Fear & Self Loathing At Dubshed
Austerity & Car Washes

I’m not sure if it’s the Catholic upbringing or some other built-in form of self-condemnation, but I always find myself being especially critical of the car scene in Ireland, both north and south. I don’t want to hate on my own scene or anything, it’s just that having had the privilege of exploring car culture from the world over, I’ve always wanted my scene to be able to compete on the global stage.

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When I originally started contributing to Speedhunters in 2009, Ireland was crippled by recession. And for all the time I contributed, the people were ravaged by extraordinary austerity measures. Despite this, we’ve still managed to bring some incredible builds to the show that is international car culture.

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However, for most people involved, the dream of the perfect show or performance car had to remain just that – a dream. Some did try and their efforts were always commendable. But as you well know, budget has a massive affect on the results of a long-term project, regardless of what it’s being built for.

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I’ve been out of the scene so to speak for the last 12 months, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect at the end of a three-hour drive last weekend. I’ve always tried to stay in touch by following friends, businesses and other sites on social media, but you just can’t beat being present at a show or meet.

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We all have varying tastes, and as such we all view things differently. What might catch my attention, could easily pass you by and vice versa. Of course, this is no bad thing.

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One of the first things that caught my attention at Dubshed was the car wash. Now, it’s pretty standard to have such facilities at shows these days, but often it’s just a hose or some dirty water in buckets – definitely not the sort of thing you’ll go near if you’re trying to avoid swirl marks and maintain perfect paint.

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Dubshed was different. Not only were there several bays – each with their own power washer – but for every car that arrived, two freshly-filled buckets awaited them. Once each user was finished, the buckets were emptied and refilled with clean water from an on-site water tank for the next owner. It might seem excessive, but if you’ve spent thousands of euros or pounds or dollars to have the perfect finish, it’d be a shame to ruin it by using someone else’s dirty water to clean your car.

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I wonder if the snow foam was pH neutral?

The Comeback
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I’ve a very selfish view of car shows. That is, they’d be even better if no people were allowed. Just bring your car, leave, and let me take photographs and walk around on my own, only making yourself available when I have a question. Yes, that is the dream. But until I ascend to power as world supreme leader, I will have to make do with things the way they are.

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With this in mind, I attended the roll-in day which opens to the general public for a couple of hours on the Saturday afternoon. Come Sunday, it’s difficult to breathe at Dubshed, let alone try to take a photograph of a car without another person bisecting it.

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Whilst predominantly a water-cooled show, Dubshed does feature a small section for air-cooled cars too.

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It was one of these air-cooled cars that stole the show for me, but I think it deserves a closer look in a separate post. Keep an eye out for that tomorrow…

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As made my way around the halls, I found myself with a growing sense of pride.

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The quality and variety of cars on display was superb. There were always standouts at Dubshed, but this year the main hall really took it to another level. Whilst there were plenty of ‘air and wheels’ cars (which I’ve no issue with), the real stars of the show were the ones that had gone all-in.

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This B5 S4 Avant combined form and performance, whilst blurring the lines between Japanese and German car culture. A K04 turbo upgrade with stainless downpipes added a little bit more bark to this Audi, whilst the Mazda Velocity Red colour change and the 18×9.5-inch Work Meisters (+24 and +12, front and rear respectively) sat on Air Lift Performance suspension performed their part in merging very different car cultures.

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Marty McConnellogue’s affectionately nicknamed Bolf (it’s a Bora-fronted MkIV Golf you see) has been in attendance at pretty much every major UK VW show I can remember. And every time I see it, I’m instantly drawn to it. In its hue which I’ve not seen replicated anywhere else, Marty has continued to evolve his car every time it makes an appearance. What makes it better? It’s home built.

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The details on this build are far too many to list, but this year Marty chose to go one step further and to equip his BBS Porsche turbofan-wearing RS wheels with Pirelli slicks. Judging by the reactions of those who noticed the lack of tread pattern, it’s been a popular decision. Because, you know, why not?

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Another MkIV, that on the surface appears more subtle and traditional…

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Until you – eventually – notice that it’s been retrofitted with the dash from an Audi TT. It’s a detail that the majority of show-goers will miss, but that’s often not the point of why a lot of these cars are built.

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Moving from Wolfsburg and Ingolstadt to Münich for a moment, this M135i in with its German brethren. Air, 1M front bumper, Cosmis Racing wheels, BMW Performance brakes and lashings of carbon made for a standout build. Because I’m an idiot and forgot to take a picture of the brakes, I’ll have to explain a subtle detail on this which I’m sure I’ll be corrected on. The brakes, made by Brembo for BMW incidentally, come in a shade of yellow not too far off Phoenix Yellow which was quite popular on the E46 M3. Because PY will make you physically ill, the cage and brakes were repainted a slightly different shade so that everything was tied together.

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Speaking of yellow, this MkVI GTD was wearing a wrap that fooled many people.

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It also featured a pair of Lamborghini brakes, with clearance so tight to the rim, that you could only just squeeze a business card between the spoke and caliper. I’d imagine there was a collective sigh of relief when the wheels were fitted for the first time…

Fitment & Function
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On a similar thread of conversation, fitment has always been the largest divider of opinion both in and out of the scene.

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Stretch, poke, tuck etc will always be a part of this world (stretched tyres have been around since long before I was born, and that was a long time ago), but provided things are done in moderation, I don’t see an issue.

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The advent of quality and affordable air suspension has played a big part in getting more rubber back on rims. Simply because with air, it’s much easier to fine tune a ride height. Does a particular setup rub slightly? Just add another couple of PSI and you’re sorted.

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I like low cars. Unfortunately, Ireland is not a friendly place for static low so air is becoming the default choice for many people. It allows you to drive without compromise and that’s a very good thing as far as I’m concerned.

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Previously, I was personally of the opinion that if someone was building a styled-out show car, that there was no real point in adding too much performance as you would never have been able to take advantage of it.

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But more and more builds are able to combine performance and style in a way that wasn’t really possible that long ago.

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This has contributed to a better balance of cars at shows and I think we might finally be turning a corner and leaving behind a lot of misconceptions and negative associations with a particular scene or sub-culture.

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This will lead to more intrigue and generally more interesting cars.

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Isn’t it about time we can have our cake and eat it too?

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With Belfast in my rear-view mirror and another three hours of driving ahead of me, it gave me the time to think about a lot of things. Ireland is definitely not out of the woods yet with regards to recovery, and many people are still suffering. But for the first time years, I think we’re finally starting to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. This year’s Dubshed event showed plenty of reasons to be optimistic and why it might finally be time to cast aside the self-loathing, and start on a new path of pride and positivity.

Paddy McGrath
Instagram: @pmcgphotos

Cutting Room Floor
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I honestly don't know any event coverage that has this level of photography! Great return Paddy!


Once again amazing photography from the SpeedHunters


@Japeoe You're too kind, thank you. Feel a bit rusty, but in the words of Céline Dion, it's all coming back to me.


Paddy McGrath Amazing music reference!! :D


Great cars, great pictures..
Looks like i have new wallpapers for my computer :D


Loving seeing your work on here again Paddy!


Welcome back Paddy!


pmcgphotos Bolf conversions and TT dashes. *sniff* I wish I still had my Mkiv


P_aulHealy I’ve started to come around to MKVs :|


pmcgphotos told ya so :-P


Yup, although only a couple in this post, I've missed your Black & white images.


azmedaj I'm on a self-imposed B&W restriction.


pmcgphotos P_aulHealy only one mkv had the luxury of getting its picture published ... Tut tut


Joey_Coady pmcgphotos rest are being kept for Paddy's spank bank


Great to see you back Paddy!


Great photos and write-up. 
Does anyone know if the turbofans were period pieces or homemade?  If homemade they're well done, better than most.


Waxhaw Brad Homemade iirc, superb in the flesh!


Waxhaw Brad If you're on Instagram, you can ask the owner yourself. His handle is @boracoupe


Great photos, decent write up.

Its worth noting however this show is in Northern Ireland, as are the majority of cars. There is a lot of differences North and South, especially in the quality of show cars imo


@Ronan When I refer to Ireland, I'm referring to the entire island but it's no harm elaborating on that point for readers who might not be familiar with the political borders. Thank you.

I'd agree with your second statement too, at least to a point. I think the Republic has its fair share of quality builds too, but NI definitely is ahead in that regard. It might be because I think the Republic has more of a bias towards Japanese cars or that in NI you aren't as prohibited with sorting cars, parts etc from Great Britain (due to currency). I love the Northern Ireland car scene, it's always somewhere that amazes me to see so many amazing cars in such a small area. Hopefully, I can bring more of the NI scene to Speedhunters this year :)


P_aulHealy Joey_Coady It’s going to remain a dream for another while anyways. Still have plans for my E90 :)


I usually see the same ole same ole in these post but there are some that actually caught my eye. 
Like that Unbeetable Beetle and that white Jetta right behind it(second pic in the bonuses).


Welcome back Paddy!


Bolf...ha..I love the trainwreck of words us enthusiasts can come up with. 

Its great to have you back Paddy and I look forward once again to see more amazing coverage like you've done in the past.


kphillips9936 Definitely the Jetta. Makes me miss mine!


Love the guy that had the "WINDSCREEN" sticker on his windscreen


MilesHayler kphillips9936 If I couls find a good one I'd definitely scoop it up.


Japanese and German styles mixing just always ends up being incredible. I can't wait for this Toyota/BMW creation. If nothing else (but it will be so much) it will be a platform to showcase exactly how well these two automotive paradigms mesh.


One thing to add though. Performance and style are coming together more easily than before, yes. That should make for more interesting buids, yes. Let's just hope we don't see a bunch of identical things with authors claiming "interesting" or "individual" builds. let's hope....


speedhunters_dino It's feels good to be home :)


kphillips9936 MilesHayler You both might like a particular feature I have lined up for the end of the month :)


This is a style of tuning that I struggle with, Its not my cup of tea but I can appreciate the massive amount of work, time, effort and money that goes into creating a cars like these... They just all seem to do the same thing though, air supsension, Audi/Lambo big calipers, chromed roll cage, tidy engine bay end of.

I never feel like its a massive jump looking from one car to the next. Its all very predictable. Maybe its the same in a lot of "car scene's" at the moment.


Jason Hardy I kinda agree. The slammed, shaved mk2/3/4 is getting pretty boring, only so many permutations of the same idea. Even VR swaps are pretty standard now. But you have to admit these are the definition of 'clean'. No cheap looking bolt on fenders here.


KootenayDub Jason Hardy For me what separates cars within the VW scene are the tiny little details that more often than not will have to be pointed out to you or I. Sometimes these details are so difficult to spot, that only owner / builder will know that they are there. So whilst a lot of cars may look similar enough on the surface, it's these subtleties that excite me.

I think the best example I can give is a feature Ben & I created a couple of year's back on Greg Howell's Golf. It's an extraordinarily clean build, but what left me in awe was the amount of time Greg spent removing the holes and smoothing the frame which the bonnet sits on. If you've ever looked at the underside of a MKI Golf bonnet, you'll know the holes I'm talking about. And Greg removed and smoothed every single one of them. Incredible craftsmanship that most people will never notice!



as always love your photos Paddy. Well done promoting the Irish scene and pushing it to keep getting better. One year I'll make it to Dubshed


Paddy McGrath kphillips9936 MilesHayler I look forward to it then.


oh Paddy...


Paddy McGrath Waxhaw Brad I was going to ask for a full shot of the Bolf with the turbo fans, found it on his instagram, thanks!


Needs more Bora at speedhunters


Top stuff Paddy.  Would love to see some more details on the B5 S4 wagon. Nice to see one that hasn't been turned into an RS4 rep...


Great to see the car scene in Ireland is all alive and well...

Paddy, just one thing, it's not an M135i, just a 135i and the PBMW calipers come standard on them, just in grey :)


It's really good to have you back Paddy McGrath