A visit to Sportscar Workshops – Richmond, Virginia

SCW_Richmond 1266What exactly is a sports car? The definition varies widely and stretches ever further these days, and can possibly have a number of meanings. Is it a car built specifically for sporting endeavors? One adapted for sporting endeavors? Or should the definition be expanded to include any car used for sporting endeavors?

SCW_Richmond 1267The definition doesn’t really matter; what does is the passion of the people that own and work on them. Some may argue that a BMW E30 isn’t a true sports car by definition, but who cares. The term sports car and what it conjures in the mind is more tied up in romanticism, enthusiasm and a certain degree of escapism than anything else, and it is those three things you’ll find in spades at Sportscar Workshops in Richmond, Virginia. That, combined with solid experience and a huge assortment of just about every type of sports car you can think of from all corners of the globe.

SCW_Richmond 1288Our story actually starts with a 1986 Alfa Romeo GTV6 in New York City. Continue reading

The 2013 Goodwood Revival

B_GRev 187Living the dream. An often over and sometimes ironically used phrase that seems to have lost its significance of late, and somewhat of an unreachable goal. I mean, very rarely does anyone actually get to live a dream. But I’ve just come back from the Goodwood Revival Meeting and as far as I can see, that entire event is a dream, and to attend it is to spend three short days living that dream down to its minutest detail.

B_GRev 009Sitting back now looking at these pictures on my dimly lit computer screen in suburban Adelaide, I have that kind of groggy, vague memory of this dream I’ve just awoken from. Was I really there, did that actually happen? It was set in the lush, green English countryside and everyone was dressed so nicely in tweed and frocks and they were all so friendly. There was champagne flowing and everyone was dancing to live swing music; the best classic cars driven by the most famous drivers were racing door handle to door handle; there was an airshow and a dogfight and there were priceless Ferrari’s dotted around the place. And then for some reason we were with Hillary and Tenzing at the summit of Mt Everest? At least, I think that’s what happened. Take me back!

A_GRevBMW 324Any Given Reason has been truly privileged to attend both Goodwood events in 2013; two events with completely different characters, despite being held only a stones throw from each other just outside Chichester in the South of England. If the Festival of Speed is the world’s biggest automotive garden party, then the Goodwood Revival is surely the worlds biggest automotive dress up party. Continue reading

A visit to Royal Automobile Paris

DSC_0191Every now and then you stumble upon something utterly brilliant, and the fact that it’s unexpected makes it even more enjoyable.

DSC_0216The other day I was walking through Paris trying to find a patisserie before making an ascent of the Eiffel Tower when I noticed an unassuming building with a sign saying ‘Royal Automobile’.

DSC_0217A classic car dealer in such a prime location? Definitely worth a look. Sorry for the poor photo, but in the left you can see Royal Automobile, and in the top right you can see the tip of the Eiffel Tower. As far as automotive things in Paris go, this is pretty much as prime as it gets. Not even the big brands are this close.

DSC_0211Stepping in the door, I’m greeted by an AC Cobra and a Porsche 356C.

DSC_0212Yes, that is a Bugatti Type 35 and a Jaguar D-Type. Unfortunately the language barrier made getting more information about these cars rather difficult, but I got the impression they are both genuine. Continue reading

A tour of Prodrive

DSC_0054The name Prodrive is synonymous with motorsport the world over. This small contract engineering firm located at Banbury in England’s so called ‘motorsport valley’ is the knowledge, experience and brainpower behind some of the worlds most successful motorsport endeavors.

DSC_0130Say you’re a large manufacturer and you want to go racing but you don’t have the resources or expertise to run a race team. You contact Prodrive, and they assume your identity and run your campaign for you, leaving you to simply sign the cheques. The Subaru World Rally Team and Mini Rally Team in WRC, Aston Martin Racing at Le Mans, Ford Performance Racing in V8 Supercars, BAR in Formula 1 and countless others. All Prodrive.

DSC_0193Prodrive was founded in 1984 by ex World Rally Championship co-driver David Richards and Ian Parry. Housed throughout several buildings on a 14acre site in an Industrial estate, you wouldn’t really know what is inside these generic looking white warehouse buildings if you were to just drive past. The only building to carry major signage is the main admin office and reception building. Visiting Prodrive for the first time is almost a little underwhelming – I was expecting a car or at least a trophy or two in the reception, but there was nothing. I was greeted by Jackie, my guide for my two hour tour, and we were off through a nondescript, unmarked white door…

DSC_0045… which led through to the Prodrive Heritage Centre. It was literally like bursting through into Narnia. A simple door in a boring white office leads through to this. There are around 13 cars and various bits of memorabilia on display on the floor, and photos of Prodrive’s past drivers line the wall. Continue reading

2013 All British Day

DSC_0196Monty Python, old fashioned pubs and The Beatles are just some of the gifts offered to the world by Britain. However with the good comes the bad, and Britain is also responsible for Bovril, The Spice Girls and some frankly terrible comedies on the ABC. And so it was with the All British Day; a show completely unique for featuring some of my all-time favorite cars, and some of my least, all in one place.

DSC_0015It’s well worth pointing out, though, that the desirable cars at All British Day are more than enough reason to come.

DSC_0279And come they did. Traditionally held on the Uraidla oval, the All British Day has become so big that it has outgrown that venue. For 2013 the show moved to its new home on the Echunga oval, just a further 20 minutes down some of the nicest hills roads in the state.

DSC_0005Whilst I still think the old venue at Uraidla is a more scenic location, Echunga provides a nice Aussie gumtree backdrop for the show, and plenty of space for all who come. I can’t remember the last time I had to line up to get into a classic car show in Adelaide!

DSC_0009The only problem with the All British Day is that there is just so much to see that it is not really possible to properly take it all in. Taking this into consideration, for my coverage this year I’ve decided to take a more detailed look at the cars that really stood out to me – an Any Given Reason ‘best of show’, if you will. Continue reading

Bay to Birdwood Vintage Run

The Bay to Birdwood is one of the biggest car runs in the state – 1,250 entries this time. It alternates between a run for classic cars (1956 to the late 70’s) and vintage cars (built up till 1955) every other year. This year it was the vintage turn.

I’ll be honest – vintage cars aren’t usually my thing. I’ve traditionally viewed them as a bit of a novelty, and whilst there are certainly some vintage cars that I admire, I’ve not had a lot to do with them in the past.

However I’ve long maintained that true automotive enthusiasts have at least a passing interest in anything with four wheels and an engine, so with this in mind I went down to check out the Bay to Birdwood run. I was expecting rows of old, relatively unexciting vintage cars, and whilst that was certainly the case for a lot of the field, there was a lot more there of interest than I was expecting. Continue reading

McLaren Vale Vintage & Classic Day

A superb autumn day, hundreds of classic cars and one of the worlds premiere wine regions are the three main ingredients that have contributed to quickly making the McLaren Vale Vintage and Classic Day one of the highlights of the South Australian classic car calendar.

The thing that sets this event apart is it’s core concept and the way it embraces the region. All cars met at Serafino wines for an informal show before parading through the main street of McLaren Vale at 11am. From there, the various car clubs head to an assigned winery in the area to hold a small show, so the end result is eight or ten small shows within a ten minute drive.

You get a living, breathing, moving car show. And it’s a fantastic day out. Each type of car is displayed in a different environment and in a different context. And some of the best cars you see are the ones you spot while driving around between the different wineries. The whole region was alive with classic cars – sitting having lunch at about 2pm in McLaren Vale, there was a constant stream of lumpy muscle cars, old Porsche’s and Corvette’s, Jaguar’s, Mercedes, Rolls Royce and MG’s just cruising past.

The event was no doubt helped no end by the weather. The morning started off as one of those stunningly crisp and balmy autumn mornings, the mornings that are just so beautiful and made even more so by the knowledge that winter isn’t far away. This probably helped to get a lot of the cars out of their garages for the day, and whilst the dark clouds soon rolled in the rain kept away.  Continue reading