About Tony & Elaine Merrygold of The Open Road - Warwickshire
The Open Road - Warwickshire is run by Elaine and Tony Merrygold who have had a passion for classic cars for many years, acquiring our first E-Type in 1990.
After seeing the level of interest in classic cars, we started The Open Road in 1997 to enable people who didn't own such cars to enjoy the thrills of driving them by hiring them whenever they wish. The business has grown steadily year on year and we now have the nine cars listed on this web site on our fleet. We took a deliberate decision to concentrate on classic British cars, hence the current choice of Austin Healey, Jaguar, MG and Triumph cars for hire.
In 2006 we received enough requests for a classic Ford Mustang that we decided to change our 'British only' policy and added a beautiful 1996 Ford Mustang Fastback to the fleet. This proved as popular as our Jaguar E-Type although we were never keen on the drum brakes and the automatic gearbox. In 2011 we replaced this with another series 1 Mustang - a 1965 Mustang GT complete with manual gearbox and disk brakes.
In the past we have had an Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite, and even a Lotus Elan Plus2 for hire. Each year we look back at which cars receive the least demand and sell these, replacing them with others that our customers are requesting. The Frogeye Sprite, Lotus Elan, Triumph TR7, Triumph Spitfire and Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Razoredge have fallen victim to this process. We ask our customers what cars they would like us to add to our fleet and this web site also has a shopping list page enabling customers to enter these details online.
We take our own driving seriously, having completed a Drive & Survive course, and in 1998 we both completed the Advanced Driver Safety course, run by Peter Gethin Driving Courses Ltd. As the Norwich Union and other classic runs invariably include the opportunity to take the cars on the track, we also both took track lessons on the circuit at Silverstone.
We continue to participate in a number of classic car runs every year, although the Norwich Union stopped in 1997, only to be re-instated 10 years later as the Norwich Union MSA Classic on Sunday 14 October 2007. We have enjoyed many local club runs from both the Jaguar Drivers Club and the local area of the Arden MG Club as well as completing seventeen trips across Europe on the MSA Euroclassic. We have driven our MGB Roadster to the South of France, our Triumph TR4A to Salzburg, Austria, our Jaguar E-Type to Budapest, Hungary and Vienna, Austria and our Triumph TR6 to Valencia in Spain, Florence and Imola in Italy and then in May of 2005 around Denmark and Sweden. In 2006 we completed the Euroclassic which ran from Lille in northern France to Baden-Baden in southern Germany.
In 2014 when the MSA decided to stop running the Euroclassic, Elaine and a number of others decided to form the European Classic Touring Club to arrange classic car tours around Europe to replace the Euroclassic and run other UK based tours. The first tour was in September 2014 around northern France and Belgium, finishing at Ypres. For 2014 the European Classic Touring Club is arranged a Summer Tour in the UK in June from the Thames Valley down to the West Country finishing at Castle Coombe circuit. Then in September 2014 the club will be running a 6 day tour around Brittany and the Loire in France.
Since 1999 Tony has written a monthly column called 'Letter from England' for an American classic car club magazine British Marque. This goes out to over 50 US based car clubs that cover British classics and Tony writes about what is happening on the UK classic car scene as well as reporting on our travels across Europe.
Tony's writing is also widely circulated on the web as he submits regular articles to a number of web based news service sites including About.com:Classic Cars, Ezine @articles and The Daily Car. Some of these articles are syndicated around a number of other blogs. Tony has also setup a Blog for The Open Road which allows us to publish more information on our cars and activities, without putting too much information on The Open Road website and detracting from the requirement to deliver valid information to our customers, as easily and succinctly as possible.
In addition to running The Open Road and writing magazine and web articles, Tony is active in the local tourist industry. He is Managing Director of Shakespeare Country which promotes the local area covering Stratford upon Avon, Warwick, Leamington Spa, Kenilworth and the Cotswolds to visitors in both the domestic and international markets.
Through his own management consultancy company - Consult and recognised as an expert in the classic car hire industry, Tony has developed and runs a course to help other people start up businesses hiring out classic cars.
Through his contacts in the classic car hire industry in the UK and worldwide, Tony has developed a web portal listing the main classic car hire companies around the world - Classic Car Hire World.