This is going to be a most pleasant day. I have been tasked with the challenge of driving from the Brooklands motor museum in Weybridge to Brighton without using a motorway and preferably not using a dual carriageway. “Is it still possible,” asked the editor, “to enjoy driving on Britain’s congested roads?” It most certainly is. A couple of weeks ago, I joined some friends on a navigational rally around the Surrey hills followed by a pleasant lunch. It helped that I was driving an Alpine A110, but it would have been a wonderful day out in a Morris Minor.
It’s going to help a great deal that today we are driving a brand new Corvette Grand Sport. The car has been loaned by Ian Allan Motors of Virginia Water who, as you have probably seen from their advertisements in the print version of Autocar, are the sole UK supplier of Corvettes and Chevrolet Camaros. More to the point, the Corvette has now been replaced by a new mid-engined C8 model and only a handful of EU type-approved cars are left. Allan has taken the immensely bold step of buying up 60 Corvettes and Camaros so that UK enthusiasts won’t go short. Including, on a temporary basis at least, this one.
So let’s get cracking. Lovely weather but a few showers forecasted. Kevin Hurl at Ian Allan Motors had a red Grand Sport coupé lined up for us but someone bought it last week so he’s registered another Grand Sport from his secret stash. It’s red, it’s automatic and it’s a convertible. And he doesn’t want it back for several days. Goodwin is in his element.
Not only did I grow up in Surrey but I was a motorbike courier based in Guildford for a year, so the Brooklands to Brighton route is right in my manor. I’m certainly not going to mess about with the car’s sat-nav and I probably won’t bother with the paper map that I’ve brought along.
Our managing editor, Damien Smith, told me about a trip he’d done from Surrey to Williams’ headquarters near Wantage that inspired this feature. “I only,” he boasted proudly, “used a very short bit of dual carriageway.” I shall do better than that. I’m determined to not use an inch.