ClassicLine’s resident road tripper, Ben Coombs, looks back on what’s turned out to be a classic year on the road.
It’s been quite a year, so far. Four big European tours, over 10,000 miles of cruising in the ClassicLine-sponsored Volvo and a return to the road for our Mini project car after twelve years off the road. And now, with the evenings drawing in and the summer road tripping season coming to a close, it’s time to look back on what has been a deeply memorable summer.
It all began in April, when I headed to France in the Mini, following over two years of restoration and fettling. Predictably, there were a few issues, with excessive supercharger boost causing some leaks through the head gasket, but ultimately, it completed the 900 mile drive, and given the level of work and modification which had gone into the build, you can’t really ask for more than that. And besides, the issues gave me the perfect excuse to hide in the workshop with some spanners for a bit longer. Ideal.
May saw the first Pub2Pub trip of the year, when 18 TVRs headed to a chateau in the Val de Loire for a few days of cruising and relaxing in this picturesque part of France. As my TVR has been off the road this summer, I undertook the drive in the trusty ClassicLine Volvo 240, which has been performing brilliantly as a support vehicle this year, following around exotic sports cars, with its boot full of tools and spare parts.
June and July played host to a further two trips, the first being a new addition to the Pub2Pub calendar – the French Revolution; a lap of France, with a few days of relaxation on the Riviera at the halfway point. The second trip was an old favourite – the Beer Italia, which sees us head across the Alps to Italy’s supercar central, the town of Modena.
August saw a break from the Pub2Pub tours, and so the Mini returned to prominence, undertaking several camping trips in response to the sun’s re-emergence, and deploying its newly-installed roof tent to great effect. And then in September, it was time to head to Bavaria on Pub2Pub’s flagship tour – the Eagle Rally, in a convoy of TVRs and other sports cars and grand tourers.
So, every month of the summer has had a different feel to it and has featured a different automotive highlight. And all in all, it can certainly be considered a successful season.
Pub2Pub’s driving tours have continued to grow in size and, as I get stuck into planning for next year’s trips, the initial indications are that the trend will continue next year. The Mini build has finally been completed, and the only outstanding job in the workshop is now replacing the outriggers on the TVR’s chassis – something which will provide plenty of entertainment this winter, no doubt. And the Volvo has continued to provide stalwart service as both a daily driver and support vehicle.
In short, 2023 has been a great year, as far as road trips are concerned.
And the best bit?
It’s not over yet…