NIIMC ALL ITALIAN SHOW
BELLISSIMI ITALIANIText and Photos: Reinis Babrovskis
On Sunday, May 26 many glamorous “Italians” took over the streets of Lisburn in Northern Ireland, before setting down in Lagan Valley’s island for their annual Italian fest. Hosted by the Northern Ireland’s Italian Motor Club (NIIMC) this event was dedicated to all cars and motorcycles manufactured by the Mediterranean country.
NIIMC show is one my favourite events on these shores and I visit it religiously each year; it has a very friendly and family oriented atmopshere; furthermore, it is easily accessible and greatly laid out. A resident DJ makes sure there is a perfect italian vibe by playing great tunes throughout the the day. This year I made sure I was there nice and early since the weather was looking great, meaning plenty of cars would be there and parking may be an issue.
This year's event was organised to support by the young sea cadets who in return kindly took out any kids (or adults) for a spin with their boat, and you know what - there was plenty of takers. It was all looking as it was shaping to be yet another phenomenal event.
As the clock started coming close to the midday and even though a few more cars were arriving, the car park was looking mighty empty compared to the previous years and that made me really sad as I love this event. It looked liked more cars were leaving than arriving. And I am not really sure why? There were a few events on elsewhere on the same day ( but that happens each year) but it couldn't be the only reason? I wonder if the very limited advertising that was to blame? This event really needs the local town support as it could be such a great day out for the families. I didn't see any food vendors, nor did I see coffee vendors, and not one lit bbq either. The lack of social media advertising may have had an impact as well.
And it was such a shame as the Italian automotive industry is so exciting - from glamorous luxury brands, to middleclass worker family cars to Italian hypercars, they offered it all. I really felt sorry for the organisers as I wanted to see a really crowded show.
The small turnout also couldn't be put down to the strict rules as NIIMC are very welcoming and opened the doors gladly to anybody that showed up, which is good as one the most impressive vehicles on the day for me also was this superb looking BMW E9 coupe. Absolutely stunning machine.
Thanks to all that made the effort to come and display their prides and joys though, for what it's worth I really enjoyed it. Being a true motoring enthusiast I really appreciate the Italian cars and seeing such a huge variety is just outstanding. And we, Northern Ireland, are definately not shy of the amount of Italian cars and supercars here so the quality of cars that made it was great.
Well despite the smaller turnout this year there was a car present that was worth the trip alone – the one and only Lamborghini Huracan Performante. Nigel’s orange supercar stole the show. The track oriented beast is based on the standard LP610-4 model, but producing extra 29bhp (totalling up to 631bhp) and dropping impressive 40kg of the base model weight. However these are just numbers for little boys to admire, what really makes the car phenomenal is it’s track performance.
The Italian beast destroyed the Nurburgring in less than 7 minutes showing how it’s done to a lot more expensive hypercars for half the price tag. The Huracan Performante achieved the amazing results thanks to its super clever aero system called Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva (ALA). ALA system – front spoiler with active flaps, rear ducts, rear diffuser and rear wing is made of a forged composite that not only looks neat but saves a lot of weight. The system acts similar to that of a DRS system in F1 – when the rear ALA flaps are closed the wing acts like a regular spoiler; however, when opened it lets the air travel underneath the wing increasing acceleration and top speed. They also can act independently providing extra grip in the corners.
The Huracan Performante is powered by the same 5.2-litre naturally aspirated V10 engine found it the base model, but it has been upgraded to a new intake manifold, lighter exhaust system and new titanium valves. It can reach 62mph from standstill in ludicrous 2.9 seconds and continute to 124mph in further 6 seconds.
The engine is paired up with a 7 speed dual clutch transmission and the power (despite AWD system) is biased more towards the rear wheels as it should. It really is a true testimony of how amazing the Italian brand is, they build amazing things yet still strive to make them even more impressive. I was so grateful to see the car in the flesh at the show.
Another unique, very rare and amazing car there was a van built by Alfa Romeo a few decades ago, 1968 to be precise. The all purpose vehicle, aka Autotutto was an all rounder built by the Italian manufacturer between 1954 all the way to 1983. What used to be a multipurpose workhose may have never been seen as cool as the VW Camper van, yet it actually is more impressive. Featuring a front wheel drive the car is super spacious and features an amazing 1300cc petrol twin cam engine as seen as in other Alfas of the time. This particular model has been restored with thousands and thousands of British Sterlings spent on it and was recently up for sale for £45,000 which is a fraction of a cost of a VW Camper van alternative. I loved it.
I really hope the ones that came to the event enjoyed it as much as I did and thanks to the organisers for it, but let's turn this around for next year and make it bigger and better than before. Let's hope the town can get behind the event and promote it more, more dealers arrive and showcase their stock, more advertising on social media an most importantly more owners arrive to showcase their beautiful Italians. See you next year!