Yesterday I went for a drive in the country to view a very special exhibition of cars dedicated to the art of automobile design.
Earlier in the week I received a email from one of the classic car publications I subscribe to describing a collection of seven cars on display in a barn in Wiltshire.
When I saw what cars were on show I had to go and take a look even though the venue was a 2 hour drive from home - perfect for a ride in Jagger, or that’s what I thought. Halfway to the venue the heavens opened and I had to make a stop to put the top up - I don’t mind getting wet but this was torrential rain that lasted for the remainder of my journey!
As one enters the exhibition the first car on show is a Series 1 roadster owned by The Earl of Pembroke a collector of many exotic cars, in fact a Ferrari 288GTO in the exhibit also belongs to the same man but more about that later, this E-Type is a 1966 4.2.
Close by is another English icon of the sixties the mighty AC Cobra, not a replica as one normally sees out on the road these days but a original model from 1964 complete with 4.2 litre V8 engine.
Next up is what has been described by many as the best supercar ever to have been made, the McLaren F1 designed by Gordon Murray and his team. The car is powered by a BMW V12 engine which produces 627 bhp and has a top speed of 232 mph.
Everything about this car is amazing and no expense was spared during the design and construction, to emphasise this point the engine bay insulation was made of gold leaf!!.
A Ferrari Daytona from 1971 is the next car one sees, in fact one could hardly miss it in its vibrant metallic violet paintwork. Powered by a 4390cc V12 engine which can get you from 0 to 60 in 5.9 seconds, not quick when compared with some supercars of today but will take you to 176 mph which surely no one can grumble with..
Alongside is another iconic Ferrari this time from the 1980’s the previously mentioned 288GTO which is the last car Enzo Ferrari oversaw personally before his death. The 288 is powered by a 2855cc V8 bi turbo which produces 400bhp and gives a top speed of 189mph. Ferrari built 272 of these fine specimens.
Now it’s time for another Italian manufacturer of great cars, Alfa Romeo. A lovely Giulietta Sprint Speciale’ “Low Nose” reminiscent of the Bat Cars Alfa produced in the 1950’s sits proudly under the spotlights. Powered by a 1290cc 4 cylinder twin overhead camshaft engine this little car will get you up to 125mph which is quite something for a car of the sixties with such a small engine - clearly the lightweight aerodynamic style helps to make this car so fast.
The final car in the exhibition is placed furthest from the entrance, a Lamborghini Miura. As a teenager, a friend and I went to see The Italian Job at the cinema and I think I cried when I saw the part where the Lambo drove in the tunnel and came out the other end a crumpled wreck sitting on a Caterpillar earth remover.
Known as the world’s first supercar the Miura has a V12 power plant giving a top speed of 172mph, these cars nowadays cost a small fortune which is hardly surprising as this particular model is the S version of which only 140 were built.