Great Escape Classic Car Road Trip

Great Escape Classic Car Road Trip

It’s 180 miles back to Astwood, we’ve got a full tank of gas, five classic cars to drive, it’s overcast and we’re wearing sunglasses. Hit it we did as @MrMarkFairhurst and I went on a Great Escape Classic Car Road Trip never to forget. #greatroadtrip

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got the best classic car in the world or none whatsoever because every now and again you need to get a sense of perspective. Hiring a classic car is a great way to fulfill a lifetime ambition and companies like Great Escape can help you with that, but the thing is do you know what you want to drive? If you do then fill your boots, if not then for a relatively modest outlay you can drive up to five in one day on a Great Escape Classic Car Road Trip.

Great Escape Classic Car Road Trip
The day starts with tea, coffee, bacon and a quick briefing session

This is not some whim of a suggestion either, or one borne out of commercial interest, no I’ve now been on no less than four of these types of events and even when facing a lot of cars already driven and featured in these very pages there is always something new to find out and explore. In fact the more you drive a wide range of cars the more you can tune into what you really crave. A Great Escape Classic Car Road Trip is like entering into a world of being a fine wines expert where not only can you tell the grape and the vintage, but also how sunny it was that year.

Great Escape Classic Car Road Trip
Having done a number of these, variety remains the key

Let’s take the two Great Escape Classic Car Road Trip XJS V12’s on offer as a case in point. You see I’ve driven the convertible version of this now appreciating asset of Jaguar’s heritage before, spent a lot of time with this very car, so much so I gave the key’s to @MrMarkFairhurst for the full thirty or so miles we had the pleasure. You see simply sitting in the passenger seat of this silky smooth soft top cruiser brought it all back. It did of course help that @MrMarkFairhurst knew how to drive this particular Jaag extremely well, not as well as the Great Escape Classic Car Road Trip MKII 3.4 as it turned out, more on which shortly.

Great Escape Classic Car Road Trip
The differences between Coupe and Convertible became clearer throughout the day

Yes I knew all about the convertible XJS V12, but nothing at all about the Coupe. The revelation for me was quite how much better the Coupe was and all after just one single drive. I didn’t know the convertible had a shimmy, it does, I didn’t know that being blown around all the time would be so tiresome, it is. And I didn’t know how much I really wanted to drive; you know really drive and push hard in an XJS. Well thanks to this Great Escape Classic Car Road Trip I now do. In fact previously driving the convertible version of this car would have prevented me even craving to drive a Coupe, not anymore.

Great Escape Classic Car Road Trip
Jaguar MKII 3.4 had a distinctly race car feel

Now let’s talk about the Great Escape Classic Car Road Trip Jaguar MKII 3.4. I had driven their 3.8 previously and yes you guessed it reviewed it here as well, which again put me off pushing for a drive in the 3.4, something to prove me wrong once again as it turns out. This particular Jaguar MKII 3.4 is a gem. It is almost like a race car to the 3.8’s brilliant road manners. I have never driven a Jaguar saloon that was more up for a Great Escape Classic Car Road Trip than this car, or for that matter sat alongside anyone who could drive it quite so well.

Great Escape Classic Car Road Trip
The way in which Mark connected with the Jaag was great to see

You see @MrMarkFairhurst used to own a Daimler 250 (same engine as the SP250) and so knew this particular chassis very well and without making a point, or fuss, went on to drive this car just like it was an old pair of (race) shoes he had recently found in the back of a cupboard. They were inseparable and the next twenty miles was a pleasure in witnessing this very special connection. Lesson number one with the Great Escape Classic Car Road Trip, when a light comes on, let it shine bright. We did and arrived first at the next stop.

Great Escape Classic Car Road Trip
All things considered this HMC had stood up very well to the rigours of being a hire car

Not that it was a race of course (Graham) and when we drove the Great Escape Classic Car Road Trip HMC Healey MKIV my light came on too. Lesson number two; fine cars like fine wines can change with age. This particular HMC Healey had changed, for a start it had slightly less power than before from its TVR inspired Rover 3.9litre V8 (throttle cable issue apparently) but at the same time a bit more movement in the rear suspension as well. It was overall somehow now much closer to an original requiring a bit more nursing down the straights, and a bit more respect through corners. That said the interior, controls, fit and finish throughout had not worn at all confirming this car’s extremely high build quality; especially when compared to similar looking kit car equivalents.

Great Escape Classic Car Road Trip
The HMC ‘Big’ Healey MKIV remains a personal favourite

In terms of drives other highlights from the Great Escape Classic Car Road Trip included for me their sublime Ford Capri 280 which simply burbles its brilliance in a typically Ford low key way. Then there was the route which was excellent, taking us into Wales where we could enjoy some stunning scenery. We initially spent time on relatively quiet A-roads before mixing those with some tighter sections on the return leg.

Navigation couldn’t have been easier and completed by your passenger who reads out from a well prepared road book. One that has every junction and roundabout pictured as well as the mileage when you get there and the exit details e.g. 23.4 miles, roundabout, third exit signposted A44 Leominster. If that doesn’t quite do it for, or you want to learn more of where you are in the world at a particular point in time then as a back up on the Great Escape Classic Car Road Trip is a map with both the route and stops highlighted. Personally I am rubbish at navigating and yet the book and map worked very well for us all day; we only missed one junction from the book, which was very easy to rectify working off the map.

A Great Escape Classic Car Road Trip can both confirm everything you already know and add something you’re about to discover whilst potentially sat alongside someone who you yearn to travel with in a classic once again, priceless.

Great Escape Classic Car Road Trip
If you take nothing else away, how about great views like these

How does this event make you feel?

In one word: Differently.

As a favourite meal: This is all your favourite meals served in a taster menu format.

Anything Else: There is room in everyone’s life for a Great Escape Classic Car Road Trip.

Key Ingredients: The cars, the company, the day, it’s all great really and if you don’t enjoy one car for whatever reason, you’ll certainly enjoy the next.


With thanks to Great Escape Classic Car Hire


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