It has been years since there was a dedicated modified and performance car show at the Kings Hall. When the news that the team behind the successful Autofest show in Ballymena were bringing a car event there, there was much excitement and anticipation on the forums. Along with the expected raft of club and website stands, DJ Danny Dee and energy drinks promotions, the show promised a few firsts for NI including a Bugatti Veyron and the Vibe Bass Tunnel.
The show was based in the smaller Nugent and Balmoral Halls at the rear of the Kings Hall complex. Before the show, I had driven through the night back from a drift event at Teeside to be back in Belfast in the morning and I only caught the event before the doors opened and then later on before it closed. I had dropped my S14a off, and later on behind the RMS stand was a stunning Lamborghini Murcielago LP, and a black Mercedes McLaren. Sadly, the Veyron didn’t make it, and since this was one of the main attractions, I thought this was a big blow against the success of the show.
On round the Balmoral hall we had the likes of NI BMW, Bangor Cruise and North Coast Cruisers along with a very impressive display of ICE installs by Audio Advice. Private entries were in the Balmoral Hall along with the Sideways Racing Club (SWRC) and a few smaller trade stands.
Passion 08 has been the subject of mixed reactions after the event. There was much praise for the standard of the cars on show and that the event management team were well organised. Exhibitors were all given a signature mug which was certainly a nice touch to show the effort was appreciated. However there was strong criticism that there simply was too little on show, and that you could have seen everything in a fifteen minute walk around. The absence of the Veyron also did not bode well.
With a show of such potential it will always be judged by the huge success of the likes of the Belfast Sportscar Show, against which they have some way to go yet.