back out after 3 years off the road. Resting on some of Airlift’s finest with a VR6 turbo angrily turning it’s OZ Pegasus wheels it’s a car I have been looking to see for some time and it looked great.
I’ll give over now and go back to applying aftersun to my sunburned everything, click here for the pictures.
Every year I’ve been to BOVC’s meet at The Outlet in Banbridge I’m totally amazed by the cars tucked away in this country. Most of the cars in attendance are older classics owned by, shall we say, older people. You won’t have seen them plastered over Instagram or crying about not having got accepted to a show. Refreshing, eh?
Cast your mind back to the last time you seen three Jag E Types together never mind sharing a carpark with American Muscle or British Army Land Rovers which once roamed our own streets but that’s what we have here.
It’s also interesting to see oddities such as the cream Fiat Uno or the Rover 214 having survived. Neither were an overly popular car with enthusiasts and with prices being low for years many, including very clean examples, ended up as field cars. The fact some survived and are loved enough to be maintained to such a high standard is great.
One thing does bug me though, 90s cars being classics, albeit modern ones. I refuse to accept it and that’s only because it makes me feel old. I’m 28 and grew up surrounded by mk3 Escorts, GT4 Celicas and Novas. How can this be?! I still think my ’93 Golf is pretty modern as it has electric windows. Maybe I’m just weird…
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There’s nothing like driving a car to a show with 0 miles under the belt of its latest modifications. As much as I try avoid it I usually end up down to the wire and the road test is on the maiden voyage. It happened on the way to MLVW for the MK3s first outing after a total ground up rebuild, it happened going to FittedUK in Manchester last year after the engine went back in with a full paint/wire tucked bay and power steering delete and it happened again on the way to this year’s newest show, Cars at the Mill.
Picture the scene, 70mph *cough* on the outside lane of the motorway and you hear a loud crack from the front right wheel, you’ve just fitted air suspension (a kit built by yourself) and suddenly 1000 scenarios are racing though your head. Have I got steering? Have I got brakes? Have I just filled my boxers? A quick glance over my shoulder told me what I didn’t have. An arch liner, now decoratively scattered over the motorway in bits. Not the worst but still shit.
Arriving at the show calmed me a touch, getting to explore a new venue is as interesting as the cars for me. Set at Raceview Mill in Broughshane, an derelict mill recently converted into a business village, the show feels like many different shows in one. Each building has a different vibe to it and even the outside changes from alleyways lined with shop fronts to wide open courtyards.
The range of cars on display couldn’t have been better either. As much as I hate the phrase, there was something for everyone. Supercars, classics, stanced cars, performance cars, big budget, home built, it was all there. We even came across a group of classic bikes in one of the many show areas.
The prize giving consisted of a Top 5 selection with Car of the Show and runner up. A great option with so many potential categories to choose from keeping things short and sweet. A great day was had by us and here’s hoping we can do it again next year.
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Recently we were reminiscing about the early days of Dubshed and the difference between then and now. Bale trailers replaced with a proper built stage, old sheds replaced with a purpose built exhibition hall and a change of venue to name just a few.
For those who have attended consistently the changes have been noticeable year on year. Most recently has been cars of the non-VAG persuasion creeping in. Last year tested a few other German cars inside but this year left it totally open to all Germans, taking in BMW, Mercs and Porsches. The strongest presence from this crowd was from NI BMW with a well varied stand including three generations of M3 and even an E30 M3 rally car.
Different again for this year was a rallycross display on the Saturday which was fantastic to watch. The cars competing ranged from V6 Boras and Alfa 156s to single seaters and Type R Civics. The highlight for me though was watching a Mk3 Fiesta XR2i chasing down and passing the Alfa in a cloud of dust.
Of course the main attraction is the Volkswagens. New and old gathered in the Eikon Centre to put on their best display possible, many of which absolutely killed it. Most notably for myself was Niall O’Dowd’s Polar Silver 993 on hydros and step up RSs, Robin Ashfield’s 944 looking purposeful in race spec and the green 4motion Bora with all the US spec goodies (my personal car of the show). A strange top 3 for someone who doesn’t like Porsches or modern cars…
Speaking of car of the show, top prize went to Stephen Hall’s stunning Type 2 Notchback, a fairly unknown car in the watercooled world which had chins wagging all weekend. Prizes this year changed from car model categories to Top 25, a sensible move with the addition of more models to choose from.
All these changes have added up to a formula that works well but continuing to make changes keeps things fresh year on year.
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Did the GTINI weather bubble finally burst? With gales and heavy rain forecast for Saturday everyone kind of thought the usual would happen and a miracle would keep us all dry. While the wind and rain flickered between light and heavy it wasn’t just as bad as it was to be. A small consolation?
The NI Volkswagen show closer still drew plenty to cars from far and wide with some spectacular cars on display.
If you’re an old fixture of the local scene then Phil Guiney pulling up in a body dropped, T25 crew cab on hydraulics will not be a surprise to you.
Another car that instantly caught my attention was the Mars Red mk1 Jetta. Driving in I could hear the distinctive rip of carbs feeding with a KR engine.
Unfortunately the wonderfully dire weather caused a shortage of pictures on my behalf but the general word was the day was still a success. I suppose it’s off to the garages to tear down the cars for next year. I know that’s our plan,
While we’re lording it up in our country mansion for VW Action and Edition E38 we decided to take a few pictures of Richie’s latest Skoda outside.
Check it out at Edition tomorrow and come say hello
As I scraped my way into the metallic underbelly of the Belfast to Liverpool boat on the Friday evening I got a flutter in my stomach. Here I was, off to a show across the water and while I’ve done this on more than a few occasions before this was the first time doing so with my own car to show in over seven years.
Although it was only a 40 minute drive from the boat to FittedUK’s first indoor event I was on such a high that I could have driven across the country and back. Unfortunately my mk3 wasn’t feeling as up to that idea so he dropped off a cylinder to put a stop to my silly thoughts.
Once at the show and after a quick wash we headed inside to set up our stall in one of the biggest show venues I’ve ever been in. Throughout the day the space in the hall gradually shrunk, taken over by cars, bikes, trade stands and plinths for stand-out cars.
The mixture of cars at this show is unlike anything I’ve seen before. German rubbed shoulders with Jap, nothing unusual there you’ll say but how many shows mix in American muscle, Morgan 3 wheelers, bagged Hillman Imps and Ginetta G15s with these?
One thing that was in abundance was extreme camber and something I’m personally not a fan of. I’m not one to shy away from impractical stance but I don’t even think it looks well nevermind how it drives. Maybe I’m just old or maybe the next big thing in stance will be extreme wheel alignment. Either way I’m sure tyre fitters will be making a small forture.
Of the hundreds on show, 3 of the top cars for me strangely were all built by 3 friends. The Low Collective guys had a carbed mk2 more door, a mk4 on carbon wheels and a Bora with a SRI’d 24v swap on show. These 3 cars were finished to an incredible standard and are an example of what top cars should be like.
The non VAG favourite for me had to be the bagged Imp. Top marks for having the vision to build something so different to the norm.
A big thanks has to go to the FittedUK team for having us over and congrats on hosting a show with a feeling like it has just kicked its way right into the middle of the “must do” show season calendar.
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