06/03/2011 Classic Driver Dealer: Brian Classic & Co
One advertisement really caught my eye this morning. It was so nostalgic, it made me quite emotional. There it was, in fuzzy black and white, the Aston Martin DB4 GT originally owned by none other than Donald Campbell. What a car. Described as an original example, with low mileage and full history, the price was £9950. As you can imagine, the advert was not a current one. Sigh.
I’m not sure exactly when the car was advertised at that price but it was certainly a very long time ago that it passed through the hands of Brian Classic & Co, tucked away in rural Cheshire. Brian’s name has been well known in the old car world for over 40 years. He’s the sort of chap that journalists ring up when they want to check some fact or other from the dim and distant past. He is likely, without having to look anything up, to have the accurate information they require.
There is something highly reassuring about a fellow who, like Brian, started his motoring life with an Austin 7 when he was just 17. Even at that age, he clearly had an eye for class, history and performance in his choice of automobile. At about the same time, he also acquired an old Lagonda 2-litre that, at £100, was a great deal more valuable than the little Austin.
1968 BOAC 500, Brands Hatch. Brian Classic's works Chevron B8 on its way to 8th overall behind the factory Porsche 908s and JW Automotive Gulf GT40s
As the first customer of Chevron Cars Ltd, set up in nearby Bolton by Derek Bennett in 1965, Brian then launched into a successful career as a racing driver. He graduated to Formula 3, driving a Brabham and by 1968 he had been recruited back into the Chevron fold as a works driver. Brian, who was elected to membership of the exclusive British Racing Drivers’ Club in 1979, later went on to race an enormous variety of outstanding historic machinery.
1967 Montjuich Park, Barcelona. Brian in an F3 Brabham BT21, having a tussle with Francois Cevert (Elf Martini)
As a dealer in great road and competition cars, Brian’s small company has built a highly respected place for itself over the past four decades and more. Now, for the first time, Brian has created his own website – www.brianclassiccars.com – and that is what prompted us to write about him this week.
Apart from the latest stock, which is well worth a lengthy look, the site is full of information about the Brian Classic & Co team and its own history, including that fascinating selection of past advertisements, with Donald Campbell’s old Aston DB4 GT and many, many more shown there. Brian himself is a mobile encyclopaedia of motoring history but it’s those prices from long, long ago that will probably get the tear ducts flowing. Take a look for yourself. And have a hanky ready.