The Cars in greater detail
This section of the website has been written with the petrol head in mind, giving some history and background information on the vehicles we are offering for hire for the motoring enthusiast.
Our Two Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire 346 Cars
More about The Count
The Count is a Mark 2, automatic version of the Sapphire 346 and was first registered in January 1955. He is a six-light model (with three windows on each side), which we think is the prettiest version, affording greater visibility for the passengers and anyone trying to photograph them, which is ideal for weddings.
The majority of Sapphires were produced in two tone colour schemes which perfectly accentuate their beautiful flowing lines. The Count no longer wears his original colour combination but benefits from a rich Ruby Red top over ivory which perfectly complements his ivory leather interior.
The Count was bought new by The Yorkshire Electric Detonators Company, no doubt as a chauffeur driven Managing Director's car. How long he stayed there and his early history prior to 1974 is not currently known to us. However, since that time he has belonged to various members of the Armstrong Siddeley Owners Club. He was the subject of restoration work between 2008 and 2010 when the colour was changed and the ivory leather interior installed.
In 2011 The Count was sold and moved to Romania, to an area just 100 miles from Transylvania (hence the name for the car). The Count was used for weddings in Romania until 2015 when he returned to this country. He was bought by us in May 2016.
The Green Lady
The Green Lady, like The Count, is a Mark 2 Sapphire 346. She is also a six-light model with automatic gearbox. In fact, apart from the colour The Count and The Green Lady are pretty much identical.
As with The Count, The Green Lady does not carry her original colour scheme. The body was originally painted Corinthian Green over Langham Grey. The lower colour was changed at some stage prior to 1973 in favour of the ivory that she now wears. She also benefits from a lovely Leaf Green leather interior.
In addition to weddings we have been proud to take The Green Lady to a number of classic car shows where we have frequently received comments regarding her condition and imposing looks of luxury from a bygone age.
The previous owner of The Green Lady had lovingly cherished her for 21 years and she came to us with a comprehensive history file confirming her recorded 58,000 miles from new as genuine. Her one claim to fame is that she appeared in an episode of the Antiques Roadshow filmed at Ascot Races.
Our policy is to have a rolling programme of maintenance and preventative care for all our vehicles to ensure that they remain at the highest possible standard of condition and reliability. Pursuant to that policy, The Green Lady has undergone over £2000 worth of mechanical work recently. In addition to routine servicing this has included braking system overhaul, new battery and a replacement high capacity radiator from the company that supplies the radiators for the hit TV show "Car SOS".
By the time production of the Maestro began in 1982 BMC has morphed into British Leyland. The Maestro was the spiritual successor to the Allegro, which in turn had been the successor to the 1100/1300 range. 605,000 units rolled out of the Cowley plant during its twelve year production run. You would expect that to be the end of the story, but this was not the case - quite.
Rover collaborated on a multi-million pound venture to build a brand new factory in Varna, Bulgaria. The initial intention was to assemble the Maestro based on complete knock down (CKD) kits made in the UK. Unfortunately various factors, including competition from Skoda, meant that the project failed after a matter of a few months. Production ended in April 1996 following a run of just 2200 cars.
The cars that had been assembled were either sold locally or exported to various parts of the world. Rover (as they had become by this time) were left with 621 kits that they had yet to send to Bulgaria. These were all sold to a company in Ledbury, which built them, converted them to right hand drive and sold them as the cheapest car for sale in the UK.
A much smaller number of the completed cars were brought back to the UK by a company called Apple 2000 in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, who also carried out a right hand drive conversion to most vehicles, before selling them in Britain.
First registered for the roads in the UK in 2000, our car is one of the very rare Apple 2000 cars. It has had quite a sheltered life and still shows just 40,000 miles on the clock.
To give you an idea of what these cars are capable of have a look at the adventures of a sister Apple 2000 car .
Elwood - Our 1967 Ford Mustang Coupe
Ford found themselves with an instant hit on their hands when the Mustang launched in April 1964. It became the fastest selling car on record, shifting one Million units in little more than 12 months.
Production began with a 2 door hardtop coupe (also known as a Notchback) and a convertible, with a "2+2" fastback added to the line in September 1964.
As orders began to dip Ford were encouraged by dealerships in the Denver area to do something to excite new customers. There solution was the “High Country Special”, specifically for sale by dealers within the Colorado mountains area, which explains the name. It is now a rare and much sought after vehicle.
Although production lasted for 3 years only 1,000 High Country Special were ever made. Starting in 1966 333 examples were built. In 1967, Denver dealers placed orders for another 416 cars. 251 examples were sold in 1968, bringing the total production run to 1,000.
High Country Specials could be ordered with any Mustang powertrain and body style but for 1966 and 1967 were only available in three unique colours of Aspen Gold, Columbine Blue, and Timberline Green.
Records from the High Country Registry show that only 104 "Specials" still exist. Of these, all but a handful are still in America. There is a green one in Germany and another in Sweden. Only two Columbine Blue examples have been exported from the USA - ours and one that is in Australia.
Our coupe is one of two ordered new with the white vinyl roof and trunk rack that it carries today. The seats are two tone blue and the car benefits from 2 rear lap belts along with lap belts up front.
Elwood was imported into the UK from Arizona in early 2019. We have been told that it was previously owned by a Hollywood stunt man who often rented it to the studios for a background vehicle in movies.
Much was spent on this car shortly before it was imported. The engine bay features the original freshly rebuilt 289ci Windsor small block Ford 4.7L, V8. It has a rebuilt automatic transmission, new rear axle with rear 11” disc brakes and new suspension.
Madge - A Unique MG 1300 Estate
After the layout of the ADO15 (better known as the Mini) was decided upon the thoughts of the design team at BMC turned to a larger vehicle. They therefore began, in 1958, to sketch out what was to become the 1100, under the code of ADO16.
The first 1100 was launched in August 1962 badged as a Morris. A sporty MG version was added 2 months later, with an Austin variant being introduced in September 1963. Wolseley, Riley and Vanden Plas models were to follow. The range was given a facelift in October 1967 (creating the Mark 2) and was further revised in 1971 (Mark 3) with production finally finishing in 1974.
Like the Mini, the 1100 is front wheel drive. It featured “float on fluid” hydrolastic suspension and came with modern rack and pinion steering and front disc brakes, at a time when the competition was still lagging behind in technical terms. The 1100/1300 range of family cars was Britain's best selling car for much of its 12 year production run.
At the Geneva Motor Show in March 1966 BMC launched the estate version. It was built as the 1100 Countryman (Austin) and the Morris Traveller. There were two facelifts before production of the estate ended in 1973.
Although two Princess estates were built by Vanden Plas as prototypes this model did not reach production and no other estate variants were attempted by BMC.
Madge started life as a Morris Traveller in July 1967. In 1992 she was acquired by her previous owner, Jean Wooster, and rebuilt by Jean’s family. They used MG panels and mechanicals, intended for the restoration of an MG 1300, which was found to be too badly corroded to repair. Madge then began her new life as an MG 1300 estate and has now been in this configuration for more than half her life.
Jean sold Madge to us in 2001 and we enjoyed her for a couple of years before she failed her MOT and was put aside to await repair. Unfortunately, circumstances meant that this work did not begin for 10 years.
The restoration was completed in 2017. This has been a very comprehensive job. Much structural welding has been done to eliminate every trace of rust. The engine and gearbox have been rebuilt as has the suspension. The car has received a new wiring loom and been fully repainted. It is now virtually a new car.
The MG 1100/1300 saloon appeared in six different two tone colour combinations. This did not include the fetching Grampian Grey over Old English White that Madge carries. Accordingly, as with the rest of the car, the paintwork is unique.
We are only aware of one other MG estate conversion. We know this vehicle no longer exists as we have spoken to the person who scrapped it. Madge is therefore in every way unique. We hope she will appeal to the couple who want something at their wedding that no one else has had and few have ever seen.
In July 2019 Madge won two Concours d'Elegance awards at different classic car shows.
The 1958 MG Magnette ZB Varitone
BMC manufactured 36,650 ZA and ZB Magnette's between October 1953 and December 1958. Around 1,000 still exist. The cars were built with the B series engine and a four speed gearbox. This example has been modified and now sports a five speed Ford Type 9 gearbox, along with a Stainless Steel exhaust and K950 front disc brakes.
Varitone models have wrap-around rear windows, chrome waistline trim and a two tone paint scheme.
Jake - our 1974MGB GT
What says "British Sports Car" better than an MGB? They were in production from 1962 until 1980 and are about the most popular of classic cars. Introduced as a 2 seat convertible, the hard top GT, styled by Pininfarina, was added in 1965.
The MGB used the B series engine. From its launch, the vehicle was fitted with a 3-synchro four speed gearbox. Overdrive was an optional extra. It operated on third and top to effectively give you 6 forward gears. Later a 4-synchro box was fitted and again overdrive was an option. From 1977 onwards overdrive became a standard fitting for the UK market.
Our car is a 1974 overdrive example, which is one of the last of the chrome bumper models, produced just before the change to big black rubber bumpers to comply with requirements for the American market. It is painted in Teal Blue and has a blue leather interior. Princess Diana's sister had an almost identical 1974 Teal Blue GT when it was new.
As with many GT's, Jake also benefits from a full Webasto sunroof to give that sense of open top motoring if it is a dry day, whilst retaining the advantage of a roof to keep your clothes from getting wet and your hair in perfect condition.
Our car joined us during the summer of 2016 having sold at the Rolls Royce Enthusiasts Club's Classic Car Auction.
The Ferguson TE20 or "little grey Fergi" was designed by Harry Ferguson. He was a remarkable inventor who gave the world a tractor that rendered the competition virtually obsolete.
The tractors DNA can be traced back to the 1930's. The prototype, "The Black Tractor", was completed in 1933. Established tractor builder David Brown started production of the Ferguson-Brown in 1936. That relationship did not last long and by the time war broke out Ferguson had negotiated a deal with Henry Ford leading to the production of the Ford-Ferguson. Manufacture of these tractors continued until 1945.
At the end of the war Ferguson went into business with the Standard Motor Company and work began on designing the new tractor which was to become the TE20. The TE20 was built for 10 years between 1946 and 1956. It became the must have tractor for farms not only in this country but throughout the world. We have two examples of the breed.
1949 Ferguson TED
The TED model was designed to run on Tractor Vaporising Oil, which was cheaper to buy than petrol. The tractor has two fuel tanks - a small one for petrol, to start the tractor on and a larger one of TVO, to switch to once the engine was hot.
We do not know a great deal about this tractor. We bought her from a gentleman in South Wales who had picked her up on The Gower Peninsula and restored her. This is the ninth Ferguson TE20 that he had restored. We call her Jenny.
1956 Massey-Harris-Ferguson TEF