Celebrating Three Years of Great British Car Journey this Spring

Great British Car Journey celebrated its third birthday on May 22nd, and I wish to extend a heartfelt thank you to all our visitors, supporters, and followers who have been part of the ever evolving story of cars in the UK.

A special thanks to our dedicated team, many of whom have been with us since we first opened our doors when it was finally legal to welcome the public to a new visitor attraction, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Their commitment has been incredible. A massive thank you to my amazing wife Jane, her work-husband and our Duracell man and general manager Ian, to Becky, Jane, Steve, Vic, Neil, and our dedicated army of volunteers. Those who have joined us more recently; Oliver, Riley, Cheryl, Dee, Peggy, Clare, and our small army of café weekend warriors, and to Doc Lawrence, and Luke, for keeping our classics running!

 This spring has been incredibly busy with some truly fantastic event days. Our Masters of the Marque events powered by Wera Tools, have been very well attended, featuring a diverse array of cars. Despite the generally gloomy and cool weather, our events have been blessed with dry and often warm conditions. Let’s hope this continues throughout the summer!

As usual, I’ve been fortunate enough to drive some fascinating cars recently, though my driving was briefly interrupted by an operation in April. I’ve been off the road, taking only short but therapeutic trips around the Drive Dad’s Car Route. Fortunately, I am now free to be back on the open road!

Some highlights include my faithful Frogeye Sprite, the hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai (stay tuned for more on this), our Austin Somerset with its quirky column gear change  (soon to be joining the Driving fleet), a Jeep for the very first time, and most recently, a 1966 Ford Zephyr 4, recently acquired by Steve, our ever-smiley front desk anchor-man.

GBCJ Sprite GBCJ Toyota MiraiGBCJ Austin Somerset GBCJ Jeep GBCJ Zephyr

As we all know, cars are such a strong source of memories, and the combination of driving the Sprite and Zephyr took me back almost 60 years to the suburbs of North Birmingham, where I was born. We lived in a newly built estate of identical three-bedroom semis. Our neighbours, the Bunn family, had twin boys who went to the same school as me. In an era before car sharing, I often went to school with them in Mr Bunn’s Zephyr, which I believe was a Zephyr 6. Mrs Bunn, like my mum, enjoyed her cars and owned a Frogeye Sprite much admired by my dad. Though I never rode in the Frogeye, my brother and I owned numerous Sprites before graduating to Big Healeys, which we could buy in a fairly ropey state for around a grand. The best source of cheap cars back then was Exchange and Mart which we scoured every week for local four-wheeled temptations!

And so, as I lurched around the car park this week when Steve generously gave me the keys to his Zephyr, memories of our neighbours came flooding back. Sadly, the Bunn family moved “down South” in the late 60s and we lost touch. Hopefully, the twins are still here and remember their family’s interesting car history.

As I write this, it’s raining again, so don’t forget, whatever the weather, you can escape and rekindle those memories by visiting us at Great British Car Journey. Stay safe, and I hope to see you again soon.

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