Nearly thirty members of the 96 Club and other friends of the Guild drove some of their classic cars up to Greatworth Park near Banbury in Oxfordshire on Friday 21 April for an informative and entertaining day visiting Guild member companies and watching the HGPCA practice session at nearby Silverstone.
Greatworth Park is home to some outstanding examples of what makes the ‘motorsport valley’ of Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire, home to some 3,500 companies and 40,000 people employed in the industry, such a great example of British engineering expertise.
We Started at Greatworth Classics
The visitors started at Greatworth Classics, where owner Angus Watt spoke of how the company moved from restoring and selling VW microbuses and campers imported from the US, to Porsche 911s, 914s and 356s. Housed in former RAF radio buildings, the works has a refreshing light and airy atmosphere, with plenty of room for all elements of servicing and restoration to be done, including a paint booth and a trim shop.
We moved on to Tim Samways Sporting & Historic Cars Engineers
Just across the yard, we were treated to an extraordinary array of Italian racing and sports cars, all undergoing the most expert care, at the Tim Samways Sporting & Historic Car Engineers premises. Cars that are not seen outside of classic race events and museums included Alfa Romeo 33s, both V-8 and flat-12s, Alfa TZ1, a racing Ferrari Daytona and 206 SP, and Aston Martins, classic and modern.
Tim kindly took time out to talk about each car and the often large scale of work, specialist fabrication and parts manufacture that he and his team carry out. We had the run of the works and saw the impressive engine shop and dyno facility. When asked what his greatest challenges were in working on such cars, Tim said:
“Recruiting the right people is a major headache, that is why the Guild, with its apprenticeship scheme is so important. We must nurture the talent that we have in this country.”
Our Next Port of Call Was David Appleby Engineering
After this feast of Italian auto art, we walked down the lane a little way to visit David Appleby Engineering, home of some very successful Aston Martin race and rally cars – yes, the company has run an Aston rally car based on a V-8 Vantage – and there saw two Triumph TR8 rally cars under construction plus another impressive dynamometer facility.
These companies’ activities perfectly reflect one of the Guild’s main aims:
- the need to bring young engineers into the industry………
……….and they are all a testament to the regard that the world’s collectors and racers have for British engineering. Cars are sent from all over the world to be restored and also improved, by British motorsport and classic engineers.
After Lunch we Made the Short Journey to Silverstone
After a light lunch at Whittlebury Hall, near Silverstone, we made the short to drive to Silverstone to watch practice for the HGPCA racing on the coming weekend. Seeing racing classics being put through their paces perfectly illustrated the results of the effort that our Guild members put into engineering a winning combination of speed and style in some of the world’s greatest performance cars.
All in all it was an excellent day, and we look forward to seeing you all again next time. The next 3 events are:
- May 19th. Visit to Crosthwaite and Gardiner, followed by Eagle Cars
- June 8th. Visit to Fiennes Rolls Royce and Bentley Restorer
- July 5th. Visit to J D Classics
Click here for more details or Contact Us. We would love to see you at any of these events.