26 November, 2015

Incredibly rare Squire classics reunited for first time

Four of only seven Squire classics ever built were brought together for a special event in Oxfordshire last week.

The motors are described as “charismatic” and “costly” sports cars, so it has been quite a coup for the vintage machines to be reunited for the first time in their history.

Nostalgia reigns

The motoring treasures appeared at Henley’s Phyllis Court Club on Tuesday November 17 near the Remenham Hill garage where they were built in the mid-1930s. The event coincided with a new book detailing the life of Adrian Squire and the marque he masterminded.

What makes the Squire special

  • Their very scarcity, being among the rarest classic cars ever built in Britain
  • The car has been described as a Grand Prix racer turned into a road vehicle
  • The 1,496cc engine which enabled it to reach exceptional speeds
  • Its lavish Vanden Plas bodywork Restored Squire

A potted Squire history

  • 1931/32: A 21-year-old Adrian Squire starts Henley-based Squire Motors (later the Squire Car Manufacturing Company). He has already worked for MG and Bentley
  • 1934: The first Squire rolls off the production line. Others follow in four or two-seater options
  • 1936: Model prices range between an untenable £995 and £1,220. Production ceases
  • 1940: Squire dies in a heavy air raid

From rodent home to award hopeful

The story behind one of the Squires displayed at Henley this week is a particular inspiration for petrol-heads who dream of restoration projects.

The 1936 Squire in question made a rare outing at Paris’s Retromobile event in a sorry state four years ago.

Not only was its shell totally devoid of paint, but rodents called its once hallowed upholstery home.

Cue Classic Motor Cars (CMC) of Bridgnorth in Shropshire. Nearly three years ago its workers got their hands on the vehicle for a total nuts-and-bolts restoration.

CMC paid total attention to every small detail in a bid to restore it to its original condition.

The project was finally finished on May 26, the result of more than 4,100 man hours. The end product is stunning.

So much so that it was in the running for the International Historic Motoring Awards’ Restoration of the Year prize held on Thursday November 19, but it was pipped to the post by a 1971 Porsche 917.

Restoration highlights

  • A new brass radiator to replace the badly damaged original
  • A fresh wooden dashboard replacing the 1936 metal one
  • Re-beaten aluminium panels, saving as many original metal panels as possible
  • Original CLO 5 registration number
  • Original maroon paintwork

The book

The magnificent seven Squires feature prominently in Squire, the Man, the Cars, the Heritage. Jonathan Wood’s honest history retells the tale of Adrian Squire and his classics. It’s available for £100 (standard edition) and £200 (limited edition).