The 2018 Juicebox BBQ was the third most viewed single piece of event coverage on Speedhunters last year.
That’s a crazy statistic. More of you came to view this humble Irish gathering than Tokyo Auto Salon, SEMA, Players, Wörthersee, Ultimate Dubs, Autosport International and many more. The only events which more of you came to read about was our own Speedhunters Live in Japan, and Bilsport Performance at Elmia in Sweden.
While the guys at Juicebox have become renowned in recent years for their shenanigans on YouTube, they actually go back much further in time than this. Juicebox started life as a simple blog documenting Irish car culture with both stills and video.
At its heart, Juicebox is a group of people who love cars and doing car things. They’re just a bunch of friends who are constantly encouraging each other to do random things or to just build better cars. While they celebrate primarily Japanese car culture of a specific era, they have always welcomed any other genuine enthusiasts into their midst. That’s probably the key word here – ‘genuine’.
There are different levels of car enthusiast – there’s no getting away from it. There are those who dip their toes into the scene because it feels like a cool or trendy thing to be a part of, but they never seem to really get it, despite all of the encouragement and information available to them. Eventually, they move on to something else when they don’t get the ‘recognition’ they think they deserve, while the rest of us continue to enjoy cars in the right way.
It’s difficult to write about this without trying to sound elitist (I promise you that I’m not), but it’s something everyone will surely have noticed at one point or another. You go to an awesome car show, but can’t figure out how some cars have been allowed through the gate (entry fee, probably) and that there are genuinely better cars in the car park.
This is what makes the Juicebox BBQ different to the rest.
There is no entry fee and there is no set date, and while it’s invite only, there’s still quality control on the gate. There’s no impoliteness to this, but it’s hoped that by enforcing standards it will encourage those politely asked to park outside the event to raise their game for next year. There are no medals for participation here. Actually, there are no medals or prizes at all.
It doesn’t mean you have to show up in something with tens of thousands of euro spent on it – it’s just about having something that is clearly yours. Something you take pride in that has a little bit of character, and that can include completely stock cars, too.
Noon last Sunday was the official start time of the event, but the cars had started to stream into the yard beside Flipsideauto long before then. By 1:00pm, on an unusually pleasant September’s day, the yard which we thought would be large enough to contain the gathering was already expanding into the overflow area.
This was just one week after Ireland’s JapFest at Mondello Park, so you’d think that some of those in attendance might have had their thirst for car shows quenched by this stage of the year. But everyone makes an exception when there’s an invite to the BBQ.
This is Ireland’s finest gathering.
What’s impressive is that the location is non-central, so plenty of people have a trek to make for it. I’ve not had to travel on the day of the event yet (it’s pretty much my home event of sorts), but the thoughts of meeting countless convoys of tasty machinery on the open road of a Sunday morning fills me with a great amount of excitement.
While there are a couple of track cars and one or two non-runners, the majority are driven to the event. Which is how it should be. In fact, it’s probably what makes this selection of cars so enjoyable; they’re all used properly and as intended.
They’re of a particular era, too, as mentioned previously. Perhaps the golden era of Japanese car culture, the late ’90s and early ’00s street style. While Japanese car culture has notably evolved since, the Irish seemed to have latched onto this era, continuing to explore it and make it their own in some way.
Not because he’s one of my best mates, but I really think Flip has nailed the styling on his FC3S Mazda RX-7, a car which has fought him every step of the way over the last year. It just had a full engine rebuild before this event, and I think the BBQ will have served as all the encouragement he needs to get it over the line. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s going to be worth it when it’s unleashed on the streets here.
The DC2 Honda Integra Type R continues to be a popular platform in Ireland, and one which I’ve spent far more time thinking about lately than is probably healthy. There’s maybe not as many about as there used to be (where did they go?), but this raw and aggressive ‘Teg absolutely does it for me, and in all the right ways.
In fact, there were a lot of cars here which did it for me…
…A lot of cars. So much so, that I actually spent the time this year to try and capture as much as I possible could in order to bring you our most comprehensive look at the Juicebox BBQ yet.
This is just Part I, with Part II to follow imminently, along with a separate look at some of my outright favourite cars of the event. I’ll be right back.