Charles Knill-Jones

I’ve been around vintage cars all my life, I grew up with a Riley 9 then a 12/50 Alvis. I started making parts when we borrowed a Vauxhall 30/98 at the age of 13 and restored my father’s Silver Ghost as part of my degree in engineering from Brunel University. Along the way I raced karts In the 100 National Junior class from 8-14yrs, then sold my kart to buy my first car. I decided on a Triumph Herald as I could fit three girls in it, rather than a Spitfire that can only take one. The Herald made way for my Austin 7 Special which I still have today and use for VSCC events.

After university I knew l didn’t want to look down an electron microscope any more preparing material samples for structure and property analysis, so I applied to a small ad in Autosport and took the Ten Tenths job assisting Nick and family with their racing ambitions.

Over the last 18 yrs the collection has evolved, as has the job. Starting in Kings Cross and now residing in the Cotswolds there have been many changes. Helping Mike Hallowes with film jobs in the early days such as “Bright Young Things” as a precision driver through to driving Muhammad Ali around Brixton in a 4 1/2 litre Bentley.

The day to day activities of organising the collection, engineering, race calendar, parts, servicing and specific restorations are some of my duties. The real excitement starts at race meetings and circuits around the world.

Most of the collection is based around Le Mans cars and sports cars so two driver races are prominent. Nick, Annette, Chloe and Holly often share cars with guests, from legends such as Damon Hill, Gerhardt Berger, Stirling Moss, Derek Bell, Martin Brundle, John Surtees, Mark Hales, Jacques Villeneuve and Bruno Giacomelli. A lot of the set up and testing prior to the events is done in house and very occasionally there is a works drive when all others are not available.

The Tour Auto is a highlight but very hard work, Le Mans Classic a spectacle and Monaco very flash. Goodwood Revival however is real racing and jollies like a track day at the Bahrain Grand Prix a real treat.

The Historic car world does not seem to slow down with the likes of Chris Evans starting up fantastic new events such as Carfest, combining famous cars with great food and fantastic music. We shall be there again for both events, north and south with several cars from the collection.

To work with the cars is one pleasure, to do it for such a respected owner a dream and with a great team makes it a lot of fun. I just wish I could remember to take a day off and reflect…