Pop in for coffee and a classic

Martin Chisholm from Cotswold Collectors Cars

Two years ago, long-established Cotswolds-based dealer Martin Chisholm bought RAF Bibury, a former Battle of Britain fighter base he has now transformed into an extensive showroom that integrates Cotswold Collectors Cars with an open-to-all Sunday morning ‘coffee and classics’ meet, drive-in cinema screenings and dining events for invited guests.

Chisholm calls it The Classic Motor Hub, and he believes it reflects a changing attitude among buyers who are less fixated with investment and more interested in owning cars for the enjoyment of driving.

“People are definitely coming to us in search of cars that they can actually use,” says Chisholm.

“We’re finding the market to be surprisingly strong, with particular demand for Austin-Healeys, which are rising in value, and Porsche 911s, the values of which have come down. We’ve also had quite good success with affordable pre-war cars – by which I mean those costing less than £100,000 – but have noticed that the Jaguar market is not as buoyant as it was.

“Opening the Classic Motor Hub has shown us that people are looking for reasons to drive their cars and they are looking for suitable events. Together with our increased use of social media, it’s helped us reach out to a new audience and we are definitely seeing a younger generation of enthusiasts coming through, which can only be good news.

“What is perhaps most encouraging, however, is the number of people who simply drop in to see us and to see what we have in stock. Last year, that might have been as few as four people in a week. Now we’re seeing 10-15 a day – including some who arrive by helicopter or turboprop.”