My Tour of Canford Classics - by Valerie Singleton (of Blue Peter fame)

On a rather wet morning a few days ago, I headed south from my home near the A30 in Somerset, towards Blandford and Bere Regis in Dorset. The countryside was glorious; open fields and farmland. Fairly deserted and looking misty and mysterious on this damp morning.

 My destination was a farm surrounded by some interesting, attractive old barns on the edge of the village of Winterborne Kingston. There were a couple of horses in one field, sheep in another and a lone ewe munching grass on the side of the road that had obviously escaped. It was quiet and peaceful .. no one around  - just a few cars parked by one of the barns.

 I crossed a trickle of water, an apology for a stream, which I gathered later was the Winterborne Brook. Hence all the villages called Winterborne ‘something’ in the surrounding area.  I was also told later not to be fooled, that when it rained really heavily, the trickle could become a raging torrent!

On the side of one of the barns some bold black lettering proclaimed I had arrived at Canford Classics. And that was it. Not a hint of the glorious treasure hidden away inside the barns.

As I parked, another car pulled up behind me and out stepped Dominique Drayson, co owner with her husband Alan, of Canford Classics. The first time we had met. I was here to write an article about the company for the Dorset Magazine. 

Canford Classics buy, restore and sell classic Porsches. And for the next few hours I spent a wonderful morning being shown the thrilling contents of these old buildings. It took me right back to my 20’s when my favourite car was a Porsche. The shape and design of these cars was so exciting and different.   

Sadly, on a Blue Peter salary, owning one was quite out of the question. But I could dream..!

Now here I was, all these years later, being shown the huge variety of different models produced since the Porsche first hit the road, in varying stages of restoration.  Alan and Dominique took me first into the Weld shop. Then we moved to the Build shop and the (soon to be) Paint shop. Over the Build shop were shelves and shelves of parts, some made by the Canford team, some bought in. I was astonished at how much a classic Porsche could fetch now. And was hugely impressed by the passion Alan and Dominique had for these beautiful cars and the work they were doing here.   

I began to see the variations in design as the car evolved, though found the number of models confusing. The colours were stunning .. vibrant blues and reds and mustard yellows. 

My morning ended with a couple of spins with Alan. Speeding me through the local countryside in first a very early model and then a more recent one, I could feel the difference.   It was a fun and interesting morning. I will still never own a Porsche. But I can still dream.