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UK’s New Paddock Speedshop TV show set to air this spring

WORDS: ELLIOTT HUGHES | PHOTOS: PADDOCK SPEEDSHOP

This year, classic car enthusiasts are being treated to an all-new TV show that’s expected to premiere in May. The Paddock Speedshop tells the story of a cadre of young enthusiasts in their 20s who embark on a journey to restore a fleet of classics, before being swept into the thrilling world of Historic racing. 

I joined the Paddock Speedshop cast at its new headquarters in Mucklow Hill, Birmingham, for a filmed press conference that will steer the narrative of the opening three episodes. “The show is more about the people and the experiences than the metal – although some of the cars do become characters of their own,” opened producer Craig Blake-Jones. Craig also owns Paddock Life magazine, and his two sons, Ethan, 25, and Harvey, 21, take starring roles in the new show.

We need young people to do what we’ve been doing for all of our lives; otherwise, we’ll all be out in the cold

We need young people to do what we’ve been doing for all of our lives; otherwise, we’ll all be out in the cold

“We’re trying to encourage a generation that doesn’t necessarily watch TV into classic cars. We need young people to do what we’ve been doing for all of our lives; otherwise, we’ll all be out in the cold.”

The idea for the show came about during the depths of lockdown in 2020, while Craig was working on cars in his garage alongside Ethan and Harvey. Craig used to work in TV and film, so he decided to combine that experience with the contacts he has made through his magazine, to make the show possible.

“The boys and I were always chatting about car shows during lockdown. They grew up around supercars, but they love classics. We decided that Goblin Works was probably the coolest show, because the cars are more relevant to a younger audience. Nobody needs another grey-haired bloke in their 50s telling them about classic cars, and we always said it would be cool to make a TV show, so we just thought, ‘why not?’”

With the decision made, Craig then stumbled upon another key member of the cast, Lucy Busby, who, at the time, was working as a mountain bike mechanic at a local bike shop.

“We got chatting. Her dad was in motor sports, but she never thought she could work on cars: ‘That’s not what girls do.’ I decided to give her a call. From there, she’s just developed, and the energy between Ethan and Lucy is brilliant – she’s a real quick learner.”

While Ethan and Lucy are tasked with much of the show’s restoration work, Harvey’s role is as the Speedshop’s race driver as well as mechanic. Before the show, Harvey had no prior racing experience but worked as an apprentice mechanic at Bicester Heritage before securing employment at classic Porsche specialist Export 56.

The team work on an eclectic selection of classics in season one, each of which is being built for a different purpose and offers its own distinct challenges. One of them was Ethan’s first car, an MGB GT, and another, a Porsche 944, is his current daily driver. The remaining cars are an Aston Martin Vantage DBS, a Mini Mayfair and a Morris Minor. The Aston is being restored for a concours, while the Morris is being converted into a mid-engined hillclimb racer.

During the course of these restoration projects, the team’s headline sponsor, Motul, approaches the team with the news that it has secured an entry in the International Trophy for Classic GT Cars in the 2023 Silverstone Festival. And, with that, the team has to pause all of its restoration projects in order for Harvey to secure a National Race Licence in just ten weeks. This forces the Speedshop cast to rapidly transform into a fully fledged Historic race team, in an effort to successfully take their grid slot in a Shelby Cobra 289 at Silverstone. 

You’ll be able to find out how the team fared in late spring, when the first series of Paddock Speedshop is due to air. “I’ve sold the show to an American distributor, which means that we’re on-air in May – but at this moment, I can’t tell you which channel,” Craig explained. “We still need to make a decision about which network.”

For more information about Paddock Speedshop, click here.