GALLERY: The Classic Motor Hub Knows How To Ring In The New Year
Photography by Will Broadhead
Ah, the local classic car meet. A parking lot full of the same old rumblers that get turned out of the garage on the first Sunday of the month, drive a few miles down the road, park up in the same spot, pop the hood, and then drive home again. Am I jaded with this tired, old formula? You betcha. Do I still go along to them? You betcha! Daft, isn’t it? But the there is hope, and somewhat of a renaissance has been happening in the world with the better cars and coffee-style meets scattered among us, certainly on this side of the pond. Funnily enough, the owners of the finest classic machinery want a little bit more than a polystyrene cup in a blustery parking lot, and in a little corner of the Cotswolds, you can find one of the places that has been listening and adapting.
The Classic Motor Hub is now no stranger to these pages, happy as they are to let me go and road test (read: play with) and photograph their ever-changing fleet of machinery, but it has now been a year since I first stumbled upon these wondrous hangars. They’ve now got a whole season of monthly meetings and events under their belt, so I was interested to head on up there on New Year’s Day to check out their charity car meet (by the end of which £2730 was raised by the generous motorists who turned up to donate to local charity Kate’s Home Nursing).
Like a significant portion of the world’s population, I awoke on the 1st of January in somewhat of a haze, and I was thankful that the Hub had switched the start time to midday in contrast to last year’s morning opening. It seemed that I wasn’t the only one to welcome this, and upon arrival just after noon—when most meets come to a close—I found the place still bursting with people and cars. 250 parking spaces had been allocated and booked before the event, but on the day the number stretched far higher. While not every car and bike in attendance was a vintage example, I still find cars like the McLaren Senna worth peeking at. The hubbub of people made the scene an absolute nightmare for a snapper such as myself, but a welcome problem to be a part of in this festive atmosphere.
Numbers alone are not reason enough to attend an event, so what separates the Hub from other well-subscribed meetings? Diversity and quality of machinery always help to answer that question, and this is of course somewhat self-perpetuating, as once you have a few gawkable cars more seem to follow. In this case there were exotics from multiple stables; Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and a certain pair of McLaren Senna and 600LT (belonging to McLaren boss Mike Flewitt and his wife Mia, no less) welcomed visitors into the car park. But don’t mistake this an being some sort of elitist car club, far from it in fact, as in amongst the rare and expensive bits of fiber and alloy are plenty of the more accessible enthusiast machines. From Triumphs to Mercs, a host of Fords and plenty of BMWs and VWs, there really was a bit of everything.
Of course, we’ve all seen the 911s and TR4s et al before, and while I never really get tired of running my eyes over the lines of an early 911, for a car meeting to be truly special it needs something a little bit different. Thankfully, this difference has been in attendance in some form or another at the Hub’s monthly meets over the past year, and on New Year’s Day it was no different, with a beautifully turned out Lotus Elan S3 sitting next to a unique kit car running on a three-cylinder, two-stroke Excelsior engine (which produced a noise as terrifying as you might expect), being just two of the highlights from the atypical contingent.
Then there are the vehicles nestled in the Hub itself, with an ever-evolving stock of classics ranging from the start of last century up to exotic machinery from the last ten years, as well as the revolving door of cars in the private collection that it houses as well, usually closed off to Joe Public but open to everyone during events like this one.
Though I am unable to go into too much detail about the individual models in there, on this particular day there was an exceptional DB5, belonging to and reimagined by David Brown, of David Brown Automotive, and a gorgeous 1967 Ford GT40 capturing the admiration of visitors.
There are other great car meetings in the UK of course, with groups like Bicester Heritage doing it right as well, but the intimacy of the Hub and the mix of machinery both attending and in the halls of the place elevates this one. Over the course of the past year the organization of the day has become nothing short of slick, the entertainment and exhibitions throughout the year’s events has gotten more and more streamlined, and the coffee and food here aren’t half bad either! The next event isn’t until April, but I would bet it books up soon—I’ve certainly put my name down for a spot already.