Gathering on Saturday 26 May, the Lagan Valley Island Centre in Lisburn, saw a variety of vehicles on display which fall under the green, white and red colours of the Italian flag, of which there was plenty via bunting draped along the drive into the show area.
What can we say other than the 2018 car show season has started in style and this was a show that perhaps struggled a little due to a few other events happening on the same day, which you can also read about on the blog in the coming days.
Looking around the event, Michael Cain (or Mark Wahlberg for the younger reader’s), was not to be seen, but there was definitely some vehicles worthy of a space in some sort of remake of The Italian Job if it were to use more charm-full cars.
This show was organised and run by the Northern Ireland Italian Motor Club (NIIMC) and since the Club started in 2003, this particular event has ran for a great number of years, attracting in the past, some of the most iconic, expensive and exclusive Italian automobiles.
In 2010 the NI Moto Guzzi Club formed, and is now affiliated with the NIIMC, adding some spectacular noise and finesse on two-wheels to the show alongside a few classic Ducati and Lambretta cycles.
With free entry for spectators, it is one show to add to the list if you have never been before, most popular this year at opening time, with a plethora of young ‘car spotters’ who can often be seen jumping in and out of traffic on the Lisburn Road, taking pictures of their favoured chariots.
These enthusiastic, social media addicts got a treat like they could not have imagined whilst pondering their day over a bowl of cereal that morning, when Nigel Hicklin rolled into the venue in his Lamborghini Huracan Performante LP640-4 SA, a car that even I, as a non-lover of the brand, made me stop in my stride and take note – what a machine!
Finished in satin orange, with spectacular amounts forged carbon fibre and the flag of Italy along its length, this super-rare model costing upwards of £215k, let us know it had arrived with some pops from the exhaust that reverberated off the Civic Centre, bellowing across the river, with smiles all-round.
I always find specialised car shows intriguing, as well as somewhat enjoyable, mainly as you get to see up-close, some of the more unique vehicles which tend to maybe only come out once a year, such as the Alfa Romeo F12 Van which attracted a lot of attention alongside a few 90’s Alfa’s with highly polished and detailed engines bays.
No Italian show is complete without a rallying icon such as the Lancia Delta Integrale, of which there was one impeccable road-going version on display, whilst a Lancia Aurelia that arrived as i departed for another show, was nothing short of pure class and sophistication, as it drove into the grounds.
One rather odd automobile on show was a Flanders 20, and despite being American, and likely around 100 years old, fitted in well and was most likely the lowest powered car on display, coming from the factory with just 20hp.
With support from Charles Hurst Specialist Cars’ Ferrari and Maserati brands, as well as Donnelly Group’s Fiat and Alfa Romeo brands, what charm Italy can offer in current times was also represented.
The weather on Saturday made it all the more enjoyable, obviously the sacrificing of a virgin to the weather gods by the organisers worked a treat, bringing a hint of the Almafi Coast to Northern Ireland and I can’t help but feel that I was there a little early, as in images i have seen taken long after I was gone, the show did seem to fill out a little.
If anyone wishes to know more about the NIIMC you can find out details on their website http://www.niimc.com which also gives information on their monthly meets in Lisburn. The club is open to enthusiasts, as well as Italian car owners and at only £15 membership, I feel is an affordable club to be part of.
Words and Photos: Graham Curry
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