Into the blue – and orange

Gulf-themed collection and long-established dealer move in

Two major names in the classic car world are to link up, combining one of the best-known specialist historic racing car dealers with the creator of a staggering car collection.

Duncan Hamilton Ltd and Roald Goethe, who assembled the extensive Gulf Racing-themed sports car collection, have announced a new combined operation known as Duncan Hamilton ROFGO, to be based at the newly built ROFGO Park in Hampshire.

From its extensive new base, home to the amazing assemblage of cars in Gulf Racing colours, the new firm will expand on the Hamilton company’s 70 years of trading in desirable machinery. Racer and Le Mans winner Duncan Hamilton founded the business in 1948. More recently his son Adrian has been at the helm, and it was Adrian who facilitated the acquisition of the Gulf cars for Goethe after suggesting that, since the amateur racer’s chief business was oil, the memorable blue and orange colour scheme would be a perfect thematic match.

Over the years Duncan Hamilton Ltd has sourced and handled many of the finest classic and competition cars, one reason that Adrian was able quietly to source so many Gulf examples whether or not they were technically for sale, and this will continue to be the core activity.

“Our previous premises were in the grounds of the Hamilton home,” says the firm’s Simon Drabble, “while the Gulf cars were distributed here and there. Now we have much more space, with two 10,000sq ft halls connected by offices, housing the collection in one and our showrooms in the other. And the showroom is almost full already, so we’ve arrived here all guns blazing.”

Another aim of the new firm, says Drabble, is to build the ROFGO brand – the name derives from Goethe’s initials – with possible overseas expansion.

A third hall is also in preparation ready for maintenance and race prep of some client cars as well as the collection.

“The aim is to get all the Gulf cars ready for racing,” says Drabble, “while we will also run a select handful of client race cars. For example, we ran the Lola MkI that took pole position for the Madgwick Cup at the Goodwood Revival this year.”

Racing runs through the firm: Drabble himself is a historic racer as are colleagues Nick Maton and Jack Tetley, while Hamburg-born Goethe not only exercises his historic Gulf cars but also competes in present-day GT and endurance racing in the famous colours with his own Gulf Racing team.

Although the ROFGO collection is not open to the public, the cars – not forgetting the actual Mercedes truck that transported Goethe’s 917 around the circuits in 1971, found in Florida and painstakingly restored to original specification – make frequent appearances at major events.

Now the famous colours are set to be even more visible – and so is the new firm.


Why cars are surely a wiser investment than stocks or shares…

Roald and I started putting the ROFGO collection together in 2008, after he bought an ex-works Gulf GT40 because he’d had a model of it as a boy. Thirty-six cars later it’s the only one of its type, and it’s doubled in value! The market has altered since my father’s time, when people bought cars to race, not as investments. Now we see two types: those who enjoy historic racing and whistle off to Goodwood, and those like me who enjoy touring to beautiful places. There are lots of people making pots of money and they want to invest it – and while you don’t get much pleasure from a share certificate you can have lots of fun in a car. And as the value rises there’s no capital gains tax!