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11 May 2017

Cars at the Mill



Text and Photos: Reinis Babrovskis

For a car show to be so successful on the first year it is run is really unheard of, but somehow “Cars at the Mill” managed to pull that off. Not only did everybody get blown away by the picturesque setting at the Raceview Mill, Broughshane, but also by the huge variety of vehicles on display. On top of that the crew behind the Cars at Mill raised a mind blowing £7,000 for the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust beyond their and everyone else’s expectations. The charity car show took place on Sunday, April 30 at a local business park filled with coffee and souvenir shops, and even a live music in the small village of Broughshane, Northern Ireland.

Any new car show has always been treated both skeptical yet also exciting. They can either go horribly wrong or make a mark on the car scene in the country. Luckily "Cars at the Mill" ticked all the boxes and deserve a 10 out of 10 for the effort. People were arriving from early hours of the morning, indicating this show will be larger than expected.


The Charity 

The boys and girls behind “Cars at the Mill” conceived the idea last year after somewhat unfortunate event which lead to the loss of the life of a young Ballymena man. Seeing how the Kevin Bell repatriation trust helped in this situation brought the charity to Colin’s attention and inspired him to the run the show with the aim of raining the money through what he loved most – cars. For those who of you don’t know about KBRT: it is a charity run by the Bell family after their own misfortunate loss of their son Kevin. The charity aim is “to alleviate the financial hardship of bereaved families repatriating the body of the loved one who have died abroad in sudden or tragic circumstances back to Ireland”.

The Location 

When it came to selecting this place, Colin admits: “a typically solution would have been a grassed area, car park or some warehouse, which seems to be a popular choice at the moment, particularly in the UK and whilst none of these are bad options, we wanted something a bit more unique. With HQ being based in Broughshane and the availability of Race view mill we thought it ticked the boxes for what we wanted; however, we were not 100% sure it would work for a car show, but the feedback has been overwhelming with people describing it as a small village of cars.” And us for us, the photographers, it was a dream come true with the the opportunity for a great photograph everywhere you look.

The Atmosphere

The organisers told me they we wanted to host an event that provided a pleasant and welcoming atmosphere to everybody. Having attended shows all over the UK they knew exactly how they wanted the show to be perceived - chilled! What really came into play on the day to help and achieve this was the weather which managed to be sunny and pleasantly warm all day. Coupled with red brick back drops, some extremely fine vehicles on display, variety and acoustic music from Joe Rocks proved to create an ambience like no other show here.


The Cars

Whilst many shows just aim for the sheer amount of cars there, some really focus on the right things instead - QUALITY OVER QUANTITY. Cars at the Mill hit the nail on the head there as well; and you really couldn't complain about the variety at this show either . From Lamborghini and Porsche super-cars to historic rally vehicles, american pick ups and the current trend of stanced modern performance cars, it was all there. And they didn't forget about the 2 wheel enthusiasts either.



I think the Nissan GTR might just be the most iconic car ever made, and seeing three generations of them in one car show for such a small country like Northern Ireland is pretty amazing. What made it it even more special was seeing them in their standard shape; don’t get me wrong – modifying cars is what we all love and do to make them our own, but some cars do deserve to remain untouched, like the Nissan GTR R34.

Ford vs Porsche

The smallest of the warehouses was occupied by 2 amazing Porsches, 2 unique bikes and 3 extra special Fords.

In the red corner we had 2 amazing race spec Porsches, one with natural racing Pedigree, the other modified to be a true race car. Whilst none of these would win over an internet overnight as they are not on air, nor they are running silly camber and wheels, they are perfect in my opinion.

In the blue corner let me introduce you to the Ford trio.

Mark's Mondeo - whilst I would  lie if I'd say I liked the car and it's colour, this car is far beyond the looks, and I love it for that. It is a beast that would embarrass a lot of supercars at the set of lights. Originally built by the Reyland Motorsport in the mid 90's and modified by an English tuning company DJM it to take a Cosworth 4X4 running gear and engine, it was actually bought as shell a few years ago by Mark. It has been rebuilt with no money spared and is packing top of the range - AP brakes, custom Leda suspension, Borg Warner turbo, Quaife 6 speed 4 wheel drive sequential box and squeezes out more than 500bhp from it's cossie engine. Amazing.

Terry's silver Ford Escort Cosworth is an absolute eye candy whether you like Fords or not. It has undergone a full underside and engine bay restoration. The engine and transmission were rebuilt, yet left as stock as possible apart from an exhaust and a remap. The car is producing between 250-260 healthy horses.

Whilst I would always throw the odd joke about Fords rusting away and how they wouldn't start, Paul secretly knows I love his car. It is by far the cleanest and most aggressive sounding Sierra Cosworth I have seen and heard. All of the work done to the car has been carried out by Paul himself. Describing his mods as "old school tuning", it has some serious power and amazing parts under the metal, including Escort Cosworth turbo, Group A Cosworth suspension parts, Bilstein Coilovers and top mounts, AP brakes at the front anrd modified rears, gearbox has a straight cut gear set. It was mapped by Motorsport Developments and sits between the 350 and 400bhp mark. The mod list on this car is never ending. Gorgeous car!


The courtyard was filled with many amazing vehicles but the one that made me stop and look was Andy Cooper's new Lotus Evora. It is an absolute eye candy of a car. Health to enjoy sir!

The Upper Deck

It seemed the upper deck section was reserved for "Tops off"crew featuring Caterham, MX-5, S200 and a rather stripped Mini.

The higher grounds were also reserved for some classic bikes.

Conor's air'ed BMW 5 series was hiding round the corner basking in the sun.

Old Barn

To be fair, this was my favourite part of the show - absolutely amazing setting to photograph the gorgeous Renault Megane RS and BMW 7 series that was residing in it. You really do appreciate the beauty of a car in such a run down surrounding.


BMW Stand

I don't even know how I managed to miss the BMW stand until literally the prize giving, particularly considering the fact it would have been the first thing I saw as I entered the show. But I am glad I did spot it just before the show ended as there were some beautiful BMW's hiding there from all generations and decades, including the beautiful V10 powered M5, as well as the e30 M3 (the finest BMW ever made if you ask me).

The Winners

I would hate to be a judge in a show of such quality, but as always some cars do deserve to bring the trophies home and the judges did an awesome job choosing the top 10 of the show. So *drum roll*... Here are your winners:

People’s Choice

Very early on whilst canvasing for votes for the “People’s Choice” Award it became particularly clear that two cars where coming out on top, just nipping this award was Richards E30.

Opel Kadett

Located in our main hall was this awesome little Kadett , it caught numerous eyes of many members of our team and to us this proper little retro rally star deserved its place on our top list.

Chevrolet Apache


You couldn’t miss this Chevrolet apache pick up, it took pride of place in the corner of our courtyard area, flawless paint and quite a presence drew us to this car. Mk3 gti¬- this was a car that we had a lot of time for; compared to some of the cars on display it most certainly didn’t require a bottomless bank to build it, what got our attention was the manlia green (mk1 golf colour) and an extremely well thought out engine bay shave and tuck

Vauxhall Nova


It was immaculate, what can we say. It wasn’t heavily modified or didn’t boast some expensive rims but it ticked our boxes Cossy- In the gallery sat 3 very clean and well finished fords, all 3 of them made it to our short list but to us something about the cossy just felt right, such a 90’s icon

Mini Cooper


Runner up - a race car with a show quality finish that Cars at the Mill judges really appreciated; this little beast is sporting a 16v KAD engine.There was no moment during the day when this little beauty wasn't surrounded by it's admirers.


This lovely MKIII Golf deserved a prize for the awesome tucked engine bay alone, but once I stepped back a bit I realised it is a truly amazing car from any angle you look - from paintjob, wheel choice and all the other small details that make it so unique. 

Opel Kadett

Sponsors choice - and I can see why, this beautiful classic really has been restored to a show quality. I also love the choice of the "meaty" tires+wheel combo.

Ford Escort Cosworth

I did already describe how amazing this car is, but here is another fun fact - did you know that there were only 12 Ford Escorts Cosworth made in silver? Well, now you know it.

TX 6704 Moto Guzzi

This gorgeous bike snatched up the prize of the best bike in the show and rightly so, the ultramodern-historic bike really did rise a few eyebrows for non-bike poeple - is it classic or is it modern; egg or chicken? Everybody loved it.


 VW Camper

Car of the show- A car which to us deserved this hands down was this split window camper, a classic colour combo, a beautifully trimmed interior and a nice attention to detail. Add this to the fact it drew the crowds all day long and narrowly missed out on our people’s choice award

Bonus Images


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