The highlight of the summer events for me this year was my first english show, the Japanese Auto Extravaganza. Held annually at the Billing Aquadrome (Northampton) I had over two thousand of the finest Japanese cars in the country to look forward to, along with barbeques, drink and camping with the P.C.C. lads.
I was collected on the Friday morning by Mark Luney (sidewaysbuff) in his twin turbo Toyota Supra and we cruised down to the ferry terminal in Belfast to meet the rest of the convoy. Steveyturbo had brought his Honda Integra Type-R, and Campbell (sideways/always) was in the Espace staff wagon (all the tents and drink had to go somewhere!) Once on the other side of the Irish Sea, we embarked on what ended up in an eight hour journey to Billing. Despite what was fantastic weather, we hit huge tailbacks of traffic on the M6 which set us back two hours. Mark and I rifled though several CDs to keep us amused whilst Stevey and co. scouted the female driving talent in the queues.
It was nearly 9pm when we arrived and joined the queue outside the aquadrome in the midst of subarus, evos, skylines, supras and hondas. We met up with Alan McBride in his P1 Impreza and pitched up our tents. Straight out were the barbies and the burgers leading inevitably leading to beer and a good nights craic.
The next day Mark was up early and the Supra was away over to the owners club stand; Stevey’s integra was already being admired over on the Honda-Revolutions stand beside the only non type R white NSX in Europe. There were also dozens of generations of civics with rows upon rows of new EP3 Type-Rs. The rows upon rows of skylines and supras from their respective owners clubs could only be described as real life Grand Turismo.
Some of the cars that really caught my eye: There was an RX-8 on chrome spinners with the back seat and suicide doors full of ice, Dan from Max Power’s R32 skyline, Prelude on hydraulics and a flip painted is200 Lexus. Among the supercars were classics such as the Diahatsu Charade Turbos, Starions and of course a few AE86 Corollas. However one of the most impressive sights was maybe the gold plated rocker cover on a Nissan Almera!
Back at HQ after a long days walking, the barbeque was fired up once again and resident chef Campbell cooked up some superb burgers. It wasn’t long before the shandies were out again and before I knew it we were in a Taxi heading to Northampton’s premier night spot, <em>Time and Envy. </em>Needless to say we were feeling rather worse for wear the next morning.
The Sunday saw even more cars arriving at the show, not dissuaded by the light drizzle of rain which came as a surprise after the previous day of complete sun. I checked out the trade stands – I could have easily walked away with ten grand’s worth of parts for my civic, but resisted the urge. All the big names in Japanese tuning were there with the likes of AEM, Blitz and HKS goodies all up for grabs. Banzai and Japanese Performance magazines were both in attendance. There was also a live rolling road setup running throughout the day and some of the very high performance vehicles were being put through their paces.
Certainly one of the best car shows I have ever been to, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. You just bring your car, tent and barbie, and camp out for a weekend with I’m sure five thousand other enthusiasts and have great craic. I’ll be back next year myself.