As a car enthusiast, after over a year and a half of lockdown, tiresome restrictions and limited movement, it is utterly amazing to be able to enjoy cars once more. Sitting at home over the past few months I promised myself that, as soon as I could, I'd involve as much car related activity as possible. As a result, the last three weeks have been non-stop and boy-oh-boy did I miss it.
It started with a local invite-only meet at Howth Castle. I've come to the point where I hold very little hope for car meets in Dublin however as this one was the first in a long time, I gave it a shot.
One of the first cars to show up was Marcin's 640HP Skyline. Cars like this are few and far between in Ireland and it was great to see it once again in person. At Fitted UK in 2017, Marcin was kind enough to give a friend and I a lift to the airport in this beast and I hadn't seen it since.
After a quick chat a video shoot was arranged, which you can look forward to very soon.
I'm a sucker for a fast-road N/A front wheel drive hatchback so naturally this 106 and DC2 combo stood out.
Fast forward roughly two weeks and good friends at Reload Global announced their third road run and first of 2021. With good weather on the horizon, tickets were purchased and I began prepping my own BMW E30 for the 500+ mile round trip.
At the first run last year, the variety of cars stood out and this one was no different. Cars of all shapes and sizes from Marty's StillStatic MK6 Edition 35 to a Westfield kit car were present.
The sun shone and the short trip around the Ards Penninsula made for a cracking day out. Huge thanks to Nigel, Robin and the team.
With the road run taking place in Belfast on a Saturday and Letstance hosting their first Cars & Coffee just ten minutes down the road on Sunday, it would have been rude not to attend that too.
I expected this to be a brief affair and it was, however it could have lasted all day down to the sheer numbers of cars that showed up. By the time I arrived, the venue was at max capacity with more cars double parked on the road outside.
There's something about these style of events that you almost lose at regular car shows. The fact it is not uncommon to find a wide-body Porsche parked beside a vintage Datsun is what makes them unique and special in a way.
It's truly a celebration of what car culture is and should be. Nobody acting the prick. Nobody revving their clapped out engine. Nobody re-creating scenes from the war in Iraq with their gunshot anti-lag.
If you're reading this and you partake in such activities, kindly click the X in the top-right hand corner because you're not welcome here.
Disclaimer: satire is intended :D.
I spotted a few cars that I want to cover in more detail, notably the white MK1 Escort pictured above. I'm looking forward to checking these out very soon.
Once again the sun blazed down leaving most looking like lobsters but huge credit is due to Rowan and the boys at Letstance for hosting a fantastic morning.
One weekend later and cars are filling my camera's viewfinder once again. Another cars & coffee but this time it's in Bray, Wicklow.
On the first Sunday of each month, an industrial park on the outskirts of Bray comes alive with the sounds of classic and super cars. However, thanks to the Chinese flu, it had been cancelled for the better part of half a year. Last Sunday was the return and it fairly made up for the absence.
Like Letstance a week before, the car-park was soon rammed full with cars spilling out onto neighbouring access ways.
This Mystic Blue E46 M3 on rare BBS RS-II stood out and I'm looking forward to seeing it captured in detail by a friend who is shooting it soon.
I didn't shoot much as I spent most of the morning chatting nonsense and catching up with friends. It really is great to enjoy our collective passion again.
Being a bank holiday, the following day allowed me to venture down to Mondello Park, Ireland's only recognised motor racing circuit. Drift Games were hosting one of their regular drift practice days and I was keen to use the morning as a testing session too, brushing up on shooting moving cars.
This resulted in resigning over 75% of my shots to the thrash can but lessons were learned and new ideas were found.
Mondello is a very tough circuit to shoot as each vantage point is raised above the cars on track. Couple that with a rather unpleasant looking backdrop and the resulting images can be somewhat lacklustre.
While high horsepower Pro cars have their place, I found myself constantly searching for the slammed, early millenium styled cars. This S14 and RPS13 combo alongside Barry's R32 Skyline stood out a mile.
So after a lengthy hiatus due to COVID, car culture is well and truly back - if you go to the right places that is. For me, this is only the beginning with numerous events in Ireland and overseas planned.
And I can't feckin' wait.