12th April 2024

Coffee & Chrome at the British Motor Museum

More than 500 vehicles, and the better part of twice that number of visitors, braved strong winds and occasional showers for the first Coffee & Chrome Collective meet of 2024. Taking place on Sunday 7th April, Footman James returned to the British Motor Museum at Gaydon, Worcestershire, taking over the main car park once again, with a fantastic range of vehicles on show.

Cars as varied as a multi-million pound Ferrari, to more humble modern cars were in attendance, with the usual broad cross-section of the motoring spectrum on display; it’s what we’ve come to expect from Coffee & Chrome meetings, and they never fail to disappoint.

We spoke to five of the attendees, to find out more about what they brought and parked up, as well as a special guest appearance.

Harry – Jaguar XJC V12

Yes… that Harry. Footman James has been sponsoring Harry Metcalfe’s Harry’s Garage YouTube channel for years, and we invited him along to attend one of our Coffee & Chrome Collective meets – bringing with him his beautiful and well-chronicled XJC.

A regular star of the channel, the XJC V12’s restoration will be well known to many, and was given a run to Gaydon on Sunday to be one of the stars of the meeting, always featuring a small crowd of onlookers around it.

1955 Ferrari 250 Europa GT Pinin Farina Coupe

We start with the car of the meeting, even with the owner wishing to remain anonymous because… well, just look at it. This Ferrari 250 Europa GT Coupe was purchased during lockdown from an American auction, having spent much of its life living in California.

One of only 43 examples produced, it travelled Stateside in 1960, and has benefitted from the drier air over there. Visually, the 250 Europa GT Coupe looks almost unchanged, with plenty of patina – used in the correct sense of the word – but a nut-and-bolt restoration of the Ferrari is being carried out, leaving the interior and exterior in as much of its original condition as possible, creating a fantastic time-capsule model.

It's toured the US and now the UK’s concours events, and is often a stand-out model even in such rarefied air. The vehicle’s patina only adds to its intrigue, with the fundamental classic lines and beautiful styling enough by itself to attract the crowds. There were always a few people looking around the Ferrari, and the built quality and expertise of the coachbuilt bodywork were marvelled at time and time again.

With more than 500 vehicles to pick from, it was no easy task to pick a ‘Car of the Meet’, but the Ferrari managed to stand-out above everything else.

Dave & Jim – 1952 Land Rover Series I 80

Regular visitors to Coffee & Chrome events, brothers Dave and Jim are Land Rover fanatics, owning seven in all. Amongst a collection that includes race-prepared models sits this 80” Series I, which has been rebuilt over the last 35 years, including the addition of a Rover V8 engine.

Used regularly, and trialled successfully too, the Land Rover was completely rebuilt in 1998 in just six weeks. Since then, it gets driven to France, visiting Le Mans and Reims regularly, as well as trips to Scotland, Wales, and Ireland – it’s certainly not a classic to just sit in the garage and gather dust.

“It’s always driven,” said Dave. “We drove it here, and have never trailored it to an event or trials… touch-wood! We’ve spent a lot of time on this Series I, from galvanising the chassis to Jim making a brand new bulkhead in 1995. The canvas at the rear is even customised, based on a Defender 90 specification.”

From what is clearly a labour of love, the Series I Land Rover was one of a few Landies at the event, but its background, visual appeal, and specification stood out.

Andrew – 1961 Jaguar E-Type 3.8 Series I

An E-Type always catches the eye – it’s difficult not to be drawn to one of the most beautiful cars ever made after all. But this E-Type is an early example, with plenty of curious features that gradually got developed out of the classic roadster.

Andrew has owned this British Racing Green Flat-Floor example since 1990, and has carried out plenty of work on this early version of Jaguar’s most famous car. It was converted to left-hand drive when shipped to the United States in 1961, but converted back to right-hand drive on its return in 1990, after a life spent in Miami and New York during its first 30 years.

“Many of the features were changed following feedback, or simply development, with this E-Type using the original 3.8 litre engine – later Jaguar used a 4.2 litre one,” said Andrew. “It also has the ‘dotty’ dash. Jaguar used aluminium on the dashboard and centre console, but buyers reported that it reflected the sun, and this was phased out in later Series I models. There’s also the ‘Jaguar’ badge on the bootlid, with no reference to ‘E-Type’."

It all makes for a really intriguing example of such a well-known and beloved model; one that has been cared for, and continues to be used.

Chris – 1976 Porsche 911

Chris’ Porsche 911 is a glorious homage to the famous sportscar, carefully and superbly carried out to improve this 2.7 version, which was originally shipped to Japan. It remains a left-hand drive model, because of trends of the time, but was brought to the UK around three and a half years ago, where it’s been intelligently recovered from the ruins it had been left to.

The inspiration behind its looks was a late-edition 911 Turbo, and Chris has fitted a 1974 IROC kit, as well as RSR seats inside, and a 3.0 litre rear wing. Under the surface, there are plenty of mechanical upgrades, such as Bilstein suspension components all-round, and weight has been kept low – it weighs less than one tonne.

Chris said: “It’s not original, but everything has been kept in period. I brought the car back from Japan through an importer agency, and have set about repairing everything. Even though it was originally a Japanese model, it was originally bought as a left-hand drive car, because it was a status symbol back then. In the 70s, if you could afford to import a car like the 911 into Japan, they wanted to keep it left-hand drive, so they step out onto the kerb, and can be seen as successful.”

Almost an homage to Porsche 911s of the time, Chris’ Porsche looks amazing – almost menacing in all-black – and has been sympathetically improved.

Stewart – Peugeot 205 GTi-6

Walking through the car park, trying to decide which cars to pick and highlight in this show report, this rallying-fan obviously was drawn in by an immaculate looking Peugeot 205. The pristine bodywork and gold alloys helped, but on closer inspection, a tweak to the badge panels on the C-pillar made the decision to include it in this write-up.

A subtle, but key, change saw one of the panels read “GTi-6”, and on catching Stewart, the story unfolded. This is a beautiful example of the Peugeot 205 GTi, but with a Peugeot 306 GTi-6 powertrain squeezed under the bonnet.

“As you can see, the 2.0-litre engine and gearbox just about fits in there,” said Stewart, on lifting the bonnet. “I’ve also restored it, including new upholstery and resprayed wheels, and regularly come along to Coffee & Chrome Collective meetings.”

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