Breakfast at The Hare, April 2015

It was 8.15 a.m. on the first Saturday in April when I pulled into the Hare car park and greeted Doug for the first Breakfast Meet of the new season. With grey skies full of foreboding, the scene was clearly set for another bank holiday weekend downpour, but this did not deter a steady trickle of desirable machinery gradually filling the parking slots. Maybe because of the poor forecast, or the fact that it was a bank holiday, the newer exhibits outnumbered the older classics on the day.

First up and in pole position by the pub entrance was the Ford GT, a breath taking update of the Le Mans winning GT40. The carbon fibre and aluminium body clothed a 3.5 litre twin turbo V6, developing 600 bhp and putting the horses onto the tarmac via a 7 speed dual clutch transmission feeding the 20 inch rear wheels. The dihedral doors were opened to reveal a beautiful race-car style interior with enough knobs and dials to keep any keen boy racer happy for months. The car was shown by a garage in Colchester which sells and services the cars. Interested? I am told that one could be yours for between £225,000 and £250,000.

Keeping with the supercar theme, I was wondering if a McLaren would make an appearance. I didn’t have to wait long, and, just like buses, two came at once. I am not well versed in Ron’s motors, so you will have to bear with me (and correct me), but I think one was a 650S and the other may have been a P1. The guys driving them looked reasonably youthful, so I guess I’m in the wrong job.

The usual bevy of 911’s turned up. However, not much from the 1970’s. Whilst these are now fetching six figure sums, I understand that the one to watch is the ’84-’89 Carrera 3.2, a reasonable example of which will only set you back around £25,000, with the best achieving £50,000. Buy now, as they’ll be twice that within a couple of years. A usable supercar, great build quality, fantastic investment potential; what’s not to like?

Away from Porkers, I spotted a couple of nice DB9’s, a Lotus Esprit, and a lovely red classic Elan +2. A 1990’s Elan SE came late to the party and, finishing off the Lotus representation, were a couple of Sevens. Planet Ferrari fielded a contingent including a 2005 260 convertible, two delightful earlier classics comprising a Dino 308 GT and a 308 GTB (metal body), their size and elegance contrasting with the bulk of the much later Superamerica nearby.

Most noteworthy of the other attendees were a brace of Nobles, EVIL the Lamborghini (Aventador?), a lowered early Beetle, BMW’s M4 and i8 . . . and a Lancia Gamma 2500 SE coupe (1982-83?). Now the latter really is a rare sight in the UK, with only about six left on our roads; the rest have gone to that great Italian rust mound in the sky. I mustn’t forget the custom American Coupe. Sadly, I didn’t get to talk with the owner, but it looked like it used a 1940’s Ford or Chevy as its base.

So what of our own illustrious marque? We had Doug’s XK8, the landlord’s XK, my XJS (the 420 awaits some minor cosmetic surgery) and Chris and Marise’s E type sporting a splendid freshly rebuilt engine and carbs. Sounding miles better than when I last heard it and it’s even given up smoking. Thurston’s really do make exceedingly good rebuilds.

It would be remiss of me to overlook a regular at these meetings. It’s rare and Italian. Yes, you’ve guessed it, a mushroom grey Fiat 124 SuperMirafiore, a used example with period rust bubbles. I love it!

Neil Shanley