They both are passionate about 80s hot hatches and retro rally Opel and Vauxhalls. Adrian admits it's a disease he willingly acquired from his dad.
Johnny Smith of the Late Brake Show YouTube channel recently got the chance to visit an iconic father-son private car collection in Northern Ireland. The duo has a rare collection of retro and rally Vauxhalls and Opels going as far back as Adrian's Dad's childhood.
Adrian's passion for cars started with his late mother's Vauxhall Nova. "That was the car that took me through my school years right until I started secondary school," he confessed.
Lined-up first in their private car collection under a tarp was a 1977 Opel Manta i200 replica. If you weren't a seasoned enthusiast, you wouldn't know Adrian's standard 1977 early B Series Opel Manta was a replica.
Purchased from Hamburg, Germany, in 2009, through a friend, the i200 replica spots the iconic 1984 Homologation special i200 GT/E body kit and 14-inch wheels, Rothman Stripes (painted, not decals), and genuine Blitz interior.
The i200 was a 1984 Homologation special (1984-1994). During its era, it was praised for its exceptional handling capabilities. Even though it had a little work from German tuning firm Irmscher, it had a performance output of 125 hp (127 ps) which wasn't a lot even by 80s standards.
Right next to the i200 is what Johnny Smith refers to as the Nova' Mecca' thanks to a conspicuous three-stripe decal on the hood. It's a homologation special 1984 Vauxhall Nova Sport TIJ 5100. He owns two of these rare 80s hot hatches.
Sticking out like a sore thumb in the middle of their iconic collection is a 1-of-400 Bugeye 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX STi S202 acquired in 2021.
According to Subaru Technica International, the S202 STi Impreza was based on the competition model of the Impreza WRX STI series – the Type RA Spec C.
To improve its on-road performance and EJ20 Boxer engine, STi revised the intake system, reduced weight (5.4 kg/12 lbs), and tuned the special sports ECU for increased output during high revolutions.
Another iconic classic car in their private collection was a 1978 Opel Ascona Silver 2. It was Adrian's Dad's first classic car. It started as an automatic, but the duo converted it to a manual. He lowered the suspension against his dad's wishes and also got it a set of BBS wheels.
For retro rally loves, the duo's 1977 Opel Ascona 400 replica will drive you crazy. Purchased in 2009, the replica Ascona 400 packs a 2-liter 16-Valve' retop' Calibra engine with twin 45 Webbers. As Johnny puts it, the gargle from the Webbers is irresistible during a cold start, compelling you to take it for a drive.
The private collection also has a flawless 2002 E46 M3 BMW. Adrian admits it's his favorite car in the collection even though he is a Vauxhall and Opel enthusiast.
"Well, it's always what I'd call my dream car. I like Ferraris and that, but I have no intention of ever owning one. My dad likes BMWs, so we decided M3s are our next purchase," Adrian confessed to why they bought the BMW M3.
We'd love to tell you more about the duo's other cars, including a 1991 Nova GSi and Peugeot 405, as well as a second classic car shed, but we'll let you catch the rest of the action in the video below.
It's pretty fascinating the number of cars the duo collected and restored over the years. We hope the third generation of the McGrillens pick up their dad's and grandfather's hobbies and keep it alive.