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Belstaff X Mr Porter: On the Road
Mercedes-Benz restoration specialist J G Francis dons his Racemaster jacket to take us for a spin through the Mojave desert in a 1973 250C Coupé.
“It’s not about point a to point b, how fast I can get there, it’s about the experience of driving”
A classic car owner from the tender age of 16 (his first was a 1964 Volkswagen bus), Francis is unusual for taking his pride and joys on the road for real adventures. He favours cars capable of surviving mountain rain, after-dark breakdowns and the winding tracks of Yosemite over a collection of pristine trophies who’s road days are over.
Trading a corporate office for a garage and the open road, Francis has embraced the spirit of adventure in his entrepreneurial efforts. His Glendale-based business has developed into a niche enterprise with a global following.
“I’m not happy until a turbo breaks and I’ve got a flat tyre on top of Mount Shasta, it’s only 34 degrees and my heater’s broken.”
Cars like Francis’ Coupé have come to define an age before inbuilt obsolescence, where reliability and beautiful craft were valued beyond passing trends. Resilient design that could be repaired, restored and maintained for the next trip, no matter the weather.
Like the best road trips, specialised restoration takes time. Time to understand and appreciate the craftsmanship honed by generations before you, respecting the authentic details of signature design.
Having owned and restored 500 cars and counting, Francis’ decision to wear a Racemaster jacket for the ride is a fitting choice for someone accustomed to a level of quality rarely experienced today.
Designed in 1981, only 8 years later than his classic Coupé, the short biker-style Racemaster is made of signature waxed cotton from a British mill which is over a century old. Storm-proof pockets and substantial hardware make this a reliable companion for a journey off the map into the back roads of Joshua Tree.
“It’s the long way or the wrong way. Getting lost is part of the adventure”
Director/Cinematographer: Cale Glendening
Words: Amy Newsome
Filmed in collaboration with Mr Porter. www.mercedesmotoring.com