...and fortunately I was one of them yesterday.
Since doing the HERO Scottish Malts in May I've stayed in touch with the two MDs, both absolutely top guys and real, proper dyed in the wool classic car nuts.
Yesterday they agreed to host me and my navigator (PH's johnfm) for a day of, well, fun
They have a fleet of fully race/rally prepped classics that they rent out on their 'Arrive & Drive' service meaning one can simply turn up at a HERO event and have a car ready and waiting for you. You can also rent them by the day from their base in South Wales, just a few miles away from the great Evo Triangle of Wales' best driving roads.
The fleet of cars is in absolutely tip-top shape. The job of keeping them ready to go is massive - I saw the jobs list on the General Manager's white board and it would make a mortal man shiver in his boots. Every car is complete with racing harnesses, cages, electrical cut offs, Halda Retrotrips, navigator's equipment such as lights, magnifiers etc. Stunning.
Anyway, the day:
My first run was in this Alfa 1750. It was a staggeringly good car. Smooth, lovely gearbox, lots of power. I'm seriously thinking about getting one, it would be a real rally weapon in the right hands...
Next up was Jaguar XK150. A stunning Gent's express. Quite a tricky gearbox but lots of power and one can easily imagine jumping in and blatting away down to Cannes. Here driven by John.
While I was in the Jag John was enjoying the very pretty little Alfa Giulietta. It sounded amazing, a really zingy little thing and a bit of a rocket.
After that I drove a car I've never driven before. Not even sat in one. Austin Cooper. My god almighty I loved this little car. The power was just immense. Straight cut box, limited slip diff. Within about 3 minutes I got tuned into it (pretty hard after being in the other cars, especially going from the XK150 to the Mini) and was having some exciting 4 wheel drifts around roundabouts. As far as driving experiences go this is in my top 3. I've always overlooked the Mini but this little fellow was an utter joy.
From the Mini I went to the BMW 1602. This car had been fully rebuilt and prepped by BMW Classic on Park Lane. Boasting well below 100bhp it was none the less a magical little car. The gear change was by far the best of anything I drove that day. Handling was a delight, perfectly balanced. The view out was good too, it really did encourage and reward you from taking it by the scruff of the neck and blatting away.
At this time John was enjoying his favourite by a country mile - A 1970 Porsche 911 SWB 2.0. This Porsche was mechanically perfect John told me - sadly I couldn't find out for myself as my ample frame was just too big to get comfortable in it. Seems odd when I was in and out of the Mini with ease. Anyway, it sounded staggeringly good and went like a bloody rocket.
After this I had another blast in the 1750 and the Mini (giggling like a lunatic) and then had a drive in the Range Rover. This was a beauty - imported from Sicily, completely rot free and a joy.
(Pic to the right of the ones below.)
Then, thinking we were more or less done for the day we got the piece de resistance. Just back from the mechanic was this: Series 1.5 E-Type 4.2. I've never even sat in an E before, let alone driven one. I must say it was probably the sweetest classic I've ever drived. Absolutely bags of torque, delicious 6 cylinder howl, charming gearchange, my day was complete.
I'm still on a real high from the day, struggling to do any real work and can't wait to do some tinkering on my own little fleet tomorrow.
Days really don't get better than this.