Auto Heroes: The Solution To Our Problems?
An Early Start

It’s tough being a car lover. All around the world, we’re pretty much considered the outcasts of society. Think I’m being melodramatic? Look at how difficult it has become to organise something as simple as a friendly meet in a lot of places. Business owners don’t want a group of cars descending upon them, despite the opportunity to earn. Look at the countless Cars & Coffee type meets that have been shut down or are under increasing pressure to find a new location.

Simply put, we’re bad for business. They say that it’s the few bad apples that give the rest of us a bad name, but it often feels like the rest of the world is just waiting for one of us to make a mistake so they can jump on it and put us down. What do we do?

2015-Auto-Heroes-01-by-Paddy-McGrath-1 copy

I sat waiting for a group of friends last Saturday morning on the side of the road. We had organised beforehand to drive together to Mondello Park for what would be the first Auto Heroes event. We had heard and read about the premise, but ultimately one would have to experience it first-hand to see if it made sense, or if it was even feasible in the first place.

2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-3

With night turning to day, our six-car convoy headed north on a mostly deserted motorway. Having the sole German car (Project GTI) in the convoy would typically be strange, but not within our group. Nor would it make a difference for where we were going.

2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-4

I’d love to add some dramatics about the high speed run up through the country together in convoy, but the reality is it was more Driving Miss Daisy than Fast & Furious. It’s becoming more and more difficult to find the thrill of driving here – something I’m sure a lot of you might be able to relate to. Not only due to heavy and often stealthy enforcement of the road traffic laws, but also showing respect to fellow motorists and not putting anyone in danger. Even trying to get anywhere close to the limit in a modern performance car is typically a huge risk on the road and is something a lot of people – quite rightly – aren’t willing to do anymore.

2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-2

With all this in the back of my mind, we continued to our destination, even picking up another car or two as we drew closer. We didn’t know it at the time, but we were in for quite an eye-opener of a day…

Don’t Call It A Car Show
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-10

I dread to think what Irish car culture would look like without Mondello Park. It’s our only international race circuit and host to several key events throughout the annual Irish automotive calendar. We’re very fortunate that Mondello’s management is also open to new ideas and so welcoming to the car enthusiasts on this island.

2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-6

No surprises then that they were quick to jump on board with Irish Drift Championship organiser David Egan to put together a car meet with a difference. Think car culture without barriers and you wouldn’t be too far off the mark.

2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-24

So, what exactly is the idea behind Auto Heroes? Simply put, it’s an event where everyone is welcome and is provided with the opportunity to enjoy their car however they would like. Want to park up and talk with friends? No problem.

2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-58

Want to take your road or track car out for a few laps? Again, no problem. You can either choose between participating in the drift sessions or the dedicated grip sessions, both of which run throughout the day. There’s also the option of tackling a gymkhana course which was set up in the paddock or even just the freestyle area where you can burn rubber to your heart’s content.

2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-15

It doesn’t matter what you drive either. There aren’t many times you’ll see a Sierra Cosworth parked beside a bagged Lupo which itself was parked beside an R33 GT-R. Being the first event, I felt a lot of people were sitting this one out to see how it would unfold, but I honestly (and personally hope) that even more marques make it to the next one.

2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-11

The pit-lane was reserved for a handful of clubs who had arranged to bring a few cars each beforehand. Yes, that’s my old BMW and yes, I did cry a little. Thankfully, it’s in great hands and I’m looking forward to seeing how it progresses with its new owner.

2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-18

It’s obviously a national bias, but I’m always fascinated with how Irish car culture is progressing and how it fares against other countries.

2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-22

There’s always been a strong Japanese flavour to the aftermarket scene here and it’s something I don’t see changing any time soon either. This black-on-black Supra was a welcome sight and a rare enough one too. I’m not usually a fan of the murdered-out look, but it looked super sleek here.

2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-25

This Starlet EP70 is a local car to me and is a really impressive build. In fact, I had just shot it for a full feature two nights before but still couldn’t resist taking another shot or two of it.

2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-32

A welcome surprise was this really cool ER34 Skyline which has seemingly popped up out of nowhere. If I didn’t know better, it looked like a car that had been teleported from Nikko to Mondello. There’s something so authentic about it; I’ll try keep an eye out for it and its owner again in the future.

A Big Entrance
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-37

Making my way to the first ‘big entry’ contest in front of the grandstand, I continued to find interesting cars dotted all around the venue.

2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-38

This bagged and Work Equip wearing DC5 Integra Type R will likely divide opinions.

2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-43

A handful of pro-class drivers would attempt to set an official record for the fastest drift entry speed at Mondello Park during the lunchtime break.

2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-42

The run up to turn one is considerably long, especially when you start before the last corner to ensure you seek out every single last unit of speed. For reference, Brian Egan in the Dealt Width 2JZ R32 Skyline is initiating across the start/finish line here, which is roughly halfway up the straightaway. He comfortably had enough speed to carry him all the way to turn one.

2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-44

Ultimately, IDC competitor Christy Carpenter would set the new official record in his livery-stripped PS13 Silvia.

2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-46

His speed? 106mph (170.6km/h) as he initiated under the bridge. Just in case anyone thought it was a fluke, he matched it with an identical speed on his second run.

2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-45

Those who know, know.

2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-48

With another half hour or so left in the lunch break, it gave people more time to relax and explore what else was on offer.

2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-60

I took the opportunity to cross the track and head out to the International loop of the Mondello circuit, where the grip sessions were taking place.

2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-61

It was an unusual but welcome sight to see an AE86 gripping the short loop as the first car lapping.

2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-63

Quickly followed by what I can only describe as a ballistic Toyota Starlet Glanza V which seemed intent on trying to lap everyone.

2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-65

The difference in atmosphere between the drift paddock and grip section of the venue was quite interesting. The smells were different too, from smoking tyres to smoking brakes…

2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-64

Despite being the first event of its kind, Auto Heroes was well attended and has hopefully laid the foundations for it to be a regular occurrence. The organisers are aiming to run the event once a month, but ultimately its success will be dependant on people showing up and bringing as much variety to the table as possible. It’s very much an instance where the organisers have put everything you would ever need in place, it’s just up to the people to come.

For Irish enthusiasts, this should be welcomed as a huge opportunity and not something to take for granted. I’m looking forward to the next Auto Heroes, but I think I’ll leave the camera at home and bring a helmet instead…

Paddy McGrath
Instagram: pmcgphotos
Twitter: pmcgphotos

Cutting Room Floor
2015 Auto Heroes by Paddy McGrath KP61-1
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-7
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-8
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-9
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-12
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-13
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-14
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-16
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-17
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-20
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-21
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-23
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-26
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-27
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-28
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-29
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-30
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-31
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-33
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-34
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-35
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-36
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-39
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-40
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-41
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-47
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-49
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-51
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-52
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-53
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-54
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-55
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-56
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-57
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-59
2015 Auto Heroes 01 by Paddy McGrath-62


Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Good idea to mix different styles, function and form in one meeting at a track.


It was probably the best day I've had in Mondello, and I'm up there a lot. I was a bit underwhelmed at first but when the Gymkhana started kicking off along with the Drifting, it won me over. Always something to do, and something different to do. I had my FB RX-7 in the Hard Parked/Show n' Shine area in the morning with along with a mates MK1 Escort, but after getting a spin in a mates MX-5 around the grip track, we decided to take them both out on track for a blast through the afternoon, too. There aren't many events where you can decide at lunch time you want to take your car out on the track. I'll be at the next one, for sure.


Never really been a major fan of Sierra Sapphire on EsCos wheels but that looks pretty nice


Dunno why first thing i thought of when i saw that drift R34 was Team Animal Style; looks like a really awesome event though


Those who know, know...


Does anyone know what rims are on that deep purple rx-7? they looks awesome


Top write up paddy
The general feel of the hole day was great
Cars where top notch
Hopefully many more festivals to come
Nice picture of the mk1 new profile picture U0001f44cU0001f609U0001f609


ethosVeritas_Z32 Someone said to me that the owner lived in Japan for a while, which probably explains why it looks so distinct.

Jean BaptisteGeorge

Exactly the same thing here in France... When I ride my old 65 VW Notchback, I'm considered as a passionned guy and everybody in the road make me smile or "like" signs. 
When I ride my RX8, people judge me as a furious driver and make me other signs...if you know what I mean.
As soon as your car make a loud sound, you're put in "the fucking tuning boys" 's category... even if you drive slowly... but if you drive a 315hp diesel v6 Audi quite engine, everybody like you even if you drive @60mph in a town...


Some very nice cars there!


koko san Yup, it was slightly surreal to be able to walk around and pick whatever you wanted to do.


Jason Marah I seen your FB, meant to call over to say hello but got sidetracked!


LukeEVOVIII I keep forgetting that those aren't its stock wheels! It's a pretty common sight here (the wheels on the Saph)


LaurenceDusoswa #thebigentry


BrettIreland Ugh, I'm drawing a complete mind blank right now. I'll be back when it comes to me...


Paddy G We'll need to get a few more Fords for the next day :)


Jean BaptisteGeorge Pretty much this.


DinoSawr For the first event, I thought it was pretty good. Especially considering the moist start to the day.


this looks like mad fun


This is exactly what is needed in Ireland at the moment. All the different 'scenes' in Ireland have been split for too long. It makes sense that a show catering for everyone will generate a much larger gathering. Can't wait for the next one.


Paddy McGrath Paddy G  I'll be bumping the Ford numbers  - I was up there just to support the event this time as my car (Mk2 Escort)  isn't ready yet but looking forward to the next one - it could become something special for sure.


Please dont use the term "murdered out". Makes you come off as a 15 yr old MTV teeny bopper.


Smiggins I'll be sure to use it more often, as a tribute to my long since forgotten youth.


LarryKehoe Really hope more cars make it to the next one, needs the variety to thrive IMO.


Mk2Mad Paddy McGrath Paddy G Ace, you didn't happen to spot the blue MK2 on the transporter? 

Or Derek Tohill's RX supercar hiding in scrutiny?


Paddy McGrath Mk2Mad Paddy G That blue mk2 was out on the Grip track for the morning, well able to move.


I find myself making a real effort to keep my commentary apolitical, but just this once I'm taking the gloves off.

The marginalization of the car enthusiast is essentially an ideological problem. Automobiles are a technology that gives the common man the freedom to go where he pleases, when he pleases, for whatever reason he pleases, as long as he can afford the vehicle and its upkeep. 

But this technology is fundamentally incompatible with the vision of the world's political and social elite, which is nothing more than the ancient and contemptible idea that some men are born to rule and everyone else is to do as they're told. 

It's an evil idea that holds that the common man is a worthless, nameless, interchangeable part of a Great or Good Society, to be used and controlled - or disposed of - as those in charge see fit. This philosophy turned the 20th Century into a slaughterhouse, and it's at the heart of the antipathy toward the automobile and it's enthusiasts.

It's obviously very difficult to control a population with access to convenient mechanized transportation. The task becomes exponentially more difficult if that population happens to be armed as well, but we won't get into that right now. So what's a concerned, socially-conscious elitist to do? 

You marginalize the automobile and those who enjoy it.

Ever notice that cars used to be thought of as enablers of fun and freedom, but nowadays they're regarded as social pariahs and necessary evils? Advertising used to focus on horsepower, speed and getting out on the open road for a good time, but it's all fuel economy and safety and connectivity today. 

You don't have to conquer a population by force of arms if you influence their opinions over the course of years and subtly convince them to give up their liberty in the name of some Greater Good, like safety, clean air or the children,

It's as if we're all meant to feel slightly ashamed of driving and enjoying the automobile, like we're supposed to place the act of driving in the same category as going to the bathroom - a slightly disgusting necessity of life we aren't to discuss in polite society.

Look at the focus on self-driving cars. Promoted in the names of Safety and Efficiency, they represent a transfer of control from the common man to a centrally-run, centrally-directed system run by the elite. Autonomous cars are nothing more than small, personalized city buses, and just like city buses, they'd be controlled by the government. 

And the government is controlled by the elite.

At that point, the common man couldn't go where he pleased, when he pleased, for whatever reason he pleased. He'd be subject to schedules, iron speed limits, range limitations and the need to obtain the permission of the elite for his travels.

He'd no longer be free - he'd be a modern serf at the mercy of the local lord's whims. Which is exactly what the world's elite wants.

I'm done.

turbo BEAMS ae86

FD3S of darkness

turbo BEAMS ae86

Ice Age reptilians hates car enthusiast


Paddy McGrath Mk2Mad Paddy G I did - the blue Mk2 looked like a beautiful build - didn't see it on track though. And spotted Derek's car too - different league!


Sounds like the grown up version of the free day in gym class haha. Looks like a blast!


Ice Age It must feel better to have that all out in the open now - like a weight off your shoulders :)


Paddy McGrath LarryKehoe I'll be completely honest - I didn't go to the last one because I wanted to see what class of car would turn up. Far too many times I have turned up to shows and events in Ireland only to be over charged and underwhelmed. From what I have seen and heard of this event, I missed out big time and I won't miss another one :)


Ice Age Some interesting points but I'd say that it's not government or the "elite" that are at fault. It's mega industrials that influence laws to make products that have maximum profit regardless of country. It's actually the "masses" that have become lazy with all of these convenience devices that have led us to this state of automotive boredom. The masses don't want to bother with creativity or beauty or power{hp). The masses rather sit on their asses and look at a little screen, even as they sit behind the steering wheel of their hybrid SUV.


Maybe it's the location or that morning light but it seems like there a was a great vibe going on there. All the cars look great. Sorry to ask but I don't remember seeing those rims before on that charcoal civic in front of stall 11 (penta style?), anyone know?


Smiggins Why bro it's mad legit? smh


Ice Age  Man there are good people out there too, you know the live and let live, non-judgmental kind?  They do exist but they're definitely not the majority.  So many seem to have a chip on their shoulder about something and it usually gets displaced onto whatever is "socially acceptable" to hate, instead of dealing with their actual problems.  They're easily swayed by politicians that tell them what they want to hear.  Brush it off and carry on.  No time for haters!


Paddy McGrathBrettIreland  pretty sure they're Garsons –


Yup no probs paddy sure we can get a gathering of fords next time :)


@paddyMcGrath @mk2mad
That blue mk2 is Honda S2000 power


Paddy G S2000 Class - I was trying to figure it out - nearly finished putting an mx5 1.8 in mine.


@turbo BEAMS ae86 I know right?  That's the one I want to see more of. Paddy McGrath


starlets everywhere :D i like ireland


lewby You'll enjoy my next feature :)


squidlyness SSR Speed Star Sharks?


Looks to be a utopian event.  I really like the Irish features lately because they seem to be so varied and deep in a grass roots vibe. Sure big names and big budget builds pop-up, but it seems to be more spread about with smaller efforts and outfits trying to do big things...I guess some of that got lost on us with the Rx8're doing good things over there Ireland, keep it up!


LarryKehoe Paddy McGrath Feel free to jump in with me for the next one!


Les.is_more Really appreciate this, thank you.


Paddy G Awesome, must keep an eye out for it again in future.


Steve Hayward Paddy McGrath I'll see what I can do :)


we need more of these events


That  Sierra Cossie  *.*


When i get older and start and finish a build, i would love to run a show like this. This follows up on the self entitled gen article so well. This just shows not every car enthusiast only thinks his build is the build of the century and find ways to degrade other builds. Auto Heroes is hopefully not the last show like this. It is just such an inspiration. Although it is in Ireland I hope other enthusiast from The US, Canada, England, Japan, others read this article and start a phenomenon where this show travels around the world. That honestly a dream of mine, just a place where anyone and everyone can come together as a "Family" not judging, chilling with everyone, shred some tires, or set some amazing lap times. I hope to see more of this in the future, and I hope it grows bigger than any show there is today.


That seems like a great event. I wish we had something like this here in Germany... but even here, in the country generelly regarded as a true automotive country because of the Autobahn and the Nürburgring and such, the scene pretty much... well, to put it bluntly, it sucks. An event like this would be much needed.


That's a well written arcticle Paddy. Great to have a good mix of all sorts of car enthusiasts drift, track and show. Main thing pride of ownership.

turbo BEAMS ae86

jdmRob the irish are very tasteful persons


Any chance of a feature on the pink corolla


Loved all the bonus pics, thanks.


More than the solution, it looks like auto nirvana!


The same thing is happening here in Australia, especially with the bike community on the north side of Sydney. For the past few months police have  had a targeted effort at roads popular with bikes. This includes the use of under cover cars as well as sitting on blind corners. On business there has seen a sharp drop as people are just staying away. Because who wants to be defected for stock parts (yes this happen frequently as police aren't trained, just told to defect any part they think sin't stock).

This also comes after stings on the same piece of road where they would pull out in an under cover car on a blind corner and mash the brakes in hopes you will overtake on double lines. 

But they do this in the name of road safety even though the police commissioner here got a email leaked with quota's for highway patrol. Its quite disgusting what is happening.


You guys REALLY need to start sponsoring events like this, hell, do some under your or the NFS name, run what you brung or not type shows like this really would be very welcome, but no one is organising them in a lot of countries.
"Speedhunters: global tour" perhaps?


TarmacTerrorist agreed. speedhunters should have a global tour and feature some of the feature cars in the countries they tour, like the feature cars from america when they visit america, or state to be more specific, the feature cars from japan, the feature cars of germany, italy, england, so forth.


CianLeonard Paddy McGrath BrettIreland 
oh thanks dude for the link!


TarmacTerrorist We like the sound of that...


Your name is big and well respected, if anyone can attract cars, it's you. If it comes down to a logistics of organising and staff power, I'm sure there are many on here with time to spare that could help make it a reality in locations across the globe, After all, it's all about the community, and encouraging that community to grow in all respects.
Just a thought.


Awesome initiative!


Paddy McGrath Smiggins I guess if you like to sound like a moron more power to you.


Speedhunters TarmacTerrorist Don't forget Switzerland. We always get forgotten if it comes to cool events. I'll come with my R33 GT-R. Promised!


Reto Jossi duuuuuuuuuude, but you are in prime get to everything country in the SZ!


I dont understand what you trying to tell me. Can you explain?


Sorry, that's my fault, Switzerland has some amazing roads, you are very lucky to live there.
It's also central in Europe. With petrol from where you are you can get to almost anywhere including China... I think you are very lucky :)


No faults here. U0001f600 thanks for the explanation.
Indeed we are very central. And we have amazing roads. But big events are more likely to be held in Germany and thats a little bit sad for us.


ha thats cool, my buddy and I (he in his R32, me in the blue S14) met/overtook you on the way up :)
had no idea you were amongst the convoy :D


nessy89 I was in front of your friend's R32 :)


Paddy McGrath nessy89  awesome :D that was such a cool feeling to suddenly see the convoy joining up, best drive up to Mondello ever haha


Jeeez, I miss the Irish car scene, I used to live in Ireland up until 5 years ago when I moved to Melbourne, but the cars here are boring, people can't drive and cops shot you if you spin a wheel.


TarmacTerrorist Hej did you know about my website for my R33? Take a look:


the car was very good 
really really like to see the car that shiny new car fits like made ​​for walking trailsthe car was very good" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> and very fast" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> mix of colors" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> from which to" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> make want pobud see hatnya" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> kecepatanya" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> was very nice ," rel="dofollow" target="_blank">  suitable for a "" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> sharp bend or not sharp I guess motorists like this is" very skilled in the speed I hope I can membilinya someday will whether there are new cars are better I" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> 'll wait for it , with a stylish car classic" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> style I" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> also like" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> to see would be whether there is a" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> car that is as fast and forius like in the " movie , the car very good car designed a way apparently hopefully there will be new cars more good and the price is quite pantastis then chances are I can membilinya the same as you have at this time