Another busy week at GBCJ with some great Classics visiting today from Staffordshire and beyond. Groups are always very welcome and hopefully as Covid recedes, we will be able to host Club meets in both the attraction and our licensed café . Like most hospitality businesses , we are struggling to recruit catering staff so if you fancy working in a place for the car-intoxicated and you have some catering experience , PLEASE get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Practical Classics has done us proud in the July edition so thanks as ever to Danny Hopkins for his infectious enthusiasm. I have also seen an advanced copy of the next EVO which has a review by my old friend John Barker.
I hope everyone is enjoying this overdue warm spell and that it remains hoods down for the foreseeable future.
Feedback from visitors has been fantastically positive and we look forward to welcoming many more in the coming weeks. The Drive Dads Car fleet has been well driven over the weekend and apart from a rather large nut falling off the Sunbeam Rapier, the cars have behaved as well as the drivers.
Our resident mechanical wizard : Doctor Mark Lawrence will no doubt be able to advise what said nut should be doing but I am afraid that the Rapier is currently in the sick bay!! We have been visited by many superb classic cars ranging from a magnificent pre-war Lagonda to Citroen 2 CVs and a rather lovely Volvo P1800 as driven by Roger Moore in “The Saint”.
Please feedback to us with any criticisms (or otherwise) and do join us on all the usual social media channels. Above all, thanks for coming and we hope to see you again.
I doubt anyone else on the planet has driven two cars at the extreme end of the spectrum as I have today.
Our 2000 Reliant Robin is one of the last ever made and always makes me smile. I did a couple of laps of the Drive Dads Car driving route today and it whistled along in its own slightly terrifying way!
The gear change is slightly eccentric, the handling is slightly scary but it goes quite quickly and is a very light and easy way of getting from A to B. At over 8 grand 20 years ago, it was quite an expensive proposition and sadly the end was almost nigh.
Tonight, on a beautiful (at last) Spring evening I took the McLaren for dinner with Mrs Usher at the marvellous Lathkil Hotel in Over Haddon. The contrast with the Reliant makes chalk and cheese look like twin brothers. It is an epic car and probably one of the last true Supercars to unashamedly gulp fuel at a truly prodigious rate when driven with spirit. I think it will need a bit of a clean before it goes back on display tomorrow.
So we have almost completed our first week. Thankyou to well over a thousand people who have already paid us a visit and I look forward to meeting plenty more of you over the weekend.
Reliant and McLaren in one day : I truly do love cars!!!
After a stormy night, it’s been mainly dry at Ambergate today which is a relief as we have had film crews shooting both inside and out.
As public open day gets ever closer (May 22nd), our willing team of contractors are starting to clear the building and leave the GBCJ team to fettle the cars and the displays. Foremost amongst the team are our wonderful volunteers who have been hard at it with the Autoglym which has been kindly supplied free of charge by the company…it really is a quality range of products.
Similarly, Fuchs who were of course once a Company called Silkolene based down the road in Belper have been very supportive and we are proud to recommend and sell their range of classic lubricants.
Our McLaren 650S has also arrived safely and if you see a bright orange one on the road between Ambergate and Longcliffe, the man grinning at the wheel is probably me, just checking that everything is functioning as it should.
New employees join us daily and particular thanks to the cleaning staff who are busy making sure that we are and remain super-clean whilst ever Covid is still a threat.
Thanks again to the volunteers hard at work making the cars look their best. Helped by some great product from AUTOGLYM continuing a relationship going back over 20 years when they supplied glass cleaning products to AutoWindscreens and the RAC.
Mark has been busy in the workshop but young Luke is down at Brooklands so we have missed him today.
We had a good project meeting this morning with our chairman and our biggest single shareholder working hard all day to make sure t’s are crossed and I’s all dotted by next week.
Builders , electricians, plumbers and other contractors are now in sight of the finish whilst Elite Signs from Gainsborough continue to tweak all the attraction signage. Huge thanks to you all.
Meanwhile our payroll continues to grow with janitorial, kitchen and reception staff all receiving inductions today. Welcome to you all and lets hope we enjoy the journey together.
Didn’t drive the McLaren today but pushed a Range Rover and commuted in my Rover Streetwise …the first ever urban crossover in the UK.
Lovely evening now but more like April than middle of May.
Thank goodness its stopped raining and it feels a bit warmer outside this morning.
Jane and I spent a few hours at Ambergate yesterday and Jason and Kirby (our catering manager) were also in evidence as we continue preparations for the grand opening.
Driving Experiences are selling well so if you want to be amongst the first few hundred people to take a “trip down memory lane”, book now to avoid disappointment. What a great Father’s day present : buy your Dad a drive in his old car !!!
I was lucky enough to drive our McLaren 650S yesterday although streaming wet roads meant that discretion was the order of the day.
Thanks to Bill and all the team at Woking for getting her to us safely and rest assured that she will be well cared for and admired in her new home in Derbyshire.
The BTCC starts at Thruxton today and is in full swing, live on ITV4. I was involved with this back in the early 1990s and have fond memories of great battles between the likes of John Cleland and Steve Soper. We were sponsoring the Peugeot team with Rob Gravett, Patrick Watts and Eugene O Brien. Another Grand Prix aswell although sadly no home crowd to cheer on Sainz and Alonso. 100 poles for Lewis : a truly staggering achievement.
Anyway, really looking forward to meeting visitors in less than two weeks. Stay safe and see you soon!
So, another week ends, and we are another step closer to opening our doors to the public. All the cars are in the hall and final adjustments are being made to put them in their position within the ‘journey’
This week we have had our volunteers with us and they have been fantastic giving up their time and getting stuck into anything and everything we have thrown at them!
The hard work doesn’t stop there though and we will be in over the weekend getting the café into shape!
Next week is looking just as packed, with a number of media visits planned, some press and some TV so do keep an eye out for us on TV or in print as we motor even quicker towards May 22nd.
Enjoy your weekend everyone and we look forward to welcoming you in very soon.
Don’t forget, you can pre-book your entry tickets here: ticket sales
Wow! What a busy week! Great British Car Journey has been fully road tested this week with a “friends and family day” on Tuesday and our Press Day yesterday, followed by more journalist visits today.
Hopefully, many of you will have seen the great coverage on BBC Breakfast yesterday with John Maguire really getting into the spirit of “The Journey” and what its all about. This resulted in much comment from Louise Minchin and Dan Walker who both owned Rover Metros!!!
The legend that is Bob Warman followed up for ITV with a great 3 minute piece on Central News last night.
Needless to say, the phones have been very busy and we have plenty of bookings for our first weekend which is really pleasing after all the years of toil to get GBCJ on the road.
PLEASE remember that COVID is still out there so some queuing and delay will be inevitable to keep everyone safe but we are really looking forward to welcoming our first batches of guests. If you want to come this weekend, Sunday is less busy and has some capacity for more bookings. Those of you who are real car nuts are strongly advised to come on a weekday if possible .
The weather today has been really horrid but we were blessed with warm sunshine yesterday. The weekend is not looking great so an indoor attraction may be a good pick!!
Great piece in Autocar today: thanks to John Evans and photographer Max Edleston.
Lots of activity this week as we count down to opening. Car Parks and roadways all lined today so now looks even more like a venue. Two new team members have joined us on the journey: Welcome Becky and Kirby and we hope that you are here to stay.
Great work by our volunteers putting show stuff together and giving the cars a good clean: Thanks so much for your enthusiastic support.
Took Luke our apprentice for a very short spin in our ex-Elton John Bentley today. Just reward for all his hard work : he and Mark our head technician still busy fettling the Drive Dads Car fleet. Mini cylinder head removals was today’s tutorial.
All in all a really good feel about Derwent Works this week. Can’t wait to open the doors to visitors in just over 2 weeks.
Its’ been good to have a long weekend although I do seem to have spent a lot of time in the home office. Last week was very exciting as well over 100 cars crossed the river to their new home in Unit 4 at Derwent Works and the nine chapters of Great British Car Journey took shape. After nearly four years of planning the project which was nearly scuppered by illness and Covid, it’s great to be nearly there. Last weekend was fun with Drive It day and thanks to all those owners who dropped in. We saw well over 100 cars in the Spring sunshine and raised over £200 for Childline. The weather today is definitely not hood friendly so I suspect most Classics will be safely in the dry.
We are really grateful for all the messages of support and encouraged by the ticket sales for both Car Journey and Drive Dads Car. If you haven’t booked yet and you want to visit in our first week, please go to www.greatbritishcarjourney.com or www.drivedadscar.com
The whole team are really looking forward to our new adventure and welcoming you: our guests and introducing you to the cars and a heavy dose of nostalgia! See you soon!