July 23 2014 Latest news:
Friday, May 23, 2014
From the growl of a modern Maserati to the nostalgic majesty of a 1910 Rolls Royce, there was plenty for petrol-heads to admire on a Burnham Market hotel car park earlier today.
But despite the vehicular variety on show at the Hoste Supercar and Classic Car Club, there was one thing which united all the drivers – an all-consuming passion for the world’s finest automobiles.
More than 30 cars worth an estimated £10m drove away from the Hoste for the fifth annual rally around the north Norfolk countryside, including evocative names like Ferrari, Porsche, and Jaguar.
The club was first organised by Paul Whittome, the flamboyant hotelier who indulged his lifelong passion by taking part in the inaugural rally in 2010, before losing his battle with cancer.
Current Hoste owner Brendan Hopkins said: “When our dear old friend Paul Whittome started it all off I was the secretary, so I’ve been involved in it from day one, and when we bought the hotel two years ago we wanted the event to carry on.
“This year we have got 32 cars and those are people who have been to stay at the Hoste who have brought a special car with them, and we have said: ‘Why don’t you come back for our rally?’ There is not one single make that dominates, there are some classics here and some supercars, but the main thing is that we all love cars.”
Before the supercar convoy departed, a prize-giving ceremony was held in the Hoste car park. Judges agreed that the best post-1970s supercar was a Ferrari 458 Spider owned by Simon Whitworth, and the best pre-1970 supercar was a 1958 Jaguar XK150, owned by Mervyn and Jane Waite.
In the classic category, the best post-war car was a 1963 Alvis TD21 owned by Norfolk estate agent Max Sowerby. The best pre-war classic was a 1929 Bentley Blower owned by Peter Brennan.
While many of the other cars were polished and sparkling, Mr Brennan’s was unashamedly flecked with mud splashes from his most recent drive.
He said: “They are not supposed to be sparkly and glitzy. They are supposed to look like they have been driven around a Norfolk country lane.
“They used to race the Blowers at Le Mans – Sir Henry Birkin, who is buried at Blakeney, was the man that first supercharged them, so the history of racing Bentleys started here in Norfolk.”
Mr Brennan, 73, is a retired children’s toy manufacture who lives in Cambridgeshire, but also has a house in Thornham, near Hunstanton. He said his car was very reliable but needed a lot of “fettling”, including the repair of a leaking fuel line with electrical tape, superglue and a cable tie on the morning of the rally.
One of the judges was Sir Charles Dunstone, the founder and chairman of Carphone Warehouse and who lives in Burnham Thorpe.
He brought along his treasured 1974 Jensen Interceptor, which had been rebuilt with a modern engine by a small engineering company which he had invested in.
He said: “I just came across these guys who are amazing engineers who wanted to make a Jensen Interceptor, but to bring it up to date – so I supported them getting the business going and I bought one of them.
“Ever since I was a little boy I have always wanted a Jensen Interceptor, but I have not got the patience to have a real classic car which is always breaking down. This car is original, but it has a new engine. It was built in 1974 but I don’t think it looks 40 years old. It looks fantastic and it was a piece of British engineering which was way ahead of its time.”
Another show-stopping car was the 1910 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost owned by Albert and Margaret White, from Grantham in Lincolnshire.
Mr White said the 45-horsepower engine would run all day at 45-55mph, although it only did 10 miles to the gallon.
“To be honest, it is very, very reliable and we like to use it as much as we can,” he said. “They cost a bit to buy but they’re a great investment and we get a lot of enjoyment out of it. We did 2,500 miles in the Swiss Alps last year.”