The Juicebox BBQ has become a regular fixture on the Speedhunters event coverage calendar.
It’s not quite a car show, and not quite a meet either. It’s more of a ‘give back to’ and celebration of Irish car culture. It’s kept mostly private in advance (not out of elitism, but due to capacity constraints at the borrowed venue), and while it’s not limited to any particular type of car or style, it is heavily tilted towards Japanese car culture. It’s pretty much the highlight of my automotive year.
I dread the time that for some reason or another I won’t be able to make the BBQ, but I’ve a 100% attendance record since the very first one in 2016, and I plan on maintaining the streak for as long as possible.
It’s my direct connection and annual reminder of why cars and car culture are so special. Hint: It’s not the cars, it’s the people.
While the cars are always changing, evolving and interesting, it’s the catch ups with friends that mean the most.
Cars in isolation are often frustrating and illogical money pits, but add people to the mix and suddenly they make a lot of sense.
Any evening spent around friends and cars is one well spent. A camera to capture the various moments is optional, but worthwhile.
However, I do have concerns about the future of car culture, so to prepare you, I’m prefacing these with a picture of Cody.
Should you feel overwhelmed, please return to this picture. Or you can just skip the words and move ahead to the photo gallery and ignore me completely (which is what I usually recommend).
You see, my worry for the future is that regardless of how wonderful all of this stuff is now, I don’t think it’s going to last forever. I hope I’m wrong.Home Of The Blaa
The morning of each Juicebox BBQ typically starts in the same slow but steady manner. Arriving at Flipsideauto, cars are moved outside and a rough plan is made for the day.
The large (and kindly loaned) lumber yard next door is opened and walked about to check for any loose debris and to figure out a rough layout to fit as many cars in as possible, while still allowing cars to come and go as they please.
Each year the layout is slightly different, so allowances have to be made. While things weren’t due to officially start until around 11:00am this year, cars started arriving a lot earlier than planned.
By 11:17am, the yard was almost full to capacity with just under 200 cars inside. A couple of stragglers were able to be accommodated after this, but everyone else had to be directed into overflow car parks around the industrial estate.
Thankfully, being a Sunday, there was minimal disruption to any non-BBQ-goers in the vicinity.
The one sole (and entirely selfish) upside to this was that with no room for any more cars to enter, I was actually able to spend a decent bit of time walking about and poring over some of those present.
Neil Sheehan, the primary human behind Juicebox, has a very special ability to attract the very finest JDM offerings in Ireland into one very out-of-the-way location. It’s always an impressive feat.
As is the way with the Juicebox BBQ, the variety of cars on offer was simply sublime. I saw the JZX81 Mark II at LZ Festival, but was thrilled to get a proper look around it.
It’s interesting to see a lot more S-bodies on air suspension, which makes huge amounts of sense considering the condition of roads in Ireland.
What about that Toyota Sera with Audi wheel trims and an intercooler crudely poking through the bonnet, though? Phwoar.
That’s not to ignore the amount of inconspicuous looking Hondas with surprisingly large turbochargers, and the occasional AWD swap, either.
The Juicebox BBQ is typically a short occasion, so you need to decide whether to look at few cars in-depth, or more cars quickly. There’s no right or wrong decision here, because either way you’re always left wanting more.
At around this point in the day, I had a realisation: Everyone present was of a certain age, or older. Now, this observation can be easily dismissed with ‘well, that’s just Juicebox’s target audience,’ which isn’t wrong at all. But, I started to think when was the last time I had seen actual ‘youths’ in modified cars? When we were growing up, there was the usual logical progression of sh*tbox first car at 17, and then something much more interesting once you passed your test.
When you look at the general cost of anything even slightly interesting, it’s not really surprising that 18-year-olds aren’t buying into car culture. Figuratively or literally. It wasn’t particularly easy for us either, but it’s a whole other level of difficulty these days. What used to be $5,000 cars are now $20,000 or more.
I do genuinely feel sorry for the young car enthusiast these days, and have all the more respect for those that are still trying to make a genuine effort. I’m not exactly an old man either, but if I was 10 or 15 years younger, I don’t see how I could ever have enjoyed the car life that I have so far.
There’s no blame or shame to appropriate here, it’s just the world that we happen to live in and which we have very little say in.
While I’m 100% capable of enjoying moments and days like these, there’s still a part of me that is aware that they won’t be around forever and I think that’s a genuinely sad thing. I wish that more people could experience the joy that cars bring us. If the world was full of car enthusiasts, it would probably be a better place.
For those of us lucky enough to be able to enjoy cars in whatever way we can? Appreciate it, be grateful and do your bit to share that joy of machine with others.
There’s no guarantees about what’s going to be around in the future, just what we can enjoy today.