Established 1969

Ulster Pre-War Austin Club


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I first attended a UPWAC run when I was a baby and to be honest I remember nothing about it!  When Dad suggested that I drive the Austin 12 and take my whole family, I did not know what to expect. We arrived on Sat morning at Drum Manor forest park and were amazed to see 26 Pre-War Austins, 5 other pre war cars and 21 classic cars, a total of 52 cars carrying exactly 100 people crammed into the lay-by.  I thought, what’s going on here, Dad told me that this was just a club run.  To see so many old cars gleaming in the sunshine in the one place and knowing that we were going with them, is an experience I will never forget.  Surely these 100 people who have turned up must be friends of George McCaig’s; Dad could not be that popular! The friendship and welcome that we got at the start, continued throughout the day and I know many others enjoyed the warm welcome and banter.


Godfrey gave me a set of route instructions and as a regular competitor in motorsport, believe me when I say that they would be the envy of many other motor clubs.  We headed off at 11am led by Dad and George, both as proud as peacocks jockeying for the number one position. Our first stop was the Broughderg Community Centre to be parked in neat rows by Sean and his team.  After a warm welcome we enjoyed tea and lovely fresh homemade bread, provided by Mary McKenna and her band of helpers, whilst the local committee and people watched and looked after the cars.  After a little tinkering at one of the early cars we headed off into the wild, rugged Sperrins across some of the most beautiful scenery and mountains, especially Doraville Lodge, that I am sure very few of us had ever been across before.  Godfrey had avoided the usual scenic routes and found his version of a tour route.  Apparently smooth roads with a little grass in the centre are his speciality!


Then we headed into Altnaheglish Glen via a private road that even the locals cannot access.  Godfrey had got special permission from N.I.Water to travel up this beautiful, unspoilt glen, full of wild flowers, steep slopes and a meandering river. What a privilege to be allowed access to one of the most spectacular glens in the country. At the top car park another surprise was in store, free ice cream, courtesy of TODD Insurance brokers.  My wee boys loved it and so I think did all the big boys and girls on the event!  Apparently an ice cream stop is a trademark of all Godfrey’s runs!


Then we headed off for the last leg of our journey via the Crebarkey Road across a river ford, cleverly described in the road book as a free carwash.  With some of the showers that we received during the day, shampoo was the only thing that was missing!  Just when I thought the scenery was over, we turned off the main road towards Draperstown.  There we were met with brilliant views of Cashel Lake and 7 miles of beautiful mountain views. At 5pm we arrived at the Shepherds Rest Pub, which for many was one of the highlights of the day.  The food was superb, hot, fresh, with generous servings and lovely homemade desserts.


I may not have remembered my first event but we will certainly remember this one.  It went like clockwork as did most of the cars.  You were friendly and welcoming throughout and I am in danger of being hooked on old cars, just like Dad and the rest of you.  Enjoying your hobby accompanied by like minded persons, with preservation and using your cars, must be one of life’s great pleasures.  Just one question remains, how did you do it all for £15 a head?



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