My Dad’s first car was an Austin A40 Devon, in Connaught green, with the registration leters of LXJ 701…..
After the Austin A40 Devon, Fred had a 1959 Ford Anglia, registration number SNR 863, which he bought from a garage in nearby Ashby-de-la-Zouch. It was exactly like this:
Fred told me not to mention anything whatsoever about the day to my mother, under any circumstances. Without consulting her at all, therefore, he bought the car, priced at £510, which was, in those days, a princely sum. Indeed, the price was such a total royal that, when my mother did eventually find out how much the car had cost, she would have had Fred beheaded if she could have organised it. The car was a rich pale blue, half way between sky blue and navy blue. Here is one today:
In later years, when he had problems with rust on one of the wings, Fred was to opt for a total respray, which allowed him to retain the same colour blue for the body, but to incorporate a black roof which added that extra, unique, little detail. Here it is, with James Bond driving it, back in the days when I was 28. I had always wanted a personalised number plate, and this was the time when I changed my name to “BLT 141B”:
This was also the day that I caught both Francisco Scaramanga and Auric Goldfinger hiding together on a building site:
It was in this car that Fred had what were probably the most outstanding motoring experiences of his life. I can still recall, for example, just how scared he was, and indeed, we all were, when he drove a circuit of the Alpine like road which ran around the Great Orme near Llandudno in North Wales.
Indeed, some thirty years later, I returned to look at this road for myself, to see whether it was quite the challenge that it had seemed in the late 1960s. And, of course, the circuit had been considerably watered down since then. All the sheer drops down to the sea had now been fenced off, and, most significant of all, perhaps, a narrow road which I remember as having been two way, had been limited nowadays to just one way traffic. Gentrified, I think the word is: