Organise a BBQ and it’s going to rain – them’s the rules.
In the very same week in which we saw the UK’s hottest day on record at a very humid and uncomfortable 38°C+, of course it was going to absolutely hammer it down all weekend.
If you got wet this weekend in the UK, blame Meguiar’s.
An Englishman complaining about the weather, who’d have seen it coming? Details of the secretive annual Meguiar’s BBQ Club gathering are kept under lock and key, with invites to attendees going out via the almost archaic method of the postal service.
There are strict orders not to post anything on social media until the day itself. It’s not down to creating an air of exclusivity, or any form of elitism – Meguiar’s UK HQ offers very limited space and they simply don’t want to be flooded with hundreds of cars.
Instead, they select a handful of show cars, partners, colleagues and friends to come down and hang out for the day. There’s some sort of order to the parking, yes, and they do give out a handful of awards, sure, but this isn’t a car show – it’s far more informal than that.
It’s a great chance to catch up with familiar faces and to have a nose around a great variety of interesting cars.
Besides, it’s just water, right?
What continues to surprise me about the UK, is that for a relatively small island and a relatively close-knit scene, there are a lot of cool cars that I’ve simply never seen before, and the spectrum of tastes and influences is pretty broad.
Take, for example, a not-subtle bosozoku-style Colt Mirage with its anime bonnet mural and insane exhaust – where the heck has this been hiding?
Or this fully converted and lifted off-road T6 DoKa, complete with roof tent. As a rule, I hate camping, but if this was mine I’d definitely make an exception.
Choosing a base car to modify and want to be a bit different? You, sir, need an early model Opel Kadett – and a convertible no less for extra quirky points.
Mr Jason GTi’s resorted Escort Cosworth made the journey down in the rain too. I’ve seen plenty of this car online but it was good to have a proper nose around it in the metal.
I know I might get flayed for saying this, but I don’t think that the gold BBS E88 (which this car was previously sitting on) really suited this chassis, whereas these OZ Racing wheels are a marked improvement.
Another pair of cars which I’d followed closely during their build on YouTube was Meguiar’s own Tom and Dale’s Dimma Renault 5 Turbo and lowrider ’71 Mercedes W114. If you’ve watched the series then you’ll know what these cars came from and what they were – somehow – transformed into.
Tom’s R5 especially was essentially a total loss when he started. I was immensely sceptical that this would ever be an actual car again, let alone something that looked so damn cool. The mixture of retro ’90s styling combined with a modern Renault colour (Liquid Gold if you’re wondering) and the Renault F1 graphics is a perfect touch. Hat doffed, sir.
It’s called the BBQ Club for a good reason too, and this year local eatery The Smoke Pit were on hand with some truly incredible BBQ food. The boys were on site overnight smoking brisket for 16 hours to be ready for the event. I realise that we’re a car culture website, but damn I could write an essay on the meat served.
With the mix of cool and varied cars, good chatter, great food, a smattering of pups to fuss and a super friendly vibe, it was easy to forget the relentless rain. It did ease up slightly towards the early afternoon, which meant that people broke shelter and had a wander around as the occasional new visitor trickled in.
Although the rain did dampen the quantity of burnouts that went down, it didn’t dampen spirits.
I saw on Paddy’s Instagram that he was at a similar social gathering this week as well – “I love cars” was all he said in summary, and this echoes how events like the BBQ Club make me feel too.
I love cars not only for the enjoyment that they bring in driving them, but for the community that comes with them too. There’s far more to car culture than just metal. A big thank you to Meguiar’s for the invite and for hosting another great BBQ Club.
Same time next year?