Welcome to 2013 – a landmark year for cars. Over these 12 months, six magnificent motors will be blowing out their birthday candles. During the celebrations, though, let us remember a lost classic – let’s go Back to the Future.
Happy Birthday to the greats. Happy birthday Lamborghini. Many happy returns Aston Martin. Make a wish Porsche. You’re only as old as you feel, Corvette and Ford.
Each and every one of you has aged gracefully and we salute you for that. But before we get too caught up with the ones that made it, how about remembering the one that got away?
A Hub Of Engineering
The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum is high on quirky factor. Curious how and where the first ejector seat was made? This is the place. Did you know The Giant’s Causeway once had its own tram? It’s true. Belfast was in on the act, too. If Titanic is your thing, maybe you’d like to see the trains and trams that took Harland and Wolff’s builders to work every day.
For car fans, there’s something even more special. Anyone for a trip Back to the Future?
The Doc and the De Lorean
What would Henry Ford have made of a car that doubles up as a time machine? If Marty McFly was shocked, we think Henry would have been even more so. On an aluminium stand amid the trains and Titanic trinkets at Ulster’s Folk and Transport Museum, a single DeLorean sits – what could have been. We know those butterfly wing doors and that hefty rear-end from endless screenings of Back to the Future, but did you know the Doc’s wheels began life in Belfast?
Production of Marty’s machine officially began in 1981 in Dunmurray, a suburb of Belfast. Only 9,000 of the stainless steel DMC-12 models were ever made before manufacturing ceased the following year.
Blasts From The Past
Those of you who like to go a little further back in car history to get your kicks might be familiar with Gordon Bennett. The son of the founder of the New York Herald, he was a playboy who loved motoring around Europe. He also sponsored daredevils to race against each other in their automobiles.
One of these races was held in Ireland in 1903 across the counties of Kildare, Carlow and Laois. This became known as The Gordon Bennett Route. To this day a vintage car race is held along this route every year in June – though of course motorists are discouraged from breaking speed limits these days…
Pat Flynn who runs the event says there are a great variety of cars to be seen there, “We have vintage and classic cars that come in. There’s a Triumph Spitfire, an Alfa Romeo Spider, Jaguar E type from the ‘60s and a Renault taxi from 1911. We even have the Rolls Royce that was hand-built for the owner of Titanic.”
Another Irish route with some history is the Grand Tour of County Wicklow and County Kildare. As they say themselves “You’ll find wild mountains, craggy coastlines and horsey plains.” You can hug the coastline and take in spectacular scenery from the comfort of your car. You can go back in time to follow saints and scholars."
You might even bump into Marty McFly…