I love classic motoring; the cars, the theatre, the motor industry stories through the various eras, and the people I’m lucky to meet through filming cars.

But there are two parts of the classic motoring experience I realised that I miss out on, in doing what I do.

One is simply driving the cars – when you’re filming, you’re wholly focused on the production. Spending a day with one eye on the script and the other on the clock is hugely satisfying don’t get me wrong, but you forget to actually be there in the moment.

The second thing I miss out on is just enjoying a drive out with my wife – it’s something we’d do all the time when we were dating; enjoying the cars and each other’s company. But these days, with a two-seater classic car and three children, we enjoy a very different kind of motoring life.

So I booked the ‘Break for the Border’ Classic Road Trip with Great Escape Cars, and Vikki booked the Grandparents – we were going to drive five completely different classic cars on some of the country’s best driving roads. No filming, no parent duties – just drive.

Ready to drive…just drive.

On arrival we were given a friendly, fun, socially distanced briefing by the Great Escape Team, who then introduced the line-up of cars we were about to drive.

We started with the XJS, a V12-powered ‘80s armchair. Time sappingly smooth, and gloriously British and refined, it was a great way to introduce Vikki to the classic car driving experience, which if you’ve never done it is an art that you’ll have a lot of fun perfecting!

Time sappingly smooth, and gloriously British

The XJS was a great introduction to driving classics

Next up, forget any notions about peaking too soon, the Series 2 E Type beckoned for a drive across the Welsh border. If there’s a more iconic sports car, it’s escaped every one of my 36 years on this planet. And as Enzo Ferrari said when he first saw one, it’s the most beautiful car in the world.

The E-Type is a car I’ve always wanted to drive, and goodness me do you need to drive it! The 4.2 litre straight six engine barks at you, the gearbox takes real finesse to get on top of, and that fantastic long bulging bonnet lurches around in front of you.

The E-Type doesn’t have a bad angle!

All of a sudden, it clicked – I began to understand the car, and each gear change and squeeze of the throttle invited me to turn to Mrs W and say “god I love this car!”

Vikki enjoyed the power, and the experience of getting used to driving the car smoothly seemed to give her a real sense of accomplishment.

They say never meet your heroes. But you should definitely drive them – the E Type didn’t disappoint!

A quick stop for lunch followed; a chance to get to know our fellow road trippers and swap stories of the cars we’d driven to that point, all socially distanced of course.

These moments are important – perhaps more so than ever right now. While we talked cars, the hard working road trip crew sanitised and refuelled the cars ready for the next ‘stage’.

The Mk2 Jaguar was up next, with its 1960s elegance and surprisingly raucous engine. It’s a car that really needs to be grabbed by the scruff of its neck to drive smoothly – every ounce of the driving experience fascinates me. By now we were on some fantastic, scenic roads on the way to Newtown, Powys – perfect for us to find the flow of the Mk2.

Talking cars with my wife – can’t remember when we last did that.

Next, we hot-footed it back across the border into England in the good old MG BGT, and were both reminded why it’s remained firmly one of the most popular classic cars to own and drive for generations. The Great Escape example is tight and positive, and is so rewarding to drive in a spirited fashion. So we did!

The BGT is a really accessible classic, and despite me boring Vikki about the oily ins and outs of the ‘over drive’ switch, this was hands down her favourite car to drive on the trip.

Flirting in an MG BGT – how British!

After a scenic final handover, we set the flux capacitor for the nineties and dropped the top on the first generation Porsche Boxster, a hugely underrated modern classic.

It sounds and goes like a Porsche should, you’ve got those famous interlocked gauges staring back at you, and it added a fabulously stark contrast to the rest of the cars on the trip. I wasn’t sure on paper how a Boxster fitted in, but I do now – and I really mean that.

Rained on, wind in her hair and reaching for another gear. Vikki loved the Porsche.

It rained heavily, and a hurried stop to put the roof up, only for the rain to stop and the sun come out as it had for most of the day led to a lot of laughs – I’ll never make a hairdresser joke about a Boxster again.

As we pulled back up to the private industrial estate where the road trips run from, Vikki pointed out how fun it had been to follow a route book, rather than a sat nav. And she’s right – it’s also clear how much work goes in to making sure they’re clear to follow and work intuitively.

The route books are well thought out and add to the experience.

What I mean by that is, rather than puzzling over following them, there‘s just the right amount of information and it’s presented in such a way that it becomes part of the adventure, not clunky and distracting as it surely would be on such a long trip, without the effort that’s gone in.

I’m writing this as we head back up North on the M42; sat nav back on, the theatre of motoring fading back into the monotone drone we ridiculously accept – even when you’re driving a sporty modern car, which we are.

The Great Escape fleet worked hard today, faultlessly.

Gratefully, there’s something less monotone about this particularly journey back – we’re still talking about the cars, laughing about the funny things that happened, and calling home to tell the kids all about it.

We drove, we laughed, we loved and stopped to take photos to keep the moment forever. For all of those reasons, I urge you to try one of these days, or even one of the 60 minute classic car tasters.

We drove, we laughed, we loved

Great Escape Cars still offers a totally unrivalled way to experience classic cars. It’s affordable, accessible, and it’s got people like you and me written all over it.

The only question remains, who do you want to experience it with?

Just drive – it’s simple, and so well done.

You can watch some of the cars I drove today in action HERE.

For more information about Great Escape Cars and booking your own road trip experience, visit http://www.GreatEscapeCars.co.uk.

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NEW FILM: “Barn-Stormer” – The BMW M5 story

The BMW M5 could hardly have imagined how great its impact would become on generations of motoring enthusiasts.

But BMW seemed to know what was needed; a pure, simply branded performance line that would set out its intentions and stick to them.

BMW M5: The world’s original super saloon

In 1984, the M5 was the fastest production saloon car money could buy, yet it was plain; simply designed with functional and understated design cues to give the game away.

The M5’s legacy is a headline-grabbing halo model for every variant of BMW 5 Series ever since – six versions of the world’s most iconic super saloons.

But the E28 is where the story began. Watch the film, here…

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Formula One, IndyCar and now the WRC – Spinning Wheels episodes 3 and 4 are here!

So far on the new motorsport podcast series that I’m hosting with racing driver Guy Smith, we’ve covered sports cars, Le Mans and V8 Supercars, and we’ve gone behind the scenes of Amazon car show, The Grand Tour.

Now we’re Switching the focus to Formula One, IndyCar, the BTCC and World Rally.

The adventure continues with F1 and IndyCar legend Mark Blundell in episode 3, and WRC star Elfyn Evans in episode 4.

Listen to the series on iTunes (and all other podcast places), or watch on YouTube.

iTunes – https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/spinning-wheels/id1508714760

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGOCyxEVUvFtQYFAU-LCeZQ

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Episode 2 of Spinning Wheels out now!

Episode 2️⃣ of the Spinning Wheels motorsport podcast, with racing driver Guy Smith and myself is out now!

We’re joined by a racer who is a star on track, and on screen, Abbie Eaton.

Abbie talks to us about her call-up to drive for The Grand Tour, her Maserati and Ferrari GT Racing campaigns and the road to Australia to drive in the V8 Supercars series.

Listen on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts, and now watch on YouTube.

📻iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/spinning-wheels/id1508714760

🎥YouTube: https://youtu.be/V_1cIY1BlCo

Look out for giant ducks! 🏎🎙

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Spinning Wheels is a new adventure behind the visor of successful people from the world of motorsport, hosted by Paul Woodford and Le Mans winner and FIA WEC driver Guy Smith.‬

‪The first episode is out now on Spotify – featuring a fascinating and eye-opening look at the current ‘golden age’ of GT racing with Ginetta Cars LMP1 driver, Mike Simpson.‬

‪Listen here: ‬https://open.spotify.com/show/5JjaXDkop8oVjM0EnTPDnO

‪Available on Google and iTunes, soon.‬

‪Follow #SpinningWheels on Twitter for updates.‬

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Teaming up with a LeMans winner for the latest project

Guy Smith is a Yorkshire racer with a huge trophy cabinet. Among the silverware – the LeMans 24 Hours and the American LeMans Series overall honours.

Now, as Guy prepares to race for Ginetta in the World Endurance Championship, I’ve teamed up with him to launch a new podcast called ‘Spinning Wheels’.

We’ll be featuring star guests from the world of motor racing, starting with Smith’s Ginetta team mate, Mike Simpson.

You can follow the project and join the adventure on Twitter, HERE.

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VW Festival takes the party online to support the NHS!

I’ll be spending this Saturday hosting a tonne of live entertainment, online throughout the day to support the fabulous VW Festival team to help our NHS.

We’ll have live family entertainment, BMX displays, music, competitions, an online Show ‘n Shine with great prizes, and even a couple of live DJ sets to help you party into the night – just like you do every August under the stars at Harewood House.

I know many of you have, like me been going to this show for years, and understand the great charity work the team does; raising money for worthy local causes.

I’m giving up my time on Saturday in the hope that we can help the VW Fest team reach a wider audience for a cause that right now, could not be more worthy.

See you Saturday morning – can’t wait! 🙌🏻

For full details, head to the VW Festival Facebook page, HERE.

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Yes that’s right – you really could win a (1/43rd scale model of a) Peugeot 205 GTI, the car where the #CarFilms adventure first began, all those years ago!

By now, across the UK cabin fever is starting to set in, and we wanted to do our bit to help. So we’ve had some rather splendid pictures drawn up for the little (and big!) kids to colour in, featuring the cars that have starred on our channel so far in 2020.

Choose from the Great Escape Cars Alfa Romeo Alfasud or the Ford Mondeo ST200, or perhaps plump for one of the PDC Racing cars; the historic-spec Porsche 924 or Classic Stock Hatch Vauxhall Nova GTE.

The pictures are below for you to download, print out, colour in then send in for us to judge – the most creative picture will WIN a model of arguably the world’s most iconic hot hatch.

But first, let’s recap on the adventure so far to inspire your art…CLICK HERE to watch the films.

How to send your drawing:

You can send in your entry by one of three easy methods: Simply post your #CarFilms masterpiece – along with the reason you picked the film car you did – on either the TWITTER thread, or FACEBOOK post, or if you’d prefer you can email ClassicsDriven@Outlook.com.

The winning entry will be picked by Paul Woodford and announced on Friday 1st May, so you’ve got plenty of time to work on your perfect recreation of your favourite car film – phew!

Picture downloads:

Don’t forget to follow #CarFilms on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – we can’t wait to see your entries and we’ll showcase some of the ones which capture our imagination!

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‪A couple of weeks ago, when it was clear things were getting more serious, I challenged myself to make a car review film WITHOUT driving the car.‬

‪Because we all need to stay safe, but we also need race cars.‬

‪Please enjoy my new film – 2 metres apart of course!

Introducing, the Nova GTE Classic Stock Hatch…

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To celebrate the release of my new historic race car film, I’m giving you the chance to win a historic rally car model!

The competition is running on Twitter – all you have to do to enter is share the film, and follow my ‘Car Films’ channel Twitter account.

This film is a special one to me – not only do I get back behind the wheel of one of my favourite classic sports cars, the Porsche 924, there’s also an inspiring story about motor racing engaging with the next generation of enthusiasts and professionals through schools and colleges.

So I’d quite like as many people as possible to share this story, enjoy the film, and spread the word.

Head to Twitter and enter here:

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Woody’s Tweets…