Kilbeggan 2019

All American car, Military, Truck & Bike Show, Kilbeggan, Co. Meath, Ireland

April 28th 2019

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Words & Photography: Ben Klemenzson

Elsewhere in this month’s magazine we’ve celebrated the variety and diversity of vehicles on display at certain shows – well, Wheels Day specifically – where it’s not just American, but European classics, rods, customs and VWs… basically anything that’s interesting and different. Well, in Ireland the All American car, Military, Truck & Bike Show, although restricted to American vehicles only, has an amazing diversity of types of vehicle. Expect to see big rigs, hearses, fire engines, pick-ups, Harley Davidsons, vans, limousines and of course rods and customs.

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            Sadly the weather, whilst not horrific, was a bit drizzly and overcast, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the locals, who turned out in their droves; one gets the impression that the show is now a favourite fixture on the calendar, with folks coming along from all over Ireland and the North, as well as a healthy contingent of the local Eastern European community who are obviously big fans of American metal too.  The show has a real family vibe to it and there was loads for kids to do, including a play area and a bucking bronco.

            Starting at a very civilised 11am, there are plenty of traders selling not just autojumble, but car parts and Americana, as well as food, clothing and just about everything and anything you could imagine. One autojumbler had brought along a very unusual Hemi motor… well, a 2.5-litre Daimler hemi motor connected to a Borg Warner transmission, which was partially set up with a Jag rear end and handlebars to show how it could be made into … a trike!

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Committee member Nick Stratta conducted live interview with vehicle owners over the course of the show which gave the event an added dimension of interest and this year’s star attraction was a display of film and TV cars, with appearances from the usual suspects: Dukes of Hazzard Chargers and Bandit Trans Ams. There were a few less obvious choices, such as the ’73 Mustang from Gone in 60 Seconds which was brought along by the Carroll clan (Nicholas even dressing up as the character Maindrian Pace from the film and the car wearing the same plate as used on the silver screen). There was even an Imperial similar to the one used in the Green Hornet.

Away from the TV & film car display there were plenty of really nice, interesting American cars on display, including a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro SS belonging to Greg Fitzgerald, who came down from Monaghan with son Daire. Featuring a 350 motor and four-speed manual with front discs, it’s believed to be a California car, although was shipped in from New Jersey. Another family gathering saw Thomas Parker come along with his brood from nearby Mullingar, bringing not only his ’86 C4 Corvette, but also his diesel 300C, which surprisingly performed really well on the burn-out pad.

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Another real head-turner of a car was the ’69 Boss Mustang belonging to Des Adams from Naas in County Kildare. Fitted with a 351 Windsor motor and a Tremec five-speed, the car was restored in six months (!), resprayed in the original Calypso Coral and wears Shelby aftermarket wheels.

The burn-out displays proved popular, as did the truck tug of war which resulted in the rather unceremonious pulling apart of a Daewoo… Well, what else would you do with one?! All in all the All American car, Military, Truck & Bike Show is a fun show, great for families, it’s always interesting to see different American vehicles than the ones’ used to seeing on mainland Britain – and you’re always assured of a very warm Irish welcome!

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