How not to customise a Jaguar



There are two types of people. There are those who accept the way the world is. They revel in its beauty and brilliance. They look at life and all it contains and they say 'It's flawed, it's varied, but it is good.' 
Then there are those who don't accept the way the world is. They look out the window and see a place that is broken, that needs bettered, that needs improved. 
For the world to keep spinning, for medicine to advance, for society to improve, we need both types of people, those who want to push on and those who ask why. 
In the world of classic cars we don't need both. We don't need the pusher-oners, the it-can-be-betterers. These are the people who look at what an army of engineers and designers has produced over thousand of hours and with millions of pounds and they say, y'know what, I can actually do better.  
The trouble is that of course in far too many cars they might be right. Might be right, that is, if they also had money, tools and skill. After all, anyone considering the Allegro or TR7 who doesn't imagine a way to make it better is perhaps just a little too blaze. 
If you do have a penchant for fiddling and changing and improving your starting point should probably not be a Jaguar. The Coventry firm has offered the occasional dud but it is responsible for more of the greatest designs of the last 50 years than any other manufacturer. 
So here, as a lesson to would-be modifiers, is a catalogue of the worst Coventry Cat customisations. Read and weep. 

1. E Type 'cat' 


Strictly speaking this monstrosity hasn't actually been modified. The bodywork is standard. But that's where the good news ends. You might imagine that once the tongue had been painted on that the owner would say 'enough.' But he (or she) didn't. This is the motoring equivalent of one of those 'Indian Art' T-Shirts. Awful. 

2. Avon Jaguar XJ Estate


Avon has produced some quite effective conversions. This isn't one of them. Caught somewhere between a hearse and an estate car, the XJ estate is the answer to a question that nobody dreamed of asking. For some reason Avon elected to lengthen the XJ during the conversion, a decision which only makes the end result worse. 

3. E Type V8


Possession is nine tenth of the law. And it's true, if you own it then it's yours to do as you wish. But the owner of this Series 1 E Type was surely possessed. The inventor of fibreglass has a lot to answer for here, but it's the fitment of a Ford V8 and the bonnet leaper with eyes that light up that truly offend. 

4. S-Type Estate 


It's not just enthusiastic amateurs who over reach themselves, of course. Car companies have a long history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. While this bizarre factory designed S-Type estate never reached production, Jaguar did still persevere long enough to create a working prototype. Perhaps worst of all it looks like an estate but doesn't have a hatch back. 

5. E Type Hearse


This car, well known in Jaguar circles, does have the defence of being quite amusing. The trouble is that a Jaguar E Type died in the process of creating this homage to the art of vinyl roofing. And you'd have to be short and thin to take advantage of it for your trip into the afterlife. Only in America etc. 



6. Bob The XJS 


There is a thin line between genius and stupidity. Somewhere on that line lies humour. Presumably the owner of this terrible Bob The Builder homage felt he was quite firmly tweaking the funny bone with this. I may be in a club of one here but for me, this is neither funny, inspired or genius. It's stupid. It's pointless. It isn't even very good. 

7. Jaguar XJC (for caravan)


There was probably some logic to this. Some, but not much. Take one surplus caravan body and one scrap XJ and recycle. The trouble is that the end result (whenever the owner decides to reach it) is neither a car or a caravan. It's a compromise - a top heavy vanette powered by a 4 litre car. It can never end well. 

8. E Type Widebody 


It is, in truth, very hard to work out what is going on here. And why. It's a desirable series 1 E Type with massive, and I really mean massive, rear wheels. If it was a drag car I might follow the logic. But it isn't. It's just a lot of time spent making something silly, pointless and very ugly. 

9. XJ Big Truck


Jaguar has apparently been pondering a 4x4 for a while. No need to bother chaps, job done. Here is a Jaguar XJ / Ford F-150 marriage. All the luxury of a Jag with the go-anywhere off-road ability of a Ford truck. As with so many customs this probably took a long time. Which is perhaps the most painful part of the story. 

10. XK Foxbat


Most people, faced with the dilemma of owning more pets and/or children than their car can accommodate, do the obvious thing and buy something else. Others, particularly those with too much money and/or a spare Morris Minor Traveller in the garage, choose to modify their existing car. So it was with the Foxbat, created to solve the problem of how to fit a dog into a XK Jaguar. I will admit that until it was pointed out to me that the back end is pure Morris Traveller I sort of liked it. Now all I can see is the love child of a a morris and a Jaguar. And it isn't pretty.

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www.greatescapecars.co.uk







  


Move over Santa, Cupid's here



Christmas is so last week. Here at Great Escape Towers if we weren't already married we'd be thinking about getting married.  Because when Santa quits town, Cupid comes around.  We know because at this time of year our phone runs red hot with wedding car bookings.
Most brides, quite rightly, believe their big day is all about the dress. Or the church. Or the venue. They share this perspective with roughly 50% of the population.  The other 50%, who just happen to be male, generally have other priorities. Because delightful as all the fluffy stuff is, for most grooms the car is the star. The wedding wheels are often the main task allotted to the groom and the first thing he gets sorted.
In the olden days sorting out the car was the sort of task that a groom would begin with gusto and end with disillusionment. Unless sitting in the back of a creaky old white Rolls or Jaguar was your idea of motoring Heaven, then your choice of wheels was rather limited. Some enterprising souls offered 1950s Americana, but they were few and far between.
Now things are different. You can still opt for a white Roller, but if your tastes are rather more refined then there are plenty of other options available. Best of all - we think  - is self drive hire. The specialist classic car hire market has made it possible not just to hire the car of your dreams, but also drive it too.  And for less than the cost of a chauffeur hire. Bingo.
At Great Escape Cars we provide a lot of cars for weddings. We've learned that the choice of cars is only the starting point - the key hurdle when choosing self drive hire is the logistics. So we've created a unique wedding hire package that makes choosing the car and fitting it into your day as easy as 1, 2 3. And here is exactly that - our 1 2 3 of wedding car hire.

1. Choose Your Car


We've got over 50 classic cars to choose from, based in the Midlands or Peak District. You can choose a bride or groom car, or both. You can choose cars by colour, style, era or type and we're happy to provide advice on what works best for the bride and groom. Prices start at just £160.

2. Choose Your Logistics


Fitting a self drive car into your day requires a little more thought than chauffeur hire, but it is just as easy to arrange.  You can choose to collect and return the car or have it delivered - or a mixture of the two. You can also add a second driver who can collect and return the car for you - often this is a nice job for the father of the bride or the best man. We can quote for any option and it may not cost as much as you think.

3. Choose Your Hire Period


Our standard wedding hire package is what we call '1.5 days'.  This enables you to collect the car on the day before the wedding (usually in the afternoon) and return it around lunchtime on the day after - it's nearly 2 days but you only pay for 1.5 days.  This package includes two drivers and costs from £160. It's based on collection and return to our base but you can add delivery and collection if you need it.

When you talk to us about hiring your wedding car we'll help guide you through these decisions.  Our goal is to find you the best package at the right price - we aren't here to extract maximum value from you. We also offer a viewing service and a chance to try the car out for size - it's rather like a wedding dress fitting. Once you're happy with the car, logistics and price we only need a 25% deposit to secure the car.  The balance can be paid in installments or one final payment due 6 weeks before the wedding. 

To find out more about our range of over 50 classic wedding cars call 01527 893733 or visit http://www,greatescapecars.co.uk.

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www.greatescapecars.co.uk
01527 893733

 

Your dream garage for £199



Apparently the average motorist does a little under 10,000 miles a year. Nobody has tried to work out how far the average classic car motorist goes in a year but using a complex calculation involving reliability times sunny days divided by DIY I estimate it's a figure close to or around Not Much. lets say 1,500 miles for the sake of argument.
Where am I going with this? Well, quite simply I'm about to try and sell you something. And it isn't a classic car.  Because, quite frankly, it doesn't need me to tell anyone reading this that owning a classic car is like throwing £5 notes into a very big and very dark hole. Even assuming that buying and selling a classic car incurs no actual cost, because they don't generally depreciate, classic car owners are facing considerable costs for, based on their average use, very limited reward.  Most owners will spend upwards of £500 a year to service their car and get it through a MOT, with a similar amount eaten up by tax (if it's under 40 years) and insurance. So quite quickly, without considering the cost of storage, fuel, major repairs and improvements, you're looking at £1/mile.  In reality, it's probably a lot more.


I would hope that I am fairly familiar with these figures because I own several classic cars. In fact I started Great Escape Cars because, like many owners, I had classic cars I rarely used but which were costing me a small fortune to keep running.  Without Great Escape Cars I would eventually have had to sell them.
In a way Great Escape Cars was my lifeline and my ticket to a dream garage in much the same way it is for our customers. While I recognise that for some people there is no joy to replace the one of actually owning your dream car, for many others, perhaps the majority, the chance to simply drive and enjoy that car is enough. Ownership is a problem and a responsibility too far. And I know from owning a few classic cars that the reality of daily life can very, very quickly tarnish the silver lining. Sometimes it is better not to get to know your idols too well.


Great Escape started out appealing mainly to 'try before you buy' users - many have gone on to buy the car of their dreams after trying out ours. Great news. But now most of our customers are car enthusiasts who take a more pragmatic line - they want to experience the cars they love, but they don't want to get too close, for all the reasons familiar to classic car owners. So we've adapted what we do to cater for them.
Many of our customers have a particular dream car in mind and want to immerse themselves in that experience for a day or two. That's where our classic car hire packages come in.  Others can't choose which they love most (I know how they feel) so for them we've created multi-car driving days on road and track. Instead of waking up on a rare sunny day, pondering the wisdom of digging out your classic car and trying to decide where to go in it, on our driving days we do all that for you. We provide the day, we pray for the weather (usually successfully), we get the cars ready and we provide the route. And not just one car - 5 in a single day.
The added benefit of this arrangement is that you only need an investment of £199 to access £500,000 worth of cars. And if our car plays up - which only happens very rarely - your partner can shout at us rather than you. Don't worry, we have thick skins.
For 2015 we are running more classic car driving days than ever before, including new and very popular themed days and new routes.  Until 24th December prices are £199 for a driver and £99 for a passenger, then reluctantly (after 3 years) they go up to £249 and £99. Our track days start at just £89.
To find out more call 01527 893733 or visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk where you can also book online.

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www.greatescapecars.co.uk
01527 893733

More classic cars than you can shake a big stick at in 2015


Get a bigger unit, I thought. Get more space for a workshop. More space to move the cars around. That was 12 months ago, when we moved to a unit half as big again. Now it's full.  Obviously, with cars.
My stupidity is your gain, dear customer. Because I never like to see an empty space that a car could so easily fill it means that we've got some new and shiny classics for the 2015 fleet. I've learnt the hard way that the best classic hire cars are the ones you really know, so we now tend to buy projects and restore them for hire.  This means we're providing you with a car that we've recently spent a lot of money sorting and you get a car that is in very good, newly restored condition. Buying projects also has an added advantage - we can buy cheap and restore them at cost, so our new car budget goes further. Which, rather inevitably, means more cars.
Alongside the new cars we've also relocated our classic car hire fleet to the Midlands to make it simpler and easier to maintain and hire them.  So our new larger unit is rather creaking at the seams.  No bother, here are the new 2015 additions that you can book now - or buy a voucher.

1. Triumph Herald 13/60 Convertible



For those who want four seater drop top motoring but find the Morris Minor a little too slow, there is the Herald. Long, low and easy to drive, the Herald is perfect for touring the Cotswolds or as a self drive wedding car.  We have restored this car over 2 years, investing over £3,000 to turn it from the car below to the car above.


2. Jaguar XJ12 Sovereign


Until BMW got in on the act there was only ever one big V12 saloon. For many classic enthusiasts, that's really still the case.  The Series 3 XJ12 has almost as much waft as a Rolls Royce, but without the high and mighty floatability. You can experience what is arguably the greatest saloon car of all time on one of our popular Jaguar driving days or waft away a weekend in it for just £260.

3. MGB GT


The B roadster may be more common but I actually prefer the BGT. If you're familiar with the roadster then the BGT feels entirely different - more solid, more grown up, more comfortable. In fact, a proper mini GT. So it made sense to add a BGT to our fleet. It's taken a while to transform the project I bought 12 months ago into the restored car you can now hire, but it's been worth the wait. The car has benefited from £4,000 of work and is completely standard except for a warmed up engine. You can hire it for the weekend for £260.

4. Rolls Royce Silver Shadow


The first rule of buying an old Rolls Royce is never buy an old Rolls Royce that needs some work. So we've added this 1978 model to the fleet, which had already had all the work done (over £7,000 spent in the last 12 months) and is in excellent condition.  Champagne metallic with a burgundy leather interior and beige Everflex vinyl roof, this car is perfect for ambling through the Cotswolds or pulling up outside the church. Hire it from £349 for the weekend or £199 for 24 hrs.

5. Saab 900 Turbo Convertible


Ah, the Saab 900 convertible.  It seats four in comfort, goes like a rocket and is great fun to drive. I should know, I own a few.  Enjoy some drop top Swedish style for £160 for the weekend.

6. Jaguar XJR



Jaguars have always been long, low and powerful.  But none were as long, as low and quite as powerful as the first XJR.  The car's supercharged 370bhp V8 4 litre engine makes this car scintillatingly quick. But in true Jaguar style, you can also enjoy it at more sedate speeds, thanks to its great handling, good ride and very high standards of luxury. Our new XJR is available to drive on one of our popular Jaguar Driving Days or hire it for the weekend for £260.  

7. Audi Quattro


Strictly speaking, our Audi Quattro isn't new.  It's been on our Shropshire fleet for 12 months.  But since not many customers realised that we've decided to relocate it to our Midlands base, to make it easier and more convenient to hire.  You can still use it to explore the Welsh roads it loves, but you no longer need to drive to Shropshire to do it.  The Quattro is, quite simply, a remarkable 1980s classic and should be on any dream drive bucket list.  You can sample it one of our driving days or hire it for the day for £199.

8. Jaguar XJS


Pity the poor XJS.  It does most things better than an E Type, except, crucially, how it looks. Despite selling in far greater numbers than the E Type, the XJS is often overlooked as a classic. Let that be someone else's loss. The XJS is an extremely good GT car, it's smooth, fast, comfortable and handles neatly. We have restored this low mileage V12 coupe over the last 12 months at a cost of £2,000. You can drive it for £150 for 24 hrs or £260 for a weekend.

To find out more about our fleet of classic cars to hire, the largest in Europe, call 01527 893733 or visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk


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01527 893733




Even Santa Leaves It To The Last Minute


Let's be honest, when it comes to Christmas shopping we all do the easy stuff first - bath stuff for Auntie Mabel, Lego for the kids, spa voucher for your better half. And then you do the tough ones, which usually means your parents. And you finally provide some ideas to your partner on stuff you might want.
Such is the way of all things Christmasy. The people it's hardest to buy for get bought for the last. When options are running out. When decisions have to be made. Which may well explain why at Great Escape Cars we tend to be very busy in the few days leading up to Christmas.


I'm the first to admit that classic car hire and classic car experiences aren't the first thing most people think of when it comes to something to buy for the men or women of a certain age in your life. Because we don't have millions to spend on adverts starring penguins or soldiers. I wish we did. I've always had a soft spot for a decent penguin.
All of which is a bit of a shame because gifting time in a classic car is, our customers seem to think, pretty flippin' brilliant. It needn't cost the earth - prices start at £95 - and you don't have to just hire it. We do driving days, track days and gift packages too. With the UK's largest fleet of classic cars to choose from - over 50 at the last count - we should have something to suit your interests and budget.




We are constantly improving the fleet and in the last few weeks alone have added a Triumph Herald, Jaguar XJ6 and Jaguar XJR for hire in 2015.  Our cars are available to hire from our Midlands base or the Peak District and we can deliver or collect anywhere in the UK.
Our elves are here until late on Christmas Eve.  And we can send your gift pack as an emailable voucher, so we can guarantee Christmas delivery even up to 5pm on the 24th. If that isn't enough to get you reaching for your phone we're also offering 20% off hire of any of our Jaguars between 5pm today and 5pm Christmas Eve. That's a saving of up to £70 on 24 hrs hire.
To find out more about out classic car gift vouchers and packages call 01527 893733 or visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk.

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www.greatescapecars.co.uk
01527 893733

More banger for your buck


It's called Bangernomics, a term coined by a man after my own heart, journalist James Ruppert. Buy a smoky old motor, particulately one that's big and wafty, drive it into the ground and buy another. That's the economics of banger motoring, and I've unwittingly become a bit of a convert.
My journey to the far corners of motoring orphan-hood has been a long one. Until 2007 I'd never bought a car, a succession of gleaming company hacks kept me a long way from the harsh realities of car ownership. Then the cracks began to appear. I opted out of the car scheme and bought a 3 year old Audi A6. Two years later I was made redundant. The Audi went, at a loss of £5k, and self employed impoverishment beckoned. I bought a '94 Jaguar XJR for £1500. Of course I did. 
Unwittingly, of course, I had jumped hook line and sinker into the world of Bangernomics. Because there nothing is more Bangernomic than an old Jag, especially one caught between new Jag and classic Jag.  



I had, however, made a classic Bangernomic rookie error. The X300 XJR is quite a long way from being an economical or indeed inexpensive car to own. That it has four fuse boxes should tell you all you need to know to walk away.  So I sold the Jag and bought a Saab 9-5 estate. Big Saabs like the 9-5 are Bangernomics heartland, hefty, unloved but numerous barges that can be bought for peanuts. The 9-5 is a very good bargain smoker because it's solid, pretty reliable and parts are plentiful and cheap, particularly compared to similar Mercedes and BMW saloons. Although I'd learned from my rookie Jag error, I hadn't learnt enough. I bought the Saab 9-5 that intelligent people avoid the unreliable 3 litre diesel and I bought it sight sight unseen from ebay. That in itself wasn't the real problem, but I failed to check out the seller and ask him the right questions.
Next up was another Saab estate. By now I was beginning to learn. I found a low owner 3 litre v6 petrol auto being sold by a Saab specialist as a part ex. This car ticked a lot of boxes - low owners usually means it's been looked after and coveted, a specialist has a reputation to uphold and the 3 litre motor crucially wasn't made by Saab. This rare GM unit is known for its durability, but its rarity also makes this model generally overlooked and therefore cheap. I bought this car for £500, drove it 30,000 miles in 2 years and then someone drove into it.  


It should have been a write off, but Bangernomics pundits know better. Parts are so cheap for the Saab that I was able to source everything the car needed for less than £200. It's all been refitted and the car has passed a MOT easily, despite being off the road for 7 months. I might not even bother getting the panels resprayed. 
With the Saab off the road I faced a bit of a dilemma. What to do next? I limped through summer by using other cars but as winter loomed I knew I needed another luxubanger. The Saab was caught in insurance limboland so I began delving through the darker corners of ebay. I rediscovered the illustrious Alfa 166. Once feted as the fastest depreciating car ever made, the big Alfa is rare and largely ignored. 
I found my ideal spec quickly - a 3 litre v6 'Sportronic' Lusso in dark metallic blue with cream leather. Low owners, low mileage, full service history, cambelts done and long MOT, the Holy Grail of Bangernomics. This car also had the magic ingredient - it was miles away. Cars located at the outer reaches of the UK tend to be cheaper and sell more slowly, for obvious reasons, than better located cars. If you don't have the facilities to collect it then you lose out to someone who can. Sad to say, that is me as I have access to trucks and trailers. I quizzed the seller over the phone and identified a few issues - airbag warning light, faulty stereo, that sort of thing. These problems are common on Alfas and can be cheap to fix. 
The warning lights were cured for £50 at my local auto electrics specialist and the faulty stereo cured by a call to an Alfa dealer. With MOT and four new tyres the car owes me £600. Ok, so the central locking plays up and the centre armrest is broken. I can live with that. 1,000 unruffled miles later I'm happy.
Bangernomics, of course, isn't for everyone. If having a newish car on the drive and the virtual guarantee that it will work first time every time is your thing, look away. But if you want to wave goodbye to burning up thousands of pounds in depreciation and you enjoy a little frisson of risk in your life, here are my top tips for buying a banger. 

1. Buy unloved
Fords, Vauxhalls, Toyotas and other familiar, popular brands are not your hunting ground. Cheap cars abound here but they'll be the bad eggs. Opt instead for less common brands like Lexus, Alfa Romeo, Saab, Fiat and even Volvo. Generally you'll be looking at a bigger car but you won't pay more for it. Some less loved brands, like Jeep and Chrysler are cheap but with expensive parts, so be wary. Cars based on more popular mechanicals - like Seats - are also worth a look. But in general, if it didn't sell well, it's well worth your look.

2. Low owners
Forget the nonsense about low mileage - it's a factor but much less important than buying a low owner car. Little previous generally means it's been looked after and has been reliable, otherwise why else keep it? You also stand more chance of getting a decent history file with the car, rather than it being lost along the way. 

3. Forget mileage 
Unless it's been to the moon and back, don't get hung up on mileage. This is a car you may own for 12 or maybe 24 months at best, it doesn't need a lot of life left. High mileage generally indicates low stress motorway miles, low mileage can suggest high stress local short trips. As long as the engine had received the tight maintenance with regular oil changes and isn't due a big bill, don't worry about mega miles. 

4. Stick to a budget
Bangernomics is not an exact science but as a general rule I suggest anything over £2000 isn't a banger. Over 2k and you enter a grey area of dilemma when something goes wrong - fix or sell? Under £2k there is little debate - sell or scrap. Set your limit and don't exceed it.

5. Do the research 
Cheap bangers are cheap because they're generally misunderstood. Fiats and Alfas have a reputation for going wrong that is out of proportion to their failure rate. Most buyers buy into the myth, not the reality. Research the car you're looking at, see what owners say, check what goes wrong and ask sellers the right questions. It doesn't take long but will save you time and money long term. 

6. Check the seller
Most bangers are bought on ebay. And most of them are bought unseen. This is fine provided you ask the right questions and look out for the warning signs. If you can't view the car then there are plenty of clues you can collect. As a general rule I avoid listings that say too little, are in multi coloured fonts and use the words brilliant, fantastic and first to see will buy. No banger is any of those things. If the seller has taken the time to explain the car, its faults and history, with good photos, I'm interested. I don't usually buy from dealers but occasionally it is worth paying their premium. I always email the seller with some questions in the first instance. Based on how they reply I call them to find out more. Some sellers reply by email in text speak with little or no information. I don't bother going any further - I'm not a grammar snob but if you can't be bothered to string a sentence together then you probably haven't got the car I want. On the phone I am polite, friendly and indicate my serious intent. If the car sounds good I emphasise a quick, seamless buy with no come back provided it is honest. For the seller, someone offering ready cash and an easy sale is the Holy Grail. I offer a buy it now and a deposit. Ebay may bleat but this is the real world. 

7. Buy a long MOT 
A long MOT is absolutely no guarantee of budget motoring, but it is a good start. The MOT keeps the car on the road and suggests the seller isn't just offloading it to avoid potential bills.

8. Look for faults 
Any car 15 years or newer tends to have complicated electronics that can render an otherwise excellent car scrap. Everything from warning lights on the dashboard to a misfire can be caused by a faulty ECU. This problem can be expensive or peanuts to fix. Often at the cheap end of the market sellers can't even be bothered to spend £50 on a diagnostic check, which may be all it needs to fix it. Research your car and it will give you a better chance of identifying how serious the issue is - if you know more than the seller you have a considerable advantage. 

9. Don't fall in love
An old banger is an old banger. If bought wisely it will last to the next MOT, probably longer.  But at the first sniff of a big bill, offload it. It isn't worth investing more than 30% of the car's value in any one bill. 

9. Be prepared to take a risk
No matter how well you buy, an old banger is still an old banger. The risk of failure will always be greater than with a modern car. If you can accept that in your life, carry on. With any new banger I buy I tend to use it locally initially, until I feel I can trust it. When I can I treat it like any car, because bad new cars can fail just as easily as good old ones.

10. Find a friendly garage
Whatever you decide to buy, find a local garage which can competently look after it and do so inexpensively. This generally means a local independent, whose owner actually does the work and who you can build a rapport with. If you're not in a hurry for your repairs you'll get them done cheaper.

Running a cheap old car isn't for everyone. But by following a few simple rules, an old car doesn't have to be expensive to run, unreliable or risky. 


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www.greatescapecars.co.uk
With thanks to James Ruppert, www.bangernomics.co.uk 






Lights! Camera! Drivers!


Ah, the smell of the grease paint, the lure of the bright lights. Well we've got a job in telly that is nothing like that. We've won a major TV contract and we need more drivers.
For the right person this is an amazing job. We need up to six drivers to move cars around the UK to different locations and support the film crew on site. You'll be working in pairs on a rota system that fits around EU driver hours regulations. You can expect long but interesting days at locations across Britain. The job involves being away from home for 2-3 nights at a time, with breaks in between. 


No prior experience is necessary but you must have the right attitude and a professional demeanour as you will be the face of Great Escape for our clients. You will be driving twin deck 7.5 tonne car transporters and single car heavy duty 4x4 and trailers combinations. Experience of both is desirable, as is a valid Driver Qualification Card. If you don't have either but have the aptitude to drive these vehicles and do the job, we will provide training. 
The job will be based out of our Redditch site so ideally you won't be far away. The job is available on a fixed term contract with a good rate of pay. Start date will be early 2015, running through to late autumn 2015 on a full time basis. 
If you're interested feel free to email me on graham@greatescapecars.co.uk with any questions. Or to apply send your cv with driving experience and licence qualifications to me. This is a demanding job but very far removed from a 9-5 office job. If that appeals, please get in touch. 

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www.greatescapecars.co.uk



Classic Track Attack


Rules. Sometimes it's as if our lives are full of nothing but rules, damn rules. I am, I'll readily admit, not a great advocate of rules. Which may not be great news for the upholders of law and order, but it is good news for you, dear customer. Because rules are conspicuous by their absence when it comes to our new driving packages.
Our new track day packages are all about pure and simple enjoyment. No speed cameras, no speed limits, no dawdling Hyundais.  On a track there are rules, of course, but considerably less of them than on the road, where there are a lot of them. If you want to discover how an E Type really handles then our track day packages are for you.


We've got together with the team at Prestwold Circuit to bring you our classic track days. There are six classic cars to choose from - Jensen Interceptor, E Type, 911, Healey, Mini and Cobra - and you can choose to drive one, two or three in one session. Each car you drive includes 2 tuition laps with an instructor and 4 self drive laps. You can choose to add extra lap time on the day.
Our track day packages are available as vouchers valid for 12 months. Prices are £89 for 1 car, £159 for two cars and £249 for 3 cars. We are running track days once a month from April to October.
The Prestwold Circuit is easy to drive and high speed and has parking and an on-site cafe, so that you can bring your friends and family.
To find out more call 01527 893733 or visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk and click on the links or visit our gift shop.

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http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk
01527 893733

All White on The Day


Weddings cars are, quite often, about two things: the colour white and Jaguars. While many wedding couples are opting for all kinds of colour schemes it's our white E Types that remain most popular with the recently betrothed.
This has always caused something of a dilemma for us, since our saloon Jaguars, which would otherwise complement the E Types, are resolutely Not White. In part this has been deliberate - white Mk2 Jaguars are so synonymous with weddings that I've avoided adding them to the fleet because they wouldn't be popular with non-wedding hirers.
And then the Jaguar XJ6 that appears below arrived on my radar. Back in 1980, when this car was built, Jaguar could only make the XJ6 in white, red or yellow because the paint process was so poor. Consequently, a white XJ6 is not that uncommon. It also suits the car, in a way that white doesn't suit the curvy Mk2. So we added it to the fleet.


The addition of the XJ6 means that we can now offer brides a complete self drive wedding car package of white Jaguars - one for the groom and one for the bride. The total cost to hire both cars for a weekend for a wedding is just £699. That includes insurance for two drivers per car and free delivery within 25 miles of our base. Cheaper than two similar chauffeur driven cars and you get to drive them over a full weekend. Gosh.


We have a choice of two white E Type V12 convertibles, both Old English White with black interiors and manual gearboxes. Both cars have been extensively restored and renovated by Great Escape Cars over the last three years. The XJ6 is a very rare five speed manual with Old English White paintwork and black leather interior. It has acres of room in the back for the bride and father of the bride and is very easy to drive. Both cars have power steering.



Hiring a self drive wedding car from Great Escape Cars is very easy.  We provide flexible collection and return times to fit around your plans and we offer a tailored hire package that takes into account the fact that the cars won't be travelling far. We also include insurance for two drivers per car, a generous mileage allowance and we can deliver and collect the car anywhere in the UK. To find out more call 01527 893733 or email info@greatescapecars.co.uk.

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www.greatescapecars.co.uk
01527 893733



Another list of classics cars to buy now before prices go silly



It seems that every month one self appointee classic car pundit or other produces a list of cars that you simply must buy now, before prices skyrocket. Although it's a useful service it never seems to be based on much more than looking at the classifieds and wondering why Porsche 928s are so cheap.
Running a classic car hire company and parlaying all things related to old motors on a daily basis means I am by nature skeptical of anyone who says a 928 is a cheap and worthwhile investment. But my job does mean I'm always on the look out for the next 'sure fire hirer.' I've discovered by trial and error that nothing is, in fact, sure fire, it is only ever 'a bit more likely'. Which perhaps makes the following list redundant. Never mind, here are my current tips for future classics to invest in now - or, to be more realistic, just bloody well enjoy for not much money. Because, after all, if they don't go up they certainly won't get cheaper.

1. Alfa GTV or Spider 3 litre V6


Car magazine described it as the best Ferrari that isn't a Ferrari. The 3 litre 916 series Alfa is brilliant. Never a big seller - particularly as a comvertible - exclusvity is guaranteed and as the last Alfa to have a proper Alfa v6 engine - the Busso unit even has its own wikipedia page - it surely has all the ingredients for a future classic. But buy one to enjoy it - the v6 is one of the best engines ever made and the car looks and handles as well as it goes. 2k bags a reasonable one, 8k gets the best.

2. Jaguar XJ Series 3


Arfur Daley had one (actually a Daimler version) and it's the car that still says 'executive smoker' like no other. But the long, low and lithe Coventry Cat is a properly built car and good ones are getting rare. It does everything a big Jag should - smooth, fast and stylish.  Remarkably they're still being broken in volume, so bag one now and hang onto it. It's the last 'proper' Jag and in V12 form the last twelve pot saloon. Probably ever. 

3. Triumph TR7


There is so much, so, so much, to dislike about the TR7. It doesn't look right, it's badly built and it has a Marina engine. But. But.. It's the last proper Triumph sports car designed from scratch and as a classic it's surprisingly easy to own - simple, fairly modern and with good parts supplier. The TR7 is a distinctive weekend classic that isn't a MGB. And is a lot better than one. Coupes start at a few hundred pounds. 

4. Fiat Coupe 20v


The looks of this Chris Bangle-designed 90s road burner divide opinion but it has future classic written all over it. Back in the late 90s it won every magazine test it appeared in, praised for its distinctive looks, astonishing performance (in Turbo spec) and practicality. Fiats don't tend to rate well in Britain as classics but the Coupe must surely lay claim to becoming one. They are unreliable but also very cheap. Buy a good one for 2k, enjoy it then garage it.

5. Jaguar XK8


The big two door Jag is proof that future classics almost always have to rise like phoenixes to their pedestal. For most the XK8 is just a big, thirsty, dishevelled old Jag of questionable value. But like the E Type (yes, even the venerable E) and XJS before it, that will change. In a few years we'll be cursing those who bought good, low mileage and low owner XK8s now, particularly the mental supercharged XKR. It looks good, goes well, handles and is luxurious and practical. It's also reliable. From £2,000. 

6. Mercedes R129 SL


It is the last bulletproof Mercedes, hewn as if from a solid piece on metal, and it is, currently, insanely cheap. Prices of the earlier R107 have gone stratospheric - fuelled by clever specialists - so it seems logical that the equally good, if not better, R129 will do the same. It is, after all, that rare thing - a good, reliable convertible classic car that you could easily use every day. They do rust, there is a lot to go wrong and the V8 is thirsty, but find a 300SL with low mileage and low owners and dive it. From £3,000.

7. MGF


Oh dear. The poor MGF. Forever stuck in the shadow of the MX5 and the MGB. Its sheer ubiquity also plays against its claims to classic status. But it is such a great weekend car, one that looks good, has the right badge and handles tidily and predictably. The F has more character than a MX5 and is more complete than a B. Numbers will dwindle quickly because they're worth more in bits so put £1500 in your pocket and buy a late VVC with uprated head gasket. 

8. Nissan 200SX


In the 1990s Nissan was the sober accountant of motoring. So you would imagine that when Nissan decided to wig out and create a proper old skool coupe, it would all be rather embarrassing. With the 200SX it didn't quite work out like that. Instead Nissan applied its rational, logical mind to creating arguably the barmiest sports coupe of the 90s. Bolting a turbo to the 2 litre motor created a mad power-slidin' rear drive driftin' king. It also looked pretty good too. Nissan has since dispensed with sober suited barminess in favour of well, just barminess. Find one of these rarities and enjoy the 90s Capri from the Far East. 

9. TVR Chimaera


Before it all went a bit weird and wacky in TVR's Blackpool factory there was the the Chimaera, a stylish and dare I say it sensible convertible. It may be hard to imagine now but this was a TVR that went well, was almost practical - it had quite a big boot - and was almost reliable enough to use daily. TVR affiionados, who perhaps relish admiring their cars whilst stood on the hard shoulder, consider the Chimaera a bit soft and sober. More fool them. Prices are still low for what might arguably be the best TVR you should actually buy.

10. Porsche 944



I've owned a Porsche 928 so I'm pretty loathe to recommend any Porker as a cheap used buy.  But the 944 is worth a punt, particularly as a convertible. The drop top 944 is ridiculously cheap to buy - it's not as good or as focussed as the 944 but who cares, it's a Porsche for not much money.  Unlike other Porsches, the 944 is comparatively simple and conventional, which makes owning one at least a realistic prospect. The main bugbear is the maintenance - anything with Porsche attached to it attracts a hefty premium, not always with good cause. The Boxster is snapping at the 944's heels, but there are a lot of very ropey examples around.

If you do decide to dip your town in the bargain basement end of the classic car pool, do your research. These 10 cars represent good, relatively safe buys but any poorly maintained car will cost money. Shop around, suss plenty of cars out then plump for the best you can afford. And enjoy. owning a classic that can be used daily is a real joy.

Feel free to call or email me on 01527 893733 or graham@greatescapecars.co.uk with any questions.

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http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk
01527 893733