Featured: Hidden in a Barn is One Man's Gulf Racing Obsession

Hidden in a Barn is One Man’s Gulf Racing Obsession

Avatar By Amy Shore
July 10, 2014
16 comments

Photography by Amy Shore for Petrolicious

Some of the most exquisite workshops I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting have also been the most difficult to find. Like hidden rooms behind library bookcases or James Bond’s secret gadget lair, these awe-inspiring spaces contain that air of mysterious secrecy about them. It also makes them a real pain to locate. Thankfully, I had navigator-extraordinaire Kirsten Bright with me – wife of engineer and race driver, Mr. John Bright.

After many “left here”s and “right there”s along roads where my wing mirrors skimmed the hedges on either side, we pulled up in front of a large barn building. To the unsuspecting eye, one would expect to find nothing more than rusting farm equipment stored inside. However, as I hopped out, we were greeted by John in his blue, oil-smeared overalls. This mysterious barn in the middle of nowhere wasn’t a simple farmyard building, but the workshop of the incredible ROFGO Collection.

In 2008, Mr. Roald Goethe, with the help of Mr. Adrian Hamilton, began his collection of iconic Gulf cars, starting with an ex-works Gulf Ford GT40. Just six years on, this collection has grown to twenty-nine stunning machines including the likes of a McLaren M14, a Porsche 917, a Howmet TX and an array of Mirage cars. Not to mention the huge Gulf transporter to ferry all of these timeless machines around.

Working alongside John are Messrs. Ted Higgins and Viv Cowley who happily toured me around the workshop and showroom at Duncan Hamilton as I attempted to drag my dropped jaw along with me. This collection of cars was truly incredible.

One of my personal favourite vehicles of the day was the previously mentioned Howmet TX. One of only two, the TXs (Turbine eXperimental) are each powered by a helicopter engine. It made its racing debut at the 1968 Daytona 24 Hour race. Driven by creator and racer, Mr. Ray Heppenstall, along with Mr. Dick Thompson and Mr. Ed Lowther, it reached an impressive 3rd overall before a jammed wastegate caused the car to crash. “Want to hear it fired up?” John asked me. The excitement buzzing from me was certainly visible as I vigorously nodded. An external battery, a jack and ten minutes later, the thrumming sound of a helicopter engine thundered through the barn, followed by a cup of tea and an anecdote of the time John and Kirsten took a wrong turn in it and ended up driving through a forest with the fear of stalling without any gear to start it up again.

Ted then took me to the main showroom of the collection where I met the delightful Adrian and his array of cars and memorabilia. The collection of cars in this showroom was by far one of the most impressive assemblage I’ve ever laid eyes on. It would have been rude of me to not jump straight into the Porsche 917 so naturally, that’s one of the first things I did! I ogled the McLaren F1 GTR Short-tail, drooled longingly over the Aston Martin DBR9 and stared at the beautiful way light reflected off of the stunning McLaren F1 GTR Long-tail.

These cars are each rich with their own history and it was such a delight to have been introduced to them and treated to just a snippet of their tales.

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Robert Lidstroemsimon harperdesperatedan222FunaldoLucas Vazquez Recent comment authors
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simon harper

Nice truck too.

desperatedan222
desperatedan222

I have been very fortunate to have met Roald Goethe on a couple of occasions & also see the collection in its full glory. It’s a fantastic achievement.

Robert Lidstroem
Robert Lidstroem

Well money helps 😉

And ofcourse knowledge, but that can also be bought (as in hiring carbrokers, mechanics etc)

Funaldo
Funaldo

Two aspects which I find utterly captivating. A stable of such choice vehicles and the fact that the owner would be generous enough to share his passion of such beautiful machines
A great article and photography

Lucas Vazquez
Lucas Vazquez

Loved the photography. An exquisite and detailed work.

BRIAN COUNTS
BRIAN COUNTS

Do they have their own powerplant? Does Gulf fund this operation?

Jo Moore
Jo Moore

Amy; prints for sale??????

justin
justin

like looking through cataracts…

C Casper
C Casper

Excellent. I’m a big fan of Amy’s photography

Stephen Stuart
Stephen Stuart

More photo please…

Dave Mitchell
Dave Mitchell

Love the Lotus Cortina taillights on the Howmet TX

Dean Lyettefi
Dean Lyettefi

Great article, as usual, but this time the photos really made me stop and look. Beautiful. Thank you.

James
James

I could fall asleep on the floor next to those cars.

Tim Joslyn

Had the pleasure of visiting ourselves a while back, incredible collection.

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay

Very nice collection working there, especially with the pedigree with names including Hulme and Schuppan.
Looks like a nice place to hang out and make some parts.

Great photos, Amy. Thanks for sharing. You are getting around well in these circles and are clearly having a good time!
If you ever get out to southern California, I can probably direct you towards some secret treasure troves and hidden workshops out here. Must know the password!

Guest
Guest

Absolutely incredible.