And, that was that - suddenly the winter was over and the show season was upon us… it's always surprising how quick it creeps up on you, right? Although, to be fair, after the last couple of years, it seems like we've all been waiting with bated breath for the 2022 season to finally kick off - we're just thankful that there's no longer any lockdown or pandemic restrictions… even if the price of super unleaded has recently become a little on the fruity side.
But never mind, having to re-mortgage your house to fill your tank is a small price to pay for a peek inside at the legendary Ultimate Dubs. And that goes double after they had to make the difficult decision to cancel the event in 2021. It was huge shame for many, because Ultimate Dubs - it has to be said - is always a huge deal. The traditional season opener has become uniquely accustomed to filling the Telford International Centre to the hilt with a whole host of Europe's brightest and best show cars, and this time around there were even one or two wrapped up in cotton wool (probably) and shipped across the pond - Harlequin VW Atlas anyone? Anyway, the point is that all the disappointment of last year left a hole in the season that for many just couldn't be filled, certainly for all the showstoppers that had been built - or at least tweaked - over the winter to make their season debut in Telford. But, let's not worry about all that for now, because UD 22 certainly hit the midlands in style, and as always, we were happy to be right in the middle. So, what went on at the first event for a couple of years? Let's take a look…
Of course for us, any huge event like this starts way before the weekend when the cars and traders roll in. As the headline sponsor at Ultimate Dubs, we have a huge stand right in the centre of the main hall surrounding our bagged Airstream mobile store, and this needs to be filled with the finest projects, sponsor cars and a whole load of our detailing product displays. As you can imagine the logistics to get this little lot to the event and fully set up are what you might call a little involved.
The truth is that experience counts here, the team begin the planning process weeks before, and the week leading up to the doors opening is a blur of preparing our fleet of cars and packing four of five of our huge vans to the brim with stock, not to mention loading a full-on artic trailer with show cars - nowadays that's more a necessity than a luxury. Anyway, trust us when we say that it's takes a whole load of effort from dedicated AF staffers to make everything run so smoothly… and all this is just to get the convoy on the road.
As always, the special UD preview is on the Saturday night, a chance for traders, press and show car owners to get a sneaky peek without the crowds at what's on offer and to pick up some essentials to get their cars gleaming - obviously this means that our stand is as busy as ever, even if it's just for a few hours. It's a good job we always bring along a few extra boxes of our most popular showtime products like Finale Quick Detailer, Crystal Glass Cleaner, Satin Tyre Crème and our Signature Hard Waxes, that's for sure.
Of course, it also means that all the displays have to be fully set up well before time, during the day, while plenty of the other show cars are being prepped outside. Being the kind, organised lot that we are though, we soon had our huge setup sorted and fully stocked, the AF projects perfectly finished off, and we even had time to get our own Detailing Academy Instructors out in the wash bays to lend an expert hand… that's what you call a dedicated headline sponsor, eh?
By the Sunday morning the team was raring to go way before the official start of the show, giving us a little chance to walk around and check out more of the builds on display, and even offer a bit of advice to the show car owners who were busily finishing off their showstoppers to a concours level. Obviously, we're all about the education here and believe us when we say that these few minutes of rest bite was about the only breather we had - as soon as those doors swung open, the AF stand was rammed all day long. It's hardly surprising though, not only did we have everything from Pro Bucket Combos and Dual Action Machine Polishers to our entire range of bottle products and Merchandise on offer, but there was also a very special pre-launch preview of the new Auto Finesse Bucket Dolly, too. If you missed out on grabbing one of these at the show, they're now on general sale so you can get yours here… hurry though, they're selling fast!
It goes without saying that we have a hefty show crew making it all happen behind the scenes, this includes the product specialists running stand and the store, a full-on media team, and we also draft in our Pro Detailing Instructors to make sure that there's always plenty of expert advice for any enthusiast, or professional, that stops by with the most in-depth questions. The guys also put on various detailing demos throughout the day, not just teaching onlookers how to get the best results from our products, but giving some of the handiest pro tips on subjects like machine polishing and finishing.
And, as for the rest of the show? Well, aside from a spot of freestyle mounting biking (every petrol head loves a cyclist, eh?), it's all about showcasing the absolute pinnacle of the car scene. That's the thing about Ultimate Dubs is that, inside the halls at least, you only ever get the best of the best, inspirational cars and in-depth builds that anyone, no matter their own preference and style, can fully appreciate. All the cars are vetted well before the event, just to make sure that what you get when you walk through the door is nothing short of one of Europe's most premium events. Suffice to say that bagging a trophy here is the highlight of many a builder's career.
This has always been the ethos of UD, but that's not to say that things that things haven't changed over the years, too. Those who know UD well will already know that it started as true blue VW event and, although the core of the show cars are still of the Germanic persuasion, nowadays there are plenty of stunners from Japan and the US creeping in. But that's not such a bad thing, there's no denying that these are rather special builds - they simply wouldn't get past the front door otherwise, right?
Obviously to see absolutely everything on offer - of which there was plenty - you really had to be there. But here's an extra special gallery containing a whole load of our favourites…
What were we saying about awards and trophies? Ah yes, you really have to roll up in something unbelievably jaw dropping to pick one up here. As always there were quite a few up for grabs, not least the Top 20 awards, but the most coveted of course, are always the UD Best In Show and the Auto Finesse Sponsor's Choice Award.
Well, we're proud to say that - after a little paintwork prep from us a few weeks ago at the Detailing Academy - the Outlaw Porsche 356 picked up the Best In Show Trophy, a well-deserved victory for James the owner and his ever growing trophy cabinet, and one that more than proves our point on the art of paint correction - you can see more on this car, and learn how to enhance your show car more than you ever thought possible in our full article - Pushing Your Show Car To A Concours Finish.
Our Sponsor's Choice Award went to another absolute stunner - Nobby Clarke's bagged OG VW Beetle, another extreme build that's clearly all about the finer details.
So, already, that's the show season opener for 2022 done and dusted, and we've got to say that, after such an amazing start, we're all looking forward to what the rest of the season has to offer. Keep an eye here on the AF Blog for more show coverage in the coming weeks and, in the meantime you can find more on Ultimate Dubs, including how to enter your car for next year, on www.ultimate-dubs.co.uk