1923 Rover 8
Lady C on an early outing on the way back from the Festival of Britain in 1951. The windscreen and hood come from a Triumph at Rich's. the mudguards are fashioned from the bonnet of the Hispano-Suiza whose body had clothed the 4 1/2-litre Bentley. The piece of angle iron strenghtening the construction and carrying the headlamps is from an old bedframe. The spare wheel is supported only on its central post rather a strain for the post, but I later added running boards, which helped to support it. The dickey seat is open, as is the passenger's door (the driver had no door, and had to climb over, or slide across). The passenger is Richard Duke, who is saying: 'There goes the fox!' for the nth time, which may be why I look somewhat jaded.
My Rover 8 - Lady C - was jade green, and it cost 1/6 to repaint her. This was for a tin of Brushing Belco, which Father averred was formulated so that the brush marks disappeared - the bristles of the brush, so the story went, laid paint in the grooves left from the previous application. Since it didn't seem to work, and I believed what Father said, I couldn't help thinking that there was something wrong with my technique. Anyway, it didn't matter, because I was wont to paint her quite often, hoping that the troughs this time would coincide with the peaks last time. She lacked a windscreen and hood, but Father very cleverly adapted a screen and frame from an old Triumph (10/- from Les Rich) and made a canvas cover for it. He was very good at that sort of thing.
I passed my test at the end of May 1951, and almost immediately decided to tour Cornwall with two school friends. None of us had had to organise a trip such as this before, and we spent a great deal of time poring over maps, deciding what route we should take, where we should stop for the night and so on. For a time I wondered whether we should take a spare engine with us, but dissuaded myself when logic dictated that, if a spare engine, why not a whole spare car?
The idea of towing a complete chassis in case of breakdown - and we seriously considered this - became even more ludicrous when I realised that, if some part vital to mobility, such us a wheel bearing, had to be changed, we'd really be in it.
Then, where to stow all our kit? The final arrangement was an extended ammunition box on the off side, and a frame to lay across the open dickey seat to take a kit bag on each side. It all worked perfectly, and there was no trouble at all apart from a puncture which I repaired literally in a couple of minutes at St Austell ...
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