Currently Viewing Posts Tagged Great British Car Journey

A very big Italian Mini adventure for Practical Classics editor starts at Great British Car Journey

DAanny Hopkins, editor of Practical Classics with the Great British Car Journey Mini

Great British Car Journey friend and Practical Classics Editor Danny Hopkins has begun his own Mini adventure 23 years to the day after the classic Mini ceased production (4 October 2000).

Richard Usher, founder and CEO of GBCJ has lent Danny his own classic Mini Cooper Sport from the museum’s collection which he will use to take part in the legendary Italian Job run in aid of Buttle UK, a charity dedicated to helping children and young people in crisis.

When he heard about Danny’s epic adventure for charity, Richard was happy to lend his own Mini for the adventure. He explained: “I’ve known Danny for a number of years and share his enthusiasm for anything with four wheels (and some with three). When I heard what he wanted to do and all about the charity, I had no hesitation in lending him my personal Mini.”

Richard handed over the branded Mini to Danny at GBCJ ahead of him starting his epic Italian adventure. On Monday 9 October, Danny will join 30+ Minis in his specially branded Mini, for a 14-day blast to and through Italy. The journey starts with a run to Imola via Nurburgring and Munich.

During the 2,000 mile charity jaunt to Turin, the classic Mini convoy will then blast through Modena and Sienna to Turin, before heading back to the UK through the Alps. Along the way, Danny will be visiting Ferrari, the founder of which, Enzo Ferrari was known to be the owner of at least one Mini.

Most importantly of all, however, Danny will be raising cash for the charity during his travels.

“Raising cash for Buttle UK is what this is all about,’ said Danny.  “They are a wonderful charity, helping kids in difficult situations so, unlike Harry and the boys in the film, I aim to get back to the UK with a lot of cash.” 

The GBCJ Mini was registered on 18 October 2000. It boasts just 11,000 miles on the clock and is in fine running order after being serviced in the GBCJ workshop by our resident classic car technicians, Doc Lawrence and his able apprentice Luke Henshaw. Vintage Tyres have also supplied a full set of new rubber tyres.

Richard added: “The Mini is the hero car of Great British Car Journey and this little example is sure gonna have a story to tell when it returns from its travels. It will be going back on display with an extra 2,500 miles on the clock and all its decals!”

We’ll be following Danny’s Mini adventure on GBCJ social media channels each day as he sends us video diary updates. Follow our social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram  

“It’s an amazing collaborative effort,” added Danny, “but I don’t want it to be in vain so feel free to dig deep… and walk tall having done a good thing. I’ll be doing regular updates as I go… it’s a long way in a little car. I promise I won’t blow the bloody doors off though.”

You can donate to Buttle UK via Danny’s JustGIving page here

Just one very royal lady owner for the latest Great British Car Journey exhibit

Princess Anne with Scimitar No 5 at Gatcombe Park

A car with one very special royal lady owner is the latest to arrive at the Great British Car Journey.

A custom-built Middlebridge Scimitar, which was previously owned by HRH Princess Anne for 35 years, is now on display.

L-R: Richard Usher, Kohji Nakauchi – former owner of Middlebridge Scimitar, Dennis Nursey – former CEO of Middlebridge Scimitar, and Mick Gaughran – Chairman of MESS

The dark green car is exactly as it was the day it left the Nottingham factory on 13 December 1988 and delivered to the Princess Royal. It was to be the last of eight Scimitars that she owned over 52 years.

Amongst its distinctive detailing, the car features a unique bonnet emblem – a silver female jockey on a horse. The unique mascot was presented to the Princess Royal following her performance in the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games where she competed on the late Queen Elizabeth II’s horse ‘Goodwill’.

The historically significant car remained in the Princess Royal’s ownership until very recently. It was stored at her country estate Gatcombe Park. Despite having 114,000 miles on the clock, the car is in remarkable condition, even boasting its original exhaust system.

The unique bonnet mascot on Scimitar No 5

Unfortunately, due to personal security reasons, Her Royal Highness has been unable to drive her cherished Scimitar No 5 for a number of years. Keen to preserve the car, Princess Anne agreed to the purchase of it by Middlebridge Scimitar enthusiast and classic car collector.

Mick Gaughran, Chairman of the Middlebridge Enthusiasts Scimitar Set (MESS), explained: “Princess Anne loved the car.  She was incredibly sad to part with it, but agreed to it on condition that it would be sympathetically restored. The car had been incredibly well looked after and needed minimal work. It is simply stunning.”

The car was given its ‘minimalist’ restoration work by marque specialists with all conservation works agreed with Gatcombe Park.

“The cars have galvanised steel chassis and fibreglass bodies, so they don’t rot,” added Mick.

Following its conservation, Middlebridge Scimitar No 5 has been loaned to Great British Car Journey. It is now on display in the museum’s 150-strong collection of classic British cars, complete with its original personalised number plate – 1420 H, which was displayed on the car for 35 years. The number plate has since been returned to the 1420 Hussars, who originally gifted it to HRH on her twentieth birthday.

HRH Princess Anne with Scimitar No 5 at Gatcombe Park

“Great British Car Journey is the perfect place for Scimitar No 5. Both the car’s royal and British motoring heritage will be fully appreciated. Scimitar No 5 can now be enjoyed and appreciated by everyone,” added Mick.

The car was delivered to Great British Car Journey on Thursday 31 August. It is now one of a number of historically significant cars on display in the museum, including Lord Baden Powell’s Rolls-Royce.

Richard Usher, founder of Great British Car Journey, who took delivery of Scimitar No 5 said: “I am incredibly grateful that Great British Car Journey has been chosen to display this historically significant car. Not only is it an eighties classic, the car also has an illustrious history and Royal provenance and is a wonderful addition to our exhibition.

“It is an absolutely stunning example of a Middlebridge Scimitar and is testament to HRH the Princess Royal’s care for the vehicle that it is in such a good condition after 114,000 miles of, no doubt, enthusiastic driving!

“I have no doubt it will be much admired by the thousands of visitors who come here each year.”

The former owner of Middlebridge Scimitar Kohji Nakauchi, a huge classic car enthusiast and collector, was there for the handover of the Scimitar No 5 to Great British Car Journey. He said he was “very honoured” to see the car on display in the museum.

To view opening times and purchase discounted entry tickets to the attraction, visit here.

Amphibious car sets sail at Great British Car Journey

Dutton Surf

Is it a duck? Is it a boat? Is it a car?  It’s all three. It’s a Dutton 4WD Surf – an amphibious vehicle can be seen in Great British Car Journey.

Like all the cars in the UK’s award-winning interactive car museum’s collection, the custom-built amphibious car is in full working order – on land and water!

Great British Car Journey’s director Andrew Talbot took the Dutton 4WD Surf on its maiden voyage recently when it entered the river and travelled upstream before returning to dry land.

He said: “I have spent a lot of time on the Derwent in my kayak and I’m confident that this is the first amphibious car to have ever travelled on the river. Being in the Dutton was an altogether different experience from being in my kayak or even a normal car, but it was fantastic. I loved every minute of it.”

Now named the ‘Derwent Duck’ by the museum team, the craft was built by British inventor Tim Dutton at his factory in Littlehampton. Tim has been making the only successful amphibious car in the world since 1989 at a factory that used to make lifeboats.

No more than seven of the amphibious cars are made each year and a number of them have appeared in high profile TV programmes like Hunted and Britain’s Got Talent where it was driven in the opening sequence by Simon Cowell and David Walliams.

Travelling on water at a top speed of five knots powered by jet propulsion, the Dutton Surf is designed for lazy days on the river rather than powerboating. On land, the Dutton 4WD Surf operates like a normal car and is fully road legal with a top speed of 85mph.

The craft, when not on the Derwent, can be found in the museum’s 150-strong collection which celebrates the weird and wonderful, and best and worst, of British car design over the last 100 years.

Commenting on the Derwent Duck’s addition to the exhibition, Richard Usher founder and CEO of Great British Car Journey, said: “Tim Dutton is yet another example of a British engineering pioneer and we are delighted to have the Dutton 4WD Surf in our collection. Like many of the cars in the collection, it’s a real talking point.”

For more information on news updates, new donated car features, car club visits, new merchandise and forthcoming events please sign up to our newsletter below.

An ‘Eggcellent’ Easter Monday Car Meet

It was great to see so many cars at the latest event at Ambergate yesterday for our Easter Monday Great British Car Meet. Although the weather was very April, it didn’t stop people and cars turning up in their droves! The sun even made one or two brief appearances.

I absolutely love the diversity of classic cars at these events: a beautiful 1947 Rolls-Royce, a sweet little Gilbern GT, an immaculate and immensely rare Mk 3 Cortina 1.3 L,  a couple of Morgan three-wheelers, a Saab 96, alongside the Minis, Metros, Maestros and Maxis (Remember: the four Ms are available to drive on our Drive Dad’s Car fleet).

Every time I went out in the car park, there was another car that caught my eye. I loved having great conversations with you, the owners about the history, the memories and why the car is special to you.

I was often accompanied by film maker extraordinaire Paul Woodford and, when I could prize her away from the Ital complete with roof rack and vintage luggage, the marvellous Sarah Crabtree. Speaking of which, have you seen the episode of Great British Car Share over on our YouTube channel in which Sarah drives (or attempts to drive) our Maxi? Watch it here if you haven’t.

Finally it was great to see road tester par excellence  John Barker and his sons. Many moons ago, John and colleagues started a magazine called EVO for which he still writes. 

I would like to thank everyone who came along to our Easter Monday Great British Car Meet and helped make it such a success.

If you missed out on this or are hungry for more, we also have an evening Car Meet on Friday 28th April and another Bank Holiday Car Meet on Monday 1st May.

Our Car Meets cost just £5 to enter with your car but if you are a member of our fantastic Great British Car Club, then entry to all our Meets is free. For an annual membership fee of just £39 you can come into the Great British Car Journey exhibition as often as you like and also attend a load of Members’ events, as well as get discounts on Drive Dad’s Car drives, in the café, gift shop and a dedicated insurance offer.

The Club is friendly and very inclusive; any car, any make or model and just a passion for classics. See the section on our website for more details on how to join.

Finally, it’s Drive it Day on Sunday 23rd April and the Club has put together a lovely 40 mile drive through the White Peak courtesy of my old friend Steve White whose Model A Ford is the oldest licensed taxi in the UK. If you want to join the run, please give us a call on 01773 317243.

A big thank you to everyone who came along to this event for your enthusiasm and support. I hope to see you again very soon.

Richard Usher

CEO and Founder, Great British Car Journey.

We won GOLD!

Great British Car Journey has been named as the overall winner of the New Tourism Business category in the 2023 Visit Peak District & Derbyshire Tourism Awards.

The Buxton Crescent Heritage Experience and The George at Hathersage told the silver and bronze awards respectively.

The announcement was made at a glittering awards ceremony held at Casa Hotel in Chesterfield on the 2 March.

Unfortunately, Great British Car Journey’s founder and CEO Richard was ill so missed out on the fantastic night, however General Manager Ian Gardecki was there to collect the award. He said: “We were so happy to win, and it was brilliant to be able to share the news with all the team at Great British Car Journey the next day. The very late finish on the night and early start the next day was definitely worth the slight headache!”

Great British Car Journey was one of 14 gold winners on the night. As the winner of one of the 13 core categories in the awards, we now progress onto the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2023, which represent the highest accolades in English tourism. The awards will be held later this year in June.

Gold winners were each presented with hand-crafted awards, designed and made by Derbyshire-based C W Sellors Fine Jewellery & Luxury Watches, whilst Silver and Bronze winners each received a certificate identifying them as one of the finest tourism businesses in the area.

Jo Dilley, managing director of tourist board Visit Peak District & Derbyshire, said: “The awards are a celebration of all that’s great about the tourism industry locally, and recognise its vital importance to the economy as well as the hard work, talent and dedication of those who work in this important sector.

“The quality and diversity of our tourism offer is immense and, in light of the many difficulties faced by the industry over the past three years, we should be tremendously proud of not only our award-winners, but of all our finalists.

“They have shown adaptability, innovation, and commitment to delivering world-class experiences to visitors day in, day out and help make the Peak District and Derbyshire such a fantastic place to live, work and visit. Congratulations everyone.”

We were also delighted to see our Peak District and Derwent Valley neighbours Matlock Farm Park, Heights of Abraham and Thornbridge Estate secure awards at the event. The 2023 gold Young Achiever was announced as Josh Butler of Longbow Bars and Restaurants. He takes over the accolade from our own heritage apprentice Luke Henshaw who won it last year.

Luke has since been shortlisted for the prestigious VisitEngland Tourism Superstar Award, the winner of which will be announced during English Tourism Week (Friday 17 – Sunday 26 March 2023).

Voting closes at midnight on 20 March, to vote for Luke to win the 2023 VisitEngland Tourism Superstar Award complete the form here.

EPC-UK donates life-saving defibrillator to Great British Car Journey

A lifesaving defibrillator has been donated to Great British Car Journey.

The defibrillator has been donated to the museum by EPC-UK, a leading UK company in the field of commercial explosive and blasting services based in nearby Alfreton.

To ensure easy access, the new defibrillator is situated within the attraction’s main display at Ambergate. Staff at Great British Car Journey have also received training on how to use the life-saving piece of equipment.

There are around 60,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests that occur every year in the UK. Research has shown that deploying a defibrillator within 3–5 minutes of collapse can result in survival rates as high as 50–70%.

The donation was prompted by Great British Car Journey’s driving instructor, Tony Bird who assists with the Drive Dad’s Car experience at weekends. Tony is also an employee of EPC-UK where he is the Driver Training Manager and Emergency First Aid Instructor.

He explained: “I’m only too aware, through my professional role, of just how vital CPR training with access to a defibrillator can be in an emergency cardiac arrest situation. Having the right skills and equipment can enable an individual to instigate an immediate and often life-saving response until a paramedic or ambulance team arrives.

“I spoke to EPC-UK’s Head of Human Resources, Julie Wootton, who champions and organises our defibrillator fundraising efforts, and requested one of the donations be made here. Supporting my passion for both the museum and public safety, she didn’t hesitate to help.”

The defibrillator donation to Great British Car Journey is one of 25 that EPC-UK has made to date to benefit public-use facilities, thanks to the fundraising efforts of the company’s employees, partners and associates.

Julie Wootton said: “We’re extremely pleased to be able to provide the museum with our latest, fundraised piece of defibrillator equipment, enabled as a result of money raised at our 2022 EPC-UK Charity Golf Day. Our employees, partners and associates will be nominating more public use organisations, like Great British Car Journey, who will benefit from receiving both a defibrillator and user training from EPC-UK.”

With thousands of people visiting the attraction each year, the new defibrillator is a welcome addition to the popular attraction. Richard Usher, founder and CEO of Great British Car Journey, said: “We are delighted, thanks to the kind generosity of EPC-UK, to now have a defibrillator at Great British Car Journey. In the same way that British car designs transformed motoring across the world, so too has another Great British invention – the portable defibrillator.  It seems a fitting fact that the very first model created in 1965 by Frank Pantridge operated from car batteries.”

The defibrillator handover took place during a EPC-UK teambuilding event at Great British Car Journey. Senior managers from the company enjoyed an off-site management meeting at Great British Car Journey, which included a Drive Dad’s Car experience. The team drove the 1938 Wolseley, a classic Mini, Ford Capri, Morris Marina, Austin Allegro and Jaguar V12 from the Drive Dad’s Car fleet.

Ben Williams, Managing Director of EPC-UK, drove the Wolseley. He said: “I liked the idea of driving a pre-war car, also, it’s given me an excuse to wear my peaky blinders’ hat!”

EPC-UK MD Ben Williams got to wear his Peaky Blinders cap in our Wolseley.

 

Ben Coppock, General Manager Blasting and Explosives at EPC-UK, drove the Jaguar V12. He said: “I’ve never driven a Jag or a V12 so this has been my chance to enjoy this classic slab of British engineering.”

Ben Coppock with our ‘classic slab of British engineering’.

Great British Car Journey is the ideal venue for a  a unique and nostalgic corporate event, which is perfect for bringing teams together and both interesting and challenging experiences. Whether it’s a stand-alone event or part of a conference or annual outing, our packages are suitable for groups of up to 80 people and include entry to the museum with an interactive tour, as well as the opportunity to drive at least one of the 38 cars in our ‘Drive Dads Car’ fleet.

Learn more about our corporate packages here or to book a personal drive, visit Drivedadscar.com.

The award-winning visitor attraction and Drive Dad’s Car experience are open throughout the year. Visit www.greatbritishcarjourney.com to find out opening times.

Derbyshire Scouts welcome ‘Jam Roll ‘to Great British Car Journey

Arrival of Baden Powell’s Rolls Royce marks 1st birthday of Great British Car Journey

Derbyshire’s Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers have welcomed the most important car in the Scout movement’s 114-year history to Great British Car Journey.

‘Jam Roll’, Lord Baden Powell’s Rolls Royce, has gone on display to the public at Great British Car Journey, marking the classic car visitor attraction’s first birthday on 22 May 2022.

The 20hp Rolls-Royce, which was manufactured in Derby, was originally presented to Baden-Powell, along with a caravan (Eccles), at the 1929 World Jamboree on the Scouting movement’s 21st birthday.

The car was subsequently named ‘Jam Roll’ in recognition of its connection to the Jamboree and Rolls Royce.

The unique car boasts the Scout Fleur de Lys emblem, etched with the Scouts motto ‘Be Prepared’ on the radiator in place of the traditional Spirit of Ecstasy or ‘Flying Lady’, making it one of a kind.

Now, 93-years after it was presented to Baden Powell, ‘Jam Roll’ has joined the collection of classic cars at Great British Car Journey. The arrival of the car at the attraction was extra special for the Cubs in attendance, as it helped them earn their Collectors Badge.

Tom Stoddart, One of the Trustees of B-P Jam Roll Ltd which owns the car, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Jam Roll is now on display at Great British Car Journey and available to be seen by Scouts and Guides throughout the world. Retaining the car in Derbyshire was very important to us. It is an important piece of Scouting history, and we know that it will be well looked after by Richard and his team.”

Richard Usher, CEO of Great British Car Journey said: “We are thrilled to have such a uniquely historic car in the Great British Car Journey collection. It is a wonderful way to mark the 12-month anniversary of opening the attraction.”

Scouts around the world were asked to donate a penny per member and enough was raised to buy ‘Jam Roll’ and ‘Eccles’. Lord Baden Powell used the Rolls Royce and Eccles for many years and after his death in 1941 his family sold it to private owners. It was seen infrequently at Scouts events before being acquired by BP Jam Roll Ltd, a trust established to purchase in the car in 2008 ensuring it stayed in the country.

Following Jam Roll’s purchase by the trust, of which Lord Baden Powell’s grandson the Hon. Michael Baden Powell is a trustee, the car was sympathetically restored by Scouting volunteers and members of the Rolls Royce Heritage Centre where it was stored until it arrived at Great British Car Journey.

Jam Roll has found a new home at great British Car Journey where it is now on display alongside more than 130 British-built and manufactured cars which have long since disappeared from the roads, including the Austin Seven, Morris Minor and Ford Escort as well with a number of cars with equally famous owners, including Elton John’s Bentley Continental T.

Richard added: “The fact that ‘Jam Roll’ was made in Derby, only a few miles from Baden Powell’s wife’s home town of Chesterfield and indeed Great British Car Journey, gives this internationally important car a lovely local connection.”

Although now on display at Great British Car Journey, ‘Jam Roll’ will continue to make special appearances at Scout events.

To view Jam Roll and the wider car collection at Great British Car Journey, you can purchase tickets at greatbritishcarjourney.com or simply turn up and pay upon arrival.

If you’re looking for the ultimate trip down memory lane, pick from the 38-strong Drive Dad’s Car fleet and get behind the wheel of your favourite classic car. Visit drivedadscar.com to learn more.

Triple win for Great British Car Journey in2022 Tourism Awards

Great British Car Journey’s apprentice mechanic Luke Henshaw has been named as the 2022 Tourism Young Achiever in the Peak District and Derbyshire Tourism Awards.

Luke (18) was one of just 15 Gold winners at the awards, which were organised by Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire. ‘Tourism Young Achiever’ was a new award category added to the awards line-up to recognise the thousands of jobs supported by tourism across the Peak District and Derbyshire.

In addition to Luke’s win, the Ambergate-based classic car attraction also scooped the silver award in the New Tourism Business category and bronze in the Experience of the Year category for its unique Drive Dad’s Car experience just 10 months after opening its door to visitors.
Luke, from Mansfield, joined Great British Car Journey in April ahead of the popular attraction opening in May 2021. He works and learns alongside the attraction’s Chief Engineer and to keep a fleet of nearly 200 cars in working order.

Delighted to be recognised, Luke said: “it’s a great honour to be recognised. I was a little nervous but the atmosphere was brilliant and a great experience for my first awards ceremony. I’m learning so much at Great British Car Journey. It’s a fantastic place to work with an amazing variety of the cars that I get to work on daily. It’s brilliant.”

Richard Usher, founder and CEO of Great British Car Journey said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been recognised across three categories in the awards after opening just 10 months ago amidst Covid restrictions.
“Luke, as indeed all the team – from volunteers and paid employees – are integral to ensuring Great British Car Journey continues to grow and become the go-to destination for classic car enthusiasts throughout the UK.

“Despite recent setbacks with the weather, we’re all really looking forward to 2022. We have even more plans for the attraction in the pipeline and the team and I are definitely aiming for more golds in the awards next year.

Designed to recognise and reward excellence and outstanding achievement in the Peak District and Derbyshire’s valuable tourism sector, the awards brought together 41 finalists in 15 categories for a glittering ceremony at Chesterfield’s four-star Casa Hotel.
Great British Car Journey is open seven days a week from 10.00am until 5.00pm and charts the history of the British motoring industry through more than 130 cars on display, including Austin Sevens, Morris Minors, Minis, Ford Escorts and even a McLaren supercar.

You can book tickets to visit us at: www.greatbritishcarjourney.com

Great British Car Journey’s barn find proves Austin really is ‘Britain’s dependable car’

An Austin Heavy 12/4, which was owned from new by the same family for 90 years, is working once again despite having spent the last 43 years stored in an overgrown timber garage.

Purchased on 22 July 1931 by Fred Woodhall, the Austin 12/4 travelled many thousands of miles in the UK as well as throughout Europe. In 1961 the car was passed on to the original owner’s son and then great grandson, Charles Clarkson who has now donated it to the Great British Car Journey based in Ambergate, Derbyshire. 

Despite being forgotten about for more than 40 years, with only minor attention, the engine started, and the electrics worked. Additionally, the car’s brakes work, it pulls strongly in all gears, the dynamo charges, the radiator still holds water, and all major functions are fine; all testament to the manufacturer’s claim in the 30s that Austin was ‘Britain’s Dependable Car’.

Richard Usher, Chief Executive of Great British Car Journey explained: “I was absolutely flabbergasted when the car started given the storage conditions. The garage was so overgrown with ivy we couldn’t open the doors so had to physically remove them in order to get to the car. Once we got the car out and lifted the bonnet it looked like the engine had completely seized.”

The car retains all its original features and is in remarkable condition given its storage conditions. Now on display at the classic car visitor attraction, there are no plans to restore the Austin 12/4. Richard explained why: “We’ve given it a clean and a polish but that’s it. Great British Car Journey is all about preserving the history of vehicles and part of that is showing how they’ve been used and the life they have led.

“The fact this car has survived being driven many thousands of miles and is driveable after more than 40 years off the road is testimony to Austin’s build quality and Britain’s motoring heritage. I am delighted that we have been able to add this remarkable example of a pre war Austin to the Great British Car Journey collection.”

Cheeky Valentine’s survey proves classic car enthusiasts are Mini not Maxi lovers!

Despite the fully fold down rear seats and ample boot space, the Austin Maxi has been placed bottom in a poll of British classic cars favoured by drivers for a first date between 1960 – 1990.

Instead, in an online survey by Great British Car Journey, the original Mini has been declared the all-time favourite British car for romance.
Ahead of Valentine’s Day, the Derbyshire classic car visitor attraction asked its 16,000 strong social media following to tell them about the car in which they had their first or most memorable date in.

In the full list of the top 10 British cars for a first date, second and third place in the survey were claimed by the iconic Ford Capri followed by the loveable Morris Minor respectively.

1. Mini
2. Ford Capri
3. Morris Minor
4. Ford Escort
5. Austin Metro
6. Ford Fiesta
7. Hillman Imp
8. MGB
9. Austin Morris 1100
10. Austin Maxi

Richard Usher, Chief Executive of the classic car visitor attraction, said: “Cleary the cramped conditions of the classic Mini were no deterrent to romance as our survey has shown. The Maxi was a brave attempt to create something new but was let down by a simply shocking 5 speed gearbox and a dumpy unattractive shape. Despite its poor reputation the car had many redeeming features, particularly when it came to dating!

“Despite what its critics may say, the Austin Maxi was a great concept, and I am delighted to have a superb 1981 example in the Great British Car Journey collection.”

Produced from 1969 – 1981, the Austin Maxi is recognised for being Britain’s first genuinely family-sized hatchback, with plenty of space and seats that folded down into a lumpy double bed. Only half a million were sold compared to the far sexier Ford Capri which was launched the same year and sold 1.9 million worldwide by the end of production.

To celebrate Valentine’s Day and help people relive their dating memories of days gone by, Great British Car Journey is offering couples discounted admission to the attraction in Ambergate. Entry for couples is just £25, compared to £30 for two single admissions.

For couples that really want the ultimate trip down Memory Lane, they can also take the car they enjoyed their first or most memorable date in for a drive. The Drive Dad’s Car experience at Great British Car Journey offers people the chance to get back behind the wheel of 30 British classics including the Mini, Morris Minor and Ford Capri.

As part of our Valentine’s Day celebrations, Great British Car Journey is also offering 20% off all Drive Dad’s Car experiences booked up until midnight on Monday 14 February 2022. To claim the discount, simply use the code VALENTINES20 when booking online at www.drivedadscar.com

UK’s newest car club launched at Classic Motor Show

The UK’s newest classic car club was launched by Great British Car Journey at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show today (12 November).

The Great British Car Club celebrates diversity, welcoming enthusiasts of any old cars regardless of age, value or country of origin.

Richard Usher, founder and CEO of Great British Car Journey explained why he has launched the new club: “Having been a member of numerous clubs, I have noticed that younger enthusiasts and even oldies like me, have become less fixated on a single make and that enthusiasm for old cars now covers a very broad spectrum of makes and models and I wanted to create a club which represented this.”

As well as giving member unlimited visits access to the Great British Car Journey attraction and its facilities, membership of the new club aims to connect classic car enthusiasts through special events, newsletters and online forums as well as offering discounts on products and access to a specialist classic car insurer.

Richard added: “There are hundreds of excellent car clubs who are doing a great job encouraging interest in and the use of old cars, but we have the luxury of facilities at Great British Car Journey which we can put at our members’ disposal.”

Former CEO of McLaren, friend of Great British Car Journey and classic car enthusiast, Mike Flewitt has agreed to be Honorary President of Great British Car Club. Mike also opened the attraction in May earlier this year.

Great British Car Journey CEO Richard Usher and honorary president Mike Flewitt abourd the 1902 Affol Johnston

Annual membership of the club is from just £31.

Great British Car Journey can be found on stand 5-320 within the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) village at the Classic Motor Show.

As well as launching the new club, the stand will also host the attraction’s newest exhibit a 1905 Arrol-Johnston Dogcart. The latest acquisition at the attraction puts a century between the oldest car and the most recent classic car on display – a McLaren 650S.

As well as the undercover exhibition at Great British Car Journey, the attraction also offers visitors the opportunity to drive more than 30 classic cars on a private route as part of the Drive Dad’s Car experience.

Since opening in May, Great British Car Journey has proved a hit with classic car enthusiasts attracting 25,000 visitors. Both the attraction and Richard Usher have also been named as finalists in the Royal Automobile Club Historic Awards and The Historic Motoring Awards.

Richard added: “We are tremendously excited to be at the Classic Motor Show and are grateful to the Federation for helping us tell thousands more people about the Great British Car journey, Drive Dad’s Car and the brand new Great British Car Club.”

Click here to find out more and join the Great British Car Club

Classic Mini scales the Heights

A classic 1989 Mini can now be found atop the Heights of Abraham !

Visitors to Matlock Bath’s Heights of Abraham are set for a surprise when they alight the cable car at the top of the 60-acre Hilltop Estate. They’ll be greeted by a classic 1989 Mini!


The Mini has been lent to Derbyshire’s oldest tourist attraction by Derbyshire’s newest one, Great British Car Journey, which opened in May earlier this year.


Getting to the top of the Heights of Abraham was no mean feat for the 31-year-old car, which faced a half mile climb to reach the summit which is 1000 feet above sea level.


Rupert Pugh, Director of the Heights of Abraham, drove the car to the summit himself, negotiating the steep, narrow paths and tricky hairpin bends that wrap around Masson Hill. One slip and the car could have ended up back down the hill!


The branded 30th Anniversary edition Mini, which promotes the classic car attraction in Ambergate, will now greet visitors to the hilltop attraction. Visitors to the Heights of Abraham will also get discounted entry to Great British Car Journey.


Rupert commented: “I had a great deal of fun acquainting myself with the Mini. Initially I was rather sceptical that it could make the climb, but it surprised and delighted me on the journey up to the summit. It’s already proving a real talking point with visitors with many asking how we got it up here.”


Richard Usher, CEO of Great British Car Journey said: “I am very grateful to Heights of Abraham for giving us the opportunity to promote Great British Car Journey. Being a new attraction in the area we’re very keen to ensure as many people as possible know about us and visit. We’re looking forward to welcoming many of the people that visit Heights of Abraham each year to Great British Car Journey.”


The classic Mini was produced by the British Motor Corporation (BMC) and its successors from 1959 until 2000 and is considered one of the most influential cars of the twentieth centuries. Despite 5.3 million original Minis being produced, today just 8,176 exist in the world.


Great British Car Journey boasts seven original Minis in its collection, including a rare unregistered Mini with just 12 miles on the clock. For people keen to take one for a drive, Great British Car Journey also offers a 20-minute Drive Dad’s Car driving experience in four Minis, including a 1966 Mini 850 MK1, and a Mini Cooper which was manufactured in 2000 and one of the last Minis ever made.


Alongside Minis, visitors to Great British Car Journey will find a collection of 130 popular cars designed and manufactured in the UK between 1920 and 2000, including the Austin Seven, Morris Minor, Ford Escort and Vauxhall Chevette – cars that were all produced in their millions and were on virtually every street and carpark in Britain but have since all but disappeared from the roads.


To arrange a Mini driving experience at Great British Car Journey, visit www.drivedadscar.com or to book tickets for the exhibition, click here: Buy tickets