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Team PC drive their dads cars to petrolhead heaven

Team PC drive their dads cars to petrolhead heaven


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Like all family<br />

holidays the <strong>we</strong>ather<br />

<strong>we</strong>nt <strong>we</strong>ird on our<br />

trip. Snow… in April!<br />

Team PC drive their dads cars to petrolhead heaven<br />


Many of us will have acquired our love<br />

of cars from our dads. Whether<br />

behind the wheel or in the<br />

workshop, our fathers will have<br />

given us a life-long love of cars<br />

and their choice of vehicle will<br />

have coloured our enthusiasm as <strong>we</strong>ll. So, with<br />

Father’s Day upon us it’s time for a bit of paternal<br />

nostalgia and time to say thank you to our dads<br />

for igniting a passion for all things automotive.<br />

Team PC is taking five cars, our dads’ cars, on<br />

a grand day out to a brand-new attraction built<br />

with people like us in mind. The Great British Car<br />

Journey in Ambergate celebrates the cars <strong>we</strong> all<br />

remember and includes its own unique feature –<br />

Drive Dad’s Car – where you can do just that.<br />

A fine trip beckons, one our dads would approve<br />

of. So, time to make sure <strong>we</strong> go to the toilet before<br />

<strong>we</strong> leave and jump into the back seat of an<br />

Audi, Austin, Fiat, Renault and Rover.<br />

➽<br />

Trips to Silverstone in SFP.<br />

Dad never spared the horses<br />

and, for the 12-year-old me, the<br />

utter thrill of him thrashing<br />

down the A508 always<br />

matched the<br />

racing <strong>we</strong>’d gone<br />

to see.’<br />

Roofbox on, full of Santa’s<br />

goodies I found out much<br />

later, the Scenic was the<br />

transport of choice to visit<br />

my grandparents the first<br />

Christmas after they<br />

moved to the Isle of<br />

Wight.’<br />

‘Visiting and installing dad<br />

and his oxygen tank in my,<br />

just bought, Saab. We drove<br />

off to watch birds over the<br />

estuary. I thought it might<br />

be our last time in a car<br />

together, and it<br />

was.’<br />

We drove our GL5E on<br />

holiday to south eastern<br />

Spain, via Caen and the<br />

Pyrenees. It was so comfy<br />

and roomy, the big Audi<br />

covering all 2000 miles<br />

with total ease.<br />

Going with my dad to buy<br />

it. Driving <strong>there</strong> with mum<br />

in our tired old Cortina MkI<br />

and back in our ‘as new’<br />

Landcrab… kneeling up on<br />

the biggest back seat<br />

I had ever seen.<br />

54 JULY 2021 // PRACTICAL CLASSICS practicalclassics.co.uk<br />

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I make an early start and, thanks to the highly<br />

efficient work of the Landcrab Owners’ Club, I am off<br />

to Leicester to meet with a remarkable Morris 1800<br />

MkIII (virtually identical to the Austin). It belongs to<br />

Joyce and Dennis Needham who have had it from<br />

new. It is the same colour and specification as my<br />

dad’s old car – Harvest Gold with green interior.<br />

It is an absolute peach as <strong>we</strong>ll, although Dennis<br />

warns me that it hasn’t been for a long run since<br />

before lockdown. Approach with caution? A careful<br />

check of fluids and local journeys have been made<br />

in the <strong>we</strong>ek running up to my visit but, none the<br />

less, I lift and examine.<br />

The familiar underbonnet arrangement, tranverse<br />

B-Series with stabilising beam running bulkhead to<br />

front upper crossmember – I always loved the tiny<br />

shock absorber. All appears to be in order, but I still<br />

take the first few miles easily. By the time I reach<br />

the M1 at Loughborough, I am confident the<br />

Landcrab is in excellent fettle.<br />

I sit back and relax in the seat I was never allo<strong>we</strong>d<br />

to occupy. Dad had two Landcrabs and my place<br />

was firmly in the back with my sister, although<br />

I have since made up for it with two 1800s and<br />

a Wolseley Six of my own. This low mileage 1800 is<br />

way better than any of my cars though and displays<br />

all the attributes I remember: flat cornering,<br />

excellent road manners, supreme comfort, a quiet<br />

ride and cavernous internal space. It is also slow,<br />

‘Most of us<br />

learned how to<br />

love our cars<br />

from our dads’<br />



BOUGHT IN 1998 SOLD IN 2001 LAST<br />


Replacing a Rover 216 (R8), the blue<br />

car pictured (wasn’t I cute?) was the<br />

first of two Scenic MkIs owned by my<br />

dad, who bought a facelift edition in<br />

dark grey in 2001. ‘I needed a family<br />

car, and given the amount of kit<br />

required for you and your brother –<br />

baby seats et al – that meant a car<br />

with lots of space. I liked the quirky<br />

one box styling of the Scenic – it was<br />

like a mini Espace.’<br />

LEFT The biggest backseat<br />

of them all – Landcrab.<br />

BELOW Club knows its USP.<br />

and the driving position has more in common with<br />

a bus than a car – but that is part of its charm.<br />

Both reasons why dad loved them, in fact.<br />

He trained in engineering at Imperial College and<br />

worked as an aeronautical engineer in the wind<br />

tunnel for Hawker Siddeley at Hatfield before<br />

becoming an economist. So, he appreciates decent<br />

and unusual engineering and saw it in the Landcrab.<br />

The maximization of internal space and the<br />

torsional rigidity of the monocoque (the best of any<br />

production car at the time) <strong>we</strong>re his two favourite<br />

attributes. Holidays to <strong>we</strong>st France, with our 1800s<br />

piled high with kit, <strong>we</strong>re dealt with at a stately pace<br />

but in huge comfort with dad as bus driver.<br />

Both cars acted as vans as <strong>we</strong>ll as family chariots<br />

and the cavernous boot made the 1800 almost an<br />

MPV rather than a saloon. Was the 10 year-old me<br />

jealous of Stuart Girling and his dad’s ex-police<br />

Granada MkI? Yes. The tuned V6 (on a manual)<br />

would leave our Landcrab for dust without trying.<br />

Would I have it any other way now? No, I don’t<br />

think so. This is not a ‘cool’ classic in any way, but as<br />

I arrive in Ambergate I absolutely understand my<br />

dad’s love for these cars. Bet<strong>we</strong>en you and me, I’m<br />

convinced I have the most interesting car here.<br />


BOUGHT IN 1976 SOLD IN 1980<br />


We <strong>we</strong>re quite tight for cash<br />

in the mid Seventies. Dad<br />

was working for the TUC<br />

and he had a young family.<br />

He needed a cheap car that<br />

could handle big camping<br />

trips and be worked on at<br />

home. The 1800 fitted the<br />

bill. When he bought this<br />

one, a K-reg example, in 1976<br />

it was already a cheap car,<br />

unfashionable already, only<br />

a year out of production.<br />

But dad thought it was a<br />

brilliant bit of design, with<br />

none of the fripperies<br />

and all the things he<br />

actually wanted. Space,<br />

comfort, ruggedness and<br />

safety. He still has huge<br />

admiration for Issigonis’<br />

revolutionary design and<br />

great memories of both his<br />

Landcrabs.<br />

As the baby of the group, I didn’t<br />

experience the joys of ‘chromey’<br />

classics until much later in life<br />

and, when <strong>we</strong> first mooted this<br />

feature, I struggled to get excited<br />

about the family cars of my<br />

childhood. Then Keith Adams turned<br />

up at the PC workshop in this, his<br />

ex-Renault Heritage Scenic MkI; launched in<br />

1996, when I was just three years-old. On opening<br />

the rear door, I was immediately transported back,<br />

and started reminiscing fondly about a car I’d<br />

completely forgotten about until it arrived on the<br />

ABOVE Tomkins young<br />

and not so young.<br />

Right Not so fast.<br />

➽<br />

56 JULY 2021 // PRACTICAL CLASSICS practicalclassics.co.uk<br />

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yard. Driving it now, as I turn off the A1 and onto the<br />

A52, it’s the smell and the feel of those horrid<br />

Nineties plastics that really do take me back. It is<br />

something of an epiphany. I can finally understand<br />

why so many people ask to ‘have a sniff’ when I pull<br />

up at petrol stations in a Morris Minor.<br />

I struggle to catch up with Danny, who I’ve<br />

spotted on the horizon bumbling along the A38 in<br />

his 1800. I’m hampered considerably by the lazy<br />

automatic gearbox in this <strong>there</strong>fore sluggish<br />

1.6-litre petrol example (my dad’s car was<br />

a manual), but I’m also finding myself<br />

a long way from my usual ‘youthfully<br />

exuberant’ driving style.<br />

The Scenic promotes the method<br />

of ten to eleven hand shuffling on<br />

the steering wheel and the van-like<br />

stance allows me to see over<br />

hedgerows that would to<strong>we</strong>r over my<br />

MGB GT daily driver. There’s so much<br />

space in the cabin, along with cubby holes<br />

galore. And <strong>yet</strong>, the external dimensions are<br />

somewhat meagre compared to the latest breed of<br />

child-lugging family motors. I eventually find myself<br />

driving as if I’ve got precious cargo of my own on<br />

board. I glance back – it’s those rear seats that<br />

I remember best.<br />

I find myself reminiscing about Sun Maid raisins on<br />

the picnic table that folds out from the back of the<br />

seat I’m now in, juice in a Tommy Tippy cup and<br />

sandwiches with the crusts neatly cut off as <strong>we</strong><br />

turn into the gates of the Great British Car Journey,<br />

a new museum here in Ambergate. Now where did<br />

I put my lunchbox?<br />

The glorious sound of a warbling five-pot is missing<br />

from this early four-cylinder GLS model, so my<br />

experience today lacks a sizable slice of nostalgia.<br />

That said, as <strong>we</strong> nose out into the Derbyshire<br />

countryside, the look, feel and smell of the<br />

cabin is bringing back childhood memories<br />

in waves. There’s a whiff of Seventies<br />

Volkswagen naturally, but the quality<br />

of the brown soft-touch plastics<br />

would shame many a 2021 executive.<br />

Audi’s obsession with quality and<br />

fine engineering was the work of<br />

former Porsche man Ferdinand Piëch<br />

– also father of the Quattro and later,<br />

the Bugatti Veyron. From the ‘thunk’ of<br />

the doors closing to the complete absence<br />

of rattles, creaks or wind noise on the move,<br />

this 100 is living proof of just how beautifully made<br />

these cars <strong>we</strong>re - and how new cars from Ingolstadt<br />

deservedly dominate the market in 2021.<br />

As <strong>we</strong> skim the southern edge of the Peak<br />

District in <strong>we</strong>ather that flips from bright sunshine to<br />

snow, I begin to experience these qualities and see<br />

‘Dad loved the<br />

2200TC’s punch<br />

over the SC that<br />

preceded it’<br />


IN 1984 DEMISE 1990<br />

While on the forest<br />

moon of Endor (our<br />

garden) with my<br />

Millennium Falcon,<br />

I knew when dad<br />

was home thanks<br />

to the distinctive<br />

five-pot warble of his<br />

approaching Audi. The<br />

three-year old GL5E<br />

Auto had replaced<br />

a Citroën Visa GT so<br />

travel to foreign parts<br />

suddenly became<br />

easier and getting<br />

dropped off at school<br />

even cooler. In a<br />

sea of Cortinas and<br />

Cavaliers, the classy<br />

100 really stood out.<br />

And for dad back<br />

then, having helped<br />

to design Concorde<br />

among other things,<br />

only a Saab, Citroën<br />

or Audi would do.<br />

‘Those vehicles <strong>we</strong>re<br />

engineered with such<br />

precision and <strong>we</strong>re<br />

so clever and comfy, I<br />

never understood why<br />

people chose to drive<br />

an ordinary car.’<br />

LEFT Walshe family Audi.<br />

BELOW Roomy 100 had<br />

game changing quality.<br />

exactly why they appealed to my design engineer<br />

dad. With its long wheelbase and wide track, the<br />

Audi feels planted, <strong>yet</strong> on the wiggly section of<br />

A5012 near Grangemill, it feels unexpectedly<br />

playful too. There’s no wallowing in the bends, as<br />

you would find at the wheel of a Merc W123, and it<br />

rides better than its E12 rival from Munich.<br />

While this 100 may lack the charismatic<br />

sound and punch of the five-cylinder version (or<br />

a five-speed gearbox), the tough 115bhp 2-litre is<br />

nevertheless s<strong>we</strong>et and growls pleasingly. The car<br />

demonstrates its handling finesse again as <strong>we</strong> rise<br />

over twisty moorland and descend into the pretty<br />

village of Hartington, where <strong>we</strong>’re now being<br />

blanketed by a full-on blizzard. Dad liked his<br />

front-wheel drive cars – especially in snow. I am<br />

about to test the Audi’s winter credentials... in April.<br />

We queue for fuel at the quaint pumps of<br />

Hartdale Motors and I gaze at the car with a little<br />

sadness. This immaculate example, from the Audi<br />

Heritage fleet, is one of just a tiny handful of ‘C2’<br />

100s left in the UK. Tens of thousands of them <strong>we</strong>re<br />

sold bet<strong>we</strong>en 1976 and 1982 (when it was replaced<br />

by Audi’s innovative and slippery ‘C3’ 100) but, unlike<br />

its galvanized successor, this generation rotted<br />

terribly. In fact, having had cause to research it,<br />

I can tell you <strong>there</strong> are so few owners in the UK in<br />

2021, I can name almost all of them. Now that’s<br />

what I call an endangered species…<br />

He’d run a Triumph<br />

2000 in his previous<br />

job, so for the new job<br />

he thought he’d try the<br />

obvious rival. He<br />

preferred his new 2200<br />

SC to the Triumph, but<br />

the TC that replaced it<br />

two years later was a<br />

joy. Apart from its<br />

paintwork, that is.<br />

Rover’s new paint<br />


plant for the imminent<br />

SD1s also sprayed the<br />

last P6s. It was<br />

a disaster, the acrylic<br />

paint chipping and<br />

peeling off, rust<br />

festering on the<br />

scars, a car<br />

pockmarked at two<br />

years old. ‘At least<br />

I don’t have to look at it<br />

when I drive it,’ he said.<br />

➽<br />

58 JULY 2021 // PRACTICAL CLASSICS practicalclassics.co.uk<br />

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1977 FIAT 1300CL REG OYE 988R BOUGHT IN 1984<br />

Why Fiat? And why in<br />

particular the 128?<br />

‘I come from a family<br />

that favoured Fiats.<br />

Dad bought his first<br />

128 in 1970, just after<br />

it received the Car of<br />

the Year gong, and<br />

I guess it <strong>we</strong>nt from<br />

<strong>there</strong>. Mum and I<br />

owned numerous 850s<br />

(I used to spin them for<br />

fun), which <strong>we</strong>re mixed<br />

with the odd 600, a<br />

128 Special, an Amigo<br />

motor caravan and<br />

then of course the car<br />

you see here –<br />

a first-of-the-facelifts<br />

128 1300 CL from<br />

1977.<br />

This is it… this is his<br />

actual car in the flesh.<br />

Dad always thought of<br />

the 128 as being more<br />

advanced than an<br />

Escort, with its clever<br />

FWD engine<br />

installation and<br />

‘function-over-form’<br />

design. Think he also<br />

liked to stand out from<br />

the crowd a bit, too…’<br />

So how long have you<br />

known this car?<br />

‘Thirty-seven years,<br />

or since I was 12.<br />

And yes, I’m proud of it<br />

as dad always looked<br />

after it so <strong>we</strong>ll.<br />

I remember going on<br />

holidays to the Norfolk<br />

Broads; regular trips to<br />

Silverstone with dad to<br />

watch VSCC and HSCC<br />

races. But most of all,<br />

sitting in this very car<br />

in the Fiat dealership<br />

while dad was<br />

bartering with<br />

the salesman,<br />

and wondering<br />

why he wouldn’t<br />

spring the extra<br />

£400 for the 124<br />

Sports Coupé<br />

next to it!’<br />

Do you still use it?<br />

‘Yes. It has been fully<br />

fettled by Middle<br />

Barton Garage and is<br />

back in rude health<br />

after a few years off<br />

the road. It developed<br />

a timing problem soon<br />

after the engine was<br />

rebuilt t<strong>we</strong>lve years<br />

ago (due to dad hardly<br />

using it in his later<br />

years). For a while,<br />

work and family<br />

commitments<br />

prevented me from<br />

getting stuck in<br />

and fixing it.<br />

Ho<strong>we</strong>ver, I joined<br />

the Fiat Owners’<br />

Club, found the<br />

right specialist<br />

(Middle Barton<br />

Garage in Oxfordshire)<br />

and they did a great<br />

job. Now I remind<br />

myself about why dad<br />

bought it all those<br />

years ago every single<br />

time I go for a spin.’<br />

Don’t I recognise you<br />

from somewhere?<br />

‘I was PR Manager for<br />

Vauxhall for years,<br />

enjoying and looking<br />

after the Heritage<br />

Collection along with<br />

the moderns. I also<br />

used to be a road<br />

tester for Autocar,<br />

many years ago. Now<br />

I’m an automotive PR<br />

freelancer, with<br />

a passion for classics.’<br />

It’s the end of our trip and I drive from the Peaks to<br />

the M1, via – unintentionally – the Derby ring road.<br />

Soon I’m cruising south with a view over the dashboard<br />

and along the bonnet much like the one<br />

so familiar to my father in the Seventies. Of his<br />

company-exec cars over the years – he was the<br />

medical director of a pharmaceuticals company<br />

– he liked his two Rover P6s the best.<br />

BELOW Yes, they got lost.<br />

BOTTOM But when they got<br />

<strong>there</strong>, it was worth it.<br />

What my father’s motorway vista didn’t include,<br />

though, <strong>we</strong>re overhead gantries and speed<br />

cameras. But still he got caught: 87mph in his<br />

Richelieu Red 2200 TC. He was oddly disappointed.<br />

‘I thought I was going faster than that,’ he said.<br />

He loved that twin-carb car and its extra punch<br />

over the Cameron Green 2200 SC that preceded it,<br />

the car whose roof-to-body joint leaked copiously<br />

the first time he took it through a car wash to the<br />

consternation of my sister and her friend in the<br />

back seat. I remember the vigour with which he<br />

drove the TC, the characteristic gear whine<br />

replayed in my own car, the ultra-cool backlit switch<br />

panel, the missing headrest on the front passenger<br />

seat because my mother didn’t like it. And my father<br />

– a doctor – only reluctantly conceded<br />

that seatbelts <strong>we</strong>re a good idea.<br />

I’m tempted to emulate that 87mph<br />

once the motorway has reverted<br />

from smartness to dumbness, but<br />

I must resist.<br />

Nevertheless,<br />

half a century<br />

on a P6 is still<br />

a terrific<br />

motorway<br />

cruiser. It is<br />

almost as if<br />

I have turned<br />

into my dad.<br />

Matt says<br />

‘There is<br />

something<br />

definitively ‘dad’<br />

about a Rover P6<br />

especially in dark<br />

brown. Everyone,<br />

it seems, had one<br />

in their family.’<br />




A museum<br />

like no other,<br />

Richard<br />

Usher’s<br />

dream made<br />

real is PC<br />

heaven<br />

It’s as if someone has made Practical<br />

Classics Magazine into a visitor<br />

attraction… bricks and mortar. The Great<br />

British Car Journey is like no other car<br />

museum on the planet. It doesn’t<br />

celebrate exotica or dream cars… it<br />

celebrates the cars <strong>we</strong> all remember, the cars<br />

that touched our lives, the cars that <strong>we</strong>re on<br />

our driveways not our bedroom walls.<br />

Situated just on the edge of the Peak District,<br />

in an old wire works next to the River Der<strong>we</strong>nt in<br />

Ambergate, The Great British Car Journey is real<br />

world car nirvana. It is home to many of the<br />

motors from what was the largest privately<br />

owned collection of British classic cars in the<br />

world, amassed by enthusiast and<br />

entrepreneur James Hull and originally<br />

purchased by Jaguar Land Rover in 2014.<br />

The unglamourous end of that collection was<br />

then bought by another intrepid entrepreneur,<br />

Richard Usher, in order to form the basis of his<br />

dream project, something that <strong>we</strong> think is the<br />

most exciting automotive experience to open<br />

in the UK in decades. And it truly is an<br />

experience, because the collection is available<br />

to drive as <strong>we</strong>ll… and <strong>we</strong> are about to<br />

demonstrate the fact.<br />

➽<br />


practicalclassics.co.uk<br />



Danny Hopkins chooses…<br />

1979 Morris Marina Coupé<br />

My first three cars <strong>we</strong>re Marinas so this is pure nostalgia.<br />

This one is the 1300 as <strong>we</strong>ll, just like mine. Jumping<br />

into it is like putting on an old coat. Simple,<br />

unpretentiousand no worse at being a car than<br />

any Cortina. Don’t believe the haters.<br />

Drive Dad’s car<br />

The PC team get behind the wheel of the exhibits<br />

At the heart of the GBCJ is an<br />

active experience where<br />

visitors can get behind the<br />

wheel and drive a classic of<br />

their choice around a circuit. The ‘car<br />

menu’ is diverse and intriguing – Team PC<br />

chose the following.<br />

1989 Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit<br />

The boxy Eighties Rolls is pure bling, and<br />

I love it. It is also just like the car a friend of<br />

mine’s dad had back in the Nineties. Even<br />

then it was a budget buy, so <strong>we</strong> used to<br />

‘borrow’ it every now and then.<br />

Matt<br />

Tomkins<br />

chooses…<br />

1971 Hillman Imp<br />

My mum’s first car was<br />

an Imp, and my dad’s was<br />

a Singer Chamois.<br />

Mum regularly speaks of<br />

never being able to<br />

afford to fill the tank,<br />

thus requiring a paving<br />

slab in the front<br />

as a winter<br />

handling kit.<br />

1961 Minor Million<br />

Well why wouldn’t I?<br />

I’m a Morris Minor man at<br />

heart, and the special<br />

edition Million is an<br />

important piece of<br />

British motoring history.<br />

This one drives, <strong>we</strong>ll, like<br />

any other 948cc Minor.<br />

Except it’s pink.<br />

1939 Austin Seven<br />

I’ve spent the past year<br />

and a half working on<br />

my own Seven, but had<br />

never actually driven<br />

one until now.<br />

This Opal belongs to<br />

Richard and is a hoot!<br />

Tyre squeal at 15mph<br />

– bring it on!<br />

Why are you<br />

a petrolhead?<br />

‘Thanks to my<br />

parents. Dad was<br />

a lifelong enthusiast<br />

who did some crazy<br />

things to ordinary<br />

cars, but really loved<br />

his Mini Cooper S, MGB<br />

and one or two rather<br />

lovely Bentleys.’<br />

You used to own Blyton<br />

circuit, is <strong>there</strong> racing in<br />

your blood?<br />

‘I suppose so. Like me,<br />

dad was into racing<br />

and was President of<br />

Shenstone and<br />

District Car Club and<br />

part of the committee<br />

that built Curborough<br />

Sprint Circuit near<br />

Lichfield. Maybe that’s<br />

where I got the idea<br />

for Blyton from? Mum<br />

loved driving the<br />

Cooper S and had a<br />

Capri 2.0 and an XR2.<br />

Drove through Sutton<br />

Park like Pat Moss…<br />

with us all bouncing<br />

around in the back!’<br />

What inspired you<br />

to make TGBCJ into<br />

a reality?<br />

‘It was inspired by the<br />

realisation that the<br />

cars of my youth and<br />

later <strong>we</strong>re becoming<br />

statistically rarer<br />

than the Ferraris and<br />

Lambos of the same<br />

era. I bought a blue<br />

12,000-mile Maestro<br />

a few years back, it’s<br />

in the collection now.<br />

It is a truly rare thing<br />

and <strong>we</strong> have so many<br />

of such cars in TGBCJ.<br />

Also with Austin,<br />

Morris and the other<br />

front-wheel drive<br />

Leyland cars, genius<br />

engineers such as<br />

Alec Issigonis are in<br />

serious danger of<br />

being forgotten.’<br />

Why did you choose<br />

Ambergate?<br />

‘I loved the idea of<br />

bringing life back to<br />

an ancient industrial<br />

complex such as the<br />

wire works <strong>we</strong> are<br />

now in. Our main<br />

building could be an<br />

assembly hall at<br />

Longbridge. I also love<br />

Derbyshire and I love<br />

being right on the<br />

river here.’<br />

What is your<br />

favourite car in the<br />

collection?<br />

‘I think the Austin 16<br />

Woodie. A beautiful<br />

thing. The back body<br />

was made and fitted<br />

at Papworth Hospital<br />

in Cambridgeshire by<br />

people recovering<br />

from TB. The hospital,<br />

which became a world<br />

leading medical<br />

facility, pioneered<br />

rehabilitation by<br />

building factories on<br />

site to get patients<br />

back into the routine<br />

of work.’<br />

What do you hope<br />

people will get from<br />

the Drive Dad’s car<br />

experience?<br />

‘Nostalgia and<br />

a realisation that, as a<br />

nation, <strong>we</strong>’re capable<br />

of great innovation<br />

and leadership.<br />

But it’s also the smell,<br />

the memories that old<br />

cars can reveal.<br />

The pleasures of<br />

a more analogue age.<br />

Pass me the eight<br />

track cartridge!’<br />

1972 Vauxhall Viva HC<br />

My best friend Adam bought his Viva at the same time as<br />

I bought my Marina. We used to go everywhere in them and his<br />

was green as <strong>we</strong>ll. Driving this one brought back as many<br />

unprintable memories as the Marina. RIP Adam… miss you bud.<br />

James<br />

Walshe<br />

chooses…<br />

1989 Ford Sierra<br />

Sapphire<br />

As eight-year olds, me and my friend Andrew<br />

Webb would go to his dad’s Ford showroom on<br />

a Saturday and argue about top speeds. We still<br />

get together today and thumb through the<br />

brochures <strong>we</strong> nicked. With great certainty,<br />

I know my GLS from a Ghia…<br />

➽<br />

64 JULY 2021 // PRACTICAL CLASSICS practicalclassics.co.uk<br />

To subscribe to PC go to greatmagazines.co.uk/practicalclassics<br />



1960 Sunbeam Rapier<br />

My father’s colleague’s secretary<br />

had one. Later, in 1972, so did I –<br />

a 1961 example bought for a mere<br />

£40. It looked great after I fitted new<br />

glassfibre sills (you could do that<br />

then), but its engine seized, fixed<br />

with a scrapyard replacement.<br />

Driving this one is an incredibly<br />

nostalgic experience.<br />

1993 Mini<br />

I’m ashamed to say I’d never driven a Mini.<br />

My older brother, parents and grandparents<br />

spent a great deal of time around them, so I was<br />

keen to get a feel for one behind the wheel. Glad<br />

to say, it was everthing I’d hoped it would be!<br />

1963 MG Midget<br />

This was an incredibly cool car for<br />

a dad to have, in this case my friend<br />

John’s dad who worked for Hawker<br />

Siddeley. His 1965 example was<br />

mustard yellow and mildly tuned.<br />

Driving this Midget reminded me<br />

how very, <strong>we</strong>ll, small they are.<br />

A proper little go-kart.<br />

1971 Austin 1300 GT<br />

A nippy machine, oh-so-Seventies. My friend Melanie’s dad<br />

bought one new, his first car with a steering lock. He had<br />

a habit of taking the key out of the ignition as he coasted to<br />

a halt on the driveway. There was a sharp bend at the end.<br />

Guess what happened…<br />

1989 Austin Maestro<br />

One day, I was taken to school by a friend’s mum in<br />

her Maestro. That evening, I told my dad I thought it<br />

must have been faulty as it was so uncomfortable<br />

and crashy. ‘You’ve been spoilt, son’ he said, nodding<br />

towards the Citroën XM parked in our drive.<br />

Drive Dad’s Car is a unique day out – you can do it, too!<br />

The Great British Car Journey comes into its<br />

own by allowing you to pilot the cars<br />

yourself. Drive Dad’s Car is a unique<br />

experience, giving you the opportunity to<br />

get behind the wheel of a variety of classic<br />

tin and, as a Practical Classics reader, you<br />

get a very special deal as <strong>we</strong>ll.<br />

Every reader of Practical Classics will<br />

get 10% OFF a drive dad’s car experience<br />

when they book PLUS a free Great British<br />

Car Journey mug on the day. All you need to<br />

do is book online and apply the following<br />

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Remember that the Drive Dad’s Car<br />

experience allows you to enjoy three<br />

different classics, behind the wheel…<br />

everything from an Austin 7 to a Morris<br />

Marina. There’s even a Bentley to try.<br />

Choose from Classic, Premium or Luxury<br />

cars, and get yourself experienced!<br />



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