Behind the scenes with the Irish Subaru Driver's Club!
Behind the scenes with the Irish Subaru Driver’s Club!

In my latest interview series, I’m travelling the globe (virtually!) to gather different perspectives on automotive. Today we are in Ireland to catch up with the Irish Subaru Driver’s Club (ISDC).

Car clubs have been popular for decades, bringing together groups of car enthusiasts who share a passion for the same car or brand. In recent years, many of these car clubs have grown exponentially online, building their own dedicated online car communities who can stay in touch digitally and share tips and stories on their own cars and projects. These car communities also meet in real life, to share their passion and add some colour and horsepower to our lives if you might be lucky enough to come across one on a Sunday afternoon.

I grew up in the 1990s just as Colin McRae was skidding around a Welsh forest in the iconic Subaru Impreza ‘555’. The pages of my favourite motoring magazines were filled with the Subaru’s classic blue and gold livery, while journalists gushed about the latest Impreza Turbo. Subaru was an exciting brand to follow at this time with a series of high performance, road-going Imprezas built in this era.

And if you come across the ISDC, you’re bound to meet them all over again! I spoke to Joe Cahill, Chairman at the ISDC about the club and members’ passion for the Japanese car brand.

Can you introduce yourself and the club to our readers?

My name is Joe Cahill, from County Kilkenny. I am part of a committee of volunteer members, that manage the core aspects of the Irish Subaru Driver’s Club (ISDC). The club is a non-profit making organisation, run by Subaru enthusiasts. The aim of the ISDC is to share, through its members, the knowledge and experience of Subaru ownership.

The legendary Colin McRae has left an indelible mark on the Subaru brand and fans around the world
The legendary Colin McRae left an indelible mark on the Subaru brand and fans around the world

Why Subaru? 

It is a very expansive question and the beauty of it is, there are so many reasons to love a Subaru. Perhaps the moment that caught my attention was the ‘Group A Subaru Legacy RS’ in the 1990 season, developed by Prodrive. Watching drivers like Bertie Fisher R.I.P. and of course Colin McRae winning the World Rally Championship in 1995. Iconic moments like this perhaps got me hooked on Subarus and fascinated by their relentless AWD grip.

It may sound strange to say, being part of the ‘Subaru World’ you somehow feel connected with other Subaru drivers that you may not have even met or spoken to. It is not unusual for two Subarus to meet on the road and both acknowledge one another. To understand that feeling and the connection with Subaru, you need to own one, drive it and experience it.

Subarus have tremendous pedigree ticking so many boxes for a car owner. A Subaru’s styling and stance is simply beautiful and eye catching. Subaru blue with gold alloys is iconic from the rally days. They tick so many boxes, the grip and safety of All-Wheel Drive (AWD) in wet and dangerous conditions, the rumble of the Boxer Engine puts a smile on your face every time. The overall ability and performance of a Subaru is formidable. They are equally accustomed to mountain roads, tight twisty country roads, tracks and the practicality of five seats and a big boot for shopping. A well-maintained Subaru could last forever.

The ISDC holds numerous events all year round for members
The ISDC holds numerous events all year round for members

Why was the ISDC set up?

The Irish Subaru Driver’s Club was established in 1999 by a small group of Subaru enthusiasts and was combined with an Irish web-based forum in 2000. Together, the aim was, and still is, to share knowledge and experience of Subaru ownership so that owners can fully appreciate and enjoy the Subaru driving experience. Since 1999, the club has grown into one of the best car clubs in the country, creating a very close knit community throughout the club. The Forum has enabled users from all areas of the country to be a part of the club and experience everything the club has to offer.

Over the years, the ISDC has supported many charities to try and give as much back to the community as possible, including Barretstown, Crumlin Children’s Hospital, Temple Street Children’s Hospital, Irish Autism Association, ISPCA and more.

The majority of activities and discussion takes place on our Forum and we encourage everyone from current owners to potential buyers to sign up so that they can meet like-minded people and learn as much as possible about their Subaru. A core object is that all members of the ISDC will find the club a friendly, knowledgeable and approachable place where they can express and share their views and knowledge and enjoy the experience for both themselves and their families.

How many members do you have?

Currently 103 paid members (annual membership is €50, check website for all membership bonuses). We have male and female members, from the ages of 18 to 60.

Which Subaru models are represented by your members?

The club has a wide variety models from early 1990s, right up to the present day – the Subaru Legacy, Impreza and Forester. Within these models, there are series of different types, like a Classic, WRX, STI, S203, S204, S401, 22B, T25 Litchfield, RS Turbos, RB320, WR1 etc etc.. the list goes on. Perhaps the most popular is the Impreza.

The Subaru Impreza is well-represented by ISDC members!
The Subaru Impreza is well-represented by ISDC members!

What sort of events do you hold throughout the year?

Under normal circumstances, members have the opportunity to attend many events throughout each year including night meets (3-4 per year), organised drives (Wicklow, Wexford, Kerry, Galway, Limerick etc), car meets (Cars n Coffee Dundalk/Bray/Tullamore/Limerick), track days, Nurburgring Trip (every 2 years), Barrettstown, Gowran Festival of Speed, Terenure Classic Car Show, Irish Motor Festival, Runway club, Rolling Road Day, Rallyschool Ireland and other activities like paintballing and go-karting.

What’s the value in being part of an owner’s club?

The immediate connection with other like-minded Subaru owners, to give and receive advice on all matters regarding repairs, parts, tips and tricks. The forum has a wealth of knowledge and the members and users on the site are willing to help and share information with eachother. I would urge any Subaru owner to join and become part of a friendly, helpful and fun club.

How do you feel about the position of the Subaru brand now?

The new range of Subarus including the Outback and Forester are top quality with modern technology as good as any of the top brands.

How do see the future for Subaru enthusiasts, owners’ clubs and car enthusiasts in general?

We really hope to keep enough numbers up in the coming years and to attract new, younger owners, which we have successfully done in recent years.

ISDC members' cars at the Nurb
ISDC members’ cars at the Nurburgring

How can our readers keep up to date with the club?



ISDC Website

Thanks to Joe for taking part in this interview and giving us such a valuable insight into the influence of the Subaru brand!