The specialist: Vantage Park

| 29 Apr 2024
Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: Vantage Park

A new one-stop location for classic vehicle owners in the south-west is ideally placed less than a mile from the Haynes Motor Museum, just off the A303 at Sparkford, Somerset.

Vantage Park is a collection of classic car businesses envisioned and realised by the Piper family, on land adjacent to their automotive trimming and upholstery business.

Co-founder Larry Piper introduces the story: “We were working out of a small workshop and managed to buy the land next to it.

“We felt there was potential for developing the site and the idea for Vantage Park was born.”

Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: Vantage Park

Lavant Automobile Restoration has a long relationship with the hosting Piper family

The facility now includes a new, larger workshop for the family car-trimming company, a series of rental units and premises for five new businesses, which are all up and running.

Vantage Park is today home to, among others, tuning parts expert Octaneologists, local servicing and restoration firm Brad’s Classic & Specialist Cars, and Churchill & Thomas, which offers climate-controlled storage for up to 120 cars.

The storage facility is used by both paying private customers and the on-site businesses, and is already up to 80% capacity, with everything from a pristine pre-war MG to a McLaren Senna and a Datsun 240Z awaiting an engine replacement.

Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: Vantage Park

Royston (on left) and Larry Piper discuss retrimming a classic Alfa Romeo centre console

Larry’s brother Royston explains: “We offer a number of packages, from full maintenance, MoTs, restoration, servicing and car sales to straightforward storage. Pretty much anything can be handled here.”

Nine Four Eight Detailing & Valeting is run by John Brereton. “I prefer working on classics to supercars,” he says.

“You have to treat them differently; they often have numerous layers of paint and the thickness can vary enormously.”

In his studio today is a Norwegian Aston Martin DB6 Vantage for a complete treatment.

Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: Vantage Park

An Aston Martin DB6 is in for a polish by John Brereton at Nine Four Eight

John adds: “It’s a good example of tarnished paint that was left too long between preparations.

“We can get it back to how it should be”.

Resident Lavant Automobile Restoration’s Chris Smith is presiding over a trio of Aston Martins in varying states of repair.

Chris started out as a teenager with an Aston specialist before heading up CCS Restoration.

“Piper Trimmers did interiors for many of the cars that came through our workshop,” he explains, “so joining forces made sense.”

Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: Vantage Park

Carriage Coffee Bar, with Jane and Laura, hosts customers and classic car enthusiasts

“I’ve never been busier,” he continues. “I’ve looked after this DB6 for years. It’s in for a service and adding air-con.

“The DBS V8 is about 60% through a full rebuild.”

Outside, meanwhile, is the shell of an Alfa SZ awaiting a total restoration.

What Chris can’t acquire he makes from scratch, with a fully equipped machine shop at the rear of the unit.

Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: Vantage Park

A Ferrari Dino 246GT is tucked away in Churchill & Thomas’ secure storage facility

Next door to Lavant is The Hub, where David Turner runs an automobilia business.

He says: “The Hub is the centre for co-ordinating events for visiting clubs, and where enthusiasts can pop in after dropping off their cars for work or have a look at the classics we have for sale.”

In the showroom is a pair of Austin-Healey 100s, an immaculate AC Ace, a superb Healey Silverstone and a Willys Jeep.

“We offer guided tours of the businesses on site and have a Scalextric track upstairs, where, in conjunction with slot-car specialist JADLAM and Harry, Larry’s son, you can try before you buy.”

Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: Vantage Park
Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: Vantage Park

Austin-Healey 100s, an AC Ace and a Willys Jeep are among the classic cars for sale in The Hub (left); local ex-F1 driver Mike Wilds stops by to sign copies of his book

Larry’s wife Laura looks after the website and social media, while daughter Jane runs the Carriage Coffee Bar, with granddaughter Bella’s help.

The Hub runs a Cars ’n’ Coffee drive-in every second Saturday from 9am-12pm in the car park on site, and turnouts have been huge despite the event only launching last spring.

It’s free, but pre-booking is recommended.

With three generations of the family now offering more than 100 years of expertise between them, Vantage Park has become a must-visit centre of motoring excellence.

Images: James Mann

The knowledge

  • Name Vantage Park
  • Address Goodwood Drive, High Street, Sparkford, Somerset BA22 7FQ
  • Specialism Classic hub with numerous specialist businesses
  • Staff 35
  • Tel 01963 441431
  • Web


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