Breakfast at The Hare, September 2015

The penultimate gathering of this popular informal mix of classics and exotica saw a lower turnout than usual, but, as the weather, dull at best, improved to a brighter shade of grey, via a light drizzle, so did the attendance.

The Porsche fraternity fielded various iterations of their evergreen 911 as we have come to expect but, despite the less than full car park, there were a few gems worthy of more than a second glance and the surfeit of space, enabled closer examination and longer talks with the lucky owners.

NS_Lotus EspritSo what caught this scribe’s eye? Well, first up was an immaculate red Lotus Esprit Turbo – a 2.2 litre, ’87 model and a regular at this event. With just 57,000 miles on the clock and always kept in a heated garage, it has been with its present custodian for a quarter of a century. Take a look next time you visit, that cream leather is to die for.

Continuing the sports theme, I spotted a TVR ‘02 Tuscan 4.3 with 400bhp on tap. One of two present, it was outrageous as only TVRs can be – and the owner tells me now fully reliable, hmmmm. Red was the colour of the day with a red Noble M400 being complimented by a Ferrari 458 Speciale in that colour. If bright paint is your thing, then the Landlord’s Kermit green Lamborghini Huracan takes some beating.

BMW AlpinaWe had a real Q car present in the form of a blue BMW 3 series Alpina Estate from the mid 90’s. Not much to give it away apart from the side decals, suitably restrained, oh, and the oxblood leather interior (nice). Restricted to 150 mph, apparently this one was capable of 168 mph with the restrictor deactivated.


Late to the party was a red McLaren F1 with cream upholstery (are you getting a theme here?) Just about every door or hatch that could be opened was, which did nothing for taking a striking photograph, but did let us marvel the engine compartment lined with gold leaf – and that triple seat interior.

NS_420G hot rodWhat of our marque? Well, the regular Mk 10 Nitro V8 monster was there ready to smoke the tyres at the end of the meet, but a surprise was in store in the form of a Lightweight E Type, another late arrival to the Ball, but certainly no shrinking violet. It was driven up from Maldon (who do we know there?) and is not, unfortunately, an original or so I was informed. Based on a ’65 car, you would be hard pressed to tell if it was or was not originalNS_lightweight E type 2 – particularly when it left down the Roxwell Road. Chris White was on hand in his slightly tamer black ’65 Roadster, now fully functional, and yours truly brought along the ’94 XJS. I was accompanied by another Kingfisher Blue XJS Convertible discovered languishing in a private garage by my daughter’s boyfriend’s father. More on that story another time.

Regulars at this event will have seen a bronze Jensen Interceptor owned by Phil Bacon. Made between October ’74 and May ’76 (when the company folded) it is a Mk 111 Series 4, recognisable by detailed headlamp surrounds, the indicator repeater in the side vents and a wood veneered dashboard. Phil relates that he bought it in Derbyshire and that the first owner kept it for thirty years before it fell of the radar in Wales for about eight years. It now resides in sunny (?) Essex, which, according to the stats, has the highest concentration of these cars in the UK.NS_Jensen

Finally, I was able to chat to Roy Harper who arrived in his early 70’s Vantage. You would be excused for mistaking this fine gentleman’s Grand Tourer for a DBS V8 vantage, but, according to Roy, you would be mistaken. This is an AM Vantage, so named since Company Developments, who purchased Aston Martin could not use the proper name for some legal reason, hence the AM nomenclature. They later placed the company into receivership from whence it was bought by an American enthusiast who eventually sold it to Victor Gauntlet. This car uses the 6 Cylinder engine similar to that from the DB6, and not the V8 as you’d expect. It all sounds complicated so I must verify this someday soon!

Next month sees the final gathering of the year on October 3rd at The Castle, formerly St Anne’s Castle in Great Leigh’s, Chelmsford. This is a one-time event to mark the opening of the pub. The regular Breakfast Club will return for its sixth year on Saturday, 2nd April, 2016 at the Hare – see you there.

Neil Shanley