ORCHARD COUNTY DRIVE
SHOW AND SHINE OR DRIVE AND SMILE
Text and Photos: Reinis Babrovskis
"Orchard County Drive" returned to the city of Armagh for the third time on September 9; the event, organised by Armagh Motorsport Association and Autobits Motorstore took place in the picturesque Shambles Market Yard in Armagh city centre attracting large crowds, and raised £2000 for the charity of their choosing.
A very impressive sum of £2000 was raised throughout the day in aid of “PIPS” (Public Initiative for Prevention of Suicide), all thanks to the hard work of the volunteers. This wonderful charity provides support and help to those people who are going through some darker times of their lives and have considered taking their own life, as well as families who have been affected by the pain of suicide. Suicide is a growing problem amongst any gender/age or race, and there are many people out there who need help; the funds raised on the day will help PIPS keep doing the great work they do. So a massive thank you to all involved that made this day possible.
The event itself consisted of two parts: a static show and shine display to start off the day, followed by a 30 mile well pre-planned drive for those who wished to enjoy some of the finest driving roads the county had to offer. And whilst some cars were there to look good, some where there to enjoy the drive - it was a great concept and worked perfectly. And most improtantly it was all for a great cause.
Throughout the day the guys from "Detail Bay"provided car paintwork maintenance and detailing demos to all the car owners and specators alike, gladly answering all the questions. Furthermore, anybody interested in the detailing was able to give it a go at paint correction themselves whilst picking up some tips from the professionals.
Rain shouldn’t even be a surprise anymore for an Irish person, so having an outdoor show always meant there was a potential risk of downpour and getting soaked. Obviously it also meant getting your car filthy looking, so everybody came well prepared. Once the rain stopped everybody raced back to their cars and in a Formula 1 style pitstop style had their cars looking sharp again in seconds.
I was pleasantly surprised at the huge turnout of classic cars at the event despite the weather; from Ford Escort Cossworth, Opel Manta, Toyota Celica GT to beautiful E-type, one certainly couldn’t complain at the variety. Undoubtedly modern cars are far superior to older cars in terms of safety, performance and handling; however, there is something very special about classic cars. From beautiful Rolex-like finish gauges, gearknobs, handbrakes to custom leather interiors to beautifully chromed bumpers and engine covers. They just don’t make them like this anymore. Like really how many cars nowadays have a cigar holder???
The day flew in as everybody chatted to each other, admired each other cars, had great food and just generally had a relaxing and fun day in a well organised show. I really enjoyed it and just wish I'd known about the event 3 years ago so I could have attended the first 2. I am very thankful to have been asked to be part of it and can't wait for next years event.
Whereas usually I avoid discussing the winners of the show, this time I actually was the one to decide them. Kindly asked by the Armagh Motorsports Association to be the judge on the day I was set out the task of selecting top 5 cars of the show and shine. And whilst it may sound easy, it actually is not in a show where there are so many great cars to choose from.
One of the most iconic BMWs in my opionion was the BMW E30, it was a car with perfect weight distribution and beautiful performance straight out of the box. These cars have become so rare that seeing one on a road is a treat, but seeing one in such great condition is even more suprising. The beautiful finish and attention to details of this car was enough for me to grant it a top 5 award. Talking of surprises, I think the owner was quite surprised himself to win a prize, but trust me it was well deserved.
Ford Escort Cossworth
Another 1990's icon: the magnificent Ford Escort Cosworth. This car once dominated the forests, mountain roads, tarmac as well as gravel roads around the globe. Nowadays mostly though it would only be found in private collections under a protective layer. The beautiful and immaculate red paintwork, white compomotive alloys and other tasteful mods on it made this car another worthy winner.
Toyota Celica GT
Probably one of the hardest choices of the day. Yes, I knew one of the Celica GTs would make the Top 5, but which one. When owner brings along not one but several immaculate Toyota Celica GT models choosing the best becomes impossible. The beautiful restoration work on this car was just something else, so it most certainly deserved a top 5 award.
I can't argue with Enzo Ferrari - if the legend of the automotive industry once said himself that this was "the most beautiful car ever made" it must be true. And wow, is all I can say. The car was restored/built by the owner of this vehicle and there wasn't a bit on this car which wasn't immaculate. A true icon, a phenomenal restoration work = runner up.
Ford Escort RS Turbo
Car of the show had to go to this beautiful Ford Escort RS Turbo. A car that hadn't been affected by the time and looked as good if not better from than when it left the factory. The owner of this vehicle brought along a few beautiful cars, but this RS Turbo was a level on it's own. Congratulations.