A dedicated driver of high passion

IT takes dedication bordering on obsession to assemble a car collection as unique and impressive as this.

About 30 years of mechanical know-how by Huddersfield man Steve Bradbury have gone into creating a private collection of Porsche cars that would match any outside Germany.

The Porsche enthusiast – a term which does not adequately sum up his devotion – bought his first in 1981 and now, 30 years on, has amassed a total of eight, including at least one from each of the last four decades.

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Despite the growing collection, he is still searching the globe for more old models to restore and already has two unfinished projects in his garage.

His eight pristine Porsche cars are safely stored in a secret warehouse location on a back street in Huddersfield – but all get regular run-outs and a chance to turn heads.

“My first Porsche was a 1969 911S bought about 30 years ago,” says Mr Bradbury. “The build quality and performance so impressed me that I became an enthusiast immediately. Over the years I have owned 16 Porsches and still have eight of them today.

“The early cars were hand built and this makes them easy to restore but, like all cars of this era, they can suffer from rust. This is why many cars have been imported from places such as California where they survive better.”

He doesn’t give much away when asked about their value, but will say that some of the models he owns could fetch as much as £100,000.

Despite their high value, running costs are pretty modest as older models are classed as “historic vehicles” by the DVLA, are exempt from road tax, and insurance bills are “reasonable”, he says.

Mr Bradbury, 60, a property landlord, has lost count of the number of hours – and pound notes – he has spent on his collection. He has also spent countless hours finding old models and sourcing the parts.

“I carry out my own servicing and repairs and enjoy both driving and restoring these classics. They were expensive when new and restoration and parts are still expensive today. I once bought four brand new wings from Germany which cost me £3,000.”

“The build quality of the cars is fantastic, which lends itself to restoration projects. Even with the earliest cars, the parts are still available from the factory - but at a cost. Personally, I like the cars to be in a standard condition; I am not into customising them.”

His pride and joy, in year order, are:

A 1961 356B T6 cabriolet. This left-hand drive import from California is probably the most valuable in the collection. 356s were the first cars to be build by Porsche from 1950 to 1965, then the 911 was to take over. At this time Porsche was a small manufacturer of sports cars.

A 1968 911T coupé, currently under restoration after being bought from a man in Clayton West, Huddersfield.

nA 1969 911E 2.0 litre coupé. “This is a Californian import. A friend in Bolton knew of this car which was owned by a friend of his in Crewe. He had tried to sell it but been given backword and I arrived at the right time.

“As I drove along his street I could see the car parked on his drive and at that point I knew I would be taking it home with me. It is my favourite car and is admired by all.”

A 1970 914/6 2.0 litre left-hand drive.

A 1971 911T 2.2 litre coupé, left-hand drive. “I found this car parked on a drive at a house in Salendine Nook (Huddersfield). so I knocked on the door and bought it as the owner was working abroad and his mother was happy to see it go.”

A 1976 912E 2.0 litre coupé. Only 2099 were built, most of them for the American market.

A 1988 911 Carrera 3.2 litre cabriolet.

A 1999 911 996 3.4 litre coupé.

Mr Bradbury admits that one day he may have to sell his collection but he is in no hurry.

“I am always out looking for new projects, driving around and chatting to people. I have the collection but I don’t want people to think I am rich and posh, because I aren’t. When I was a kid I saw a Porsche and dreamed about having one. I didn’t dream about having a collection.”