"Avro imported its first Ford GT from the U.S. in December 2004. We flew it to the UK in a Boeing 747 to get it here in time for Christmas," says Andy McGrath of Avro Motor Cars. "Since then, our success with the Ford GT has grown and grown, and today we’re the car’s largest independent UK distributor."
The company now supplies more GTs to UK buyers than anyone other than Ford Motor Company. "While Ford has supplied 28 official UK cars, we’ve sold 25...and counting. We buy them new from official Ford dealers in America, and Roush does the necessary conversions to UK spec, just as they do with all the Ford-imported GTs." Avro is also the sole UK distributor of the special, limited-edition Roush Ford GT 600RE - but more of that later. First, there are plenty of other reasons to visit the company’s superbly-positioned premises, opposite the Byfleet banking within the old Brooklands Circuit in Surrey.
When Avro Motor Cars was founded, five years ago, it was with the aim of specialising in the sale of top-quality classic Ferraris and Bentleys: from 308 to Enzo, and from Turbo R to the GTC convertible. This is still an important part of the business, as McGrath explains: "Our intention on the ‘used’ cars side is to offer manufacturer standards of service and vehicle quality, but at a specialist price. Since we have fewer overheads than a main dealer, we can offer the same used car standards at a more competitive cost. And because we sell fewer than 100 cars per year, our service is very personal."
It’s interesting to note, too, that Tony Willis - custodian of the Maranello archive (the official historical records of Ferrari in the UK) - works from within the Avro Motor Cars premises. The archive itself is housed in the same building, so the rich history of Ferrari is very much part of the culture at Avro. While new Ford GTs and classic Ferraris might seem an unusual mix, McGrath believes there are a lot of similarities between early Ferrari buyers and those who choose the startling new Ford supercar today:
"In the 1960s, when Ferrari first came to England, they only sold a handful of cars. Nowadays, there’s much the same feeling with the Ford GT. It’s an extremely rare car, and buyers tend to be highly independent, even eccentric people - just as it was with Ferrari in the Sixties. They also tend to be people with a real appreciation of what they’re buying. Today, Ferrari makes some superb modern cars which, quite deservedly, sell in relatively large numbers. When someone makes a million or wins the lottery, what’s the first thing they do? They buy a brand new Ferrari. The badge on the front is a statement and, like a Rolex watch, they know all their mates will admire it. But it’s a very different sort of buyer from one who’d choose an older, rarer Ferrari - or a Ford GT.
"A new Ferrari breeds envy as well as admiration," continues McGrath. "The Ford GT is more likely to engender affection. It’s quite remarkable. You get white-van-man hanging out of his cab, taking photographs and giving you the thumbs up. You don’t get that with a modern Ferrari. You’re more likely to get a different sort of hand-signal...and it’s not with a thumb."
Avro has found the typical Ford GT customer to be a highly successful, self-made businessman. "Age-wise, most buyers are in their 40s, but it’s not always the case. We’ve just sold the very first Roush 600RE to a chap who’s 28 - which is extremely young to appreciate the heritage of a Ford. Think about it: when GT40s were winning races in the 1960s, he hadn’t been born!"
The Roush 600RE, marketed in the UK solely through Avro, takes Ford GT exclusivity one step further. Only 10 of the upgraded Ford GT models, with their enhanced performance and Roush styling treatment, will be built. Classic Driver will be bringing you a driving report on this extra-special car in the near future.
Please click HERE to see all Avro Motor Cars' cars for sale in the Classic Driver car database.
For further information on Avro Motor Cars, please visit www.avromotorcars.co.uk .
Avro Motor Cars
(By appointment only)
Tel: +44 (0)1932 352220
Fax: +44 (0)1932 352217
Email: [email protected]
Text: Charis Whitcombe
Photos: Classic Driver
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