Stay cool in the city in the heatwave

Enjoy the extended summer with the coolest thing around London - an Ariel Atom for hire from Great Escape Classic Car Hire. Available to hire from our London fleet based in Islington (we can deliver it free of charge anywhere within the M25), the Atom is the perfect way to get the wind in your hair - and grab some late summer attention.
So fast is melted Jeremy Clarkson's face and with a singular dedication to excitement, the Ariel Atom is the most exciting car on our 50-strong classic and performance car fleet. It can be hired by the day or weekend and prices are the lowest in the UK - just £345 puts you and a friend or partner behind the wheel of this amazing memory-maker. Our price includes 200 free miles, insurance and full AA breakdown cover.
For more details call 01527 893733 or visit our website at http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/.

80 not out

A few years ago, I'd have welcomed the Government's plans to increase the motorway speed limit to 80 mph. When I was schlepping up and down the motorways doing 50,000 miles a year I'd have welcome the relaxation of a limit that seemed entirely designed to generate points on licences.
Today, running Great Escape Classic Car Hire, I've changed my perspective a little. Nowadays me and my team drive over 50,000 miles a year up and down the motorways, but always with a car trailer attached. It changes your approach somewhat. With a trailer you're limited to 60 mph and the inside or middle lanes. Trucks have similar geographical restraints but are limited to 56 mph. As we trundling along on cruise we see major problems with this situation, which an increase in the speed limit for cars would exacerbate.
The fundamental problem on motorways is the relative speed between vehicles. Cars travelling at 70 mph versus trucks limited to 56 mph mean that the passing lanes regularly get cut down to one rather than two, as trucks struggle to overtake trucks. Cars travelling at at least 70mph have to squeeze past overtaking trucks, which causes bottlenecks behind the trucks (and resulting risk taking) and blind spots in front of them (particularly dangerous at motorway slip roads where cars race on to the motorway and across the lanes).
For trucks and trailers stuck at a maximum of 56 mph or 60mph, cars travelling at 70 mph or more pose significant dangers, unfortunately ones that few car drivers fully appreciate. Trucks and trailers need space to manouvre, but cars travelling at higher speeds rapidly close gaps to nothing, turning a safe manouvre into a dangerous one. Trucks and trailers often depend on the foresight of drivers to enable them to manouvre, whereby cars move over a lane to provide space.
Increasing the car speed limit will widen the speed gap between cars and trucks and therefore increase the safety risk in these situations.
Instead of increasing motorway speed limits, the limit on trucks needs to be addressed. Trucks are perfectly capable of travelling faster safely. Giving them a maximum speed that is closer to cars would improve safety for everyone. It would balance the relative speeds between cars and trucks, thereby reducing the risk of bottlenecks and impatience, and enable trucks to overtake each other faster and more safely. A 62 mph limit for trucks, equivalent to 100 kph, would move cars and trucks to safe relative speeds. It would barely impact on fuel economy and is small enough not to impact safety.
The car speed limit should remain at 70 mph. Put frankly, there are too many dangerous drivers already travelling safe in their euroboxes - increasing their ability to speed puts everyone at risk. 70 mph is a quick, economical and safe speed. I'm not a self righteous safety freak. I love driving fast cars fast and I was the one always travelling at 85 mph in the fast lane. But once I got a sat nav and realised that the extra 15 mph never got me there quicker, it only cost more in fuel, I slowed down and started to enjoy the drive.
The danger with motorways is relative speed. Increasing the gap between trucks and cars is a recipe for disaster.
Graham Eason, Great Escape Classic Car Hire, 01527 893733

What's the best 10k garage?

At Great Escape Classic Car Hire we have the great privilege of being able to work with many different types of classic cars. We often get asked by customers what the best classic car is or to recommend a classic car for weekend or everyday use.

What we've actually learned after 5 years is that one classic car in the garage is not quite ideal. If you have a convertible then you can only use it in Britain's variable summer. If you have a coupe you want a convertible when it's warm and a saloon when friends and family come over.

So we started to think what garage we'd create with a notional £10,000, which seems to be the sum most people have in mind to spend.

Rather than spend £10,000 on a nice TR6 or MGB,. we'd prefer to put it into 3 or 4 classics that fit the mood and the situation 365 days a year. By splitting your budget across more than one car you can also chop and change the fleet to suit your mood - without making a drastic change. Ok, so you might argue, the cost of owning the cars will increase if you have 3 or 4. There will be extra insurance and storage costs and perhaps additional road tax costs. Maintenance costs may also increase based on increased use of your fleet throughout the year. If these are hurdles for you we suggest you adjust your £10,000 budget to take this into account. But in our experience the additional costs are relatively small and offset by the enjoyment your cars will bring.

For us at Great Escape, the ideal classic car garage would have to cater for summer weather, cold or inclement weather (so that we can extend the driving season), an everyday commute car (so we can actually use one of the cars daily) and a family and friends weekend getaway car. So here's our first shot at our ideal 365 day per year classic car fleet:


Classic Convertible

A great, fun two seater convertible is a must for any classic car fleet. You can pick up an average MGB for £4-5k or a very nice Alfa Romeo Spider S3 or S4. Stick with either of these common, reliable models with good club support and your convertible will be easy and cheap to maintain.


Drivers Car

A convertible is for sharing, a driver's car is for those days when you just want to drive, without worrying about making a passenger seasick. There are plenty of sweet handliing 80s classic hot hatches around that deliver just that - they'll never be cheaper and they are more reliable than their 70s counterparts thanks to innovations like electronic ignition. The Peugeot 205 GTI (in 1.6 rather than heavyweight 1.9 guise), the increasingly rare Alfasud Ti, VW Golf Mk1 or Mk2 or Mk3 Escort XR3 or RS1600i. Good examples of these cars all start at less than £2k.


Classic Commuter

Your Drivers Car can double as your Classic Commuter if you're working on a tight budget, but if you want something more soothing and relaxing for the trip to and from work then there are plenty of great commuting cars. A good commuting car needs to be relaxing, distinctive and reliable. For us here at Great Escape Classic Car Hire it has to be a slat front Saab 900 Turbo 16S - bulletproof build quality, ultra reliable and very comfortable. Our 1990 example has covered 213,000 miles, cost £950 and looks the business. Alternatives include VW Corrado, Fiat Coupe and 1990s Alfa GTV, particularly in 3 litre 24v form.


Family & Friends Ferry

Call them old smokers or luxobarges but there is something about an old 70s or 80s executive saloon. They're very cheap and ideal for weekend day trips with family and friends - a chance to share your hobby with generally reluctant kith and kin. There is plenty of choice around the £2k mark, which would bag you a nice Series 2 or Series 3 Jaguar XJ6, Mercedes W123 saloon or estate, Citroen CX or a Mark 2 Ford Granada (obviously a Ghia X or a S).


So there you have it. Tell us what you think or if you've already gone down this route, let us know what's in your garage.





Success at Silverstone

The Great Escape Classic Car Hire sponsored BMW 1600ti race car achieved another win at Silverstone in the hands of Tony Hunting, our Technical Director. The car, which is owned and co-piloted by David Cornwallis drove to the finish line despite a non-fault dalliance with another car on the track.
Tony, who manages our Suffolk site and maintains Great Escape's cars through his business GTR Classics, maintains the car for David. The BMW is an ultra rare 1600ti that has been lightened and prepared for racing, but is very close to standard specification.
Great Escape provides workshop space and contributes to the funding for the race car.

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New MGB in Worcestershire

Great Escape Classic Car Hire has added a second MGB convertible to its hire fleet in Worcestershire, located on the edge of the Cotswolds. The new car is a 1973 roadster in Old English White with black interior, chrome bumpers and a manual gearbox with overdrive.
The new MGB complements Great Escape's existing MGB V8 engined convertible. Both cars are available to hire on a self drive basis by the day, weekend or week. Prices start at just £165 for 24 hours, including comprehensive insurance, full AA breakdown cover and unlimited mileage.
"The MGB is one of the most popular classic cars of all time," explains Graham Eason of Great Escape. "This year we found that we could have regularly double booked our V8 roadster. So it made sense to add a second car, but this time in white with a standard 1800cc engine to give our customers some variety.
"We expect the white car to be very popular for weddings as a groom's car."
Great Escape Classic Car Hire operates the largest fleet of MGBs for hire in the UK including MGB roadsters and GT coupes and MG TD. The company has over 50 classic cars for hire in the UK from 6 convenient locations.
For more details call 01527 893733 or visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/.
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Should I hire out my classic car?

As summer turns to autumn, classic car enthusiasts across the UK are preparing their cars for the winter lay up. For many time-starved enthusiasts it's also a timely opportunity to ponder the perennial classic car dilemma - should I keep it or sell it? With so many competing demands on our time, opportunities to spend quality time with your classic car can be hard to come by.

At Great Escape Classic Car Hire in early autumn and January we see a sudden increase in enquiries from owners who want to hire out their cars. So we've put together a helpful informaton pack that is designed to enable enquirers to decide whether hiring out their classic is right for them. You can request a pack by calling Graham or Jamie on 01527 893733.

If you're considering hiring out your classic car, here are some pointers to help you decide if it's right for you.

Your objectives in hiring cars will dictate what cars you hire and how we hire them for you. Classic car hire can be a way to cover the cost of a classic car you own or a way to buy a car you might otherwise not be able to justify. But if you are looking for an investment then we would recommend a different selection of cars. Classic car hire can also be an useful way to earn a second or third income or a small retirement income to supplement your pension. At Great Escape Classic Car Hire we have structured different models to suit these different goals.
It is important to be aware of the risks in hiring your classic car. Although the risk of damage or loss is significantly less than most people expect, it remains the biggest challenge when considering whether it is right for you. At Great Escape we have systems that ensure our cars are cared for by customers but we cannot eliminate the risk If you are worried about other people driving your cars or consider the possibility of damage too great, then perhaps classic car hire is not for you. Alternatively, if you accept the risk and are happy that the insurer will repair the car to the same or better than condition, then you will sleep easy when your car is on hire. We generally prefer not to hire out cars that are in concours condition or are highly prized possessions. Good cars for hire are in good cosmetic condition, perhaps with some defects, but are mechanically reliable. Reliability is difficult to achieve with a classic car because most cars are used sparingly - they may seem reliable until they are subjected to hire mileages.
There are no right or wrong cars for hire but some cars are much better than others. When considering the potential of a car, it is important to bear in mind your objectives. If you are happy to merely cover the cost of hire and maintenance then you will have a wider choice of cars to consider. If you want more of an income or a return on investment then your scope is more limited. At Great Escape we have years of data to demonstrate which cars work well and we have a large wish list of cars we would like to add.
We have developed an information pack for classic car owners to help them decide which option for hiring their cars is best for them and an income/cost model to help analyse the returns. For more information call Graham or Jamie on 01527 893733 or visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/.
Great Escape is the UK's largest classic car hire company with a fleet of 50 classic cars for hire from 6 UK locations. We have 5 years experience of hiring cars on behalf of owners and we operate the largest fleet of leased in cars.

A New Jensen Interceptor for 2014

At Great Escape Classic Car Hire we love the Jensen Interceptor. Ok, so build quality wasn't brilliant and the electrics have a life of their own (when they have a life), but there is just something about these big, brutal grand tourers that is hard not to love. So when we got wind that they're about to make a brand new one - not just a reheated version of the old one - we got very excited.


The plans involve a group of companies coming together, at Browns Lane in Coventry no less, to build a brand new all-aluminium chassis, aluminium body grand tourer that evokes the style of the 70s original. The plans sound credible to us as they have the input of some established names and the permission of the owners of the Jensen and Interceptor brands. Work, they say, is at an advanced stage.


We know the enduring appeal of the Jensen from our experience of hiring them out. We hire out two Jensen Interceptors from our Yorkshire and Cotswolds sites and they are always amongst our most popular cars. A well sorted Jensen such as either of the cars we hire is a wonderful car to tour around. And the styling inside and out is delightful.


So good luck to the team behind the new Jensen. We'll provide updates as we hear them on this blog. For more details on the Great Escape Jensen Interceptors for hire call 01527 893733 or visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/.

70 people, 30 cars, 6 days, 3 events, 1 Goodwood

The team at Great Escape Classic Car Hire is starting to unwind after its most successful Gopdwood Revival ever. Great Escape provided 30 cars to various corporate and private clients during the Goodwood Weekend in September, with a 100% reliability rate across the fleet.
The company organised three major events for corporate clients during the show and also provided a large number of cars to private self drive hire clients from its bases in Yorkshire, Cotswolds, London and Suffolk. This included two events from Winchester and Chichester which involved Great Escape's specialist logistics partner providing dedicated articulated trucks to move the vehicles.
"The Goodwood Revival gets biggers every year for us," says Graham Eason of Great Escape. "We ran three corporate events during the Revival and also provided self drive hire to private customers on our busiest weekend of the year.
"The fleet was 100% reliable and ever customer came back satisfied. I am pleased that we are able to successfully support and manage activity on this scale."
Great Escape Classic Car Hire is the UK's largest classic car hire company with a fleet of over 50 vehicles for self drive rental from 6 UK locations. For more information on Great Escape's corporate and private client packages, call 01527 893733 or visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/.
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2012 hire fleet announced

Great Escape Classic Car Hire has finalised its self drive hire fleet for 2012. The 50-strong fleet will only be slightly altered for 2012, with the loss of two cars and a few other cars moving to new Great Escape locations. You can view the new fleet by clicking on the Locations button at the top of the Great Escape website and selecting each location.
"We try to keep our fleet consistent year to year," explains Graham Eason of Great Escape. "This means that customers who buy vouchers or plan to hire a car from us are not unnecessarily surprised.
"However, we review our fleet each year to maintain the best balance of cars at each location. We also look at our fleet and replace some cars with more popular models.
"For 2012 we will be adding in several new cars, which we will be announcing over the next few months."
For more details on Great Escape Classic Car Hire visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/ or call 01527 893733.
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Cropredy Bridge Garage open day

When the call came that the Great Escape Classic Car Hire dark blue Jensen Interceptor was ready for collection after some bodywork, we decided to combine the trip to Cropredy Bridge Garage near Banbury with the Jensen specialist's open day.


Cropredy has been through some varied times recently but the open day proved that this longstanding marque loyalist is back to full strength. Jensen Interceptors in various hues lined up alongside CV-8s and ultra rare Jensen Healey GTs. Inside the workshop we spotted the pair of blue and white Interceptors that recently featured on Top Gear, plus an awesome burgundy Interceptor R, complete with its Corvette engine and bespoke interior. Elsewhere an autojumble was laid out. The Open Day was busy and we met up with Terry Carney, who runs the Great Escape Lincolnshire site. Like the rest of the Great Escape team he is a car nut and has a project Jensen Interceptor in his garage.


The team at Cropredy Bridge had repaired the Jensen superbly. The car recently had a close shave with a handrail, which damaged the front valance. We took the opportunity to also refit the windscreen, which was prone to leaks. With the windscreen fixed we will now be refurbishing the seats and fitting the new carpet set that we bought months ago. So for 2012 this blue Jensen Interceptor will be in better shape than ever.


For more details on Cropredy Bridge visit http://www.cropredy-bridge.co.uk/. For more details on the Great Escape Jensen Interceptor for hire call 01527 893733 or visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/

Melt your face like Clarkson

We've posted some new pictures of our brand new Ariel Atom for hire on our main website at http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/. This latest addition to our performance car hire fleet is currently based in London and can be hired for road use. We'll even deliver it anywhere within the M25 for free - or further afield for a small charge.


The Great Escape Classic Car Hire Ariel Atom for hire is an Atom 245 fitted with the 2 litre Honda V-TEC engine. The Atom is an out-and-out race car but we've fitted a couple of concessions to comfort to make it bearable for prolonged road driving. These include a windscreen and heated seats.


The Ariel Atom is available for hire by the day, weekend or week. Prices are the lowest in the UK and include 200 miles use, insurance and full AA breakdown cover. For more information visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/ or call 01527 893733.

New classic car photos online

We've added new professional images of our Yorkshire classic car hire fleet to the Great Escape Classic Car Hire website at http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk/. The new shots of the 1967 Porsche 911T, Jaguar E Type V12 Convertible, Mercedes 300SL, Jaguar Mk2 and Jensen Interceptor were taken in and around Harrogate near our Yorkshire site.


The majority of our customers base their decision on the information that we provide online. So it is important that we provide high quality images and descriptions so that they can make informed decisions. We invest several thousand pounds a year in photography any all of the cars featured on the Great Escape Classic Car Hire website are the actual cars that customers can drive - we don't use library images.


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