Morris Minor on Antiques Road Trip

The Great Escape Classic Car Hire Morris Minor convertible based in the East Midlands is the star of BBC2 this week. It features in the second series of BBC2's popular Antiques Road Trip programme aired 31st January to 4th February 5.15pm to 6pm.
The Antiques Road Trip production team used the Morris for filming between May and August 2010. The car was chosen because of its quirky looks, high standard of quality and bright paintwork. The car performed (almost) fautlessly over several thousand miles in the BBC's service - the only hiccups were a faulty starter motor (fixed overnight) and damage inflicted by a bus.
Great Escape Classic Car Hire worked with the production team throughout the filming to help deliver and collect the car. We also had to a work to an inevitably constantly changing schedule, coordinating our regional sites in Yorkshire, Suffolk, Dorset and Worcestershire to provide the car for the production team.
For more information on the Morris Minor Convertible for hire call 01527 893733 or visit htp://www.greatescapecars.co.uk.
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A Great V8

The Great Escape Classic Car Hire Rover SD1 Vitesse has been a bit of a star this year. It's featured in three classic car magazines so far, including a weekend tour of Suffolk organised by our sister company The Getaway Driver.
So we thought it was about time we put some miles on the car ourselves. At Great Escape we generally use a selection of the cars as our daily drivers, partly to keep them active (particularly during the winter) and also to help us keep track of how well they are running.
The Rover was therefore pressed into service when we needed to collect some bulky parts for our project Alfa Romeo Spider. The parts - a new set of wheels and a leather interior - were down in deepest darkest Kent, 160 miles from our Worcestershire base. To complicate matters a little we also need to pick up some office furniture in Kingswinford near Dudley.
On a -6 degree Monday morning we fired up the lusty V8, warmed it through and hit the road. The Rover is fitted with the rare homologation special Twin Plenum version of the venerable Rover 3500 V8 and is fitted with fuel injection, so it pushes out a very healthy 190 bhp. This is mated to a five speed manual gearbox, that stirs the torquey motor along nicely.
We left rural Worcestershire, jostled with the traffic up the M5 then nudged along through endless traffic lights to Kingswinford. With the back seat folded the capacious Rover swallowed the big cabinet. Then it was back down to our Worcestershire base to drop the cabinet and hit the road south.
The Rover SD1 was designed to munch miles under the tutelage of senior executives who wanted comfort as well as pace. And 25 years after this example was made it still does the job admirably. The sports suspension is a little too bouncy but the big seats - which really are like an armchair - and light steering make long distances effortless. But it really is all about that sonrous V8 - it rumbles silently at 75, barely above tickover, with plenty of power available instantly. Only the slightly odd driving position - knees up, arms stretched - and the non-standard big bore exhaust fitted by a previous owner (which rumbles a little too much for our aging ears) detract from the overall experience. Oh, and the shockingly bad build quality - this is a car that feels like it could easily just collapse if the wind gets up too much. But you forget all that when you exercise the V8. It's a peach of an engine, smooth and very torquey, pulling from low revs right round to the red line in a seamless flow of power. Every gearchange is a joy as it brings the motor back to the start of the slope. The Rover V8 was so ubiquitous for so long that it is easy to forget just how good it was - good enough to power everything from Land Rovers to TVRs.
The rumbling Rover drew plenty of admiring glances from fellow road users and during our service station breaks. It really is a great looking car, possibly the best looking saloon car of the last 30 years. Sure, it's a pastiche of the Ferrari Daytona but what better inspiration can there be?
We circuited the M25, collected the parts (4 wheels and tyres, 2 seats and 2 door cards) with space to spare and headed back, fortunately avoiding the late afternoon snarl. The only hold up along the journey was an accident near the M23 - despite stop start driving the 25 year old car behaved itself and the temperature guage remained resolutely at 90.
In all we spent over 8 hours driving the big Rover and covered 370 miles at 30 mpg. Not bad for a brutish, big-horsepower supersaloon.
To find out more about the Rover Vitesse for hire from Great Escape Classic Car Hire visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/ or cal 01527 893733.

Book online and save

Great Escape Classic Car Hire is rewarding customers who make our life easier. Online bookings save us time and cost less to process, so we're giving you the saving. When you book your hire dates online we'll give you 5% off the total.
By simply entering discount code 'web' at the online prompt, Great Escape customers can save money 24 hours a day when they book any of our 50 cars from any of our 6 locations. The discount only applies to cars booked for specific dates - it does not apply to gift vouchers.
We are the only classic car hire company in the UK with a full online booking and reservations system. The secure system can be accessd anywhere in the world 24 hours a day. The system books cars and dates up to 12 months in advance - and shows availability throughout the year.
"Our online system is a simple and easy way to book classic car hire," explains Graham Eason of Great Escape. "It is easy for our customers, particularly those overseas. It is also quicker and easier for us to process bookings. So we're handing back the saving.
"We realise times are tough for everyone so hopefully this 5% discount will benefit everyone."
For more information visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/ or call 01527 893733.
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The Jensen Interceptor is back (just ours that is)

Last autumn the Great Escape Classic Car Hire Cotswold site's Jensen Interceptor came a cropper on some armco, thanks to a wet road and powerful rear wheel drive. We got the car over to Cropredy Bridge Garage near Banbury, who specialise in Jensens. Now the car is back after major surgery.
There are plenty of Jensen Interceptors out there and the relatively low purchase prices that this sustains tends to mask the fact that this is a genuinely hand built bespoke car. Consequently, repairing the bodywork on a Jensen is a major task. The car also falls into the rare category of being a high volume handbuilt car, built by a company with constant cashflow problems. This means that build quality varies car to car and despite a programme of continuous cosmetic development by Jensen, the fundamental weaknesses of the car (which would have been expensive to rectify) remained, such as dodgy wiring (usually caused by heat soak) and poor quality ancillary components.
So when we knew that our Jensen Interceptor in the Cotswolds was going in for lengthy repair work we decided to invest in other improvements. The insurance work involved rebuilding the front suspension, respraying over half the car and rectifying various dents inflicted during the accident. In addition we had the rot fixed elsewhere on the car and fettled the engine and electrics. This work, which took several months to complete, cost in excess of £16,000.
Sure, we could have bought another Interceptor for that kind of money. But we need a reliable, high quality hire vehicle. This car has been on hire for two years, we know it inside out and we have continuously improved it. A new car would start without any track record - and no doubt would also need work in a year or two.
This experience, plus running Jensen Interceptor hire cars for 5 years and 60,000 miles, has taught us a few lessons, not just about these cars but hand built cars in general. Here goes.

1. Always use specialists - whatever the workshop manual says, these are handbuilt cars and every one is different. Specialists like Cropredy Bridge have seen most of the variations before

2. Pre-empt maintenance, don't react. We need reliable cars so we check and recheck and replace before failure. But it also saves us money by avoiding knock-on deterioration and damage

3. Buy a handbuilt car first and foremost on bodywork - it will always cost more to fix than anything else

4. Use good quality lubricants

5. Buy a carcoon - or use a dry and watertight storage unit (to protect the bodywork)

6. Agree a price for any major repair work before work starts - and regularly check up on it

7. Use it - Jensens hate lack of use

Perhaps these lessons are obvious, in which case they bear repeating. The Jensen is a very good classic car to own. But anyone buying one because they're cheap will get burned. Like the Porsche 928 (which we have also owned), the Jensen is a bargain, but only compared to an Iso or AC or Aston Martin. You can buy a Jensen for a fraction of the cost of one of those and get a car that is just as good if not better. But you need pockets just as deep as the Aston, AC and Iso owner.
For more information on hiring the Great Escape Jensen Interceptor cars based in Yorkshire and Cotswolds call 01527 893733 or visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/

Get revved up for love

With Valentine's Day less than 3 weeks away we're getting in the mood for love at Great Escape. Before you splutter over your morning coffee (or afternoon latte) we'll be clear - it's purely in the interests of research. We've perused the Mills & Boon back issues and put together a series of four unique and frankly unusual Valentine-themed driving experiences that will surely please the man or woman in your life. And what's more - they're great to share.
The packages include our Romantic Classic Car Day, Dinner & Drive evening, Bella Italia latin-themed love-in and our Romantic Grand Tour.
You can find out more by clicking here. Each experience is not just about driving a cool romantic classic - we've included touring routes with great scenery and wonderful dining experiences too. And with a choice of beautiful classic cars to hire from our white Morris Minor convertible to a Jensen Interceptor coupe, we feel sure we've set the scene for romance this Valentine's Day.
The new Valentine's Day packages are all available from Great Escape Classic Car Hire's largest site in Worcestershire, close to the Cotswolds. Some of the packages include delivery of the car to your hotel or home locally - or collect from our convenient central site.
Great Escape Classic Car Hire offers the widest range of classic cars to hire in the UK from 6 locations in Yorkshire, Suffolk, Worcestershire, East Midlands, Shropshire and Dorset. For more information visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/ or call 01527 893733.

New territory for Ferrari, but not for Jensen

Ferrari has unveiled the frankly gorgeous Ferrari FF, due to be launched shortly at the Geneva show. This four wheel drive supercoupe is the first ever all wheel drive car with a prancing horse badge. But it's not a new idea.
The clue is in the name. FF, deliberately or otherwise, is a copy of the name Jensen applied to its four wheel drive Interceptor back in 1966. That was the first ever four wheel drive car, using the innovative Ferguson Formula system (hence FF). The Ferrari FF also bears more than a passing resemblance to the Jensen Interceptor, following the classic long nose, rounded tale style that was popularised by the Jensen 40 years ago.

We really like the Ferrari FF here at Great Escape Classic Car Hire. It's got classic, elegant styling and it's good to see traditionalist Ferrari embracing four wheel drive technology (although we hope it doesn't lead to a Porsche Cayenne competitor). We also love the Jensen Interceptor. Jensen was way, way ahead of its time with the remarkable Jensen Interceptor FF, a car that pre-empted the Audi Quattro 30 years later. It's a shame nobody else has made the link between the two FFs because it's about time someone gave Jensen the acclaim it deserves - in particular chief engineer Kevin Beatty.

To experience something of the Ferrari FF's grand touring capabilities you can hire a Jensen Interceptor from Great Escape Classic Car Hire for £245 per day, considerably less than it costs to buy a Ferrari FF. Call 01527 893733 or visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/.

Clarkson Likes a Classic Car Shock

The new 2011 series of Top Gear started last night and, amongst a lengthy digression on the distinctly unscintillating Skoda Yeti, Clarkson found time to heap, yes, fully heap praise on the new Jensen Interceptor R - "Isn't that just a fantastic looking car" said the poodle-haired petrolhead. He then went on to say he'd love to own one just so he could say "Let's take the Interceptor."
The 40 year old design achieved its moment in the limelight thanks to its re-relaunch by the consortium that originally developed the Jensen Interceptor S. The R is effectively the S under a new, bizarrely retrograde, name following the collapse of the company that originally made them. For £105,000 the company will take your Jensen Interceptor, ditch the Chrysler engine, fit a Corvette engine and gearbox plus independent rear suspension and give you what is effectively a brand new car.

At Great Escape Classic Car Hire we're not entirely sure how we feel about the Jensen Interceptor R. We loved the idea of the Interceptor S when we first heard about it, because after all there isn't much sign of a new Jensen on the horizon so anything that injects some interest in the marque is worthwhile. But the car failed to find enough buyers first time around and so we're a little worried that the relaunch could end up further dragging the Jensen name through the mire. But these guys clearly love Jensen Interceptors as much as we do so we have to wish them the best. And anything that gets Clarkson enthusiastic is probably not a bad thing.

You can find out more about the Jensen Interceptor R by following this link. To hire an original big block Jensen Interceptor in Yorkshire or Worcestershire, call 01527 893733 or visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/.

Breakdown not break down

The trouble with old cars is that they like to play up. No matter how much money you spend on them and how many new parts you fit, you can only ever reduce the risk of breakdown, you just can't eliminate it.

We can only go so far to guarantee the reliability of old cars, some of which are over 50 years old. We also believe that when you hire one of our cars you should be able to enjoy it to the full, so we offer full 24 hour hire and unlimited mileage. That's why at Great Escape Classic Car Hire we provide full AA nationwide breakdown cover with all of our 50 classic rental cars. So wherever you go and wherever you are, you're in safe hands.

We commit to never leaving you stranded. So we back up our AA breakdown service with local mobile phone support seven days a week. If we can get to you we'll bring another car. If we can't we'll keep in touch with you and the AA to ensure the problem is resolved swiftly and easily.

Our support services were put to the test this weekend when our trusty Aston Martin DB6 decided to play up. This car travels thousands of miles a year and has had over £10,000 spent on it in the last 6 months. So we were surprised to receive a customer's call late on Saturday night when the alternator on the car failed on Saturday night. The customer was in a very remote location in the Welsh Borders and obviously concerned. A combination of AA cover, a very helpful AA patrol man (who followed the car back to our unit) and our phone support meant the customer was sorted out quickly and with the minimum of inconvenience. We even went out to the car that night to check the customer was ok and to assist with any transport requirements.

We hate breakdowns but the real issue is how you deal with them. Some classic car hire companies do not provide full nationwide breakdown service and make extra charges for recovery outside a given area. Had the Aston customer broken down with such a classic car hire company they could have faced considerable costs to recover the car. A breakdown like that is our problem - and our responsibility.

Bigger fleet in East Midlands

Great Escape Classic Car Hire has finally launched our full 2011 fleet for our new East Midlands site. It's taken a while to sort logistics but we've now got a range of classic hire cars that we think suits most tastes. Although we're still struggling to decide on a name for this new base - East Midlands is accurate but it doesn't quite express the many places you can reach quickly, such as the Derbyshire Dales and unspoilt East Coast. So we're working on it.

In the meantime, East Midlands site it is. Which is handy to get to from the M1 and A1 and easy to reach exactly those places we just mentioned.

The new East Midlands fleet includes seven classic cars ranging from a Morris Minor to a Rolls Royce and covering Aston Martin, Jaguar, Alfa Romeo and MGB in between. We've included some old favourites like the Jaguar Mk2 and MGB convertible alongside some less familiar classic hire cars, such as the Aston Martin V8 coupe and Rolls Royce Silver Spirit. All cars are available to hire by the day, weekend or week. Our prices are totally transparent - so the price you see is the full price you pay and includes everything you need to fully enjoy the car. So we include a full 24 hours use, unlimited mileage (except the Rolls Royce), comprehensive insurance and of course full AA breakdown cover nationwide.

You can find out more about our East Midlands classic car hire fleet on the Great Escape website at http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk or call 01527 893733.

MGB V8 in the Cotswolds

We've gone and added another MGB to our fleet, this time a full fat V8 roadster to hire in Worcestershire for the Cotswolds. MG only ever got as far as dropping the burbly Rover V8 into the MGB GT, creating what for many was the car the MGB always aspired to be. Our MGB V8 is a roadster that has been professionally restored and retro-fitted with the Rover V8.

The latest addition to Great Escape Classic Car Hire's fleet means we now have seven MGs to hire across the UK, including 5 MGBs. The MG classic hire fleet includes MGB, MGB GT, MGB V8, MGA and MG TD, the widest range of classic MGs to hire anywhere in Britain. The new V8 is finished in beautiful Nightfire Red with a black leather interior and minilite wheels. The car is in excellent condition and perfect for touring the enjoyable driving roads and lanes of the Cotswolds.

The MGB V8 is launched onto our hire fleet at the same price to hire as our conventional 1800cc cars. To find out more call 01527 893733 or visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/.

Driving a classic hire car with confidence

At Great Escape Classic Car Hire we've just spent several thousand pounds renewing our AA nationwide breakdown cover. This covers every one of our 50 classic cars for hire and every hirer. It means that wherever you go - and with our unlimited mileage package, it can be virtually anywhere - you're guaranteed of full breakdown support, whatever happens.

When you're hiring a classic car for the day or weekend we're pretty sure you want complete peace of mind After all, it's a big day - our cars are often hired for weddings, anniversaries and birthdays - so you want everything to go as smoothly as possible. So while the level of breakdown cover offered by your hire company is often easy to overlook - or you naturally assume it is in place - it remains a very important consideration when choosing a classic car hire company.

The reliability of our classic car fleet is vital to our business. So at Great Escape Classic Car Hire we spend at least 35% of all hire income on maintaining our cars. In 2011 we're even setting up our own in-house servicing department to further improve the levels of reliability. Our cars cover very high mileages for classic cars and our breakdown rate is very low. But no matter what we do and how much we spend we can never guarantee 100% reliability. That's why we invest thousands of pounds every year in providing full nationwide AA breakdown cover with our cars.

Unfortunately not every classic car hire company offers full nationwide breakdown support. While every member of the Historic & Classic Car Hirers Guild (including Great Escape) offers full breakdown cover, hidden in the small print of some companies' terms and conditions are clauses that make the customer responsible for recovering a broken down car. Some companies offer no cover at all while others only offer limited cover within a certain distance from their sites. If you venture outside a given distance from the collection site you may be liable for the recovery cost. You may also be liable for the breakdown company's call-out charge.

"Classic car hire is a real treat for those lucky enough to experience it," explains Graham Eason of Great Escape Classic Car Hire. "We want everything to go as smoothly as possible. But, along with every classic car hire company, we can't guarantee the reliability of old cars.

"That's why we provide full nationwide AA breakdown cover with every car. So if there is a problem, wherever our customer is they'll get full support. We believe it is wrong to expect the customer to be inconvenienced or financially penalised if the car breaks down.

"It is our responsibility to look after the customer."

The Great Escape Classic Car Hire AA recovery package is also supported by the company's own local recovery system. If a customer experiences a problem with a Great Escape car near to base, Great Escape is committed to attending quickly and where possible bringing an alternative car to the customer, so that they can then continue their journey.

"If we can we'll take a car out as quickly as possible to local customers," explains Graham Eason. "We then wait for the AA so that the customer doesn't have to Or we'll recover the car using our own trailers."

Great Escape is the UK's largest classic car hire company and has been named as one of the Heart of England's best tourism experiences. The company operates 50 cars from 6 UK locations. For more details visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/ or call 01527 893733.




MP visits Great Escape

Karen Lumley, MP for Redditch, visited Great Escape Classic Car Hire's Worcestershire HQ in January to hear about the company's development and discuss Government plans to assist small businesses.
During the meeting Karen heard about the problems Great Escape, along with many small businesses, is experiencing with the banks.
"We have grown by 300% in 12 months but we are struggling to obtain commercially realistic conventional bank loan funding to support our growth," explains Graham Eason of Great Escape. "I wanted to meet Karen to express my concerns and find out how the Government is going to get banks lending again.
"It is particularly frustrating for us as the bank we are with was bailed out by the taxpayer.
"I found that Karen Lumley was very sympathetic. Her experience running a small local businesses meant she understood the problems we face first hand."
Great Escape is shortly moving to new, larger premises and setting up a servicing business. So Karen Lumley also discussed the grants and funding available to take on apprentices and other staff.
"We have been told that many Government schemes to get people back into work have been withdrawn," explains Graham. "But Karen provided information on new schemes that will benefit us."

Try before you buy - 1974 Jensen Interceptor by Matt Nichols

Freelance journalist Matt Nichols recently hired our Jensen Interceptor for a weekend. Here's his verdict.

Car

1974 Jensen Interceptor Mk111

Supplied By

Graham Eason



Suffolk, Dorset, Worcestershire, Shropshire and Yorkshire24 hr Hire Cost: £245.0048 hr Hire Cost

2 days, £445.00 (1 day - £245)

Additional 24 hours

£175.00

Security Deposit

£750.00 (Not pre-charged to card)
Having just spent the day with a 1974 Jensen Interceptor MK111 on a 250 mile circular route starting and ending in Worcestershire and taking in Bristol, Chepstow, Monmouth, Symonds Yat, Ross-on-Wye, Pershore, Evesham and Inkberrow, I feel strongly inclined to announce at every opportunity ‘This is your captain speaking, cabin crew please prepare the aircraft for take-off’. Because after the success of the day spent with the Alfa GTV I booked the Jensen, this time from Graham Eason at ‘Great Escape Classic Car Hire’ in order to compare driving one of the smallest 2+2 coupes from the 1970’s to one of the biggest. The Interceptor has also intrigued me from when I very first saw it appear in various films and as a lover of interior car designs I was smitten a long time back by the array of dials, vents and switches that expand its vast dashboard. Couple this to a 7.2 litre Chrysler engine and lazy 3 speed Torqueflite automatic gearbox and you get one car hero I just had to meet.
The particular Jensen Interceptor we had did not disappoint either, except of course for the slight chink in otherwise near-perfect armoury, I am of course referring to the 14mpg we averaged, or to put it another way travelling 250 miles consumed £100 worth of fuel. So I won’t be mentioning the E-word again because we all know that it’s a conversation stopper in this company. The aircraft analogy I started with works best in describing the way the car launches, reminding me of take-off in a commercial airliner, from the great swell of power as the turbines start to roar, to the slight delay as engine noise translates into actual forward momentum followed by the feeling you get sat inside as the pace increases almost exponentially that by the time terminal speed is reached the sheer size and mass of the thing means absolutely nothing will stop it, truly awesome.
In fact whilst driving along I found myself looking for situations where having just burbled through a town or village with the auto-box insisting on finding 3rd gear at just over tick-over, particularly in one case when sat behind an E-Type Jag at a set of traffic lights with the combination of very loud V12 and V8 engines meaning that passers by didn’t quite know what to do and ended up staring in disbelief with their mouths wide open. To then exit and on spotting the national speed limit signs either floor the throttle for the full kick-down experience of never ending thrust, or instead opt for the half throttle approach that keeps the box in 3rd gear to produce that lovely wobbly V8 sound as the engine purrs its way along before lifting again for the next corner or restricted speed area. Both equate to instant forgiveness of the Interceptor’s drink problem replaced instead by a new self-indulgent and potentially very expensive big-block V8 habit that is extremely intoxicating.
I also got accustomed to having to firmly press the large double width brake pedal at times because even from the off as soon as you select D on the auto-box the engine wants to, and lets face has the necessary torque to, drag the whole car forwards at walking speed without even a tickle of the throttle pedal. This initially caught me out when getting off the drive particularly with very cold and ineffective brakes requiring a very firm press indeed, making me feel like someone trying to keep control of a fresh four or six horse stage coach eager to get going shouting things like ‘woooo’ and sloooo’ whilst pulling on the reins with all their might. On the move this scenario repeats itself as you approach junctions and roundabouts especially when shedding off the last 5-10mph when it’s not only the near 2 ton mass the all round disc brakes have to cope with but also the shove from the engine fighting to maintain forwards momentum. In the end I either just snicked it into neutral, or if on a slow roll 2nd or 1st gear which all proved to be good, rein-like solutions.
Having tuned into both the acceleration and retardation aspects of this big coupe focus next shifted to understanding its handling capabilities and general road manners. I already knew it was big and heavy and as a marque came with absolutely zero motorsports history to hark back to, but the biggest surprise of all was just how well it dealt with corners whether one at a time or navigating left-right combos. Because the Jensen does it rather well, a credit to its 1950’s chassis design, meaning huge pleasure can be taken in placing it on the road with surprisingly low levels of under or over-steer despite the mass. In fact the only time things started to get a bit carried away were on stretches of road that caused the car to pitch front to back as the Panhard rod, acting on the live rear axle, oscillates the back of the car in a sideways arc as the weighty body bounces up and down. In these situations there is no choice but to lift and allow things to settle back down, although bump-steer aside the car was a pleasure to wind through the A and B roads of Worcestershire through to Wales and back again.
It was definitely a memorable day with the only small gripe being the lack of cabin ventilation meaning if it rains, which it did, then things get steamed up despite the impressive maritime styled knobs located on the wide central console indicating temperature and fan speed options. Jensen and time have both helped resolve the problem to some extent with electric windows that don’t always close properly leaving an inch or two’s worth of fresh air to circulate and help maintain vision. That said we thoroughly enjoyed our time with the Interceptor and what really did it was a combination of the cosseting comfort and ride, overall look and feel, dashboard switches and dials, massive V8 under the long square bonnet and easy going auto-box hiding the devil that lurks inside that comes out to reap havoc every time you prod it hard enough with your right foot, quite superb.
Matt Nichols


Verdict
1974 Jensen Interceptor MK111
Driving
Ticks all the boxes as long as you stick to decent sized and relatively smooth A and B roads and can live with the 10-14mpg.
Engine
Gentle until aroused when it becomes the beast from hell with a V8 soundtrack that should be bottled and sold to every petrolhead in the land
Performance
7,212cc V8 ohv four-barrel carburettor
300-330 bhp through the rear wheels
380 lb/ft torque at 3,000 rpm
3 speed Torqueflite automatic gearbox
1980 kg kerb weight
135 mph top speed
7.5 Secs 0-60 mph
Brakes
Brakes worked well, although keeping it in D wouldn’t let it drop below 5-10mph, whilst N, 1 and 2 all provided better options when crawling or coming to a stop.
Handling
Surprisingly good on fast flowing corners, but if the terrain gets bumpy so does the back of the car allowing the Panhard rod acting on the rear axle to start to affect the overall balance and steering.
Desirability
Looks the part although arguably because Jensen chose Chrysler over an in-house or British sourced motor residuals are nowhere near as strong as counterparts from the same era. We’d have one in a flash though.
Pro’s
Big beautiful 2+2 cruiser that stirs your sole with it’s excellent V8 motor, inspiring interior and cossetting ride and comfort.
Con’s
10-14 mpg and if you’re in the market some potentially expensive maintenance tasks given both the tight fitting big block V8 and large expanse of leather inside.
Overall
4/5

Classic car hire prices held until February 2011

At Great Escape Classic Car Hire we've decided to extend the season of goodwill by delaying the VAT increase on our prices until February 2011. So you can still buy gift vouchers and book classic car hire for any of our fleet of 50 cars from any of our 6 locations at 2010 prices.
"We decided to extend our 2010 prices and absorb the VAT increase as a gesture of goodwill," explains Graham Eason of Great Escape Classic Car Hire. "Times are tough for everyone and the VAT rise doesn't help. Our decision to offer a Christmas discount proved very popular with customer so we decided to extend the season of goodwill."
Great Escape Classic Car Hire operates the largest fleet of classic cars for hire in the UK from locations in Suffolk, Worcestershire, Shropshire, Yorkshire, East Midlands and Dorset. The fleet covers classic and performance cars from the 1950s to 2000s.
For more details call 01527 893733 or visit www.greatescapecars.co.uk
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Don't let the chauffeur have all the fun

For the second year running here at Great Escape we've noticed a significant trend towards self drive hire when brides and grooms book cars for their wedding. January is the busiest time for wedding bookings and it seems that wedding couples are turning away from chauffeur hire in favour of more flexible self drive hire options.
A chauffeur driven white Rolls Royce, Bentley or Jaguar has for decades been the staple of the wedding car hire world. But today couples are increasingly seeking something different - and in the current straightened economic times, something crucially cheaper. The development of flexible self drive wedding car hire packages by companies like Great Escape Classic Car Hire has enabled brides and grooms to cut their costs - and get behind the wheel of more interesting and varied cars.
Self drive hire wedding car packages for couples have many advantages. It means they can access a much wider range of classic cars for hire, typically including a range of colours and models. The range of chauffeur wedding cars available tend to be very similar whereas self drive cars are much more varied, ranging from Morris Minors to Aston Martins and retro cool 1970s and 1980s models like Ford Capris and Jensen Interceptors. Alongside the wider range of cars, self drive is also much more flexible than chauffeur hire. The hire period is generally 24 or 36 hours, rather than a strict 5 hour waiting time. The hirer is also in full control - so if the timings change on the day (which they usually do), the chauffeur isn't standing around tutting. This can lead to a more relaxed and enjoyable day. And by replacing the chauffeur, a family member, Best Man or the groom gets a chance to share the fun of driving the car.
Self drive wedding car hire is also considerably cheaper than chauffeur hire, and offers much more use of the car. Self drive packages from Great Escape Classic Car Hire start at £145 for a Morris Minor or £225 for a popular Jaguar Mk2. Comparable prices for chauffeur hire are usually 50-75% more.
Great Escape Classic Car Hire has developed new services to assist wedding couples with integrating a self drive wedding car into their big day. These include a 36 hour hire period, which enables the couple to collect the car on the day before and return it the morning after, without having to pay for a full 48 hours that they may not need. We also provide a delivery and collection service - often couples prefer to collect the car but the logistics of parties and honeymoons make returning the car difficult. So we will pick it up after the event for a small fee.
"We are finding that couples increasingly want a totally unique day," explains Graham Eason of Great Escape Classic Car Hire. "The internet has given people choice and made it easier to get it. Self drive wedding car hire is cheaper, more flexible and, frankly, more enjoyable than chauffeur hire. I think this is why we are seeing an increase in demand."
"We do still offer a traditional chauffeur hire service, " he adds. "It's still the right choice for many people who want a straightforward and traditional car service."
For more information on Great Escape Classic Car Hire's range of cars visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk. For details on its wedding services call 01527 893733 or visit Great Escape's wedding car pages.

E Types proves it's retro cool

When Easy Living needed a cool 1970s convertible for its retro 70s fashion shoot the Great Escape Classic Car Hire Jaguar E Type was the obvious choice. 50 years after its launch the Jaguar E Type remains one of the most popular and beautiful classic cars of all time. And the Great Escape car's white and black colour scheme fitted the style of the photography perfectly.
The feature appears in the February 2011 issue of Easy Living and includes a series of full page fashion images shot in London last summer. We provide cars regularly for photo and film shoots so we were able to pull together a schedule and plan the logistics at very short notice to suit the magazine's tight deadline. The car was delivered to the shoot in central London with a driver who attended for several days, including an extension to the schedule which we were able to handle. The driver assisted during the shoot with moving the car into and out of shot.
Easy Living magazine was very pleased with Great Escape Classic Car Hire's participation and praised our driver, who helped out on location over and above his job description.
"It is always great to see one of our cars featuring in a high quality fashion shoot," explains Graham Eason of Great Escape. "The E Type is a beautiful car and looks great on camera. Our customers are always interested to see the car they're driving featured in high profile TV and advertising work."
For more information on the Great Escape Classic Car Hire Jaguar E Type convertible for hire call 01527 893733 or visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk.
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Get romantic with Great Escape

It's time to put the back-to-work winter blues and government cuts behind you and start thinking romantic thoughts. There are just 5 weeks to Valentine's Day and Great Escape Classic Car Hire has come up with some unique packages for lovers.
Great Escape puts you behind the wheel of a cool classic and combines it with some great food and some great roads to create a classic day or evening out. The packages range in price from £199 to £345 and include use of the car, food and touring routes.
"Whether you love driving or being driven, a cool classic car turns a day out into a great memory," explains Graham Eason of Great Escape. "So we've put together some unique Valentine's Day packages that are a bit different from a box of roses and some fancy chocolates."
The Great Escape Classic Car Day packages include the Bella Italia experience and Grand Touring Day and can be bought online at www.greatescapecars.co.uk.
Great Escape has a fleet of 50 classic cars for hire from six sites in East Midlands, Worcestershire, Suffolk, Yorkshire, Shropshire and Dorset.
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Rover SD1 is cover star

The Great Escape Classic Car Hire Rover SD1 Vitesse is the star of a great feature on buying one of these rare British saloons in the February 2011 issue of Classic Car Mart. The article extolls the virtues of the big Rover, which was the last 'true Brit' Rover before the company partnered up with Honda to develop its saloon car range.
The Great Escape Rover SD1 Vitesse was chosen to illustrate the piece because it is in excellent condition. When we acquired the car in March 2010 it was in very good condition but we have continuously improved it over the intervening months. The car is one of the last Rover SD1s ever built and features the limited production high performance Twin Plenum version of the venerable Rover 3500 V8 engine.
The Rover SD1 Vitesse is one of a small group of 1980s cars that are both rare and increasingly sought after. Prices have risen dramatically in the last couple of years as good examples are snapped up. The car is part of Great Escape Classic Car Hire's new 1980s classic car rental fleet, which also includes a Ford Capri, VW Golf GTI and Jaguar XJS.
"1980s classic cars are becoming increasingly sought after," explains Graham Eason of Great Escape. "In the current straightened economic times it makes sense to hire the classic car of your youth rather than buy one."
For more details on the Rover SD1 Vitesse visit www.greatescapecars.co.uk or call 01527 893733.
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Our cars are the stars

The popular BBC2 series Antiques Road Trip is back for another gentle amble through the British countryside collecting antiques and driving some great classic cars. The series involves antiques experts touring around Britain in a variety of classic cars buying and selling antiques.
For the second year running Great Escape Classic Car Hire has provided classic cars for use in the series. This year the programme is using three Great Escape cars, including a Triumph Spitfire, Mercedes Pagoda (no longer on the fleet unfortunately) and a red Morris Minor convertible. The programme runs for 6 weeks every week day night from 3rd January. It airs from 5.15pm on BBC2.
Filming the series is a complicated task involving coordination of many different locations, cars and individuals. Great Escape Classic Car Hire worked with the production team between April and August 2010 to provide the three cars for every shoot. Due to the inevitable production changes we had to be extremely flexible and organised often complex delivery and collection logistics for the team at very short notice.
The Great Escape cars covered several thousand miles each during the shoot but proved very reliable. There were only a couple of minor issues that were resolved quickly and did not disrupt filming. However, while filming our beautiful red Morris Minor convertible was sideswiped by a bus, resulting in significant bodywork damage. Fortunately the car remained driveable and continued with filming. The incident was filmed and may appear in the series.
To find out more about Antiques Road Trip click here. To view the Great Escape cars used in the series visit www.greatescapecars.co.uk or call 01527 893733.


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