Some classic car fans know what they like and like what they know. They have discovered what fires their engines and through the gloomy mists of years and decades doggedly stuck with it. I admire them: they're secure, content; they're experts in their chosen field and they form the backbone of the many clubs and forums that keep the classic car world spinning.
Although I am slightly envious of the almost religious zeal with which some car enthusiasts pursue their chosen interest, I am not one of them. I like some cars a lot (that'll be Saabs and Alfas) and I like other cars quite a lot (that'll be pretty much all other classic cars). And, as it turns out, quite a lot of people seem to be like me. Which is a little disappointing when you run a classic car hire company, which is based on providing the dream car that you've always hankered after.
It turns out, in fact, that most people who like classic cars like quite a lot of them. They may like one a lot but they also like several quite a lot. This can get expensive. If you choose to work your way through owning several of the cars you love then you'd better have deep pockets. Alternatively, you could join a club for classic cars, at upwards of £2,000 for the year. Provided you live in London, where the only only one in the UK currently resides. Or, and here's where the plug comes, you could join one of our driving days. For £249 you can knock five cars off your bucket list.
Besides revealing my roots as a snake-charming marketeer, there is sense to this. I started running driving days in 2011 as a way to broaden the appeal of what we do. I realised that some people want to immerse themselves in one car, but others are happy to just have an hour or so in several cars during a day. For the first couple of years it felt like a daft idea: we struggled to sell the idea to people and only ran a few rallies a year. I felt like the man who invented Betamax: better, but way, way too ahead of the curve.
Now who's flipping laughing? Me, that's who. In 2015 we are running a rally every other week during the season and most are already fully booked. For the price of a mid-range car hire (£249) you get to drive a range of classic cars - always no less than 5 in one day. We vary the routes and cars so that customers can pick and choose what they drive; many customers now sign up for every rally throughout the year. We've also added the option of bringing along a passenger for £99 - so it makes a great day out for couples or lads and dads. Every day includes around 8 hours driving, fuel, insurance, refreshments and lunch.
We recently ran a showcase event for the Autotweetup organisation of classic car journalists. 30 drivers and 15 cars with a tour of the Cotswolds and Warwickshire including lunch and a stop at the Coventry Motor Museum. If you check the hashtag #EnglishEscape on Twitter you can see photos and feedback on the day.
Classic car hire, renting single cars for one or more days, will always be our bread and butter. But for many our driving days, providing a taster of several cars, represent the ideal way to meet your heroes without full on immersion. Many driving day customers do go on to hire individual cars for a day, which is great, but others sign up for more rallies.
To find out about our rallies call 01527 893733 or click here. Prices are £249 for drivers and £99 for passengers. Daily classic car hire starts at £95 and we have a range of 50 cars to hire.