The toy car has been a staple in many British children’s early years with the iconic Little Tikes Cozy Coupe gracing gardens across the UK and US for generations. In recent decades there has been a demand to produce more extravagant and luxurious child-size model cars for little ones to zoom around on and one brand in particular has set the bar for the ultimate in high-end children’s gifts. GRE Classics are the makers of handcrafted model cars to be enjoyed by children as a treasured toy and adults as a statement home accessory. Established in 2012 by Clair Jefferys, GRE Classics was formed to celebrate Clair’s famed grandfather Sir George Edwards whose feats of engineering are still revered to this day.
Sir George Robert Edwards (GRE) was one of the great aircraft designers and industrial visionaries to emerge out of World War II and was responsible for some of Britain’s greatest aviation engineering and design achievements of the 20th century. A leading architect on many European and UK-US collaborations including the Bouncing Bomb, Valiant Viscount, VC-10 and even Concorde he began his forty year career as a junior draftsman at Vickers Armstrong in Weybridge, Surrey in 1935. Progressing through the ranks of the design and drawing office with speed due to his impeccable talents in these fields, in just ten years he was named Chief Designer, then Managing Director of the company eight years later in 1953. Vickers Armstrong soon after merged into the British Aircraft Corporation of which GRE was named Chairman and from this he went on to lead the British team Concorde project.
Recognized worldwide for his outstanding contribution to aviation, GRE became a Sir in 1957 when he was knighted and in 1971 he was awarded the highest honour of the Order of Merit, an award limited to only 24 living recipients at any time, cementing his legacy in British history. Whilst GRE’s lifelong passion and career was dedicated to the aviation industry, he also garnered a long-standing love of luxury cars which GRE’s granddaughter has used as one of the fundamentals behind GRE Classics:
‘I‘ve many fond childhood memories of my grandfather, journeys in his precious Bentley, admiring his beautiful paintings and the importance of holding a cricket bat correctly. I wanted to create something very special and unique that represents his strong values and has traces of his ‘DNA’. Our British made engineered art pieces represent the engineer, artist and perfectionist that he was. All inspired by GRE, his achievements, his passions and some moments in his life we have created a highly desirable collection that I hope he too would be proud of.’
Renowned around the globe, British craftsmanship and engineering is renowned for its quality, precision and attention to detail and each GRE Classic model exhibits these traits making them gifts to last for generations. Historic crafting methods are at the foundation of the GRE Classics range with elements sourced from only experienced hands in the industry and usually from locally run family businesses. The traditional production methods are matched to high quality materials to ensure that every car will remain timeless to be passed down generation after generation.
With four limited edition styles in the current collection, each car is customizable and has its own story to tell reflecting a different aspect of GRE’s heritage. The GRE Shields design is inspired by his loyal long-term chauffeur Mr Archie Shields who always lovingly maintained GRE’s prized Bentley and is available in four classic colorways. The GRE Windsor was commissioned to capture the joys of moments spent at Windsor castle with the Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip at Order of Merit lunches, whilst the GRE Brooklands pays tribute to the workplace ‘where it all happened’, the Vickers Armstrong factory in Weybridge next to the Brooklands race circuit. The shining beacon of the GRE Classics collection is the Bentley Blower, a miniature masterpiece in its own right inspired by GRE’s favourite car and made in collaboration with Bentley Motors. Proudly carrying the iconic Bentley wings, the model offers additional personalized options for a truly unique gift including the artfully authentic garage to park the polished marvel. Each more exquisite than the last, GRE Classics are heirlooms in the making to be enjoyed by all the family.