BMW 1600ti ready for Silverstone

When Great Escape Classic Car Hire's Technical Director Tony Hunting brought the http://www.davidcornwallis.co.uk/ BMW 1600ti race car in for prepping at our Worcestershire workshop before its outing at Silverstone, it was a great opportunity for the team to get together before the camera with the car.
Great Escape MD Graham Eason, Operations Manager Russ Pemberton and Tony posed for a snapshot after the car had been fetled on the Great Escape ramp. The BMW runs in the Swinging Sixties championship co-driven by Tony with David Cornwallis, who owns the car and runs a company specialising in refurbished Thwaites dumper trucks. Great Escape provides sponsorship for the duo throughout the season.
The BMW's next outing is at Silverstone on September 16th when it will compete in the Swinging Sixties championship. The car required work to the exhaust and bodywork after a minor incident at Anglesey track.

View external link

Classic Cabrio Comparison

MGB V8 v’s Alfa Spider by Matt Nichols
When it comes to choosing an entry level two seat convertible to savour on high days and holidays then included on your short list should be Alfa’s 105 platform based Spider and MG’s model B. Both cars are available from Great Escape Classic Car Hire so you can ‘Try before you buy’ and in performing this comparison I chose their 1991 Series 4 Alfa Spider and 1971 MGB V8. The age gap may seem quite stark but the origins of the run out model Italian go all the way back to the 60’s and despite its plastic body kit and more modern interior design, it has a similar front engine rear wheel drive chassis set up to the MG.
First impressions
The acid test here is when both cars are presented to you with the keys in the ignition, which one do you get in and drive away, tricky isn’t it? The Alfa attracting you with its air of sophistication and Mediterranean flair, whilst the MGB sits there quintessentially British, albeit appearing much older in looks and styling. Which way you go I think will be a mixture of your preferences on country, era and abilities with a spanner? Buy an MG and you would be bonkers to think that you’ll never have to lift the bonnet yourself whilst with the later fuel injected Alfa you could easily step into ownership planning to rely on a single visit to a specialist each year for servicing and an MOT.
Sat inside
If your personal car compass was faltering on initially approaching these two sports cars then I guarantee you’ll either stay sat inside the MG or immediately get back out and run to the Spider. Because although the Alfa has fingers in both old and new world pies the seating position and interior design are all bang up to date. Conversely the MG is locked in a time warp combination of low slung seat, tiny windscreen, sweet smelling leather and mix of traditional dials and switches. If that doesn’t do it for you, or you don’t enjoy the handbrake pressing into your left leg then the Alfa is probably a more suitable place for you to be.
Engine and exhaust note
Now I have to admit straight away this is slightly unfair on my part in choosing an MG with a Rover V8 and raucous exhaust fitted. Press the starter button on this car and it goes up several star ratings instantly courtesy of the guttural throb emitted out the back, echoing off of every building, wall and bridge you pass under. The oversized engine also delivers lots of delicious torque from the off to provide great cruising and overtaking ability. OK so the Alfa is on the back foot in giving away four cylinders and 1500cc, but its 2.0 litre twin cam is no slouch providing equally strong cruising ability and a sporty, albeit far more subtle, exhaust note. The Spider just misses the inevitable punchy acceleration and overtaking ability the extra power gives the MG. If the latter were a more conventional 1800cc model then maybe the tables would get turned, so best keep an open mind in this department.
Out and about
On the highway these cars start to feel much closer in era with both delivering their power through live back axles. The MG’s ride crashes more over broken road surfaces whilst this particular Alfa squeaked its way along, possibly due to a warn bush or something requiring a spot of lubrication. Surprisingly it’s the MG that feels more modern, save for its steering which has a slightly odd artificial feel, being the same static or on the move despite the absence of power assisted steering. The Alfa’s newer shape and cockpit hide its original underpinnings very well indeed as on the move this car feels every bit a classic dominated by the heavy live axle that is firmly weighted to the road. The sensations you get inside the car are largely from the rear body being pushed around by the connecting rods and bars that hold the axle in place enhanced further by some slack introduced over time. The MG definitely has it on dynamics when pushing on, the Alfa being much more refined, but both transport you back in time whilst on the move.
Ownership prospects
Alfa Romeo is the first choice of car for many enthusiasts and collectors and it is not difficult to understand why. There is something, DNA if you like, that draws you in allowing your heart to rule your head on any purchase. Alfa’s are cars you fall in love with and get passionate about and the Spider fits this mould perfectly being less risky than some models as many have lived their entire lives safely stowed during winter months. Also when you buy one the chances are it will be an original specimen and not modified in anyway. MGB’s on the other hand, with some exceptions of course, will have had at least one re-build by now and therefore inevitably ‘improved’ in some way. This one received a Rover V8 and 5-Speed gearbox, whilst others will have got power steering or uprated suspension and converted from rubber to chrome bumpers, or given a set of period wire wheels. I think therefore in choosing between the two cars you can either tread the relatively low maintenance path of an up together Spider or the continuous improvement path that virtually every MGB in the land must find itself on at some point in its life.
Overall

As weekend tourers both cars will do a job for you and so your decision should be based on exactly how you would prefer your classic car experience to pan out. Handy with a set of spanners and keen to have a go, get stuck and make changes to the car then the MG is the car for you with excellent access to parts and panels. Simply want a car to drive and enjoy whilst leaving the oily bits to others then an up together Spider should fit into your life very nicely, particularly if you have a warm and dry place to keep it when not in use.
Driving
MGB - Great dynamics, although the ride can crash over bumps at times
Alfa - A lot of fun and feeling every bit a classic despite its relative newness
Engine
MGB - 3528cc Rover V8 combines well with the 5 speed gearbox delivering both punchy acceleration and great cruising ability
Alfa - 1962cc twin cam engine and 5 speed also work well together in the mid-range, although lack a few horses to be on a par with the MG’s V8.
Brakes
MGB - Discs up front and drums at the rear start to struggle when pushed
Alfa - The all-round servo assisted disc brakes on the Alfa are brilliant
Handling
MGB - Very little body roll and firm ride mean you can corner confidently at speed
Alfa - Perhaps the biggest surprise of all, agile and engaging
Desirability
MGB - Prices vary massively with original matching numbers chrome bumper cars changing hands at well over £10,000
Alfa - Good Series 4 Spiders are holding strong at around £8,000 with original Series 1 cars also fetching well over £10,000
Pro’s
MGB - Entry level classic car that offers its own unique British sports car experience with easy access to parts and panels
Alfa - Fun car for any occasion that comes with classic Alfa DNA
Con’s
Buying a MGB: None really, just with so much choice out there make sure you get the right one for you Renting: None
Buying an Alfa: Mechanicals are robust and reliable, but rust can be an issue, so make sure it’s a good one Renting: None
Overall
MGB - 4/5
Alfa - 4.5/ 5

Back to the future Healey style

Great Escape Classic Car Hire's fleet added to its growing tally of music video appearance with the HMC featuring in rap star JK's new video. Shot around a retro Back to the Future theme, the producers decided the iconic 1960s style HMC Healey for hire in Shropshire was perfect for the video.
JKhas just launched one of the fastest selling Bhangra albums in UK history and is filming a video to accompany each of the tracks. The video was filmed over 24 hours by a local production team from Wolverhampton. They chose the HMC because of its iconic 1960s styling and stand-out metallic blue and cream paintwork.
The shoot, which took place in and around the West Midlands, was originally scheduled for early August but had to be postponed due to the riots in the region.
Great Escape regularly provides classic cars for film, TV, video and advertising shoots.
"Classic cars are very popular props for music videos," says Graham Eason of Great Escape. "We are one of the UK's largest providers of classic cars for videos. Our cars have been used in rock, rap, folk and pop music videos."
For more details on the HMC Healey for hire in Shropshire click here or call 01527 893733.
View external link

60s GT Shoot Out

Aston Martin DB6 v’s Jensen Interceptor by Matt Nichols
Which of these do you secretly aspire to be, film star or rock star? Not sure, then consider this for a minute or two. Do you at times find yourself swanning around the house, curtains drawn of course, assuming the appropriate posture and delivering killer lines from your favourite films? Or instead do you sometimes wait until your other half is going out and then as soon as the door clicks shut, pump up the volume on the stereo and start playing along to a heavy metal band from a bygone era using the only instrument of choice, air guitar? Answer that and my work here is done, DB6 for budding Bond’s and an Interceptor for all you Motorhead, Judas Priest, Aerosmith and Whitesnake wannabes. The Aston is a handsome and smooth operator that is instantly recognisable as the carriage of secret agents everywhere, with the Jensen hiding its intoxicating and loud big block V8 habit beneath an otherwise classy looking 70’s frame.
First impressions
With all the changes at the rear of the car, the front of an Aston Martin DB6 is identical to the DB5 used on films like ‘Gold Finger’ and so as you approach the car for the first time in the metal I guarantee you will feel like the man himself. You’ll also most likely break into an involuntary smile and start jabbering nervously or unable to speak at all, pretty much the same as you were on your very first date, such is the aura surrounding this car. The Jensen on the other hand is cloaked in mystery as when it was new it came and went in what seemed like a heartbeat, even though in actual fact it was around much longer than its counterpart here. Interceptors are rare things, seldom viewed close up and your first thoughts are largely taken up absorbing its sheer size and wondering how they managed to make it with so little room in the back. Quickly followed by a moment of realisation that a beast lurks within, as the key is turned and 7.2 litres of American iron stirs itself into life. These two cars are like Roger Moore meeting Ted Nugent.
Sat inside
The DB6 is instantly recognisable from all the films it appeared in. You are required by law to prod every bit of it to test whether anything moves or opens to reveal launch mechanisms for rockets, the passenger seat ejector button, or the oil spray nozzles underneath the rear bumper. With everything pressed and tapped, sit inside and you realise the true age of this car in examining the binnacle directly in front of you that envelopes the main dials and switches. It would seem that the lines between aircraft and motor vehicle were still fuzzy when this interior was designed, as the DB6 has more than a whiff of Piper Cub about it immediately behind the distinctive and apparently inverted three spoke steering wheel. The Interceptor on the other hand has what appears to be an Italian supercar of the same era look to it, as all the dials along its wide dashboard are pointing directly at the driver. There is also an almost race car like steering wheel which is quite bizarre in a car that weighs in at nearly two metric tonnes. The differences are distinct and it’s the Jensen that really impresses, being much more Maranello than Midlands.
Engine and exhaust note
There can be only one winner here and as much as I love the subtlety of Aston’s very British straight six, accompanied by some traditional background transmission noises at low speeds, the Chrysler unit in the Jensen is a monster with more torque on tap at tickover than its all-round disc brakes can contain. The whole car rocks to the beat of the purposeful idle and when you do let go of the reigns and pull away the Torqueflite automatic gearbox quickly responds with two quick gear changes confirming what you probably already gathered, you only need one forward gear in this car, unless of course you plan to point it skywards and drive straight up to the moon, in which case it might just need to drop back down one ratio.
Out and about
This is where both cars confirm their true purpose in life as continental cruisers, being comfortable and relaxed places to be with several hours passing before you even consider taking a break. Both therefore prove that cruising is not the preserve of modern and up to date machinery and was available 40 years ago, it just came at a premium that’s all. In terms of differences then it’s more about preferences on how you prefer to pass through towns and villages. Choosing between an instantly recognisable star of the big screen, or as the overly loud rock star from that band, what were they called again, Jensen, oh that’s right.
Ownership prospects
One of these cars is going to set you back in the region of £100,000, the other in similar condition around a quarter of that, less if you shop around. One is a true thoroughbred and brings with it everything that means including servicing, maintenance and repairs. The other built in the UK in the 70’s and yes all that brings as well. The size of your purse and most likely cut of your cloth will ultimately determine which of these cars you buy, but the Jensen is not the poor relation by any means offering much of what the Aston does and in some ways more.
Overall
An Aston Martin DB6 with known history is a solid investment with values only likely to increase providing a superb cross country driving experience and a warm response from everyone who sees it, young and old. Jensen prices vary tremendously and with most having undergone some sort of major refurbishment quality depends on the wealth and generosity of the owner at the time. On the road an Interceptor is a truly awesome car and will suck you in with its mix of Anglo-Italian styling and American drag car soundtrack and performance.
1967 Aston Martin DB6
1974 Jensen Interceptor
Driving
Aston - Polished cruiser that only requires you to take a break every couple of hours
Jensen - Matches DB6 cruising ability with attitude when you stir the beast under the long bonnet into life
Engine
Aston Martin 3995cc in line six cylinder engine, with DOHC and Triple SU Carbs carried straight over from the DB5
Chrysler 7,212cc V8 OHV and four-barrel carburettor
Brakes
Aston - brakes do require some adjustment and a very firm press indeed. Leaving more time and space is the safest option
Jensen - brakes work well right up to the point of actually stopping when the torque from the engine has to be overcome as well
Handling
Beautifully weighted once the front of the car has settled into corner, and so best enjoyed with a ‘slow in and fast out’ driving style
Surprisingly good on fast flowing corners, but if the terrain gets bumpy so can the back of the car allowing the Panhard rod acting on the rear axle to start to affect the overall balance and steering
Desirability
This Aston is right up there no question, although purists still insist on a DB4 or DB5 and so they are where the really serious money is
Looks the part and with residuals nowhere near as strong as the Aston, much more accessible as well
Pro’s
Stunning classic British grand tourer that makes you feel like James Bond
Big beautiful cruiser that stirs your sole with it’s excellent V8 motor, inspiring interior and cossetting ride and comfort
Con’s
Buying an Aston Martin DB6: With aluminium body panels and the unique Superleggera construction onto a spaceframe chassis it’s all about hidden horrors. Project cars have been known to require six figure investments to bring them back up to scratch Renting: None
Buying a Jensen Interceptor: Some potentially expensive maintenance tasks given both the tight fitting big block V8 and large expanse of leather inside. You also need to be mindful of poor repairs by previous owners lacking the necessary funds to do the job properly Renting: None
Overall
5/5
4/5

Choosing the right E Type

Jaguar E-Type V12 Roadster v’s V12 Coupe v’s 4.2 Coupe
by Matt Nichols
Comparing three Jaguar E-Types from Great Escape Classic Car Hire is a bit like choosing from the menu at your favourite restaurant. You already know you’re going to have a memorable meal you just have to make your final decision on exactly what it is going to be. In our case a classy white Series 3 V12 roadster, Series 2 Coupe with a 4.2 litre Jaguar straight six engine looking absolutely stunning in red, and the rather menacing dark blue Series 3 Coupe with a later fuel injected XJS V12.
First impressions
Other than all being E-Types, which of course guarantees your full attention from the off, my eye is most drawn to the two coupes with their distinctive roofline and intriguing sideways opening rear hatch. Of the two it’s the red series 2 car that wins, being an absolute stunner in its bright red paint and red leather interior along with distinctive triple wiper blades. The midnight blue car looks far more aggressive, something that only gets confirmed when the engine is started waking everything within a mile radius courtesy of the quad tail pipe exhausts. The roadster is the least dramatic but looks ever so classy in white with its contrasting black leather interior. Get up close and peer inside and you find that all three cars have the same steering wheel, dashboard and related switchgear, not to mention wide sills and narrow door openings in which to squeeze through to get in, despite all three cars being based on the longer 2+2 platform. Early 2 seat cars must be really tricky to get in and out of.
Sat inside
Once installed, and without the engine running, the cars have a very similar ambiance; the Series 2 Coupe being completely enclosed, Series 3 Coupe slightly more open with its Webasto sunroof and Series 3 roadster literally with the sky as the limit. The most comfortable of the three is the Series 2 Coupe following some recent fettling, with all three having the same well placed arms rests on the doors and central consul between the driver and passenger seats. My only gripe is that there is nowhere to park your left leg once clutch duties have been dispensed with. I do however love the large analogue dials that relay messages about on your speed and engine rpm as well as the long line-up of switches in the centre of the car for everything from side lights to map light and washers to wipers. The two main light switches are also separately encased and bang in the middle of the dash with the wiper/washer switches immediately to the right, so that all the primary controls are easy to locate even in the dark, clever stuff.
Engine and exhaust note
Turn the key in the dark blue late series V12 coupe and it sounds as though you are on the start-line at the Goodwood Revival, such is the intensity of noise echoing all around you. The Series 2 Coupe follows this with its own slightly tamer, but still very appealing 6 cylinder growl, whilst the white roadster is as quiet as a mouse by comparison despite also packing a V12. As all three sound so different it would appear that you can ask your E-Type to play any tune you like by picking the appropriate pipes for it to play through, something that is worth keeping in mind.
Out and about
Driving the three cars is where further similarities are confirmed, such as the long narrow bonnet, peachy handling, decent brakes and absence of any body roll. The latter point catches me out every time I take the wheel of one these outstanding British classics. No body roll and yet a cosseting ride that is kind to its occupants over road imperfections, speed bumps and other related disturbances. How did they do that, as it is unbelievably good? The differences that do come into play are all based on your final choice from the menu in that restaurant. Maybe you played it safe with a traditional roast or in this case the roadster which offers a lovely relaxing ride with the wind whistling through your hair as you navigate from place to place at a gentle pace. Or were you tempted instead by a special from the board and pleased to discover that the Series 2 Coupe with its smaller 4.2 litre engine satisfies in equal measure to the V12 roadster bringing with it an increased deftness born out of the lighter lump up front. If not then did the spiced prawns get you drooling, as you donned your race overalls and charged away in the Series 3 Coupe with its more powerful XJS V12 engine and angry cry from the four exhaust pipes that exit the rear of the car? Leaving the other two cars and for that matter pretty much everything else on the road at the same time trembling in your wake whilst struggling to keep within the speed limits
Ownership prospects
Jaguar E-Types have always represented a significant investment of anyone’s time and money, particularly given their quirky construction, and arguably increasingly so these days with advancing years. Cream of the crop are series 1 roadsters commanding the highest values with Series 2 Coupes in 2+2 guise offering the best opportunity for an entry level purchase. In terms of driving experiences I’m yet to have a poor one, so if in you’re in the market I think just get the best car you can for the money so you can spend as much time as possible enjoying it, without getting too hung up on precisely which model it is. After all, they are all priceless gems really and great menu choices.
Overall
Offering the ultimate in classic car ownership experience E-Types are instantly recognisable by virtually everyone who sees one. Roadster and coupe configurations mean you can choose what style of car to go for whether, fully open, fully closed or somewhere in between. Early series 1 roadsters are the most valuable, followed by 2 seat V12’s with 2+2’s bringing up the rear. Not that it matters particularly as all E-Types are truly wonderful places to be and in which to enjoy the great outdoors. Now where did I see that advert for a Series 2 Coupe in red with a tuned 4.2 litre engine for £25,000?
Driving
The smoothest of the three with excellent road manners and the bonus of open air motoring
Proves you don’t need a V12 delivering a lighter and nimble feel on the road
Later XJS engine and performance exhaust combine to make a thrilling proposition
Engine
5.3 litre SOHC V12 with four Zenith-Stromberg carburettors
4.2 litre DOHC Straight 6 with either twin Stromberg (US) or triple SU’s (UK)
5.3 litre SOHC V12 with Lucas fuel injection
Brakes
Disc brakes front and rear work well
Handling
Smooth and refined
Light and nimble
Exhaust noise accentuates its natural race car feel
Desirability
Series 3 V12 Roadsters are up there and only behind series 1 cars in terms of value
Lowest of all E-Type values in 2+2 form although still appeals
All V12 E-Types are sought after cars although the later engine in this car may divide opinion
Pro’s
All E-Types are universally revered with V12 roadster values holding strong
Great entry into E-Type ownership with the smaller engine giving nothing away to the heavier V12’s
Fairly unique racing E-Type for the road, truly awesome
Con’s
Buying: Tricky and potentially very costly to maintain Renting: None
Overall
5/5
5/5
5/5

Russ joins the Great Escape team

Great Escape Classic Car Hire, the UK's largest classic car hire company, has appointed Russ Pemberton as Operations Manager based at its Worcestershire HQ. The new role has been created to improve customer service and coordinate hire activity across Great Escape's six locations.
Russ joins Great Escape after 32 years in the West Midlands police force. He is a lifelong classic Ford enthusiast and owns two immaculate Ford Escorts - a 1600 'big wing' rally car and a RS2000 road car. In his new role Russ will be responsible for the day to day operation of Great Escape including managing the bookings and enquiries office and organising vehicle logistics and maintenance.
The appointment of an Operations Manager reflects Great Escape's growth during 2011. Since 2009 the company has grown from a single site with 20 cars to 6 UK locations with a fleet of 50 classic cars for hire, the largest in the Britain.
"I am very pleased to welcome Russ to the team," says Graham Eason of Great Escape. "Our growth means we need someone like Russ to manage our day to day operations and ensure the business runs smoothly for the benefit of customers."
Great Escape was established in 2006 as a hobby business by Graham Eason. When Graham was made redundant in 2009 he was able to focus on the company's growth. Great Escape now provides cars for daily, weekly and weekend self drive hires, TV and advertising shoots and corporate events.
To find out more visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/ or call 01527 893733.
View external link

Jaguar E Type 4.2 road test

By Matt Nichols
If you’re struggling to make sense of aspects of modern living then I may have found the perfect tonic for you in the form of this magnificent bright red Jaguar E-Type Coupe. I drove this car on roads I am very familiar and at times get completed frustrated with, and yet I had one of those enlightening moments in this car when suddenly everything made sense. Viewing the world through the tiny windscreen, triple wiper blades and achingly long vented bonnet whilst firmly gripping the thin rimmed wooden steering wheel, I re-tuned into and got Britain once again. The countryside was perfect and able to be enjoyed at 60mph, a speed which also felt just right, as did 30mph which was no longer the unnecessary delay it often feels, but instead an opportunity to absorb some fine architecture and realise that life is good when you’re in such excellent company.
I’ve previously had the pleasure of driving two other E-Types from Great Escape Classic Car Hire and this car confirmed that in the same way bumble bees shouldn't be able to fly with their large bodies and tiny wings but of course they do. E-Type's, being so long and narrow, shouldn't handle and yet they do. In fact the handling is sublime. This red 4.2 Coupe moves from bend to bend with hardly any slack and virtually no body roll. In any other car that would also mean a bumpy ride, but not in an E-Type as all road imperfections are glossed over like Dulux’s finest without any hint to suggest anything was there in the first place. So much so I guarantee you will start to question how that is possible in a car over 40 years old and without a magnetic damper in sight. This coupe also comes with the trademark brakes that although require a firm press and whole leg movement will easily lock both fronts at 60-70mph. Better still the brake pedal draws level with the throttle pedal once depressed and so perfect for a quick sideways flex of your right foot and a cheeky little downshift blip of the engine.
The luxurious red leather interior offers room for your passenger to stretch right out once they’ve made it in through the narrow door and over the wide sill, a gentleman would of course look away, and also provides a splendid place for you both to enjoy the journey ahead. The long bonnet, which is further accentuated by the red paint was fully appreciated by Mrs Nichols at the time of testing, I did of course offer my own theories as to why that might be, but apparently it was definitely just the bonnet she was referring to. There are no rear seats on this strict two seater but there is an attractive and practical hatch, only missing some period luggage for a complete 60’s weekend break experience. Luckily there is still the 40 year old indicators to enjoy, which make a distinguished grandfather clock ‘tock’ noise from the relay located somewhere behind the passenger glove box.I did have one question before driving this car, which is do you need a V12 in your E-Type to make it a real one and I can categorically advise that you do not. The 4.2 litre DOHC straight six in this car is superb, providing a very purposeful growl when you decide to push on or overtake as well as offering such range in capability you realise four gears are all that is required. Better still, whilst on the move you need just one gear, 4th, something that makes a mockery of more up to date machinery with 6, 7 and even 8 available these days. How did we allow that to happen, because in this car I found myself staring in disbelief at the rev counter at times when from 30–70mph at no point did the dial climb above halfway, quite brilliant.
In terms of classic car traits the absence of power assisted steering means that 3 point turns can easily extend to 4-5 which is no issue, except for maybe a slight reddening of the gills if anyone happens to be watching at the time. Some exhaust fumes can make it into the cabin, which was the same as the V12 Coupe I drove, so just keep a window open, and there is a slight knock in the left hand rear of the car as drive is taken up, which I understand to be quite normal. Other familiar E-Type traits include a snatch of synchromesh when going back down from 4th to 3rd gear, something double de-clutching helps smooth once mastered. But these are all minor points and I think now surely regarded as features on a car of this age. Also, if you’ve read other reports and picked up on a minor obsession I have around whether the clock works or not, then all I can advise is remember to wear your watch.
This beautiful and bright 4.2 E-Type Coupe is the first classic I’ve driven and thought seriously that in the right circumstances I could quite easily use every day, and do you know, I think if I did the world would never cease to be a truly wonderful place.

1969 E-Type 4.2 Series 2 Coupe
Driving
Sublime, feeling light, nimble and tight and never crashing over bumps
Engine
Potent 4.2 litre DOHC 6 cylinder unit proves your E-Type doesn’t have to be a V12
Performance
Max Power: 265 bhp @ 5500 RPM Max Torque: 283 lb ft @ 4000 RPM0-60mph: 6.1 seconds

Top Speed: 150mph
Brakes
Superb, a firm press of the pedal means you can, if required, lock the front wheels at virtually any speed
Handling
One of life’s and arguably physics mysteries, how a car so long and narrow can handle so well
Desirability
Series 2 E-Types are the least well loved, which translates into a great opportunity for entry level ownership
Pro’s
It’s an E-Type
Con’s
Buying: OK so it’s not the purists favourite, but make sure it’s a good one and you’ve still got an icon in your garage Renting: None
Overall
5/5

1020bhp lines up at Great Escape

Great Escape Classic Car Hire lined up its fleet of four Jaguar E Type cars for a rare photoshoot this week. The cars, which are normally based in Yorkshire, Worcestershire and Suffolk, gathered in Worcestershire for the first time in 5 years.
The Great Escape brace of white Jaguar E Type V12 convertibles, E Type V12 coupe and E Type 4.2 coupe have a combined horsepower of over 1000bhp from 36 cylinders. Our Worcestershire site is normally home to one white convertible and the V12 coupe. The rare gathering occurred when we pulled in our second white E Type from Yorkshire for a customer and our red 4.2 Series 2 E Type returned from the garage after a £5,000 refurbishment. The white car will return to Yorkshire shortly and the red car will rejoin the Suffolk fleet at the end of the week.
Great Escape Classic Car Hire has the largest fleet of classic cars for hire in the UK, including the widest choice of Jaguar E Types for hire in the world. Demand for E Types for hire has soared in 2011 thanks to the 50th anniversary of the car's launch in 1961.
"It was a rare treat for us to have all the E Types in one place," explains Graham Eason of Great Escape. "Lining up these cars together just demonstrated how beautiful the E Type is - whether in Series 2 or Series 3 guise."
For more information on Great Escape's fleet of classic cars for hire call 01527 893733 or visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/.

View external link

Good weekend for Tony

Tony Hunting, who runs Great Escape Classic Car Hire's Worcestershire workshop and manages our Suffolk site, had another good weekend's outing in the Great Escape-sponsored BMW 1600ti. Co-driving with David Cornwallis in the Classic Sports Car Club Championship's Swinging Sixties Group B class, the trio of drivers and car posted another good result at the Anglesey round of the championship.
The BMW team is very hands on with all vehicle prepping and maintenance carried out by David and Tony. The car carries a FIA certificate and is eligible to race in various historic championships including Goodwood.
During the Anglesey weekend the BMW was punted off by a Porsche 911 so will require some bodywork repairs over the next couple of weeks.
Anglesey was the car's first outing with its new Great Escape Classic Car Hire logos in place.


For more information on Great Escape visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/ or call 01527 893733.

View external link

HMC Big Healey road test

By Great Escape Classic Car Hire road tester Matt Nichols
I don’t just ‘want’ this new Big-Healey in my life I ‘need’ it, and no not like my wife or daughter ‘needs’ a new pair of shoes to match their latest outfits, or my son ‘needs’ his electric guitar at every family gathering. No I really ‘need’ it. Because right now for me and OK they may argue in their case for them as well, this car is in my blood running through my veins making perfect sense and not something I am ready to have challenged by anyone, whoever they may be.

As a beautifully retro styled sports car from 1999 the HMC model looks just like an original late 1960’s Healey 3000, whilst at the same time sounding like a roll-out TVR, revealing its compelling old-new theme. For instance, the steering has a new power assisted lightness combined with old-school directness ensuring every apex is touched with just a hint of lock as the front of the car fully commits to each one of your driver inputs. An experience further enhanced with the equally new fully independent rear suspension that in turn combines brilliantly with the period wire wheels to doggedly hang onto each direction change once the inevitable slack has been taken up. Put simply this car rocks, closing the gap perfectly between real drivers machine and modern in-car systems and going some way to explaining why I very nearly drove constantly for the entire 24 hours I had it. Even the lights worked well and heater sublime with the roof down under a rapidly cooling late summer’s night sky.

The HMC MKIV is a car that was given official recognition by the Healey family as a successor to the original ‘big’ Austin Healey 3000 (MK111). It copies its predecessor’s classic styling, this time in GRP, with the only obvious visual differences being the slightly flared front arches and newer interior trim. The classically styled lightweight body also hugs a modern tubular chassis and all-round independent suspension with disc brakes and aurally pleasing 3.9 litre Rover V8 engine. The dashboard mixes a touch of old world walnut, Smiths dials and chromed toggle switches, that include two for the heated seats, which for me nails just how perfectly well old and new worlds are joined together.

I will also forgive this car its Ford heater controls and vents simply because; a) they sit below or to the side of your natural eye line and are rarely clocked, b) sourcing chrome equivalents would completely disguise the control knobs, and c) they work so damned well, I had to switch them off at times regardless of how cold it got outside.The truth is I only returned this particular car to Great Escape Classic Car Hire on the promise of a test drive in a recently refurbished and scrummy looking bright red 4.2 Series 2 E-Type.

In my personal journey of ‘Try before you buy’ I wasn’t 100% clear what I was looking for but the HMC Healey has come closest to date combining jaw dropping classic car looks with more modern running gear, construction and systems. Even the tiny period rear view mirrors work well for goodness sake. Details like the piping over the front arches, blue over cream paint, wire wheels and small circular auxiliary lights all add to the picture perfect concept of a classic you can use regularly without the potential pitfalls of other completely original cars. Shame on everyone then this side of the pond, that most were exported to Germany.

In terms of classic car traits a few appeared to have been built in. All of the pedals are offset to the right, along with a good couple of inches of travel in the brake pedal before resistance is found, leaving enough of a gap to the throttle pedal to ensure any toe and heel attempts are completely thwarted. When you first have to brake you can therefore experience a slightly disconcerting moment when you think you must be pressing the wrong one given its position and free flowing motion, I had to look down at least twice.

There was also at the time of driving a cold idle issue, the idle being conspicuous by its absence, but once over the initial car park embarrassment this is short lived. The only other minor point is that this car’s slammed to the ground stance means the exhaust will drag on bumpy B-roads and whilst exiting garage forecourts, causing the need to slow down or lift until the terrain smooth’s back out again. Overall the fact that when I did finally park up, in the Clifton area of Bristol, I had 3 separate conversations with 3 people in as many minutes; one from someone who had owned an original Big-Healey, is pretty much all you need to know. Put simply this car works on every level and is well worth a go.

HMC Big-Healey MKIV
Driving
The steering and independent rear end combine to create a unique and rewarding experience that has to be experienced to be believed
Engine
Rover 3.9 litre V8 delivers useful torque low down before revving freely up to the 5,500rpm maximum. All accompanied by a truly pleasing soundtrack
Performance
Strong but not wild, I think if it were mine I’d find ways to get a few more horses up front
Brakes
Discs all round are well up to the job once you’re accustomed to the initial take-up slack in the brake pedal
Handling
You’ll never miss an apex and the rear is difficult to unstick in the dry with the car tipping into corners very nicely. I would need some track time to explore what happens at and beyond the limit but on the road I’d give it full marks
Desirability
Interesting one this as most left our shores to be exported to Germany and so other than being extremely rare in the UK, very difficult to call. I’d have one tomorrow though
Pro’s
Classic car looks combine with modern systems to create a compelling ownership prospect
Con’s
Buying – Take an expert along with you just in case. A TVR specialist may prove valubable if an HMC equivalent is difficult to find, as the main components are very similarRenting – Other than returning the car afterwards, absolutely none.
Overall
5/5

Jaguar Mk2 on set with John Bishop's Britain

Our Operations Manager Russ Pemberton is currently recovering after a late night film shoot for John Bishop's Britain down in Surrey. Russ spent 9 hours on set on Thursday 4th August with our 1965 Jaguar Mk2 for hire in Worcestershire, plus 5 hours driving time to and from the location in Surrey.
The Jaguar Mk2 was used as part of a sketch about John Bishop's youth which is scheduled to air oon 6th August 2011 on John Bishop's popular BBC1 programme. The car sported a special B15 HOP registration plate for the shoot.
"We arranged the car for the shoot at very short notice" explains Graham Eason of Great Escape Classic Car Hire. "Fortunately we have the staff and transport facilities to enable us to do this sort of job anywhere in the UK."
To see how the Jaguar Mk2 looked on set visit the Great Escape Classic Car Hire Facebook page by clicking here. We currently have nearly 2,500 followers on Facebook who receive updates on what we're up to and special discounts.

Jaguar Mk2 on John Bishop's Britain

Great Escape Classic Car Hire's 1965 British Racing Green Jaguar Mk2 saloon will feature on John Bishop's Britain, scheduled to air on 6th August 2011. The car features in a comedy sketch written by the comedian to appear in his popular Saturday night BBC1 television show.

We worked with the production team to provide the Jaguar at very short notice. We had to rework our vehicle logistics schedule in order to accommodate the request, fortunately without letting any customers down.


Great Escape Classic Car Hire regularly provides classic cars for television and film companies as well as advertising agencies. Our cars have appeared at The Brits and various films and documentaries for the BBC and Sky as well as numerous magazine and advertising shoots. We have full trailer and truck facilities for simple, reliable delivery and collection and can provide staff during the shoot to prepare and manouvre the vehicles.

The Jaguar Mk2 is for hire in the Cotswolds. It is one of three Jaguar Mk2 cars on the Great Escape Classic Car hire fleet. The company has a range of 50 classic cars for hire from 6 UK locations. For more details visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/ or call 01527 893733.