Jon’s classic car journey started nearly 20 years ago after his first car, a Vauxhall Corsa, broke down. Not looking back since, Jon has owned various marques and models over the years including a Land Rover 90 V8, Mercedes 190e, London Taxi TXII, Mazda 121, BMW 5 Series, a Volvo 850, a Bentley Turbo R and a Rolls Royce. Here he tells Lancaster Insurance the one thing that ties his collection together, the joy they bring to people’s lives.
“I’m currently in the phase where I’m trying to not buy any more and focus on the collection of classic cars I have.” Jon says and what a collection he has! “An eclectic mix” is how Jon best describes his current brood which includes a 1971 Fiat 850 Sport Coupe, a 2001 Porsche Boxter, a Clio 172 Hot Hatch and a ‘gul’ yellow 1994 Volvo 850 T-5R – a particular favourite of his late fathers.
Starting at the beginning, Jon hasn’t always collected, restored or worked on classic cars. His classic journey started later than some, after his first car, a Vauxhall Corsa B, broke down and he bought an early 80s 2 litre 6-cylinder BMW e28 5 series. It was the car he learnt on and started his passion for all things mechanical. He then upgraded to another BMW, a 3.5 litre e28 M535i, and he actually went through three of them thanks to rust and, in his words “A lack of driving talent on one occasion!”.
Classic cars to Jon are more than just a certain marque or model, what’s important to him is the individual cars themselves and the stories they hold.
Take his current collection, of course there are cars he’s bought and worked on himself, but he’s also the proud custodian of an array which belonged to his late father. Not only favourites of his fathers but one’s that hold dear memories of cherished time together such as memories of watching the 1994 BTCC race at Donnington Park, witnessing Volvo confuse and delight crowds by racing an estate car, leading to Jon, and his father to seek out the special ‘gul’ yellow T-5R estate released by Volvo that same year that they finally bought together a few years ago.
He’d like to get more use out of them though as he states “I’m only using some of them once or twice a year at the moment.”’ That’s all set to change though as Jon has found somewhere where he can live and store them in the same location. “Being closer to them will hopefully mean they’ll get more use and I can carry on with the ones that need some TLC.’
“The problem is they are never on the road at the same time. Some are running, some are being worked on and some are under cover…it’s a never ending task but one I love. I am looking forward to one restoration that has been ongoing for over a decade but will finally turn a wheel in anger in spring 2024 – a BMW e30 320i cabriolet being finished for me by Classic Bahnstormers with a completely rebuilt engine”
When they are road ready, Jon enjoys taking his classic cars out and about, including to shows, and creating memories with others.
One example is when he attended a wedding at Hampton Court Castle and took his Bentley Turbo R which was one of his father’s cars. The photographer spotted the car and asked to use it to take some photos of the happy couple. Jon’s answer, a resounding yes!
“It’s all about creating memories for me and seeing the joy they bring people.
“I’ve also had some crazy adventures of my own with classics, mainly revolved around Le Mans 24 hours and getting to the event with my friends.”
“For our first trip we purchased a Rolls Royce for £4,000 from Mathewsons. It was a tongue in cheek tribute to Hesketh Racing, but it was touch and go as to whether we’d make it to Le Mans and back again thanks to a fault in the complex hydropneumatic suspension system that left the car with a ‘gangster lean’. That was a very funny trip!
“This year we had planned to go in an air-cooled VW Campervan, but ended up buying a £700 Saab 9-3. It didn’t get off to a promising start though as one of the light clusters fell out on the way back from collecting it! I was determined this was the car that would get us there though and after a frantic hunt for these rare parts the Saab was good to go and another successful trip was had!”
His passion for working on cars led him to starting the Automotive Tales You Tube channel during the covid lockdowns, which discusses all thing cars.
“At that time, people could live the car scene and feel connected through social media. The one I followed, and spurred me starting my own, was Project Binky. It was funny, informative and I felt I was on the restoration journey with the Bad Obsession Motorsport team.
“I wanted to start mine to document the work I was doing on my collection. It not only gave me some accountability but helped me move my projects on, and it still does to this day.
“Fellow enthusiasts helped me move them on too. If I was stuck or looking for some guidance, people who were following the resto were incredible in trying to help me solve whatever issue I was facing. That’s why I love our community, it’s full of brilliant people that truly look out and help each other. I found through my channel I’ve been able to meet and connect with people from all walks of life, people’s whose paths I wouldn’t necessarily crossed, and I found their support invaluable. I still do now!”
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