Cars exist in the real world.
The above has become a bit of a mantra for me as of late, particularly when I’m feeling a little bit disillusioned with it all. For the better part of the last 12 months, cars became confined to an almost exclusively virtual experience for me – not a perspective I would recommend to anyone trying to appreciate anything automotive.
The internet, unfortunately, largely sucks these days. If it isn’t someone trying to flex or hunt some clout, it’s another person shouting at someone else for reasons unknown, even to those doing the shouting. Luckily, there are quiet corners of the internet which offer some respite, but these are becoming rarer and rarer.
Thankfully, though, cars exist in the real world.
With travel restrictions slowly easing, more and more opportunities are arising to once again experience cars as they should be experienced: in the raw metal with the people who created them often nearby.
The Sunday before last, I joined a convoy of cars heading north from Dublin to a simple ‘cars and coffee’ meet outside Lisburn in Northern Ireland. It’s approximately a two-hour drive, which consists almost exclusively of motorway.
While motorway driving is the least enjoyable way to drive a car, it’s somehow made a lot more bearable when you’re following and leading other like-minded folk, and humdrum appliances which normally surround you have been replaced with a variety of very different machines.
I didn’t really plan on shooting a whole heap of the trip, but naturally I couldn’t resist capturing some moments from the day. There was a curious feeling of the old days of Speedhunters, where we just captured what we saw and relayed it to you as quickly as possible.
To give the organisers their credit, the event was created and hosted by LetstanceUK whom almost certainly get what car culture is supposed to be about. That is, an absolute free for all where the various automotive sub-cultures can gather in one place and be celebrated for their diversity as much as their similarities.
There was an impressive amount of variety on show, from JDM to Euro, US to Fords (which in Europe is its very own sub-culture), performance to show cars and everything in between. That R34 was a very nice GT-T.
One of the most impressive vehicles I happened upon was this GMC flat-bed truck. I know nothing of classic American trucks, but this tickled me in many ways.
I’m a sucker for patina, especially when it’s combined with some really clean fabrication and other work. From the varnished wooden bed to the custom polished tanks and the big ol’ turbo strapped to the Cummins diesel engine – this truck had it all.
Coincidentally, another truck nearby caught my attention, although this was certainly on the smaller side compared to its distant US cousin. An immaculate Datsun sat low on Air Lift Performance with countless immaculate details. You can see more on the owner’s Instagram feed.
The event was also an opportunity for folk to debut some of their Covid builds. That included this – Ireland’s first New & Old-kitted 996 Porsche 911.
One for the Honda-philes, and something that even stopped me in my tracks was this Phoenix Yellow DC2 Integra Type R complete with factory yellow Recaros.
There were a few GT-Rs of various heritage in attendance, and this one on Nismo LM GT2s certainly popped in the sunshine.
This 600+hp example which belongs to a regular Speedhunters reader warrants further documentation. To be frank, if I could have an R32 GT-R, it would look an awful lot like this.
Almost hidden amongst the Japanese stuff was this 1300GT Ford Escort MkI. Again, I’ve done you the favour of rooting out the owner’s Instagram if you want to see more of the car.
Another first for Ireland in this Pandem-kitted Mk7 Golf R. The VW’s owner, Jack, reckons there’s still a few small bits to sort out, but it still warrants inclusion here as it looks utterly bonkers on the road.
Pooped pupper was pooped.
It wasn’t just the R32 that represented the GT-R family; here’s another that made the trip from down south for the morning.
The Lexus IS/Toyota Altezza gets an awful tough time from people in Ireland, but when done right they can transcend any negativity or stereotypes typically associated with them. I’m happy to see someone trying to reclaim them, and it’s only a matter of time before they become highly sought after for the right reasons again.
This wide-arched S15 Silvia sat on BBS wheels with Air Lift Performance management was a thing of utter beauty. I’m not sure I can add much more to it than that.
It was a short meet, only a few hours long, so after what felt like minutes, I was on the way home again feeling refreshed. Spotting an Escort Cosworth in the wild pretty much summed up this Sunday as being as close to perfect as you could ever wish for.
What was I complaining about again at the start of this story? It doesn’t matter, cars are awesome. Just experience them in the appropriate way.