Don't let your special date get away

Great Escape Classic Car Hire, the UK's largest specialist classic car rental fleet operator, says it is experiencing unprecedented demand for car hire in 2011. The news suggests the tourism industry in 2011 may be recovering and the trend towards 'staycations' is continuing.
"Our advance bookings are significantly up on 2010," explains Graham Eason of Great Escape. "Some of our cars are fully booked for popular weekends right up to November 2011, which is unprecedented. We have also sold a record number of gift vouchers, which will redeem during 2011.
"We are recommending that customers who need particular cars for specific dates, such as for a wedding, book early to avoid disappointment."
Despite the popularity of its fleet, Great Escape Classic Car Hire has not changed its commitment to fair and transparent pricing. Customers still get a full 24 hours use for every day booked, unlimited mileage, comprehensive insurance and full AA breakdown cover. You can also book a single day at weekends and the price for weekends is the same as weekdays - there is no premium charged.
Great Escape Classic Car Hire operates a fleet of 50 classic cars from 6 locations across the UK including Shropshire, Suffolk, Yorkshire, East Midlands and Worcestershire. The company's entire fleet of cars can be booked online up to 12 months in advance - or specific dates can be reserved.
For more details visit www.greatescapecars.co.uk or call 01527 893733.

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Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Great Escape Classic Car Hire has gone and joined the social media revolution. We've been dabbling with Facebook and Twitter for a while alongside our blog but now we've gone for it big time. Our Twitter -ati are a select band but we've got close on 1000 followers on Facebook now.
We've taken a while to embrace social media because we wanted to be sure we could do it justice. We love classic cars first and foremost so our Twitter and Facebook posts tend to be about what we're up to - not just shameless plugs for stuff we sell.
Now you can follow Great Escape Classic Car Hire on Facebook and Twitter direct from the Great Escape website. We've added links to Facebook, Twitter and our own blog on every page of our site.
We've been blogging, twitter and facebooking for ages now on whatever crosses our mind but always involving classic cars. We live and breath classic cars here at Great Escape towers and we don't think about an awful lot else. Our social media contributions vary from the irreverent to the serious, including advice and assistance on running and maintaining classic cars. Our classics are amongst the highest mileage examples of their kind and while we don't claim to be experts we're very happy to pass on our experience of owning and running classic cars on a daily basis. This is the kind of stuff we post. Oh, and you'll also find the occasional special offer and news on additions to our classic car hire fleet - we're only human after all.
Click on the links to view our Facebook, Twitter and Great Classic Cars blog pages.

48 hours with 24 cylinders

They just don't make engines like the classic Jaguar 5.3 litre V12 any more. It's an engine so smooth that you can safely balance a £1 coin on it while it is running. After you've driven a V12, everything else just seems unrefined.

Great Escape Classic Car Hire in Worcestershire has launched a special weekend driving experience that lets you sample two applications of this iconic engine. Called the V12 Dilemma, the package lets you put this 285 bhp engine to the test in two of its most iconic settings - the Jaguar E Type convertible and the Jaguar XJS convertible. These cars represent two very different approaches to grand touring from two different eras, but sharing the same engine. Spend 24 hours touring the Cotswolds in each car and then tell us which you think is best. The package includes use of both cars and accommodation in a luxury B&B.

You can choose to start your experience in either car. Then spend 24 hours driving the first car before we deliver the second car to your local accommodation. Tour the Cotswolds in that car - using our recommended routes if you want - and then return to our storage site 24 hours later.

In addition to our normal hire package the V12 Dilemma experience includes free extras worth £100, including delivery and collection of one car to your local accommodation and a gourmet picnic lunch for two.

With the V12 Dilemma you can choose to head north, south, east of west from the Great Escape storage site and travel as far or as little as you like. We'll discuss your preferences and create a bespoke package to suit you.

1973 Jaguar E Type Roadster

Regularly voted the most beautiful car ever made, the E Type is the archetypical classic car. When Jaguar dropped its ultra-smooth V121 5.3 litre engine into the Series 3 EType it created a brilliant grand tourer that is effortlessly powerful. Over 30 years after it went out of production the E Type is a car that bears the weight of expectations ably on its curvaceous shoulders. The Great Escape E Type is a late Series 3 with Old English White paintwork, black leather interior, four speed manual gearbox and power steering.

1988 Jaguar XJS Convertible

When Jaguar replaced the beautifil EType with the lithe XJS in 1975 buyers were surprised. But the XJS went on to outsell the E Type and remain in production for longer. Today coupe and convertible XJS' are sought-after classics recognised for their style and presence. Jaguar finally chopped the roof off the XJS in 1988 and created the elegant convertible, generally acknowledge as the most attractive variant. The Great Escape Jaguar XJS is an early 1988 pre-facelift V112 convertible with light blue metalllic paintwork and blue leather interior with walnut dashboard. It is fitted with every available optional extra including heated seats, cruise control, powwer roof, air conditioning and a trip computer. It benefits from a TWR rear seat conversion to create a 'compact' four seater.

V12 Dilemma Package at a Glance

  • 24 hrs each in two classic Jaguar V12 convertibles
  • Includes free local delivery and collection
  • Includes free gourmet picnic lunch for two
  • No mileage limit
  • Two full day suggested driving routes provided
  • Insurance, breakdown cover, carbon offsetting and parking for your own car included
  • Great Escape DVD
  • Available as a Gift Voucher package valid for 12 months

Total package price is £650 including car hire and accommodation. For more information click here or call 01527 893733. The package is available to buy online as a gift voucher at http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk and is valid for 12 months.

It's Never Too Late For Christmas

Great Escape Classic Car Hire has come to the aid of last minute Christmas online shoppers with an extra incentive. Buy any Great Escape classic car hire gift voucher on 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd December and Great Escape will send it out special delivery 24 hour post. That means a guaranteed gift for Christmas - even if you may have left it a little late.

The new Great Escape offer is on top of the company's existing 10% discount on all vouchers. That brings the cost of classic car hire down to just £110 for 24 hours, with unlimited mileage, insurance and breakdown cover all included.

Great Escape Classic Car Hire operates the largest fleet of specialist classic and sports cars for hire in the UK, from six locations in Worcestershire, Suffolk, Yorkshire, Dorset, Shropshire and East Midlands.

Great Escape Christmas gift vouchers are available to buy online 24 hrs a day at www.greatescapecars.co.uk or by calling 01527 893733.

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Shop til you drop

Great Escape Classic Car Hire has launched its online shop specialising in classic car breaks, driving experiences and automobilia. The range of products are perfect gifts - package prices start at just £125.
We have developed a range of exclusive classic car breaks and experiences that are only available from Great Escape. We've used our experience working with large corporate clients to bring you some genuinely different and unusual packages, such as our Double Oh James Bond break and our English Gardens holiday.
The new packages and experiences are for sale alongside vouchers for our classic car hire. We have a fleet of 50 classic cars available to hire from 6 sites across the UK in Yorkshire, Suffolk, Cotswolds, Dorset, Shropshire and East Midlands.
Great Escape is also developing a range of automobilia including diecast models, posters, photographic prints, keyrings and clothing that can be bought on its own or to complement a Great Escape gift voucher. The new automobilia range will be launched in January 2011.
"Our new online gift shop for classic car breaks and experiences includes unique packages direct from the provider," explains Graham Eason of Great Escape. "They are availabe to buy as gift vouchers valid for 12 months. We have developed partnerships with several local providers and used our experience of great driving routes to create some genuinely unique packages. Prices start at just £125."
For more details on the Great Escape shop visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/ or call 01527 893733.
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60% off with Living Social

Great Escape Classic Car Hire has teamed up with Living Social, the discount voucher provided, to create a unique deal on our popular Gourmet Classic Car Package. This package normally retails at £499 and includes 24 hours sports car hire, touring routes and picnic. Living Social members get exactly the same deal for just £199. It's our gift for Christmas.
You can find out about the Living Social deal by clicking here - even if you aren't already a Living Social member it only takes a minute to sign up. The voucher is valid until the end of April 2011 and includes insurance, unlimited mileage and breakdown cover. The deal covers cars like our MGB and Alfa Romeo Spider and is valid from our sites in Yorkshire, Suffolk and Cotswolds. The package is available through our sister company The Getaway Driver, which organises driving experiences and classic car breaks.
To find out more about Great Escape's classic car hire fleet visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/ or call 01527 893733

6 more days to buy a great gift

There are just 6 more days left before the last date for 1st class post to arrive in time for Christmas. That means just 144 hours left to decide on a Christmas gift. And if you're still trying to decide, chances are you're trying to buy for someone that either has everything or wants nothing. For exactly such a person we've created the Great Escape Classic Car Hire gift voucher package.
Prices for Great Escape gift packages start at just £110 with our special Christmas discount. For that princely sum someone you know and love could spend 24 hours behind the wheel of a great classic sports car. We have a fleet of over 50 cars available at 6 UK locations - so whatever car they like and where you are or want to go, chances are we can help. Every classic car hire gift voucher is valid for 12 months and insurance, breakdown cover and unlimited mileage are all included in the price.

Great Escape guarantees to deliver all gift vouchers bought by 21st December in time for Christmas. Or we'll give you an extra day's hire free of charge. For more details visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/ or call 01527 893733. To claim your Christmas discount of 10% off everything use discount code 'Christmas'.

And they're off

It's been a sad old weekend for us here at Great Escape Classic Car Hire. First off our trusty 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee gave up the ghost when the head gasket blew. It's towed virtually every one of our classic cars for hire this year, covering 10,000 miles in the service of delivering and collecting cars for customers all over the UK. It became more than a workhorse, more of a trusted member of the team. Sadly it's not worth repairing it so it's off for spares or repair via Ebay.
Then on Saturday we despatched our 1994 Jaguar X300 XJR and 1984 Ford Capri S to new owners. We love both these cars but decided to move them on. Both cars have been popular but we like to keep our fleet fresh - and with space at a premium we had to do some brutal cutting. So until we move to our new unit early next year we won't be replacing these cars. But expect some exciting new additions in the first quarter.
It is a shame for these cars to go as the Jaguar XJR is a real sleeper classic - brutal performancecombined with genuinely cossetting luxury. All for a bargain basement price. They can't stay this cheap for much longer. Same with the Ford Capri 2 litre S. Every Capri fan wants a 2.8 but we'll let you into a secret - in terms of bangs for your buck, the 2 litre is hard to beat. We really like the woofly urge of our Ford Capri Brooklands for hire but the 2 litre is wonderfully chuckable and light. And not much slower than the 2.8.
So congratulations to David and Martin the new owners of the XJR and Capri, we hope you enjoy your purchases. We did.

Join the first Great Escape Classic Car Rally

Great Escape Classic Car Hire has announced its inaugural Easter 2011 Classic Car Rally. The experience involves a full day, 120 mile drive on some of our favourite roads in the Cotswolds and features up to 8 classic cars from across our fleet of 50 classics.
The unique event, the first of its kind from Great Escape, is an ideal way to sample a range of different classic cars. The day lasts at least 9 hours with almost continuous driving. The tour is attractively priced at just £245 per driver or £395 for two when booked at the same time. This includes use of at least five classic cars, fuel, lunch and guided 120 mile tour.
"We have been organising classic car days for corporate clients for some time," explains Graham Eason of Great Escape. "We have a format that works so we decided to make it available to private clients.
"This is a great way to sample a wide range of classics - we have the largest fleet for hire in the UK so there is plenty of choice."
Everyone who signs up for the day gets the chance to vote for the cars they would like to drive. These votes will be used by Great Escape to select the hire fleet for the day.
The classic car rally is available for a maximum of 16 people with up to 8 cars. Drivers can attend with non-drivers.
To find out more click here or call 01527 893733.

East Midlands Classic Car Hire Fleet Unveiled

Great Escape Classic Car Hire has announced its launch fleet for its new site in the East Midlands near Nottingham. The new location, which will serve Nottingham, Sheffield, Derby and M1/A1 corridor, launches with a hand-picked fleet of four cars.
The new East Midlandsclassic car hire fleet has a Rolls Royce Silver Spirit, Alfa Romeo Spider, Morris Minor convertible and classic Mini Cooper. This range of saloons and convertibles is available at a starting price of just £145 for 24 hours. Like the rest of the Great Escape fleet, the East Midlands cars will be backed by a transparent hire package which includes a full 24 hours use for every day booked, comprehensive insurance, full AA breakdown cover and unlimited mileage. All cars are subject to quarterly ramp inspections to maintain their reliability and an 18-point pre-hire inspection.
The new East Midlands site is run by a local classic car enthusiast who can provide plenty of information on ideal routes and places to visit, stay and eat.
For more information on the Great Escape Classic Car Hire East Midlands fleet click here.
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No business like snow business

As we huddle around the Jaguar E Type heater here at Great Escape towers craving warmth as the snow swirls outside, our thoughts turn to the best classic car for the snowy weather. We've been here before - last winter, without a 4x4 to depend on (the very dependable Larry the Jeep Laredo), we had to skid around in the Ford Capri. Fun at the time, and surprisingly effective as a snow plough.
The first question to ask, of course, is whether you should use a classic in the snow at all. In the face of salt and safety, the answer is probably no. Classics like to rust a lot and they are somewhat bereft of the nannying features like airbags, ESP, ABS and the like which keep modern drivers so well insulated from their actions. But if we just decided never to use them in the snow then it wouldn't make much of an article frankly so lets assume we're talking strictly hypothetically.
To work well in the snow, conventional wisdom has it that a car should be either 4 wheel drive or front wheel drive. This rules out most classic cars, which are resolutely rear wheel drive. And, to be fair, much more fun. The Great Escape Classic Car Hire Ford Capri may have been rear wheel drive but it was a lot of fun in the snow and coped extremely well. Which may be down to the second rule for snow driving success - narrow tyres and high profile rims. Our Capri runs on 175 r14 tyres, which might be laughable in today's world of 245 20 inch rims but it was us laughing as we sailed past the stranded BMWs and Mercedes. Narrow high profile tyres literally cut through the snow and ice rather than skate across it, as fat tyres do.
Snow-plugging cars also need to be light - or have four wheel drive. A light car needs less power to keep going and is inherently more nimble when the going gets tough. On a slippery hill a low power, light car will keep going when a powerful, heavy car gets stuck. Plus, it has the added advantage of being much easier to push out of trouble.
Classic cars also have the advantage over modern cars because they lack so-called driver aids like ESP (traction control), which prevents cars losing traction. ESP cuts power to a spinning wheel. This is great news on damp roads or sudden sharp bends, but unfortunately the car can't differentiate between these and a snowy, icy road. Consequently, when the going gets tough in the snow and the wheels need to spin to clear the ice and gain traction, the ESP system simply cuts power to the spinning wheels. So the car can't move.
The trick with maintaining momentum and traction in the snow is to select a high gear and manipulate the clutch and throttle. This tends to be easier in older cars which have mechanically operated clutch, gearbox and throttle, giving the driver greater feel and control compared to modern 'fly by wire' type systems.
So despite the onset of modern driver aids, perhaps classic cars are better in the snow than modern cars because they are simpler. But what classic would be best for snow driving? Pushing aside classic 4x4s because they're just cheating, at Great Escape Classic Car Hire we'd probably plump for a front wheel drive 1980s classic like a Golf GTI mk1 - light, fairly powerful, no driver aids and narrow high profile tyres. The problem is, we wouldn't want to take our mint 1982 example out in the snow!