Friday, June 14, 2024

Motors ‘Clutching’ For Arrivals At Royal Ascot 2024 In

Put your clutch into it and prepare to motor into Royal Ascot’s Car Park 1 this June in style; David G. Lennox suggests vehicles especially suitable

Whilst swankily hatted ladies will be clutching their not-so capacious clutch bags at Royal Ascot from Tuesday 18th to Saturday 22nd June, their accompanying badged and booted gentlemen friends will be lining up their marvelous motors in the very much sought-after Car Park 1.

Whilst many – including British baronets such as Sir Benjamin Slade, Bt. and society luminaries including Liz Brewer – will no doubt descend daily in Bentleys and Bugattis, here I choose five of the finest automotive ‘fillies’ fit for the occasion:

Going for gold with Graeme Hunt… 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II – £265,750…

1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II

Ordered new for the Spanish Royal Consort to the United Kingdom on behalf of King Alfonso, this “very special” open tourer will certainly turn heads given its striking gold and brass accents. Of a car that would be the talk of Car Park 1 whilst parked up, Graeme Hunt share: “A more imposing Phantom of any kind would be hard to come by; the ex-John Lennon Phantom VI might be the only car worthy of contention.”

A long wheelbase Land Rover Range Rover SV…  From £211,940 base price plus ‘picnicking extras’…

Land Rover Range Rover picnic set

“Build your own” Range Rover on Land Rover’s website and add a tailgate ‘event suite’ with two leather cushioned seats, tailgate speakers and lighting. This will set you back an additional £1,000 and for an additional £379.20, you can turn the centre armrest into a cooler large enough for a couple of bottles of Pol Roger and a beer or three.

Hire a Bentley Flying Spur… Daily rate of £995 from

Bentley Flying Spur picnic Ascot Signature Car Hire

Offered on the basis of a minimum hire period of two days, this 4-seater could transport you to watch the late Queen’s favourite meeting as a self-drive or, for an extra fee, complete with your own chauffeur. Picnics can be arranged from ritzy department stores such as Fortnum & Mason or Harrods.

And, finally… Fit out your own Roller with the Rolls-Royce of picnic hampers…

Rolls-Royce picnic hamper

“Picnic like the 1%” (if you’ve got the motor to go with it) with a Rolls-Royce picnic hamper if you’ve got about £40,000 to spare. You could place this saddle leather, oil teak and polished aluminium creation in your Fiat 500, but frankly you’d do better to get a Roller to go with this handcrafted “feast for the eyes” that takes over 500 hours to make. It comes with a “treasure trove of artisan crockery, cutlery and glassware” and fold-out piano black tables; a base model Ghost starts at £255,020 whilst an entry level Phantom can be had for £369,020.

Retired solicitor David G. Lennox is an “avid consumer of margaritas” and a Rolls-Royce enthusiast. He motors around the country in his quest to watch ‘the sport of Kings’ as often as he can in his 1990 Silver Spur II.

How to discern the decline of your clutch

Ah, the quintessentially British experience of navigating the verdant countryside in one’s classic motor car, i.e. with an engine and gears, the sun glinting off the polished chrome headlamps, the purr of the engine blending harmoniously with the rustling leaves. Yet, even amidst this idyllic motoring reverie, one must remain vigilant for the subtle signs of a waning clutch, lest one find oneself stranded in the most undignified manner and forced to picnic at the hard-shoulder once again. Allow me, your humble guide, to elucidate the key indicators of clutch deterioration and what steps one might take to remedy such a vexing situation in the field so to speak.

The treacherous slippage

Picture this: One is gliding gracefully down a winding country lane towards Ascot, when suddenly, upon accelerating, the engine revs with an unseemly gusto, yet the vehicle does not respond with the expected alacrity. This is what the mechanically inclined term “slippage.” A clutch that slips is akin to a butler who cannot be trusted to hold a tray – utterly useless.

Should you encounter this regrettable scenario, it is prudent to consult your trusted mechanic posthaste, lest your majestic drive be reduced to a sluggish crawl, and that very often within less than 75 miles, complete failure to progress any further.

The perplexing pedal-play

One might also observe an unusual degree of resistance – or lack thereof – when depressing the clutch pedal. If it feels akin to treading on a feather bed, or conversely, if it requires the exertion of a rugby player’s leg muscles, the clutch is undoubtedly in distress. A visit to one’s automotive specialist is warranted to adjust or replace the clutch mechanism, thereby restoring the pedal’s dignified demeanor.

The dreaded burning aroma

Should a noxious scent reminiscent of burnt toast waft through the cabin, one must resist the urge to summon the housekeeper to check the toaster. Instead, recognise this as the unmistakable olfactory evidence of clutch friction material overheating. This olfactory assault necessitates immediate attention, as continued motoring in such a state is as ill-advised as wearing white tie to a muddy garden party.

The unseemly sounds

A well-maintained motor car should hum as contentedly as a bee in a lavender field. Should you discern any ghastly grinding, squeaking, or rattling noises upon engaging the clutch, it is a clear indication that something is amiss. Such sounds are the automotive equivalent of a string quartet gone terribly awry and should prompt a thorough inspection by a seasoned mechanic.

The inauspicious gear engagement

If your attempts to shift gears are met with resistance or result in a cacophony of crunching, it is a tell-tale sign that your clutch is not disengaging properly. This symptom, akin to a recalcitrant gate refusing to open, signals that immediate mechanical intervention is required to avert further damage to the gearbox.

What must one do?

Upon identifying any of these unfortunate symptoms, the course of action is clear: Drive to and entrust your cherished vehicle to a reputable mechanic as soon as possible, preferably one who has an affinity for classic automobiles. An experienced professional will diagnose the malady with the precision of a royal physician and restore your motor car to its former glory often with only in the inconvenience of a small adjustment, Alas, you may easily find that your clutch needs a considerable overhaul for complete replacement this will take the majority of mechanics of the order of half a day of labour.

In conclusion, while it may be tempting to dismiss these symptoms as mere quirks of character in your venerable vehicle, it is far more prudent to address them with the urgency they deserve. Thus, you shall ensure that your drives through our beautiful countryside remain as splend

id and untroubled as a summer afternoon at Ascot, be that be your destination or not.

Tally-ho, and happy motoring!

Useful information on clutch cylinder –



    • David Lennox does like to “clutch” things up. I will pass on your comments dear, wonderful motoring might Su-Lin.

  1. The true connoisseur of transport like the Duck would drive an amphibious vehicle as used in Operation Overlord, a DUKW. I would not choose an Amphicar for transport even if a modest £65,000 or over would enable you to purchase one. I know I can cheat and try to use aviation but of course I am plastic racing duck


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