Terry Peacock’s stunning collection of vintage cars and motorbikes are a nod to the glamour of driving in days gone by…
Words: Julie Burniston
Pictures: Chris Booth
When did your love affairs with cars begin?
When I was a kid, though I couldn’t afford to indulge in classic cars and motorbikes till later in life. In 1980 I joined the Teesside Yesteryear Motor Club. I’ve been chairman for around 10 years now. We meet the first Monday of every month and each year we have at least 30 organised events plus our annual trip to Rockanje, Holland to race our vintage motorbikes. It’s both a challenge and a relief getting 40 riders and their machines there and back in one piece!
Which vehicles do you have currently?
A Honda GB 400 TT and a 1958 Velocette Metisse motorbike, as raced in the Manx TT; a 1946 MG TC motorcar fitted with a supercharger and a 1953 Jaguar XK120.
What’s the reaction when you go out in one of your vintage drives?
They get some looks of course, but I believe in taking them out as much as I can. They’re in high demand for proms, but I don’t charge. I encourage the younger generation’s interest in the classic car movement.
What was your first car?
I passed my test aged 22 and got a 1953 Ford Prefect which cost £100. It was my pride and joy. My sister-in-law had taken her test in it, got her foot caught under the pedal and failed so she didn’t want the car anymore.
Did your parents drive?
No, but my elder brother did. He was quite the high-flyer – a technical advisor to the Indonesian government. I went with him to Neasham’s garage in Middlesbrough where he paid cash for a 2.4 litre Jaguar – the car of the moment. What a memory!
What’s your dream car?
My Jaguar is my dream car, but I’d love a Morgan three-wheeler, preferably fitted with a JAP or Matchless engine. They’re a crossover between a car and a motorbike and have a big following in the classic car scene.
What’s the worst car you’ve ever had and why?
An Austin A40. The back end had rotted and the springs had come through the floor!
Have you ever been in a car accident?
From the age of 16 to 21 my life revolved around hiking and youth hostelling. One time I was in a pub in Castleton with my mates – we were staying in Westerdale youth hostel down the road and were probably too young to have been there, but anyway we were having a pint when another friend drives up and offers us a lift back to our hostel. There were six of us complete with large rucksacks squeezed into this car. It was a twisty road back. The river runs under the road and there’s a bridge. As we swung around the corner the driver caught the stray wires of a telegraph pole. He skidded, we hit the bridge head on and the car flipped upside down. We were trapped with the water from the river coming into the car. Somehow we managed to get out and none of us were hurt, but it was a near miss and I‘m convinced that someone was looking down on us that day.
Where’s the best place you’ve ever driven?
The North York Moors. We are very blessed in this country. I always think “It’s magic here.”
What’s your best drive time music?
There’s no music system in vintage cars, but in my day-to-day car – a Lexus – I play Sinatra, ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll or ‘60s pop. I’m quite partial to Road to Hell by Chris Rea too.
Tell us about the car journey you will always remember
Not my car journey, but the final car journey of Keith Schellenburg. Keith was a local hero. His family were very wealthy and Keith was captain of the UK bobsleigh team as well as a devotee of vintage Bentleys which he raced. I recall him taking part in the London to Sydney rally in his 8 litre Bentley and as a kid I’d watched him race at Thornaby aerodrome. Keith had a very eventful life, buying and living on a remote Scottish island before coming back to the area. Anyway, a few weeks ago I was out walking through Stewart Park when I saw a vintage bus. The driver told me he’d dropped off some mourners for a funeral up the road – Keith Schellenburg’s funeral! Behind the bus were these beautiful Bentleys. It turns out they’d strapped Keith’s coffin to the top of one of these cars and raced them from his home in Richmond to the church in Marton. A fitting tribute, wouldn’t you agree?
The Teesside Yesterday Motor Club is for all who are interested in using and maintaining vintage, veteran and classic cars and motorcycles. Members meet at Stockton Cricket Club on the first Monday of each month and organise numerous events, trips and activities throughout the year. Learn more by visiting tymc.org.uk