Drivers

DRIVERS

A couple of Yorkshiremen went to Australia…

• Paul and Sebastian are both engineers.
• Both love the classic British marques: Bristols in particular.
• Both are keen and experienced drivers and Sebastian is a recognised restorer of Bristols.
• Both have had a dream to participate in the Peking to Paris Challenge!

Paul and Sebastian both share the same passion for the Bristol marque. There is something about a Bristol with all its idiosyncratic oddities that gets under your skin. The pleasure of driving these cars on Bristol runs is measured only by the width of the smile on one’s face. This will test our dedication to the full

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Paul Hickman:

DSC04457Born on the north east coast of England, Paul moved to Australia in his early twenties to visit a university friend, and stayed. He currently lives in Sydney, and also has a cattle farm in rural NSW just down the road from his mate and fellow adventurer’s restoration workshop.

Paul has a love affair with Bristol cars and owns three: a 400, 403 and 405. His 1953 403 has been prepared for the 2016 rally by Sebastian.

Paul’s relationship with the Bristol goes back to his Grandfather who had been an apprentice working for Straker-Squire . They later became absorbed into the Bristol Aircraft Company, and it was his Grandfather that first sparked Paul’s interest in this amazing marque.

Currently, Paul is the CEO of a rapidly expanding ground engineering company operating across Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Europe.  Having worked extensively in developing areas, Paul is used to roads less travelled.

His dream is to face the challenge of matching man with machine in the 2016 Peking to Paris.

Both Sebastian and Paul wholeheartedly pledge to be on their best behaviour and of good cheer at all times with an endeavour to bring honour to the Bristol marque by being the first Bristol to compete in the Peking to Paris.

Sebastian Gross:

SebastianI had a love affair with anything on wheels from an early age. Raised on a farm in the Esk Valley, I fell in love with a Bristol 407and bought it at 16 years of age. The engine was stripped down and sitting in a hen hut and it needed a complete rebuild. I sourced the engine parts in Toronto Canada at ‘Hasanalies Spares’ which was a dodge spare parts shop. With the starter motor in my hand luggage and pistons in the suit case, there were no questions asked.”

Sebastian was trained as a fitter and turner at the RAF Ballistic Missile Early Warning Station where there was a four minute warning of ballistic missile attack on England. According to Sebastian there was just enough time to make a good pot of tea. He then migrated to Australia in 1982 and worked in the construction industry in the Australian outback.

He has pursued his love affair with cars and started restoring Bristols in 1993, “I’ve restored everything from a Citroen SM, DS23, 2CV, Renault 4, Chrysler Royale, Bristol 401, 403, 405, 406, 406Z, 407, 410, 411 to a 1924 Hupmobile.”

The Australian outback proved no barrier to a hardened Yorkshire lad. He travelled through rugged and remote regions including the Gunbarrel Highway and the Great Sandy Desert where the heat and the wet provided some of the worst driving conditions imaginable. The humidity and temperature was over 450 C (1130 F) with flooded rivers, mud and sand in the mix. According to Sebastian the upside was: ‘you could fry an egg on the bonnet by lunch time’.

In his 18 years with the Bristol Car Club, he has driven over 60,000 miles across Australia. Peking to Paris however is his ultimate dream.