You’d think that the inner sanctum of one of the world’s largest motorsport facilities would contain serious, manly men. The sort that smell of engine assembly lubricant and Brut 33 and have no smile lines. Barrel-chested velocity boffins that spend their down time whittling down the coffee machine’s zero-to-Espresso sprint. And definitely not getting a bit excited about their past masters.
Surprisingly, you’d be wrong. Postured in the company’s top-secret lair, just off the M40 near Banbury, Oxfordshire, we notice one of Prodrive’s employees peeking into the heritage centre. He makes a beeline for the 1986 Metro 6R4, lowers himself inside and starts making very accurate V6 noises. A colleague follows suit, sitting in the neighbouring 1984 Porsche 911 SCRS Group B rally car.
At around midday, more staff trickle in, commenting with boyish enthusiasm on the BTCC-winning Ford Mondeo’s manpart-jangling ride height and Richard Burns’ safari-winning Impreza’s roll cage. These guys are dyed-in-the-wool petrosexuals. And, as a lunchtime pursuit, the assembled collection of historic race, rally and road cars are roughly twice as popular as oxygen.
Perhaps we shouldn’t have been too surprised. After all, this little assortment of Prodrive-tinkered legends represents nearly three decades of competition success. And, in terms of evocative metal, it’s a meeting point for an impressive amount of it.
Click on to see why the staff are so excited…