Danny Hopkins drives the Reliant Rebel east, in aid of NHS Charities.
It's going to raise big money at the PC Resto Show, but first it needs to prove itself and give a bit of love back to the gent who donated the project to PC in the first place. Our plucky little Reliant Rebel, the latest in a long and (sometimes) exotic line of project cars to emerge from the Practical Classics workshop, is about to be auctioned off at the Practical Classics Classic Car and Restoration show on March 24-26 at CCA's auction... (get yourself along and bid!), which means that time left to enjoy its charms is short. So, today we are making the most of it on an epic (ish) drive from St Ives in Cambridgeshire to Colchester NHS Trust Hospital via Papworth Hospitals old and new.
Many boxes are being ticked. The Rebel will get a few miles under its belt after an engine rebuild, Lancaster Insurance will receive kudos due thanks to its sponsorship of the project, James Holland and the Reliant Owners Club will get a grand day out (and thanks for their help) and, former owner and restorer, Graham Catchpole will get his wish.
Wish? Yep. His deal when he called me three years ago was that we could have the project for free if we would a) restore it properly, b) auction it off for NHS charities and c) do a run linking Papworth Hospital with his local Colchester NHS trust… Graham has very close connections with both institutions.
It’s not a warm day in St Ives, but the welcome provided by Steph Hoy and Lancaster Insurance is keeping everyone smiling. Coffee for a Cause is in full swing as thirty or so classics and their owners snaffle a brew and a bun while dropping £75 quid in the charity tin. First among equals here are the Reliant Owners Club and James Holland, who, along with our own Matt Tomkins, Theo Gillam, Steve Brown from HB Body (who did 90 per cent of the graft on the gel coat), got the car to this point. Our friend Andy Waters at CBR Restorations and the team at Autopaints Brighton are also worthy of respect for their combined magnificence in the paint department.
This article is taken from the Spring 2023 issue of Practical Classics. To read the full article and more from the Spring issue, visit members.practicalclassics.co.uk and become a Member from just 99p for your first month.