Studio 434

Britain’s largest private car collection.

This is the claim by Rodger Dudding for his Studio 434 collection situated in Potters Bar just north of the M25. I first wrote up his cars in November 2012 when they numbered some 150, now it’s over 400. Rodger does not claim this to be a museum collection, it’s the personal collection of an entrepreneurial businessman who just loves cars. I recently visited again with members of the Beaulieu 100 club. The cars range from one veteran through some vintage and pre-war but it’s mainly post war classics including a number of soon to be classic cars. I can only mention a few but to give you an idea of numbers. There were 8 Aston Martin, 22 Bentley, (plus a Bentley pit motorcycle), 10 Ferrari, 21 Jaguar and 11 Rolls-Royce. He has his favourites, the most surprising perhaps is no less than 24 of the William Towns designed wedge fronted Lagondas. There are 10 Clyno (car and motorcycle), perhaps the largest gathering together in the world. Why? His father had one.

Jensen is another favoured make with 19 cars amongst which was a beautiful 1938 S Type 3.5 litre dual cowl tourer, body by Jensen Motors, which was my favourite car of the show.

Size did not matter – there were some microcars including a Messerschmitt with small trailer…
(I quite liked this myself! Ed)

…a Bond Bug, Bamby, Trojan, and possibly to say he has the A-Z of cars, a 1974 Zagato Zele 100 electric. A car with limited stature was”shorty” a very cut down mini complete with trailer. Perhaps because of the William Towns connection there was a rare Elswick Envoy and the 6 wheel Hustler Space Shuttle designed originally for Jensen Special products.

An unusual sight was a full size concept clay model of the proposed Lotus M250 of 2000 made to “explore potential market reaction”, the caption says “it survives today as a mouth-watering might have been”.

Nearby is the very wide Lightening GT. An electric concept car first shown at the 2008 Motor Show. It had an aluminium honeycomb chassis and carbon fibre body. Sadly, this Peterborough built car never went into production.
I could go on and on! Have a look at http://www.studio434 website where most of the cars are listed. The collection is open to visitors but only in pre-booked groups. There is a charge. Clubs and organisations can hold meetings here, or a sit down dinner. Since my last visit a second even larger building has been converted to show the cars and this also contains a special exhibition area, and a full size photographic and film studio.

Michael Ware

Thanks for the great article Michael – among the many – these were my 2 favourites! Ed

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