Also in my garage: TV’s Drew Pritchard

| 11 Sep 2020
Classic & Sports Car – Also in my garage: TV’s Drew Pritchard

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There’s no pretence to this collector and antiques dealer turned TV star’s passion.

You may recognise him from the Discovery television series Salvage Hunters, but Conwy-based antiques expert Drew Pritchard is no actor.

He has lived and breathed the trade and collection of historic artefacts for more than 25 years.

“My father was a signwriter, and he realised that I had a bit of an eye – he taught me how to look at things,” explains Pritchard.

Classic & Sports Car – Also in my garage: TV’s Drew Pritchard
One of several Hazet sets in his collection

“The love of antiques kicked in when I was eight or nine, and that obsession has been with me ever since.

“I knew then that I wanted to be an antiques dealer; I started reading about art and antiques voraciously.

“I didn’t really go to school very often, and didn’t really learn anything while I was there. I left school at 15 with no qualifications, but knowing what I was going to do.”

Pritchard’s foot in the door was a job that amounted to little more than lifting a box of lead before training as a stained-glass restorer, entering antiques full-time in ’93.

His specialism is both vague and oddly specific: “I tend to buy anything that looks as if it might belong in the house of a very drunk old army major – the sort of house that’s been passed down for 200 years.”

He does a brisk trade in bread-and-butter items, but some pieces mean more and form a sprawling collection.

Classic & Sports Car – Also in my garage: TV’s Drew Pritchard
Pritchard’s magnificent, coveted toolbox

One of the most treasured is a toolbox that belonged to Sir Malcolm Campbell, a vast blue crate emblazoned with the record-breaker’s name.

“It’s got that sense of magic about it,” says Pritchard. “You can see where ‘Sir’ was added later, and where there was a stamp or something on it. Underneath is the original blue. It’s a hell of a thing. I paid 20 grand for it, and I think it’s worth… about 20 grand!”

Elsewhere is a collection of early VW and Porsche toolkits, so coveted that the Stuttgart firm sells reproductions. Pritchard’s eight are genuine.

“They’re made by Hazet, which also made the tools,” he explains. “The Hazet Tourist was created for the 356 and I’ve got three – the first cost £80 from a house clearance and had no tools.

“I collect period Volkswagen service signs as well – I’ve got two originals.”

His passion for air-cooled classics began after trading his Capri 1600 L for a ’68 split-window Microbus. His storage facility is so overrun with classics that it’s nicknamed ‘The Garage’.

Current occupants include a ’58 Beetle – the first to race at Goodwood since 1958 – and a ’68 SWB 911: “It’s a late right-hand-drive model 911T – one of the last four left.

Classic & Sports Car – Also in my garage: TV’s Drew Pritchard
A rare set of Speedwell magnesium BRM wheels

“In ’68 they really mixed things up between short-wheelbase and long-wheelbase models, so parts are very hard to find. I’ve just managed to get a set of new-old-stock Durant mirrors, two 5.5in Fuchs wheels and an RS driver’s seat, plus a period Prototipo Le Mans steering wheel that Andy Prill found.

“I also have a set of Speedwell magnesium BRM wheels. There aren’t many left in the world and I’ve got a full set. I found them three years ago after 20 years of looking – they’re going on my ’51.”

One of Pritchard’s most prized possessions is more compact: a bimetal Rolex Datejust.

“I bought it when I was 23,” he says, “at my first antiques fair. I’d always wanted one, and the guy next to me was selling watches – he was asking £1500.

“I had a storming fair and made a load of money, and he had an appalling one. He came back to me on the third day and said, ‘Do you still want that Rolex? £700 and it’s yours.’ That was 1993, and I only took it off last year.”

Images: Eleri Griffiths


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