Finding myself wide awake at a ridiculous hour on a Saturday morning in June with no plans I popped into CCC’s Hoxton HQ, what should be sitting right at the front of the garage looking spectacular but the latest addition to the fleet; a Porsche 718RSK recreation – it would be rude not to take it for a little test drive wouldn’t it? This car was originally built as an evolution of the 550 racer made infamous by the death of James Dean in his affectionately named “Little Bastard”. I strap myself into the incredibly cosy cockpit. The sun is shining and the good people of East London rolling out of bars offer various loud encouragement. This is not a car for the self-conscious you are instantly aware that every third person is snapping photo or video and you get to hear the opinions of the people on the street (I’m yet to hear anyone say anything bad about this car).
The car is absolute joy to drive through London at this time of day, 2nd and 3rd gear offering up bags of torque to push the mere 570KG frame along on its skinny tyres. The steering is direct and solid, you instinctively know that if you were driving the 718 on a track you would be bang on every apex. There is very little in the way of instruments and comforts and the car is all the better for it. It may be a little clichéd but it makes the experience more pure. Through town the realisation strikes me that the M23 is approaching. 30mph in this car feels like 60mph so 70mph on the motorway and I’m feeling like Maglioli tearing up Le Mans. Yes it is a recreation but that detracts nothing from the experience, if anything it leaves you free to enjoy it without the worry of driving an obscenely valuable car (Gooding and Company of Scottsdale, Arizona sold chassis number 023 for $3.135M in January 2013) not to mention the fact its near on impossible to get your hands on a car with a grand production total of 35.
The motorway is soon behind me exhilarating as it was I’m happy to be on the undulating twisty roads of Kent. My destination is Gravetye Manor – a 16th Century House now a luxury hotel and restaurant. The perfect match for the little Porsche, heading up the long sweeping gravel driveway I cannot resist but to park next to the Aventador at the front of the manor outclassing it instantly. A spot of lunch with a viewpoint of the car park and I’m itching to get driving again – you would imagine that the lack of comfort and protection from the elements would have sent me straight back to London but the roads around here are far too rewarding to miss in such an amazing car so I soak up a few more twists and turns through wooded lanes before heading back to the smoke. Back at base, I’m sunburnt, have my fair share of Kent’s wildlife in my hair and an enormous grin. From the moment you get into this incredible car and strap yourself into the retro harnesses the whole experience is evocative of a golden age in automotive history.
Visit Classic Car Club Private Members if you fancy a spin