Being an enthusiast can mean lots of things. It can mean spending hours online, or hours under a car with clumps of grease in your hair. But does it extend as far as truly investing in the future and community of the hobby? That’s exactly what John Lomas has done with Blue Diamond.
Blue Diamond is a fully fledged Riley specialist. Teaming Riley’s old recipe for exquisite motor cars with the beauty and space of the Bicester Heritage site has turned John’s workshop into a snapshot of what it would have been like back then: “We wanted it to look like the original Riley and MG workshops”.
Both us Toms agreed it was unusual - we felt a kind of nostalgia for an era that we weren’t ever alive in. Maybe it’s “the Bicester effect”. Maybe it’s just the lack of modern machinery; after all, these are old cars that still need old technologies to get them going.
At Bicester Heritage, it’s John’s place you see first - Rileys parked out on the grass. Walk through a very modest side door and you’re in. A rare V8 sits on display in the corridor, authentic signwriting tells you where to go. Turn right and you’re in the parts shop. Specialty components and trinkety bits fill every corner. A large works-style clock hangs over the counter. Turn left and you’re into the restoration area, the space and light despite the age of the building is staggering. “We’ve a parts showroom that sells MG and Riley parts so people can come in for visits, for tours, whilst having their car on the ramp.”