London’s Secret Supercar Concierge
Discover Windrush, a hidden, climate-controlled vault and concierge service offering luxury car care for the ultra-rich and world famous
Trust is hard-earned and easily lost in the clandestine world of stealth car storage; discretion is an obsession and secrecy is a must. “There is nothing complacent about what we do,” attests Tim Earnshaw, the founder of Windrush, London’s most exclusive, secure and state-of-the-art automotive hiding place.
“You can ask me anything you want,” Tim offers, amiably, but he is tight-lipped about the specifics. Most notably, the who and the what; he refuses to name names or discuss what anyone drives. “It’s all kept very anonymous.”
With a 230-car capacity, the combined worth of the vehicles under Windrush’s watch, which include some of the rarest and most valuable vehicles on the planet from Bugattis to Bentleys, is also a no-comment topic. This comes as no surprise; Windrush operates on a strictly need-to-know-basis.
Its location, “to the west of the capital,” is closely guarded. It has become part of the legend that shrouds the lives of London’s elite, and it lies deep beneath the city streets. “The address is only disclosed to those who have been vetted,” says Tim, “and the facility is protected by the same security system that’s installed at Fort Knox.” With no signage, there are no visible clues to its whereabouts and thousands of Londoners walk past its entrance every day. “From a personal security point of view it’s very safe, Windrush is hiding in plain sight.” To gain access, clients are given a time-specific entry code. “If someone doesn’t have an appointment, the door isn’t going to open. It’s as simple as that.” Whether you’re an A-lister, an aristocrat, entrepreneur or royalty, there are no exceptions.
Brightly lit, climate-controlled and immaculate in presentation, conditions in the subterranean facility are hushed and ambient. It’s curiously soothing. The air, not too dry and not too damp, is dehumidified to a constant 55% relative humidity; the rust-preventing ideal. It’s kind to tyres, electronics, leather trim and upholstery too.
Upon arrival, each vehicle is treated to a valet from nose to tail. Cleaning and preening products are tailored to the needs of each car, and if you like a snack when you’re in the driving seat (a habit considered a sin by some) any evidence will be discreetly removed. With blushes saved, the cars wear a breathable blue uniform, but their super swish covering doesn’t conceal their silhouettes. Open days and coffee meets are entirely out of the question. A no-photo policy is also in place.
“I have to pinch myself when I think about what’s here,” teases Tim. “It was a humble beginning 20 years ago that started with a genuine passion to look after other people’s cars like I look after my own.” His concept, to establish a ISO9001-certified car storage and concierge service, was a world first. “[ISO] is an internationally recognised standard of excellence,” and to maintain it necessitates an exhaustive attention to detail. “I’ve always been quite particular,” he says, by way of explanation, but a five-year stint working in Formula 1 hospitality for Ferrari helped tailor the modus operandi at Windrush. “It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got a Mini or a McLaren, we offer one standardised, five-star, personalised package.”
The fee affords a 24/7/365 service, with commitment beginning at a minimum of one month. “We welcome classic cars, supercars, hybrid cars and electric cars,” says Tim, “and we’re often the first to receive brand-new cars. In those instances, the manufacturer will send their technician to show us the dos and don’ts.”
Owing to a programme of “active maintenance” which includes battery health checks and trickle charging as well as cars being given a bi-monthly run up to temperature, Windrush guarantees your ride will be ready to drive at a moment’s notice. Its clock will be set to the right time for when you pick it up. It’s the little things. And the big.
“We don’t do ‘no’,” insists Tim. “Whatever the question, whatever you want, the answer is always ‘yes’.” The only caveat being that requests comply within the law. Need your car to meet your private car jet on the tarmac in six hours? No problem. Stuck in France with a broken-down Ferrari? Your Porsche will be there to replace it by sunrise. “We are pro-active and we never panic.”
Known fondly as Windrush’s head butler, Alastair Main, the bunker’s General Manager, is the man that can and will make things happen. His job is unpredictable, but it does have its perks. Delivering a one-off classic Aston Martin to one of London’s most prestigious five-star hotels in the middle of the night so that its owner could show it to friends is an anecdote he’s permitted to share. There are many that he is not – “I’ve completed some fairly unusual tasks,” he says – but requests can also be a matter of routine.
A service, repair or MOT can be arranged on behalf of “time poor,” owners, says Tim. “I almost become a PA,” adds Alastair. “Owners ask my advice on everything from restoration to transportation of their vehicle overseas.”
Transparency is paramount; Windrush will only recommend a specialist or suppliers that have been personally tried and tested. “We don’t receive commission or back-handers,” says Tim, firmly, “it is always the customer’s choice.”
Windrush is a place, indeed a refuge, for owners as well as their cars. Staff are recruited by referral and in-house rules on confidentiality are extensive. It is forbidden to post anything on social media. “We get to know our clients, and they get to know us,” says Alastair. “You put what they do for a living out of your mind because we are there to care for something that is important to them, not to talk about their day job – however cool it might be. They are often self-made, and with that comes modesty,” adds Tim.
There is, unfortunately, a malevolence that fuels the need for Windrush: the rise in high-value car thefts. In 2022, the overall number of vehicles stolen in the capital topped 30,000 and just 1.6% of cases led to a charge. The daily average of unsolved car thefts totalled 74. In 2023, between January and April, a spike in activity saw 19 Ferraris reported stolen. According to the Metropolitan Police, nine of them went missing from Westminster, seven from Kensington & Chelsea and one each from the boroughs of Hackney, Barnet and Croydon. “Sadly there are a lot of jealous individuals out there,” says Tim, “I wouldn’t even park my Golf on the side of the road in London without expecting it to be keyed.”
Social media’s unprecedented ability to do both good and bad has played a significant part. During one weekend at the end of May, Windrush took receipt of 20 luxury vehicles. “Owners were alerting followers to get their cars off the street, sharpish,” says Tim, but admits that “others like to show off what they’ve got”, which helps gangs locate their next target. One alleged thief even filmed himself driving through central London in a stolen Ferrari. He was unashamedly boastful.
“Those kinds of individuals don’t stop to think that someone might have worked their socks off to buy that car. They are an indulgence, but they represent hard-earned escapism.” Closer to home, in the rare event that a Windrush client is acting under duress (it has happened) the appropriate authorities are always involved.
“We are in the business of making people happy and I’m proud Windrush is the name people think of in their time of distress, as well as in the longer-term. As collectible items, cars are exempt from capital gains tax and more often than not, their value often outweighs the cost of safe storage with us. It makes sense.”