It is extraordinary to think that the Thetford Park race track does not rank alongside Silverstone, Goodwood, Crystal Palace et al in the pantheon of post-war British motor racing. Over a period of almost ten years from 1953 to early 1962, the track held dozens of Grands Prix and annual International Easter, Whitsun and September meetings. It played host to all the great drivers of the decade, from Moss and Fangio to Hill and Clark (who holds the lap record for posterity) and witnessed all the classic cars – Maserati, Ferrari, B.R.M. Cooper and Lotus – yet few will recall even hearing of such an iconic venue. Perhaps the answer lies in its geography: a one hundred square feet plot in the top right hand corner of a suburban garden near Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey.
This week’s Hub Focus features Head of Consignments and Acquisitions Richard Wrightson in a very special and particularly important 1969 Jensen FF which is currently offered for sale at The Classic Motor Hub.
The Classic Motor Hub has recently partnered with Omologato, founded by Shami Kalra. We are proud to be one of only two official retailers in the UK and so in lieu of the ability to have a face-to-face chat we recently sat down for a telephone conversation to get to know the brand and the founder.
by Head of Acquisitions Richard Wrightson
As you can imagine, here at The Classic Motor Hub our team has handled a huge number of different cars and motorcycles over the years and a big part of our job is to advise clients on how best to sell their vehicle and the aspects that affect the chances of a successful sale being achieved.
On Sunday 3rd May The Classic Motor Hub was due to celebrate the impending 75th anniversary of VE Day. Sadly Covid-19 has ruined our best laid plans of military vehicles, bunting and Glenn Miller to remember the enormous sacrifice, courage and determination shown by people in all walks of life throughout the war. However, the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day gives us the perfect opportunity to tell the Story of RAF Bibury and The Few who served there to protect Britain during its darkest hour.
When writing a book, particularly one of my larger works, I have often referred to it as being ‘in prison’. You are locked away for very long hours, generally in solitary. Failing to learn the lesson, I am ashamed to say I have offended something like 35 times.
Words and Photos by Sales Specialist James Wheeler
Ten years ago this week I was listening to the radio and was amazed at what I was hearing; Heathrow airport and most other airports in the United Kingdom were closed due to a volcano erupting in Iceland. This was hugely inconvenient for many people around the world who needed to travel by air as the planes were unable to fly due to the dust cloud produced by the volcano. This affected us too as we were supposed to be flying to Italy in three day’s time for the 2010 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este.
by Hub Sales Director Angus MacCurrach
There are some hard-core bikers out there who use their treasured motorcycles all year round. We have all seen them ploughing up the M4 in the pouring rain with their thick Gortex coverings keeping them dry-ish in mid January and thinking nothing of it. I am not one of those.
by Hub Consignments & Acquisitions Director Richard Wrightson
About 10 years ago, having worked in the old car world for only a couple of years, I felt it was high-time to get a classic car of my own. How can one really sell the dream if you haven’t experienced it yourself? I turned to my more experienced colleague and mentor, Martin Chisholm for some advice on what to buy:
“ You should get yourself a little Alfa, like a Giulietta Spider.”
by Hub Sales Specialist James Wheeler
Some cars need one to be a motoring encyclopedia to appreciate, whilst others are a little more mainstream and spark fabulous memories of fathers, grandfathers and others ‘back in the day’. One such car is the 1959 MGA FHC currently offered for sale at The Hub. James Wheeler tells us more about it and why it sparks certain fond memories for him.
This week’s Hub Focus features Sales Director Angus MacCurrach in a 1934 Frazer Nash TT Rep which is currently for sale at The Classic Motor Hub.
by Hub Sales Specialist James Wheeler
After receiving confirmation of my entry’s acceptance for the Coppa Intereuropa Autostoriche at Monza to be held over the first weekend of June, I typed an email to the charming organiser of the annual Silver Flag Hillclimb, Claudio Casali. Claudio is one of those lucky people who appear to remain delightfully calm irrespective of how many people are asking him questions all at once! There is always a smile.
This week’s Hub Focus features Nigel Bowen-Easley in a 1961 Aston Martin DB4 S3 which actually sold after he wrote this for us only a week ago. Despite this we still wanted to share it with you, so keep on reading to find out why it’s the car he’d pick from our Hangar Showroom stock.
These days we spend a lot of our time marketing our cars online via Instabook and Facegram with ever-more quirky camera angles against new and glamorous backdrops. However, at The Hub we are quite a nostalgic bunch, and while leafing through some old magazines we found vintage car advertising for a selection of the cars we currently have in stock and thought it would be interesting to show how these motor cars were marketed in period.
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.
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.
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.