Irish Figaro Event 2017

The First Figaro Event – Here’s the Craic

Let’s make it clear from the very beginning. There’s no other car like Figaro to me. It has nothing to do with all the attention the car gets everywhere I go or with the admiration for its rarity. It’s the way she makes me feel when I see her parked in the car park on my way back from work, secretly hidden behind the row of BMW’s, four by fours and every other car on average twice the size of my Figgy. The radiating feeling I sense when I approach her can be only compared to having a first sip of my favourite soup on a chilly day or coming home to a loving husband after a long day at work. It’s a very warm, joy-filling and smile generating sensation which Daisy, my Figgy grants me with on a daily basis.

I have always wanted to meet other Figaro owners in order to investigate the car’s ability to spread joy and bring on a beaming smile upon a driver’s face. Is it only me who has been entirely disarmed by the charm of these Japanese cuties? Are there others out there noticing symptoms of the Advanced Figaroholic Syndrome including an unexplained rush of adrenaline and happiness into the brain? These questions have been demanding an answer in my head for a long time or at least from the moment when I fell crazy in love with Figaro.  Finally, on the 29th of April 2017 I got the opportunity to get some of my questions answered by meeting another Figgy-craze affected car owner Camilla, during the first Figaro event in Ireland.

I remember being very excited when I received an email from Camilla, also a Figaro Owner Club member and the Irish Chapter Coordinator, offering to meet up. It was a no brainer to me as I wanted to get my answers sorted with regards to the mysterious abilities of the car. I exchanged with Camilla a couple of brief emails which were aiming at arranging a suitable date and a venue for both of us. At one point Camilla even offered via email staying overnight at her mother’s house, no problem what-so-ever! Again, there is nothing like the Irish hospitability which never stops amazing me in the most pleasant ways.

We agreed on meeting in Ballyvaughan, a small sea side village situated at the heart of the Burren – a region of County Clare in the southwest of Ireland, famous for its rocky and windswept landscape. It was the perfect choice for hosting the first Figaro club event in Ireland. The Burren region represents the country at its best with stunning views and spectacular driving routes stretching throughout vast cracked pavements of limestone. Considering the natural beauty of the region and the prospect of making a new friend for Daisy, it didn’t take much to get my husband on board as well. We decided to turn the Figgy adventure into a two day trip to County Clare.

The journey between Armagh and Ballyvaughan took us almost 4 hours, mainly by boring and uninspiring motorways from which you can see a flock of horses or ruins of a medieval church only sporadically. But it was all worth it. Even now I struggle to find the right words to describe the excitement I felt when I saw Lola, a stunning Lapis Gray parked outside Tea and Garden Rooms in Ballyvaughan, our meeting place. I became so hyper that according to my husband’s account I started squealing with my high pitch voice like a teenager during a Justin Bieber concert. Something I don’t recall. Figaros are such a rare breed in Northern Ireland. Within the past 3 years I have encountered only a couple of Figgies in the country. A Lapis Grey parked outside of Queen’s University Belfast 3 years ago, a Topaz Mist flying on the M1 and an Aqua Pale chilling in the Omniplex car park in Lisburn. I have never seen an Emerald Green about but I heard rumours that there is one leading a happy life in Londonderry. So my excitement understandably hit the roof, made a hole in it and then shot up straight to the Moon when I saw Lola, a show girl and Camilla’s faithful companion.

Meeting Camilla was the most enjoyable experience. The three of us got on so well from the very beginning and the conversation felt flawless and very engaging. The fact that a waitress kept coming back to our table at least four times asking for our order speaks for itself. In the end we all ended up ordering the soup without even taking a proper look at the menu. I think if waitress brought a pumpkin pie instead we would have hardly noticed it. We were enjoying ourselves that much. The amount of Figgy talk we did was on an unprecedented scale as I found Camilla equally enthusiastic and passionate about these little cars.

After our 2-hour lunch we finally moved outside to formally introduce Lola and Daisy to each other. The owner or the Tea and Garden Rooms kindly allowed us to park our cars right outside the coffee house on a drive normally excluded to parking, which gave us the incredible opportunity to take a couple of amazing photos capturing the beauty of the place. And o boy! We went for it! To give you an idea about the photo craziness taking place, well… all I am willing to reveal is that the next day Camilla send me only the 50 nicest and carefully selected photos she had taken on the day.

The meeting also allowed us to exchange some practical tips on car maintenance, performance and overall functionality. For example, thanks to Camilla I discovered that there is a little hook supporting a lower boot lid on the right hand side so there is no need to use my own head to keep the lid up in the air while loading and unloading sleeping bags to & from the lower boot. Camilla, on the other hand, decided to get a coolant alarm fitted, which has already been installed in my Figgy. Moreover, Lola will be treated to the eyelids soon to girl her up and I am getting a cassette adapter to be able to listen to songs from my MP3 player without spending a ridiculous amount of money on the upgraded Clarion radio unit.

The first Figaro Owners Club event in Ireland turned out to be a major success. There is no reason why it shouldn’t have. The all essential ingredients were present: beautiful cars, enjoyable company and views to die for. It was the ultimate joy and pleasure to meet another Figaro owner sharing the same passion, admiration and enthusiasm for these unique cars.  In consequence, I obtained conclusive evidence that the Advanced Figaroholic Syndrome exists for real and interestingly, can be highly contagious. Additionally, Figaros present themselves with the undeniable ability of spreading joy and putting a beaming smile on their owners’ faces. It all leads to one logical conclusion: contracting Figaroholism is highly recommended for all.

Post Scriptum: More events will definitely follow, both in Northern Ireland and Ireland so keep your eyes open on email correspondence from chapter coordinators and on forum announcements.

Joanna Firek-Uprichard

Published on 10th June 2017