katie.rix_263 Oct 27

Pioneering loan car project showcased on stand

Pioneering loan car project showcased on stand

Many of us will have borrowed things from friends or family, but not many of us will have borrowed a classic car, from a stranger, for a whole year.

That is just what 26 year-old Richard Gordon-Colebrooke has done after being chosen as the recipient of a beautiful 1929 Ford Model A Phaeton, through a pioneering project to encourage the next generation of enthusiasts into the classic vehicle community – now visitors to the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, with Discovery, can find out all about it.

Peter Garret, long-time classics enthusiast and proud owner of several Fords, is the brains behind the Ford Model A Loan Project, who, rather than watching his beautiful Ford Model A Phaeton languish from infrequent use, wanted to offer a newcomer to the classics scene the chance to take it to the road and enjoy it.

Having joined forces with like-minded Bob Wilkinson, organiser of ‘Classics Virgin’ days at the British Motor Museum - for newcomers to the classics scene - the Ford Model A Loan Project was born.  Now all they needed was a worthy recipient – cue an appeal for prospective ‘owners’ via the classics press, which drew interest from across the country.

After passing muster, Richard was named the worthy winner, and, since picking up the keys in March and declaring his new runaround an ‘absolute beauty’ he has embraced classic vehicle ‘ownership’ with unfettered enthusiasm.

Picking up a love of classics from his family, Richard, who once restored a Mini that his dad bought for him when he was 11 years-old, was keen to embrace older vehicles.

In fact, love for the Ford has now spread through his whole family, with Richard’s younger brother a frequent travel companion and wife Rebecca getting some practice behind the wheel – even the family dog is a regular passenger.

“I quickly realised I was going to get waves, smiles and thumbs up wherever I went!” he explained. “Not many cars draw as much positive attention from passers-by as the Ford, which is lovely.”

Having honed his double-de-clutching skills early in his stewardship, Richard has taken the Ford to numerous events around his Oxfordshire hometown of Thame, enjoying show ring appearances at Rally of the Giants at Blenheim and The Old Ford Rally at Gaydon, though getting there held its challenges – a five hour round-trip when your driving speed is a hefty 25 mph.

And the view of the project’s organisers? Bob Wilkinson explained: “It’s one of my missions to introduce the next generation into the classic motoring movement, and I hope this is the first project of many.

“Buying a classic car can be an expensive venture, but this gives budding enthusiasts the chance to find out what life is like as a classics owner and hopefully they too will be hooked by the wonderful opportunities and experiences it opens up - it’s like becoming a part of one big family. I am delighted that long-time enthusiast Peter James is supporting our venture and we are now looking to include more owners and clubs in the initiative.”

Observations of a new classics owner - Richard says:

Hairiest moment

“We’ve only had one hair-raising moment – a blind corner under a railway bridge wide enough for only a single car – with a ridiculously steep hill on the other side! With no time for a run-up I quickly ran out of steam and had no real choice but to stop. With a modern car right up behind me, the pressure was on to move off (or up!) without rolling back, but we escaped and made it up in the end!”

Anything you miss from a modern car?

“People always laugh at my phone holder I’ve installed behind the steering wheel. It’s my modern addition, for maps and speedo! I may also need to invest in a windscreen wiper of some description!”

How is she running?

She’s performed brilliantly so far – no sign of any trouble brewing. I’ve kept her nicely topped-up with oil, fuel and water and have greased the chassis (30+points!) once so far.”

Visitors to stand 310 in Hall 5 can not only admire the beautiful Ford Model A Phaeton on display, but can also meet Peter, Bob and Richard, who will be in attendance at points during the weekend to tell people more about the project.

To find out more about the project, email Bob Wilkinson, on bobwilkinson49@hotmail.co.uk