An invitation dropped on the mat recently from an awesome company called Great Escape Cars, based in Redditch.
It was an invitation to join them on one of their classic car road trips.
Let me explain; Great Escape Cars are basically a classic car hire company with a twist.
They offer a range of services, from a one hour classic car taster, to a full day road trip where you get the chance to experience 5 different cars from their £300,000 fleet of classic cars, with lunch included. There are many other options too, something for everyone you might say.
The day started with a meet and greet at the Great Escape Cars premises in Redditch. Coffee and a chat with the other attendees and a look around the fleet.
There are something like 20 cars on the fleet, there something for all tastes.
If you’re a Jaguar fan, you’re in good company. On the day we had a plenty of choice in the Jaguar stable; XKR convertible, Mk2 3.4, Mk2 3.8, XJS convertible 4 litre, XJS coupe V12, XJS coupe 4 litre and XK150.
Fancy something a bit newer, they have; a Porsche 911 (996), Ford Capri 280, Saab 900 T16S or even a Mondeo ST200. If you prefer something more traditional, how about; a Morris Minor Traveller, MGB GT, HMC Healey or Alfa Romeo GTV V6 (916). Whatever your taste, these guys pretty much have you covered.
5 cars were allocated to us randomly.
Our day started in the Jaguar XJS coupe V12, series 2. Slip in to the stylish, leather and wood trimmed, unmistakably Jaguar cabin, and you immediately feel special. There’s a touch of the old film star to it. It feels like we should be cruising to Monaco for my latest premiere.
This is a lesson in how GT cars should be. It’s not modern car fast but it’s chic, dignified and relaxing. The V12 is silky smooth and the car drives very well.
Next up was the MGB GT. Ours was a 1971 chrome bumper model. This is such an alluring, pretty car, you can’t help but like it. Driven by such names as Margaret Thatcher, Sting, John Voight and many more, the MGB GT is arguably THE iconic, archetypal british sports car.
With 97bhp when new from the 1798cc engine, it’s not fast by modern standards, but is a lovely way to pass some time driving through the Cotswolds.
After a spot of lunch at the incredible Caffeine and Machine in Warwickshire, we were off in our next ride.
Mine was in an iconic british muscle car that I have always admired from afar but never manager to win her heart. The charismatic, rarefied and brutish 1986 Ford Capri Brooklands 280.
The Capri was the British Mustang, a muscle car for Europe.
Leather Recarros and that 3 spoke leather trimmed steering wheel are unmistakably Capri. Fire up the V6 and you’re met with a menacing, deep rumble.
Hopefully I’ll get another chance to drive one one day, but if not, that’s ok, I’ve had my moment in the sun and it was worth the wait.
Next up was the 1988 SAAB 900 turbo. There used to be a SAAB garage near me when I was a lad and I remember swooning over the 900 turbo. Now here I was, sat in the leather driving seat of one.
As you would expect, it wears it’s miles very well. It’s no match for the modern crop of 250+bhp hot hatchbacks but the SAAB turbo makes a very healthy 175bhp from it’s 2.0L intercooled 16-valve. It’s old school laggy but goes really well when you press on. You can’t help but giggle when it comes on boosts and heads for the horizon.
Last was the Jaguar XKR convertible. What can you say about this car. It’s a brute. The 370bhp supercharged V8 has all the power you need. The interior is typical Jaguar. Soft leather seats and burl walnut trim and the torque from that supercharged V8 is intoxicating. This is a true continent crushing GT car.
I would strongly urge anyone who wants to try one of these classic cars to give Great Escape Cars a call.
Maybe you haven’t had the opportunity to drive one before, or perhaps relive your youth and drive something you reminisce about.
It’s an experience you won’t forget or regret.