Great Escape Cars is a Redditch based company that offers classic car experiences, and I was lucky enough to be invited on their media day yesterday. I’m sure it is abundantly clear to anyone reading this that I am not a member of the media, and therefore I have little reason to be on a media day. However, I’ve been chatting to Graham (one of the gentlemen behind Great Escape Cars) on Twitter for quite some time and I’ve badgered him about XJS many times too, so I made the list.
Great Escapes Cars offer a few different ways to enjoy a variety of classic cars, and I got to experience one of their taster days, which meant that I was able to drive five different cars over the day with a co-driver. It was also a chance to meet up with a great many people from Twitter and put a few faces to names, so the trip wasn’t only about the cars, but also about chatting to some great people and visiting some great venues.
A 4.45am start saw me arriving in Redditch with plenty of time to spare and a chance to look around at what cars were on offer, and which ones I was set to drive. The cars on my list were an MG B, a Ford Mondeo ST200, a Jaguar XJS 4.0, a Jaguar XK150 and a Jaguar XJS 4.0 Convertible. It’s no secret that I love an XJS, but I was very happy to see the XK150 in my line up, as I have never had the chance to drive one. Other cars available include a Triumph TR6 (which proved to be very popular), a Jaguar XKR, a V12 XJS, a Porsche 911 (996), a Brooklands Capri and a MKII Jaguar among many others.
The cars came equipped with an easy to read guide book that lead us through the directions to each stop, where we got to swap cars and enjoy the views (and food!). Lunch was a stop at Caffeine and Machine, with an impressive array of cars even though it was a weekday. I arrived there in the Mondeo, and was pleasantly surprised at what a fun car it is to drive, with an engine that enjoys being revved and nice handling to boot, it felt good to be in a Ford of this age, and I think they represent a bargain at the moment. I can see why Caffeine and Machine is so popular, with a nice relaxed atmosphere and plenty to see and plenty to eat as well.
It didn’t take long to get back out in the cars though and I was soon enjoying the rather lovely XJS 4.0 coupe on the very pleasant roads surrounding C&M that form part of the route planned for us by Great Escapes. Being able to drive what is a relatively modern grand tourer back to back with a sporty saloon and a classic like an MG B really does help to give you an idea of how incredible the differences between classics in a similar price bracket can be. The Mondeo is certainly incredibly cheap for now, but the MG and the Jag can be had for similar money, and provide incredibly different experiences.
Next up was the XK150, and after a few helpful hints from the previous driver we were soon underway again. I was thrilled to be able to drive one of these, and for me it is exactly what classic motoring is about. It had its own little niggles but you have to learn to drive it, and drive it properly. The sound, the wind rushing past, the view over the bonnet and all the other little details add up to make a raw driving experience that is so often missing now. Coaxing and convincing it to change gear smoothly and do as you asked is an experience more modern drivers could use, and perhaps could reintroduce a little more mechanical sympathy towards cars. The big Jag was the car of the day for me, and I got out with a big grin and feeling a little deaf. The only negative is that all those projects I see will be even more tempting now I know what I’m missing out on…
After what was a fantastic day I can wholeheartedly recommend anyone who wants to try out a classic car visits Great Escape Cars and has a look at the incredibly reasonable rates and packages they offer (Starting from just £39!). I would also recommend that anyone who is thinking of buying a classic should go and hire one too, just so you can get a glimpse of what ownership may be like, and see whether you actually enjoy driving a classic or if you’re perhaps more suited to a modern classic. They’re also hosting their first Classics and Coffee of 2019 tomorrow (Sunday 24th March), so if you’re anywhere near Redditch it could be well worth the trip out.
Finally I would like to say thanks to Graham and his team for inviting me along and for hosting all of us. I am incredibly impressed that you all manage to keep the fleet on the road and working well, as it is no mean feat.