Behind Closed Doors – The Shed

Ireland is a strange country for automotive culture. It’s not exactly the most ideal country in the world to be a petrol head – high motor taxes, poor road network and extortionate insurance premiums all combined with a government determined to rid the roads of performance cars. Even to class yourself as an automotive enthusiast is frowned upon by the majority of society here. The general public want their appliances to transport them from A to B, more often than not neglecting everything along the way of their soulless commute.

But beneath the surface, a sub-culture exists. One that most here know nothing of. They hide in plain sight, often daily driving something that appears innocent enough to most, but attracts respect from those that can appreciate. They never go out to attract attention or to seek glory amongst their peers. They do what they do for one thing only – to put a smile on their own faces.

Around ten minutes from where I live is a small and mostly abandoned industrial area. An area which was bursting full of potential during the ‘Celtic Tiger’ era, and has now been left to rot and decay.  I had heard people previously mention a place, a sanctuary even, simply called ‘the shed’. A place where some like minded folk passed the hours away after their own nine-to-fives. I never really thought it warranted much investigation until a friend told me that guaranteed never seen anything like this anywhere in the world before. Strong words indeed. Turns out however, that he was right.

What might be known as ‘the shed’ is actually an industrial unit, some 15,000 square feet in size with electricity, water and everything you’d need to make it your own. The unit is leased by a group of friends who split the monthly rent evenly amongst each other. What they have created though is something that any one of us could lose hours inside.

From the moment you walk in the door, you’re immediately greeted by the sight of a dozen Lancer Evolutions in various state of build. This particular car is closing in on its completion.

The genuine Varis carbon fibre roof is a rare sight here.

As are the Monster Sport wheels hiding behind it.

Shelves are stacked with parts removed from some of the cars, waiting to find a new home.

This particular area of the shed is used to break cars so that others may continue to live. Still though, I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of potential right here.

Parts are rather neatly organised on racking systems, but no need for computerised barcoding systems, only the owner of this bay knows where everything can be found.

There are of course some complete and living cars here too.

This Lancer Evolution V – my personal favourite of the Evos – was just sitting to one side. It’s DAMD front bumper and Advan wheels complimenting the factory aggression.

In the next corner, sits a heap of projects being built by one of the other tenants.

I love a good work bench shot.

The boxes behind the head should give you an inclination of where this tenant’s loyalties lie.

A complete set of Nismo GT1 wheels lurking beneath a shelving unit. You could spend hours in here sifting through each area.

When there’s only certain parts you need from a shell, what better way to save space than by just cutting out the bits you need.

You’d have to recognise that roofline anywhere.

Coming closer to completion was the tenant’s Daihatsu Charmant. Painted primer grey on the outside, it’s not so dull underneath …

… featuring a turbocharged 4A-GZE in a sparkly pink and tucked engine bay.

We were actually present just in time to hear the car start for the first time. Without a full exhaust system, it was ignorant and loud. Just how we like them.

This would be his other car, a mint original Japanese Trueno.

It’s kept in good company too with his friend’s awesome Levin.

Next to the Levin lies a pair of covered beauties – first this Meister wearing S2000 …

… and next to it a real treat. Sat on a set of Work Equips …

… was this 30 Corolla Coupe. The eagle eyed amongst you will no doubt notice the hard piping behind the front grill, which is present because somewhere behind that grill lies a supercharger.

It all comes together to create an awesome package, the likes of which 99% of people in Ireland could never appreciate.

Even more impressive is this J-Blood demo car parked in the corner.

I wonder does Dino have any shots of this from its previous life in Japan?

Moving around and work continues on another of the shed’s many projects. This time it’s a Hayashi Street wearing KE70 Corolla which is currently getting fitted with a 1UZ-FE …

… which is of course Toyota’s own V8.  The owner told me how he often comes here straight from work each day just to keep working on his cars, often not getting home until the early hours of the morning before getting up at the crack of dawn the next day, only to repeat the same process over and over again.

All these little small details just make me smile.

This is / was the KE70 owner’s daily driver which is currently awaiting a new engine.

It used to be all gold and would make me so happy seeing it on a near daily basis as he works near where I live. I’m loving the colour change though.

Although he was fairly adamant of keeping the RB20 at its heart, when this RB25 came up for small money, it just made sense.

Beside the R32 lies this tidy S14A – what was once a road car, is now a dedicated drift car.

Wearing only the finest of shoes of course.

Even the winter run-arounds are treated to fancy rims.

In fact, I’ve never seen so many awesome wheels in one place before. These SSRs were hiding above the door …

… whilst these Meisters were tucked away in another corner.

I guess where one half of the shed is Toyota and one quarter Mitsubishi, this is the remaining 25% – the Nissan corner. Their owner has recently emigrated to Australia so it might well be some time before these see some love again.

All those late nights require serious amounts of caffeine. This must be a record of some sort, it’s over two stories high!

As hard as all these guys work, they also have the rest area sorted like nothing else.

When was the last time you seen a couch with a GT wing?

Once a month one of the guys bulk buys a stock of drinks – you’ll never guess which kind – chocolate, crisps and puts them on sale in the shed’s shop. The whole system is operated on trust, you pay for what you take.

Sometimes, a night on the couch watching old drifting DVDs is preferred to lying under a car. Can’t argue with that.

When leaving at night, don’t forget to turn off the fridge.

Another project in the making a Suzuki Swift soon to be transplanted with a Honda B18 heart.

All I have left to say about the shed is this. Gentlemen, you’re doing it right.

So Speedhunters, have you got something hidden behind closed doors? Let me know at the e-mail address below.

Paddy McGrath



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That Daihatsu Charmant has a very funny looking Supercharger??? Cough cough.


Amazing! Wish something like that would exist where I live.


@dweezle Hahaha, another case of my brain thinking something and my hands typing something else. What I probably should have said was the normally supercharged 4A-GZE now with a turbo but I clearly had a massive brain fart. Please feel free to point and laugh.


@PaddyMcGrathSH Didn't mean to be a jerk. Thought it was funny. Also one could say ( i believe?) it is a Turbo Supercharger.Does it earn me a SPEEDHUNTERS sticker??? :p


@PaddyMcGrathSH Also, AMAZING shed those guys have. JUST WOW !!


Fascinating article, amazing whats on your own doorstep! Looks like a proper petrolheads paradise, that couch setup is brilliant!


Charmant.... sigh... <3


@PaddyMcGrathSH -awesome work as always! Great to see people building these cars. I need to go shed hunting in dublin


thanks. now i feel my garage is even more shit! :)


WOW! What a find. I feel a series of articles on sheds would be awesome...Shedhunters? (see what I did there?)


Also Swift with the B18 is/will be one sweeeet ride.


They're truly the speediest of speed hunters. This is inspiring Paddy, really. I may have to look into doing something like for the good people of Manchester.




This must be one of the sickest locations i have ever seen !


how cool is this!


Awesome, I'm massively jealous of "The Shed"! I travel over to Ireland most months and I'm always gob smacked by the amount of amazing Japanese metal there is daily driving over there. There's a particularly tasty GD Impreza Sti on TE37's that I always see in Naas.
Serious amount of caffeine getting drunk in that place!


Good to see you active again. I thought you guys had a minimum quota of articles to write each month, so been missing your name here. Or maybe I've just been sloppy following... Good read nevertheless, Iam pretty sure our own "shed" which we have our own shop in would baffle you as well, with a few really mad old democars just collecting dust among the different customer cars loitering around... Next time your in SWE! :-)


dream house. all it needs is a bed in the corner with some hospital pull around drapes around it.


So anyone could come here and work on their own cars and buy all the parts they need? Damn why doesnt NorCal have something like this...


@tbtstt Forgot to mention that they've built a subwoofer into the couch too.


@Robo_No1 For whatever you may see on the roads here, there's probably at least three / four times that hidden away around the country. The amount of cars imported from Japan over a five / six year period here was insane. Even the amount of ex-demo and ex-D1GP cars that are either still tucked away or have been broken for parts would shock most.


@MickeSuperiorimports Don't worry Micke, I'm still around! Can't get rid of a good thing!


@Bathsalt Barry They've basically split the unit amongst themselves both in cost and square footage. Everything you see has been accumulated by each of the guys. It's important to not that this isn't a working garage or tuning shop, just some friends with similar interests living the dream.


@PaddyMcGrathSH I know that, but would they let other enthusiasts join in too? Or is it invite only?


@Bathsalt Barry It's just a group of friends, but I'm sure if there was room available they'd have no problems with others joining. Only problem is the place is pretty much jammed as it is!


@PaddyMcGrathSH Hahah, well I know what me and my friends are doing next!


Im curious to know how many guys are in there? It must be a few with all the cars and a shed that size wont be cheap


Just awesome, i thought some of the sheds around me were awesome


What a beauty that Corolla Coupe


I have the same place here...
But with VW stock ;)


It looks like a whole season of initial d in there


@Ryanfels With the way the economy is over here especially in the area where this unit is... its not too expensive. its between eight guys surprisingly enough!


Very quirky, very disorganized, very cool!


One of my favorite articles ever!


One of my favorite articles ever!




Beyond words.
Are those guys searching for a trainee ? I'll bring some Red Bull.


You have no idea how accurately the first paragraph sums up Australia as well! haha


i would happily call it home!!


The owner of the KE30 hardly knows where to finfpd panels if so could he contact me????? I have a 30 saloon here needing a rear panel,


That was unreal! I want a shed like that. Anyone looking to share? :p


inspired! wicked..


Those "Meisters" on the S2000, arent they Rota wheels? :) Dont kill me if im wrong..


@PaddyMcGrathSH Ha, the finishing touch!


@PaddyMcGrathSH It wouldn't surprise me, Irish people tend no to let inhibition stop them from doing something just for the "craic" :D.
Every time I see a slammed car over there I smile and wince at the same time. If I lived there full time, I'd want to be running Rally spec arch gaps just to soak up the 'Special Stage' spec roads you have over there lol!


@MariusEngenSkinnes They're genuine Meisters :-)


So sick....Crazy how much cars are there for just 8 people...Got a shed last week with one of my friends down here in Cork and just wanna do what these fella's do...Quality article Paddy


So sick....Crazy how much cars are there for just 8 people...Got a shed last week with one of my friends down here in Cork and just wanna do what these fella's do...Quality article Paddy


So sick....Crazy how much cars are there for just 8 people...Got a shed last week with one of my friends down here in Cork and just wanna do what these fella's do...Quality article Paddy




@MariusEngenSkinnes they are the real deal :0


@YvesLaurent can you get us free red bull? if so youre hired. lol


@Ryanfels its very reasonable rent, very reasonable with the recession over here, :) there is eight of us involved


@Bathsalt Barry strictly friends really.we split it into 6 or 7 sections. we never set out to achieve anything like this, it just happened, just over a year ago we moved into an empty shed, lol, its our life. great place to work, or stand around talking about working mostly, haha  :)


@ReubenDover Seems like a dope place to just chill with friends and build some amazing cars. Best of luck to you guys!


Coming closer to completion was the tenant's Daihatsu Charmant.


@Bathsalt Barry  @ReubenDover thanks, the chilling unfortunately slows down that whole car building thing. haha.


Here is a car that i have being building the last 2 years Lamborghini Murcielago 


@peggyontherun Would love to pop down to your place am here in Co. Wicklow not far from you guys


I bet they look a that wall of red bull cans and think "well we have drunk this much red bull I'm quite sure that it doesn't give you wings!" Lol amazing set up!


@Kenny cynos no i wouldnt have any for a ke30,the car is actually a ke55 pilerless coupe,well if i had that ke30,id get the panels off a scrap one in the philippines,ive seen a good few ke30,s going around every time im there.


I want one of those AE86


@ReubenDover  @YvesLaurent reuben free red bull would damage sales at the shop,i wont allow it,but ill take any empty cans


@EvolveWRC its a auzzie import


@zamm333 i was thinking of putting a bed beside the couch,great to watch tv and sleep over night


@PaddyMcGrathSH  @tbtstt im actually running 2 sub woofers in the couch


@Curlytop im very proud of my red bull wall achievment,will be bigger again soon..


GREAT post


@damien power thanks again


Wow never knew this place existed, its awesome! would love to call to buy a red bull


take all my money..... this is my dream life =[


@PaddyMcGrathSH Oh, kinda hard to spot the difference with the sizing and offset :)


@ReubenDover  @Ryanfels Thanks again for repeating what J///B said


@DMac86 Seems like nobody did 'til Paddy gave the place away :(


@RobDunphy  @damien power thanks again, cant wait to have sex with ye


@peggyontherun wicklow sounds fucking gay, lol


@peggyontherun im from wicklow just to clarify. haha


@ReubenDover So is Tramore


Mr. McGrath;
    Could you please pass on a request to the owners of the "shed?"   I noticed an Advan T7 wheel in one of the photos and I've been going out of my mind to get my hands on one center cap and one "model T7" plate to complete the set I have.  I would be more than grateful if you could pass on my request to them to purchase those parts.   Thanks for the story and photos, this blue collar nine to fiver motorsport culture is what keeps me turning the wrenches on my cars despite having to split time with my much more boring "real life!"


@damien power  @PaddyMcGrathSH Now you're just showing off!


@tbtstt  @PaddyMcGrathSH yea  i was sorry bout that ...


@ReubenDover  @RobDunphy  @damien power  You can't still be in "Jim" character can you?


@BryanDuggan  @ReubenDover  @RobDunphy  @damien power i was still dressed as him wen i wrote that so ye, i suppose


@damien power Are you there often? Could you source one for me?


@Kenny cynos  @damien going there in january  17th for 2 weeks wouldnt have time to really look,but i can maybe get someone to source what u want email me a pic o ur car and pic of what u want exactly


@damien power  @Kenny cynos
 Who ownes the KE?? the cheek of ya!


@I love boats  @Kenny cynos i do who are u ,boat lover


pretty cool! Any info on the suspension in the ke70 would be awesome


No one cares about vw


I know a guy who does this on the outskirts of Edinburgh... I rented a space for a short time. I wish there were folk like this in East end of Glasgow who would be up for this kind of situation. There is nothing like this. I this is my kind of heaven right there.
A bed in the corner and im done ha ha


really close to me didnt know this existed would love to visit lol :d


Brilliant beautiful Cars lads