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19 Apr 2017




Text and Photos: Reinis Babrovskis

The car show season has officially launched here in Northern Ireland, and as usual it was “Dubshed” that opened the curtains for the rest of the 2017 season. For the eight year running Dubshed has been organised by the local dub enthusiast club “GTINI”, and for the second year in a row the event was hosted at the Eikon complex in the old Lisburn prison maze. Still very much aimed at the German automotive clientele, Dubshed has actually evolved over the years and has opened the doors to the rest of the global automotive manufacturers. And you know what, it looks the ‘Japanese’ are taking over.

The show took place over the weekend of April 8 and 9; as usual several thousand keen car enthusiasts made their way to the fairly new Eikon centre from all over North and South of Ireland and UK to see some of the finest machinery this island has to offer. With the weather being particular nice and with so many things on offer everybody was in for a treat.

As with anything in our lives, once the novelty has worn out we are left with a disappointment; however, with dubshed it seems quite the contrary – it gets better with each year it is held. To be fair I have very limited interest in Volkswagen and Audi Group vehicles but for some reason I keep going back to this event, yet it never fails to surprise me.

It seems the key ingredient of the huge success of "Dubshed" is the organisers ability to accept the reality of car enthusiast appetite, let me explain – in order to appeal to a larger audience and attract more people each year we must see new new cars, better cars, different cars and more, even more cars. And they just manage to pull that out of the bag every year. We all can appreciate the work that has gone into the car, but there is a time when just seeing air-ride Golfs on fancy wheels will get boring, and the organisers saw that coming. As of last year the event is no longer exclusive to VAG cars, and it seems the formula has worked.

And it's not like all the car owners wouldn't put in a lot of effort either, sleepless nights, hard work and extreme funds go into every one of these vehicles on display; so it is as much joint effort from both the show organisers and car owners, never forget that. I vistied PMG Autocare on the night before Dubshed and Colin's VW Caddy was being "pampered" till 4AM, and at 8AM it was in the Eikon centre ready for display.

This year’s show saw the indoor car display split in two – the bright and the dark tent (if you ask me), but I am sure there was a better description and decision made than that. Whereas last year saw the halls divided into VAG and ILB non VAG, this year on the other hand was a mixture of everything on both; and it worked perfectly.

ILB will be teaming up with the organisers of Dubshed - GTINI to throw another party very shortly in the newly formed "Districts" car show held in the former B&Q shop grounds on Boucher Road in Belfast so naturally ILB were present here with some amazing cars to give a taster of what's coming in their show. And going by what they brought along it should be another great show to look up to. More info on Districts on ILB website.


Obviously the show was attended by thousands of people and hundreds of media so making the report and photos was never going to be easy. But I wasn't alone in this battle. My advice if you go next year, go to both days the make the most out of it.


Cars really do get the celebrity status nowadays and everybody knows people from their cars, so it was pretty understandable why so many people spent their days behind cameras & Iphones sharing their cars work on the world wide web...


However my advice for next year - once the images are taken, just put your devices away and enjoy the show... You will see it completely different, trust me. It really is worth switching the devices off and appreciating the machinery on display.

And you cannot say these shows have lost the old school show atmosphere. Oh no there is plenty of old school stuff going on, question is can you see it and enjoy it.

The show didn't stop with just indoors either, there was plenty of cars on display outside, as well as Autotesting, drag racing and plenty of other things to enjoy. Even though the drag strip was a bit narrow for some battles, it didn't mean that a few people didn't attempt it. 

In all fairness there was plenty of entertainment everywhere. The boys and girls from the only Northern Irish remote control drift car scene were there with an amazing set up showing the spectators how it's done, but also letting the kids have a go as well. I did want to try to have a quick go myself, but didn't want to start a battle with 10 year olds by jumping the queue.

"Blackwater Graphics" along their merchandise also brought their racing simulator. This time it was featuring the ultimate rally simulator "Dirt". Sadly I never had a go at this either as it would have been Aaron here that I would have needed to take on. He seem to have been stuck to it claiming yet another title this year of the fastest "Dubshed" spectator. Well done.

Other traders including all the car care product companies you may need  - Auto Finesse, 50Cal, Kleen Freaks and others.

So what was the successful formula for Dubshed 2017? As always - it had to be German, it had to be low and it had to have nice, shiny wheels.


Since I couldn't stay for the winner announcements I decided to give out the prizes out myself and in no particular order, the cars I think were worthy of winning and being mentioned are...


Bertie Fisher drove the epic BMW M3 E30 Group A Rally here on Irish roads in the late eighties and early nineties. This car was a true engineering masterpiece: a lightweight, rear-wheel driven, beautifully weight distributed car that danced around the corners. If you never got to see one, please visit one of the local hill climbing events where you will see this FINA motor oil BMW M3 E30 in action. That's right, it is not just  a stickered up E30; this thing is the real deal and gets driven flat out everywhere, it is not a trailer queen. A show winner for me right there.



Once called “the most beautiful car ever made” by the Enzo Ferrari himself, the British icon – the Jaguar E-Type really is one of the best cars ever made, I can’t argue with that. It is an absolutely spectacular vehicle, and seeing one so fresh and unmolested is really something special. From handcrafted dials, beautifully stitched leather, marvelous engine to gorgeous wheels; it really had it all straight from the production line. A timeless masterpiece, that’s what this is.


A slammed Scooby will always attract attention - be it good or bad. One that is done up so bonkers will attract even more.Thomas's JDM Scooby has undergone a full transformation thanks to the Rick's Car Care garage in Ireland and is barely recognisable from previous year. It is now rocking a wide bodykit, superb Work Seeker FX Wheels, huge spoiler, canards and the 400+bhp are put down with the help of Toyo tires. The interior hasn't been forgotten as well - a beautiful set of Brides with Takata harnesses can be found inside. It is an absolute beast and it deserved to be on the top three podium for me.


Neil had a vision to built his ultimate Porsche 933, and it took him 5 years, FIVE YEARS to build this stunning vehicle. All I can add - well fu%$ing done. It is amazing and needs no comments.



Well, this wasn't the first time we came across this GTR, it was stealing show prizes everywhere last year and rightly so. It is the ultimate JDM car and when finished as well as this, it clearly will dominate the Japanese Car show trophies for years to come.


When a car is so rare you gotta ask what it is, you know it may take the show winner status, and so it did. This beautiful VW Notchback really did raise a few eyebrows over the weekend and claimed the GTINI Car of the Show prize. Rightly so, it is a beautiful machine and restored to perfection.


Pettr Matthew’s Audi TT is a well-known car here, yet somehow the man behind the custom shop “Paintworx” has always managed to make it different for each show he attends. The TT with the crayon styled paintwork was proudly sitting under the ILB stand. Since the last time I’ve seen the TT, it had received a full interior retrim in Scotland, as well as a custom bootlid with a “cheese grater” added as a bonus; love it or hate it – it is a a very impressive, custom and unique vehicle.


When somebody goes to a car show they might expect to see shiny cars with even more shinier bits added to them, but Dubshed is different you see, people see past that cliché, and any car unique enough can find its way under the spotlight. Weed’s extraordinary Golf is one of the best examples of that, and also this rusty old VW that looks completely out of its place at first. But then you realise it is much more than that. Even though I did here a few people complaining about this rusty VW Beetle having an indoor spot, I strongly disagreed and believed it was one of the best vehicles on display. Brought out from a field, fully customised afterwards; this is an ongoing project and it already is full on WIN.


VW Karman Ghias are not common cars, and when not one, but two of them show up at a show, and both finished in spectacular style choosing between them is impossible. Each of the Cali cruisers were winners in my eyes.




Barry's 'charged EP3 is finally finished and it looks absolutely stunning and I am sure it goes equally impressive. Finished in beautiful red, accompanied with gold wheels and carbon bonnet it looks marvelous. Can't wait to see it again.

VW Golf GT R32

Wait VW Golf GTI 3.2? Yes, that's right this superb VW Golf MKII is punching an Audi V6 3.2 litre engine in it's small engine bay, that also is superb clean. I like it a lot.

 BMW E30

I don't know what has come onto me lately, but I have started liking some BMWs and this is one of the reasons why. First time I saw this car was last year at the "Lets Stance" show in Belfast and immediately I fell in love with it. Finally a tasty E30 finished in beautiful green, rocking airride, BBS wheels and a tasty Nardi wheel inside.



Custom rear bumper, arches, facelift lights and I am sure plenty of other custom fabrication and work has gone into this stunning stanced Lexus.


And then there were these two. I know I am biased towards rally, but my God these two examples were prize worthy!


A MK1 Golf is probably as awesome as it will get in my VW world and one running ITB, full racing interior and a perfect "stance" is a winner in my eyes.


I am sorry but if you arrive to a show static and so low you get stuck before you even get into the show grounds, you deserve a medal for the effort alone. But in reality Jonathan's car is much more than just a laugh and deserves a proper respect. Having seen the development of this car, and what level of work has gone into accompanied by beautiful parts and wheels it really makes it a show worthy winner.

VW Golf MK1

This car is bang on what MK1 Golf was all about - true stance, iconic, unmollested design and beautiful eye catching paintork. 



For this years look Cathal has decided to wrap his Scooby in yellow along some new shoes and rear spoiler. I really hope it will snatch some prizes this year, it deserves it.

And a few more eye candies..

It is such a pitty this magnificent Altezza was hidden in the corner, it was a great example of what these cars can become when not molested on Donegal Rally.

I think everybody will agree - slammed Volvos = win.

If Elvis would attend Dubshed, this is what he would arrive in.

Adam's slammed BMW deserves some love as well, it really is built to perfection.

VIP Aristo has exchanged owners and also its colour. This year's look - purple, tasty...

Derek's three spokes look amazing, I don't care what anybody else says, they rock!

Just perfect, really well set up Porsche that looks equally good on a track, as it does in a car show.

Colin's Caddy looked spectacular.

Michael's TT hasn't changed from last year, but it doesn't need either, it is perfect as it is.

Another great show find: despite being a bit of run down this MKII Cortina has received an engine swap and most certainly is a cool ride. 

And to finish off - the best stand (even if there were none as such) has to go to the NI BMW Club.
What an array of amazing classics and modern vehicles. Well done guys!

And whilst I would love to mention all the cars I loved and why I loved them, I think it is better to come to one of the 2017 shows yourself and make your own judgement.

Overall the event was a great season starter and apart from the evil spotlight accident the 2017 has started great :)

I am looking forward to the upcoming shows, as going by some of the cars on display we certainly are in for some amazing treats this year.

See you next year #Dubshed.



  1. Top article and amazing pics! Love it Reinis! Well done!

  2. Love your work. Do you tend to shoot mostly wide open at these events? I notice most of your work has a very shallow DOF

    1. Yeah, that would be more my style and aids with getting rid of boring objects in show backdrops, plus helps with the low light, but there are times, when shooting narrow apertures works better to highlight the car lines etc.

    2. Thank you, appreciate the kind words!

    3. Thanks for taking the time to reply Reinis. I find your work inspiring, as someone who organises a motorshow and tries to do the photography as well, I find some of your work really amazing. The mill on your new one looks exciting too, we have a few mills near me in Lancashire that I might look into using! Thanks again. Chris