(Heritage, Henley and Hofmanns!)
The Distillers’ Car Club started its second meeting of 2021 at the Waterfront Café at Benson, adjacent to the Thames on another sunny and hot day (we do not know how Nick does it!). The party comprised 19 club members and partners along with 11 cars ranging from vintage to new.
At 10:30, we proceeded to the nearby Aston Martin Heritage Trust & Museum in Drayton St Leonard, where we were hosted by the trust’s chairman, Rob Smith. The museum is housed in a stunning medieval structure, which has been lovingly restored at a cost of several millions of pounds.
The collection includes cars ranging from the Ulster 2/4 seater, of which only two survive, through classic models from the 1950s and 70s, the 1980s WEC/Le Mans Nimrod, a rare Zagato model and a DB7 prototype. Also on display were trophies won during David Brown’s days racing, donated by his widow, a range of engines from the classic straight sixes of the DB4/5/6 to the V8s of the 70s, 80s & 90s and the mighty V12 of the 2000s. In addition, there were extensive exhibits of scale models, racing memorabilia and engineering tools.
After 45minutes at AMHT, we headed off on a tour of the local highways and byways to meet up at the Leander Club in Henley for a lovely light lunch overlooking the Thames.
Lunch was followed by a visit to locally based Hoffmann’s, a car engineering specialist which specialises in car restorations and the manufacture of Proteus sports and racing cars, an iconic recreation of the Jaguar C Type. Chris Randall, Hoffman’s managing director, kindly hosted our tour and explained their deep and close involvement in maintaining the spirit and passion of historic marques such as, Fraser-Nash, Lotus, AC, Aston Martin, Bentley. Jaguar and others.
At 4pm, we went on our separate ways after a splendid day of automania.