The HB Special: a driving experience from yesteryear
By Loz Blain
November 8, 2007
November 9, 2007 Classic racecar fans might find this offer appealing: if the idea of owning, restoring and maintaining a 1950s racecar requires too much commitment, why not “experience” one for a week through the twisty mountain roads of Europe? Contrary to the modern trend of making supercars more and more easy to drive with electronic assistance, the Huet Brothers’ Triumph TR6-based “HB Special” is very much an accomplished driver’s car that rewards concentration, skill and finesse if you want to get the most out of it. Mind the dress code, though!
The Huet Brothers have come up with an interesting business model; they’re building 12 HB Special classic racecar replicas, and instead of offering them for sale, they’re offering auto enthusiasts the chance to drive them on 4-day 5-night tours around gorgeous and historical European locations.
The HB specials themselves are carbon-fiber bodies mounted on heavily modified Triumph TR6 frames and engines. The cars have been constructed with the pure goal of delivering the driving experience and feeling of a 50s racecar. There’s no roof – if it rains, you get wet - and there’s no ABS, stability or traction control to hold your hand as you punt these little beauties up the mountain. It’s pure man-and-machine stuff, requiring skill, involvement, control and concentration if you want to make good time.
Carbon fiber might not have been about in the 50s, but as it’s the strongest lightweight material available, the Huet Brothers felt it fit with the car’s design brief. “If the material had been available in the 1950s,” runs the car’s design criteria, “they would have used it” – and its extensive use brings the total weight of the car down to a mere 750kg, which should make for a lively ride when being propelled by the 180-horsepower, breathed-upon 2.5 liter engine.
Everything about the HB Special experience is focused on delivering the feeling of a time when cars were more than A-to-B transport, and every drive was more of an adventure. To this end, the HB team source stunning, exclusive and historical accommodation wherever the tours are held. There’s a historical focus on the region wherever you go, and there’s even a dress code you must adhere to before you’re permitted to take the wheel of the cars. You guessed it, 50s racer attire, including leather helmets, driving gloves, goggles, the whole shebang. It’s all provided by the company in a range of sizes.
No prices are listed – given the palatial nature of the accommodation pictured, you’d guess it’s one of those “if you have to ask, you’ll never know” affairs. But if you’re into historical racing, or simply yearn to drive a car that immerses you in the driving experience instead of cosseting you “for your own safety,” it might be well worth checking out. We certainly applaud the sentiment!