It’s often said that owning a classic car is one of life’s greatest pleasures. This statement is supported by new research from the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs who stated that not only are classic car enthusiasts spending more capital on their hobby, but they are driving their vehicles further afield and ensuring that the vehicles are kept on the road. In total, around 21 million people within the UK believe that classic cars are a significant part of British heritage, with new interest from the younger generations building, ensuring that not only the enthusiasm for classic car ownership grows, but the skills needed to maintain classic vehicles is retained.
If you are reading this on The Classic Motor Hub blog, it’s a safe bet that you have a keen interest in classic cars and motoring in general. There is also a good chance that you are already aware of the recent good news regarding the Mullin Automotive Park proposed for Enstone Airfield in Oxfordshire.
The Lagonda M45 Rapide was one of the most accomplished British sports cars of the 1930s. The M45 Team cars won a succession of highly competitive races which culminated in victory at Le Mans in 1935.
The glorious British summer has finally arrived, and it’s the perfect time for petrolheads to get outside and explore our wonderful roads and particularly pleasant countryside. What better way could there possibly be than in an iconic go-anywhere Volkswagen Westfalia camper? The UK is jammed full of idyllic little spots that are campervan friendly and perfect for a civilised weekend away.
When the Ferrari 355 Spider was launched in 1995 the car was met with suspicion, what were Ferrari doing making this poser’s car, interfering with the perfection of the Berlinetta? The F355 Spider was seen as the “nightclub Ferrari” and some worried that di Montezemolo, still fresh into the top job at Maranello could be cheapening the brand’s values by chasing the nocturnal dollar. The spider version of the Berlinetta masterpiece was surely going to be slower and bendier, better suited to cruising down LA boulevards than demolishing an Italian Alp.
Has there ever been a car better suited to the British summer than a Porsche Targa? As many will know the Targa was the result of a happy accident caused by Porsche trying to pre-empt US road safety laws that never materialised. In the 1960s and 1970s the US Highways agency threatened to ban convertible cars due to the weak roll-over protection offered by convertibles of the day. Concerned by this, Porsche developed and trademarked the T-top roll-over bar for their new 911 and launched the car in 1965.
Every year during the height of Spring, The Classic Motor Hub takes part in the national Drive-It day celebration. This year the date is set for 28th April 2019 and by encouraging people to get out their classic and vintage cars and take them for a drive, helps to raise awareness of the large classic car scene here in the UK.
The Hispano-Suiza H6B is an impressive sight to behold and although we handle some amazing cars, when this beautifully-restored Hispano-Suiza was delivered for sale at The Hub it caught everyone’s attention. This year marks the centenary of the famous Hispano-Suiza Stork and while there have been many ornate hood ornaments over the years from the Spirit of Ecstasy to Rembrant Bugatti’s elephant fitted to the Royales, arguably the most exquisite is the Hispano-Suiza stork. Here is the story of how the mascot came into being.
As part of a new series of blogs from Footman James, we look at the things you’ll need to know when buying, selling or simply owning classic cars. This March Footman James explains how to declare your car as a vehicle of historic interest, should it qualify!
You may be under the impression that once your vehicle has had its 40th birthday, an annual MoT is no longer a legal requirement and you’d be perfectly correct. But it does not happen automatically. You must first register your classic as a Vehicle of Historic Interest to prove that it’s exempt.
After a fantastic program of motoring events at The Classic Motor Hub in 2018, we are looking to make this year’s events diary even more special. 2018 brought fantastic weather which in turn encouraged our visitors and clients to bring their classic and sports cars to the Hub for a great Sunday morning of motoring and caffeine. We estimate that last year we welcomed over 2500 cars and 6000 people through our gates to display and chat, and this year we’re expecting even more!
After a slow end to 2018 in the car industry, all eyes were fixed for the first round of Retromobile auctions of 2019 taking place in Paris alongside the annual Retromobile exhibition. As with every year the exhibition centre was packed with dealers filling their stands with the best they had to offer whilst plenty of big business was going on behind the scenes. There was a real buzz at the show and more tellingly, at auctions throughout the week.
What’s the best way to get interested in Pre-War cars? As someone relatively new to the automotive industry and only being 24 years old myself, I have never really understood the world of Pre-War motor cars. I have admired the big Bentleys here at The Hub and lusted after the sleek lines of a 1932 Alfa 8C, but having never really driven such cars the fascination has been somewhat lost on me. To remedy this and to teach both Charlie and I (the young ones) a thing or two about Pre-War cars, the boss (Martin) instructed us to take the 1927 Bugatti Type 40 on a voyage down to Brooklands for a Vintage Sports Car Club Driving Test.
The top marques of the automotive world carry with them some of the most recognisable brand names in the world. Whether it is the prancing horse of Ferrari, the raging bull of Lamborghini or the wings of Bentley, each of these car badges are imbued with their own history provenance that is as much a part of the brand as the cars on which they are emblazoned. Carry on reading to learn more about the history of car badges from some of the world’s most famous marques.
There is no doubt that Ferraris are special cars and therefore are generally some of the most expensive, even when (don’t say this too loud) their competitors sometimes produced better cars. Whatever it is about Ferrari, be it their racing pedigree, seductive Italian style or blistering performance, values have risen pretty much across the entire model range and history. As such, many people who dream about owning an affordable Ferrari have been well and truly priced out of the market making most Ferraris the plaything of the very wealthiest who rarely drive their cars.
Going in to 2019 we look back at some of the top cars seen at The Classic Motor Hub. Lots of these cars came as guests to one of our Coffee and Classics whilst others we handled for sale and were able to find new homes thanks to our superb sales team. We look forward to welcoming you on New Year’s day and other events starting in April, and hope that next year we can put together an even more exciting list!
Those of you who have come to The Classic Motor Hub’s famous Coffee and Classics will be familiar with our Motor Mart magazine, in the centre of which we publish our guide to the very best Cotswold pubs. In order to show our continued support of these fantastic locations Charlie Metcalfe and myself (Will Stoneham) thought it best to arrive in style in some of the latest cars to come in stock at the Hub: a Minerva Blue 1977 Porsche 911 3.0 and a restomod Jaguar XK120 were the perfect picks for what turned out to be a pretty good day at work.
In a new series of blogs we get the lowdown from Footman James on things you’ll need to know when buying, selling or simply owning classic cars. This December Footman James looks at the important rules and regulations surrounding black and silver number plates.
Since 1903, it has been a legal requirement for vehicles to display a number plate. Since then, the number plate has gone through several developments including the 1973 change from black and silver number plates to yellow rear and white front reflective plates.
The Aston Martin DB7 GT was launched in 2003 and marked the end of a model that had been in production for some 10 years. The original DB7 was designed by Ian Callum who by that time was already a well-established automotive designer who can also be thanked for several other gorgeous designs. These include the original Vanquish, which took several cues from the DB7 and further jaw-dropping cars such as the Jaguar F-type.
The classic car world runs on passion (and quite a lot of petrol). Mille Miglia eligible cars can be pretty unrewarding at times; when they prove unreliable or when the weather is uncooperative it is only enthusiasm and a lot of dedication that can keep spirits up and the passion alive. However, when the car is running smoothly, the roads are clear, and the weather is fair there is a warm almost smug feeling that fills you with joy and allows you time to enjoy the scenery, the car and the people you are with. There is one event that takes place every year in motoring’s Mecca – northern Italy – that gives you all these sensations in the extreme across its 4-day running. That event is the Mille Miglia: the most beautiful race in the world.
Christmas is rapidly approaching, and if your friends and family are anything like ours, finding the right gifts for classic car enthusiasts can be quite a chore. Here at The Classic Motor Hub we’ve been curating a superb range of automotive gifts, accessories and clothing that the car lover in your life will really appreciate. In no particular order, here are our top gifts for classic car enthusiasts this Christmas:
The last 3 years have passed quickly for The Classic Motor Hub. After purchasing the 5-acre Bibury site, Martin Chisholm and the team have worked tirelessly to create a unique home for motoring enthusiasts to gather at events where they can share their passion. On the 25th October 2018 all the hard work was rewarded as the best of the classic car industry gathered at the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane Hotel for the Octane Historic Motoring Awards. The Classic Motor Hub joined the Industries’ elite businesses, nominated in the prestigious ‘Specialist of the Year’ category.
The BMW Z1 is a rare car, launched in 1989 it was new and interesting but not something the industry was particularly blown away by and honestly speaking, the Z1 didn’t stay in the spotlight for long. However, car enthusiasts noted it as something different, quirky and today the Z1 is seeing somewhat of a resurgence.
The summer events program at The Classic Motor Hub has come to an end and so we thought it appropriate to take a look back at what we hope everyone will agree was a fantastic summer of Coffee and Classics.
Over the summer of 2018 we have held 17 events, not only including Coffee and Classics on the first Sunday of the month between April and October, but meetings for individual marques such as Jaguar, Aston Martin and Porsche. The variety of vehicles that attend these events has been truly fantastic and really speaks to the values of The Classic Motor Hub, sharing the passion of motoring.
The Jaguar XJ12 is the benchmark saloon car. Even today, some 45 years later the XJ12 has a lot to teach even the most luxurious modern German saloon offerings and some might say that no manufacturer has since managed to capture the presence of the XJ12. The original plan for the eXperimental Jaguar (XJ) project was to create a low-slung, four-seat sports saloon with the ultimate aim of creating a four-seat E-type. In this regard Jaguar invented a whole new class of car: the luxury sports saloon. The only real rival at the time was the Mercedes-Benz 280SE which was far more expensive; there was no BMW 7-series and Audi only offered the 100 with a 1.9L engine, not quite in the same league as the mighty XJ.
This year Lotus celebrate their 70th anniversary and to mark the occasion we decided to get to know one of their most famous models. The Lotus Esprit was launched in 1976 under the stewardship of the great Colin Chapman who enlisted renowned designer Giogetto Giugiaro to style the bodywork. The first series car was to become a typical Giugiaro “folded paper” design akin to the MKI Golf and the BMW M1.
This summer has been one of the best in memory, and with everyone getting plenty of time to take their cars out on the road and to shows, classic car storage has been far from anyone’s mind. Older folk have repeatedly told us that the UK had not seen consistently warm temperatures like it since 1976, and thanks to this particularly pleasant season, the UK classic car scene has been more vibrant than ever before. Anyone who came to one of the The Classic Motor Hub’s Coffee and Classics events will agree that the car community has never been more alive and well, and the dry roads and blue skies were all the encouragement people needed to coax their usually recalcitrant pride and joy out of the garage.
Petrolheads with their finger firmly on the automotive pulse will know all about the Delta Futurista launched by Automobili Amos at Grand Basel in early September. The consensus on this car has been pretty unanimous and generally involves words like “wow” “amazing” and “how much!?”. I may be in the minority, but I have taken a little more warming up to the idea of this car, though have since come round to it. However, the question begs: would I chop up a perfectly good Delta for a donor car?
To celebrate the Porsche 70th anniversary year we have compiled this list of interesting Porsche trivia that you might not know. If you think you know everything about Porsche history, have a read and let us know if you have any other quirky Porsche facts we might have missed. Along with interesting tidbits about Ferdinand Porsche and the company’s beginnings, we’ve also included a handy guide to the Porsche 356 and the full story of how the world famous 911 got its name.
Some drives are undoubtedly more memorable than others, and last summer I had the best drive of my life. It was the penultimate year of my degree and I’d spent a year abroad in Austria “studying” law at Innsbruck University. Pay attention to the inverted commas as most of the year was spent skiing and developing a taste for German and Austrian beer. I had my Lancia Delta Integrale Evo II with me, a rather generous gift from my father who had owned it for the previous 10 years.
1978. Grease had just rolled into cinemas yet there was nothing greased nor lightening rolling off the Lamborghini production line in Sant’Agata Bolognese. The company had recently declared bankruptcy due to the worldwide financial crash of 1973 combined with the OPEC oil crisis and – as a result – Lamborghini were left in a very precarious situation.
The future of the company was in doubt until 1980 when it was famously bought by the Mimran brothers Jean-Claude (The Sugar King of Africa) and Patrick. The brothers bought the failing assets for $3 million and heavily invested in the company’s expansion which included a comprehensive restructure of the business; by 1984 the Mimran’s had saved the company from receivership.
An intriguing email recently arrived in the Hub’s inbox from Tim Williams, owner and pilot of a 1930 de Havilland Puss Moth. He got in touch with an exciting proposition for the Hub, as his plane once belonged to the Maharajah of Patiala who concurrently owned the 1928 Aston Martin S Type Sports in stock with Cotswold Collectors Cars at the Classic Motor Hub.
Tim offered us the chance to reunite this pair of wonderful machines that once ran together on the Indian plains of Patiala. We jumped at the chance to put a date in the diary at the height of summer and waited eagerly for the reunion at a private airstrip just down the road from the Hub.
After Ducati reigned supreme in the 90s with their formidable fully-faired 900 series superbikes, they presented the start of a new range of retro-inspired motorcycles at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2003. Aptly named the ‘Sportclassic’ range, It was a brave move for the innovative Italians which has brought them full circle, now producing bikes with a nod to those early café racer greats.
In 2006 Ducati launched the Sport 1000S which took inspiration from the 1973 750 Sport and the Paul Smart Imola Desmo. This model in particular is the 2007 Ducati Sportclassic 1000S, a bike that need not be ashamed of its past and is certainly not to be confused with any “home brew” café racer. The 1000S is purpose built for the job – in short this means it’s uncompromising in its ride, impeccable in its handling and good looking from any angle.
Gladstone Motorcycle’s mantra is simple: “To design and build limited production runs of the finest handmade British motorcycles available”
What we’re currently looking at is the start of adventure, whether looking at it, learning about it or even riding it. The Gladstone No.1 is certainly a talking point at The Motor Hub right now and for good reason.
Having driven my fair share of classic and modern cars, I’ve become rather complacent with the variations on the manual and automatic gearboxes most car manufacturers employ. Whilst there may be different configurations underneath, most feel familiar at the point of contact with you – the driver – and the average driver wouldn’t even know whether their gearbox is a synchromesh, CVT or dual-clutch system. Before these types of automotive gearbox became commonplace, there was another type of manual gearbox known as the ‘pre-selector gearbox’, or ‘self changing gearbox’. I recently had my first experience driving a car with a pre-selector gearbox – a Lanchester LD10, and whilst it wouldn’t be my box of choice, it has been an interesting exercise in appreciating another part of automotive mechanical progression.
It’s difficult to know what the future might hold for the no-holds-barred classic supercars of the past, but surely it’s impossible for the “safety” experts to turn their noses up if they ever come face to face with the Lamborghini Miura. The name “Miura” comes from a breed of Spanish fighting bull, and the equally wild Lamborghini with its 350-horsepower, V-12 engine mounted transversely in the rear, is so bold, individualistic and unconventional that it’s hard to imagine it fitting into anybody’s arbitrary standards – safety or otherwise.
On Sunday our 1st April Coffee and Classics gathering took place at The Classic Motor Hub – the first of 2018. After much anticipation we are delighted to report that it was considered by most to be a huge success. In excess of 280 cars registered to attend, which meant that it was a very busy start to the day to fit all the cars and motorcycles in, but once most visitors had made it through the event traffic, they were delighted with what we had on show.
The first Coffee & Classics of 2018 is fast approaching, and following the incredible success of our New Year’s Day event, we’re expecting the 1st of April to be an absolute corker.
Tickets have almost sold out already, and we have some superb new areas of The Hub that will be open to the public for the first time, including our new shop and café areas. If you haven’t already ordered your free ticket, there’s not much time left to book your place.
On Sunday 25th February, The Classic Motor Hub hosted a meeting of the North Oxon & Cotswolds Area Military Vehicle Trust, whose members look after and restore the wide range of ex-military vehicles from both the UK forces and overseas. Attendees included a number of variations of the iconic Jeep, a Simca transporter, and a variety of wartime Austin vehicles.
Back in the 1960s people scoffed at the idea of a rear-engined sports car. They simply couldn’t figure out how a car with all its weight over the rear axle could possibly work around twisty roads or on the track. Four decades later and the 911 continues to defy logic and expectations by getting better with each generation. The GT3 was introduced in 1999 as the racy top-of-the-line model, and was succeeded in 2004 by a slightly updated version, referred to as the 996.2.
Last week members of The Classic Motor Hub team took a little trip across the channel to Paris to witness the Retromobile 2018 International Exhibition. After arriving in the driving snow on Tuesday evening, Richard, Hugh and Ben knew they were in for an interesting few days – and that’s before they even got to see any of the show.