03-10-2017 – Laurie Southern
Saturday Service: V8 Illuminati Church Hangs

A couple of weeks ago I got a phone call from my mate Dan whilst I was at work. He told me to keep a certain Saturday night free, but was very vague about the reason why. I made sure I had it off work just minutes later and I’m sure glad I did.

Dan knows me well, you see. He knew that the second meet at the Church of the V8 Illuminati was not something I could stand to miss.

The Church of V8 is simply a collection of garages owned by friends, beautifully tucked away behind an urban area that’s traveled through by thousands every single day. What lies within, however, is a haven for all things low and holy.

This meet is a relatively quiet affair. It’s not plastered all over Facebook. You won’t see an event posted with thousands of attendees having clicked ‘going’ and posting photos of what they’re turning up in. Texts are sent to friends and word of mouth reaches the right people to create something really quite special. Anything is welcome, as long as you take pride in what you drive and you’ve a good attitude towards others. It helps if it’s dropped to the floor, mind.

You may recognise this S14 in particular. Drift Games driver Alex Law and his buddy Saule nailed the evening down to a T. Such a great bunch of cars and people in one place is a rare occasion these days.

Speaking of cars, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a captivating collection of RWD Japanese metal in one place outside of a full scale show. This cream drift ready R32 sporting an aggressive box-like exterior absolutely screams of the 90s.

A couple of the guys had recently discovered the fun a P10 Primera can bring, both on the road and on track. I was pleasantly surprised when I found out they come with an SR20 from factory. They were of course used in the BTCC among other series many years ago, so their pedigree isn’t so well hidden. I’m looking forward to hearing more about these cars as their capability is explored further.

There’s a few things that will stop me in my tracks time after time as a car enthusiast. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such an immaculate set of Meister S1s. Not a single mark on them. There’s a very good reason a set of these is the dream for a lot of people.

The car on the whole was super clean. Slammed to the ground and a small shopping list on the rear window. Sometimes less is more.

The ‘less is more’ mantra has been followed with Dan’s current build too. Nothing too silly, just a purposeful NA Eunos built to go sideways. Oh and a lot of hours with a sharpie in hand.

A JZX100 is something rarely seen on the roads here in the UK. Especially not in as good condition as this. They’re becoming a bit of a relic, it’s great to see such a well kept example making an appearance.

My curiosity got the better of me as I had a wander around the corner from the main yard. Little did I know I’d come across this S14, a customer car currently being looked after by the guys at Retroshine. If you need any paintwork doing, check them out. Their rocker covers are something else. I asked politely if I could come and have a look, and was met with an enthusiastic warm welcome.

Part of me thinks this car is perfect how it is. The missing body panels expose just enough of the terror beneath, I reckon it would make for a pretty crazy sight at a drift event.

As the night went on more and more people arrived. Some had traveled from far and wide, others from just around the corner. It was insurmountably refreshing to be part of an evening that wasn’t about numbers. There was none of the high tension often found at car meets of late. Just a bunch of friends getting together to catch up and enjoy their builds.

The lack of any ulterior motives sets evenings like this apart from the rest. There’s no entry fee. It’s not posted all over social media. Nobody is trying to sell you anything. What more could you ask for?

I digress. When was the last time you saw an S15 with gold sparkle paint sitting on staggered 17s? It’s not a look I ever would have gone for, but somehow it just works.

As the night went on I took the opportunity to have a poke around the Church itself. A mecca of everything Nissan it seems. This is where Alex, Saule and the rest of the crew often get together to hang out and work on their cars. There’s some seriously cool stuff in here, too. Where else have you been that has a pair of drift trikes up on the wall?

Sitting at the back is Saule’s S14. I imagine it’s going to be there a while, after an unfortunate incident a couple of weeks ago left the car feeling a little sorry. I’ve not a single doubt it’ll be back better than ever once he’s finished with it though.

Adorning the walls alongside your usual tools and storage are bumpers and panels from drift car’s past. Anyone recognise those black and purple front wings? I was taken back by the amount of love coming from the place, let alone the years of history that decorate every corner of the unit.

It all just goes to show that there are still people out there that get together for the love of cars. It gave me a clear vision of what it would have been like in a time when that’s all there was to it. Nothing more, nothing less. Just you, your mates, and your four-wheeled toys. I couldn’t think of anything better.

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