Last month I featured Jake Matthews and his daily hack 1976 1100 cross flow MK2 Ford Escort. He was the first car to be featured in this #TwelveOfTwenty16 project and the owner’s passion for his classic and the car itself really set the bar high for this month’s feature. Fortunately Josh Oakes stepped up and invited me over to spend the day out with him and his 1974 Scimitar GTE
I can’t remember when I became interested in cars, it’s been a hobby forever. I probably started properly 12 years ago when my dad got a Scimitar GTE as a fishing car and I helped and did some of the work myself.
Josh purchased the car back in 2012 after it had spent the last 20 years off the road. During the many years of storage the engine has been tinkered with and the car had a folder of bills dating from 1989-2002 worth nearly £10k for a full engine rebuild, new diff and various other bits. While the engine didn’t run when josh bought it, the good news was it wasn’t seized, so was a fairly straight forward job to get running.
The bodywork wasn’t concourse but it was ok and the interior was a bit wet after being parked under a tree for a decade! The headlining and carpet were on the list for replacements, and the seats needed some attention, but the rest of the interior trim was in remarkable condition given the years of neglect.
It’s been mainly Scimitars ever since as no other classic offers better value for money. I’ve owned 8 of them since 2014 but my yellow GTE, JHR, has always been the special one. It was my first proper car and it took around 4 and a half months to get back on the road after being laid up for 20 years.
This was done on my paper round money of £10 a week. I was still too young to drive it so it sat for quite a while, only being used for the odd show.
Once it was on the road, this humble bog standard Reliant has slowly formed into MY car. Larger wheels, lowered suspension, slightly tickled engine, louder exhausts, pearlescent grey bumpers and modified headlamp surrounds etc and its like no other car.
One thing that a lot of people ask is why my glovebox has signatures on it. It’s quite simple really – I went to a small gig and had nothing else to get signed so I took the glovebox. A lot of people think it’s rather strange but it’s something that makes the car stand out.
I was known to a lot of people in school as “the yellow car guy” because I didn’t go out and play, I stayed and worked on the car. It gets even more attention now I can actually drive it round and when it first appeared in the college car park, there wasn’t a moment when the car didn’t have someone looking at it or taking a photo
Josh left me with a nice departing message when I asked him if he had any other cars that he used in the winter or for popping out in.
It’s my daily driver and I have complete faith in it. It’s never really broken down and I’d have no worries getting in it and driving across Europe. It’d be loud and a bit chilly but a hell of a lot more fun than a modern car and that’s the whole point. These cars are supposed to be fun so you may as well make them as fun as possible.
A sentiment I think many classic car enthusiasts can relate to.
Next month I’ll be featuring #3/12 Joe Slack’s 71′ Volkswagen Beetle