A text message arrived last week: Bugatti Owners Club, visiting the Farm, Tue Morn. Let me expand, a friend of mine who owns a restaurant has recently opened a B&B-cum-restaurant-cum-coffee shop near Hawes on the stunning North Yorkshire moors. In the past, I’d suggested that owner’s clubs are a valuable source of revenue for such a business. I’ve attended and organised such trips myself for various MG clubs over the years and know the quick, relatively effortless business they can bring.
Anyway, my advice was duly taken and I was shocked to see my restaurateur had struck gold. Or so it seemed. Tuesday dawned beautifully bright, warm and still as I drove to the Old Wensleydale Dairy Farm – a fabulous day to be alive. Later than expected, our Bugattis arrived in a convoy – lead by a genuine TR8 no less. We quickly marshalled them into parking just so outside of the entrance and got the coffee percolating.
The TR8 was driven by the man who ordered it new from BL no less and was stunning. Finished in Poisdon Green Metallic, it looked and sounded every inch like an exotic sports car – a world away from the awkward TR7 that spawned it.
The 1927 Bugattis? Well, that was somewhat misleading. They were, in fact, TEAL kit cars based on Morris Marinas and, in one case, a VW Beetle – a bug of an entirely different kind! However, they did all look very well and even the B-series engines sounded a lot more refined than was credible. All of the Marina-based variants boasted aluminium bodies and they couldn’t be faulted in finish. The owners boasted about exotic looks, easy maintenance, a pleasurably driving experience and a cost-effective way into classic car motoring.
The Beetle-based car was finished in fibre glass and had a huge boot where the other cars had a B-series. Air-cooled of course, it gave no running problems. The run had officially started in Newby Bridge in the Lake District as a tribute to the designer of the kit cars and was going all the way to the Isle Of Mull with an overnight stop in Jedburgh. 2 more cars had joined the run, a TR4A and an Austin Healey 3000, late because they’d had to rescue the driver of a failed TVR.
All the members of the group were in high spirits and, as I followed them through Hawes afterwards, their bright, orderly procession brought joy into everyone’s day. It’ll be good craic in the Borders tonight no doubt!
For more details of these kit cars, visit their web site: www.skyblueteal.co.uk.