BUILT NOT BOUGHT
Text and Photos: Reinis Babrovskis
BUILT – latest Northern Irish car show took place on August 13 and proved to be a huge success, attracting high number of spectators and entries alike. The show was hosted at the Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast and featured a large variety of standard, modified, classic and motorsport vehicles, as well as bikes and BMX’s both indoors and outdoors.
WHAT IS BUILT
BUILT – newcomer in the 2017 car show scene was collaboration between three highly respectable brands: Fitted State, Blok51 and Blackwater Graphics, with an aim to host an automotive event that would be appealing to a wider petrol head audience. Built was a celebration of anything, believe it or not – Built, be it restoring, modifying or motorsport oriented.
Built received hundreds of applications for the show; therefore, the show was split into two areas: indoors and outdoors. The indoor show featured 100 cars carefully selected by the show organisers and included high performance supercars, classics, 4X4 and motorsport vehicles, motorcycles as well as BMX bikes, whilst the outdoor area featured further 200 vehicles on display.
WHO ARE BUILT
Fitted State is a Northern Ireland based social media automotive brand offering video and photography coverage of local car scene. Block51 - Northern Irish car detailing product retailers and Blackwater Graphics is one of the leading graphics and media companies in Northern Ireland. The show was further supported by local companies like CIP Insurance, Kleen Freaks and others.
Car shows have recently been popping up like mushrooms following a rain, so it really has become a tough game to break into and stand out amongst others, but it seems Built really learnt from other shows and addressed the issues that other shows faced. The boys and girls behind this show really did an amazing job with the Built; it was advertised and ran faultless. It takes a lot of courage and hard work to organise an event of such scale; sometimes people really do not appreciate the amount of work involved in hosting an event. The amount of things that goes behind the scenes is unreal: from venue hire, insurance, PR costs, and staff hire – it is a huge risk and cash investment that very few will undertake to do. Yet I still witness people complaining on social media after any show, folks, respect anybody that takes the risk and hosts an event; support them, not slag them!
During the day I heard a lot of people comparing this show to JCC. Despite sharing the same venue these were completely opposite shows, aimed at different audiences, venue was the only thing that linked them. JCC was action packed Japanese marathon, whereas Built was a relaxed, “less is more” approach. And strangely both of the shows proved to be my favourites of the 2017 car show season in Northern Ireland.
WHAT BUILT OFFERED
Beside the stars of the show - the cars, there was so much more to see and do on the day. Throughout the day MC Chris Suitor interviewed motorsport celebrities like ex moto GP rider Jeremy McWilliams, current BSB rider Andy Reid as well as rallying stars like Alastair Fisher, Stuart Biggerstaff and Jonny Greer who also kindly provided autographs and posed for photos throughout the day.
The show also featured a lot traders, including Kleen Freaks, Block51, ILB, ODB Engineering, Top Secret and many others, so everybody had a chance to do some shopping.
Oh, and when was the last time you saw a barber at a car show, that's right, you read it correctly: a barber in a car show. But you know what - what seemed to be funny at the beginning turned out to be a huge success as the scissors never stopped.
Once the haircut was done, there was plenty more to see, including a drifting arena hosted by Raceway Drift Club as well as the BWG sim. It wouldn't be a car show without the Blackwater Graphics Rally Simulator, and resident "McRae" - Mr. Warnock. One day I shall put the camera aside and challenge you, brother! Peter claimed the fastest time behind the Scooby in Monte Carlo yet again, congratulations.
One of the most spectacular cars present on the show day was ex-WRC Subaru works driver Petter Solberg's 2004 Subaru WRC S10. This exact car in the hands of the Norwegian superstar won the Rally D'Italia Sardegna.
During the day the talented Blackwater graphics staff demo'ed their skills by applying the same decals on the Subaru that the car had when it won the rally. Within just few hours the car was returned to the former glory. Mr. Solberg would be proud.
It was also nice to see the organisers didn't forget about the kids, as these two lovely (scary) T-Rex dinosaurs made sure every wee one (and some big ones) were kept entertained during the day.
MUSIC AND ATMOSPHERE
There is nothing more annoying than exposing your ears to inadequate and overpowering music for hours and hours at car events, and whilst you’ll never please everybody for me this was as close to perfect as one can get. No more rave and pill-popping music, this was “Built”; hands down it was the best music I’ve heard in a car show in a long, long time. Whoever was the DJ, I salute you. Having spoken to quite a few folks, they all agreed, it got everybody’s feet bouncing all day long. I really can't remember a show where I saw a more chilled atmosphere.
Built offered a ridiculous selection of vehicles and it made a seriously tough judging. If somebody couldn't find a vehicle and owner you could talk to for hours, there was something wrong with you. I really support the idea of all makes, styles, motorsport and bike combined shows when the standard is so high.
If the variety alone didn't impress you, the story behind each selected vehicle should. Shiny wheels and air suspension is nothing compared to some of the builds that were present.
And as always so many vehicles were literally finished on the morning of the show.
As for the Winners
As always I will stand by my statement that prizes really poison the car shows; however, we all also acknowledge that people want to be rewarded for their hard work, so here goes. There were 10 independent judges at the Built show and I was one of them, and all of us selected completely different vehicles for the Top 10, indicating how amazing the standard really was.
“CAR OF THE SHOW”
Ford Escort MKII
As soon as I’ve arrived at the show, I knew this was the car of the show for me. The iconic Ford Escort MKII usually is seen being driven sideways and covered in mud at local rally events, which is great, but… we actually forget how amazing the car actually is. Strangely we don’t treat it as a classic, we refer to them as rally cars, so seeing one that isn’t covered in stickers and battle bruises is rather special. What makes this even more extraordinary is the power that drives it. Whilst we have seen MKII escorts with engine swaps before – F20C etc., I’ve never seen one with Nissan’s power-unit. That’s right, this baby was powered by a Nissan’s finest SR20 offering more than 400 horsepower to the rear wheels. The MKII has been built with a lot of love and passion, and it shows on every screw and bolt on this vehicle. Worthy winner for sure.
Audi 100 Coupe Automatic
Now there couldn’t have been a better car to claim the Built choice than the stunning Audi Coupe that literally was built from a scratch. The owner of this vehicle decided to restore the vehicle for his wedding, and being a fabricator by trade he was the right man for the challenge. Every bit of work was carried out by Paul himself apart from the paintwork. Fair play and well deserved, a stunning car for sure.
Land Rover Discovery
Built sponsor’s Wheel Whores “Best Wheels” title went to Land Rover Defender, with the registration BIG 252. Whilst nearly every car on the show was running an amazing set of shiny and expensive “shoes”, the Defender wore them the best.
Ford Sierra Cosworth
Contrary to popular belief that outdoor space at shows is for the “not worthy” ones, I strongly refuse to believe so. Every venue is restricted to a limited numbers and organisers will do the best to host them all; however, it will never please the applicants. Judges actually will see past the walls of the venue. This stunning Ford Sierra Cosworth was a prime example.
This Jabba (the Hutt) MK IV Golf GTI really stood out amongst the stance kids, this is a car that is done right. There really aren't many parts left on the vehicle that have not been replaced/modified or upgraded. The Golf features a fully forged Jabba sport engine offering a mind blowing 390hp to the person behind the wheel. If you ever get a chance, speak to the owner as I am sure your eyebrows will be raised with the amount of mods that this car features.
I really just want to take this car on a North Coast drive with the windows down whilst listening to some funky tunes. This 1965 Beetle is an absolute stunning piece of history done right. How I wish the manufacturers would realise what amazing cars they used to make in the past and takes us back to that happy place.
I am pretty certain most of you are now aware of Thomas's stunning Scooby and if not, shame on you! It is certainly not to everybody's taste and will offend a lot of Subaru die-hard fans; however, one cannot argue that it really is done with amazing attention to detail. I absolutely love it.
And another prime example of BUILT not bought. This marvelous Triumph GT6 started its life in a depressing state, but luckily the owner of this vehicle saw the potential and after 1000s of manpower hours this British classic was returned to its former glory. If you ever get a chance to see it again, ask for the restoration book from the owner, it is helluva impressive.
Ford Escort Cosworth
We all know Mark loves Fords (hence why he drives an Audi daily lol) and every vehicle he touches turns into a fire breathing monster, including this stunning Ford Escort Cosworth. The blue and carbon combination works perfectly, all it requires now is a set of glorious motorsport wheels. I hope his Ford friends will keep giving him hell until he does it.
Niall’s 993 C4 might offend some Porsche purists, but there is no denying it is the most beautiful Porsche on these shores, hands down. I love the hydro suspension combination with the wide BBS wheels and then the mighty interior, oh my - the alcantara flows throughout the whole interior and is a wonderful place to be in.
There will always be a special place in my heart for an American classic, and this Ford F100 is really a prime example of how stunning the American cars were back in the day. Finished in epic candy red and complimented with chrome it really is an eye candy. The vehicle has been restored to a phenomenal standard, but if anything the only let down is the engine that runs it, a Mitsubishi diesel power unit; however, I really hope it will be drinking petrol through a V8 big block soon again.
There were many beautiful motorsport vehicles on display, but only one that stood out to me most: the Austin Metro 6R4 owned by the Biggerstaff family. Whilst there would be nobody present at the show that wouldn’t realise that this beast was one of the monsters of the 1980s crazy Group B era in the World Rally Championship, only a few potentially knew this exact vehicle was actually the very first of them and driven by Tony Pond and David Llewllyn. It is equally beautiful as it is scary. It is one of the finest rally cars ever to take part in the WRC.
Audi TT – T1TTY
Peter really never disappoints and I am glad he never stops either. Despite having the car sitting perfect and reeling in trophies at any show he went, he decided to change it over yet again. This time gone was the lovely pastel paintwork and golden wheels replaced by candy red and chrome instead. It looks magnificent.
This beautiful E30 has now been grabbing trophies in every show it enters, and rightly so. The E30 was one of the finest BMW creations ever, that for me still hasn't been outdone by any further models. The classic BMW and BBS combination will never get old.
As always, I could keep going and handing out other virtual trophies to every single one of these vehicles, but I'll let the pictures do the talking.
I would like to say a huge thanks to all involved in the making, planning and running of the show, it was awesome!