Montalto Estate – breathtaking venue for car show

Montalto Estate – breathtaking venue for car show

Unfortunately the long sunny days of June have been replaced by our more typical summer – warm but a tad too wet for our liking.  The weather forecast was not very promising but despite this the organisers of the car show at Montalto decided to proceed with the planned event on Saturday 15 July. NIIMC members were not deterred by the prospect of some rain and turned up in force to add a bit of Italian style to the proceedings. We met up in Lidl carpark in Ballynahinch and at least one member was seen purchasing an early snack before we travelled the short distance to enter the 400 acre Montalto Estate via the Dromore Road entrance (and no, it wasn’t Aaron as he was attending another show – none other than the Goodwood Festival of Speed).

There was a sense of anticipation as we drove up the winding drive to the main house and we were not to be disappointed as we were greeted by a magnificent house overlooking a stunning lake surrounded by beautifully tended gardens and finely manicured lawns (the estate was purchased by its current owners, the Wilson family in 1995).

We had 13 cars representing 5 marques – Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Fiat, Lancia and Maserati with cars spanning seven decades from the 1960s to present day.  This was Paul Nolan’s first club outing in his recently acquired red Giulia Veloce – a facelifted 2023 model with some minor exterior tweaks) hard to improve on what was already a stunning looking car.   Unfortunately the cars that arrived were fewer than the anticipated number (nearly 150 had registered) but despite this there was plenty to admire and definitely some rare vehicles that we had not seen before. The beautiful blue Rover P6 3500 v8 and a Renault Dauphine caught my eye as well the instantly recognisable E-type Jaguar.

The Rover Club had a strong presence as did the MG Owners Club but in my humble opinion if there was a prize on the day for the best club cars, given the breadth and variety of vehicles that we had assembled, then we would have won it by a country mile  – appropriate for a show on a country estate don’t you think!!

Members availed of the food and beverages in the Montalto Cafe and also Sam’s Street food truck which was parked by the house. A certain member, who shall remain nameless, unashamedly sampled the burgers and chips (after his breakfast snack from Lidl) and gave them the thumbs up!!

Some members had to leave a little earlier but as the remaining cars departed we took the opportunity to line them up in from of Montalto House for a photo. Despite the weather having curbed the numbers we were all agreed that Montalto has all the ingredients to be a superb venue for a car show and we would encourage the events manager to ensure that a date is identified for another show next year and that they seek to establish it as a “must go to” car event in the local calendar. I have no doubt that it will be well supported and fingers crossed the weather will be kinder too.


Tim Logan

Club Chairman