Having finally steeled myself for the task of collecting the Mercedes 300B from Brightwells – where it had failed to sell at auction – the run back turned out to be the highlight of my week.
My girlfriend was under instructions not to lose me on the twisty A49 as she blasted ahead in the mighty turbodiesel Skoda Octavia, but I needn’t have worried. The Mercedes seemed to hold its own although I was disappointed not to catch up with the Silver Cloud that I glimpsed up ahead at one point.
Whipping up and down the column change and twirling the big white steering wheel I got a mental picture of Hugo Drax in Moonraker thrashing his 300S Cabriolet through the Kentish night in front of Bond's blower Bentley.
To be honest, I’m still not sure what the future holds for this car at the moment, but it’s certainly the sort of classic you wish you didn’t have to sell. Perhaps the best idea would be to enjoy and improve it gently over the summer, and then see how we feel.
I would love to dig up some history on it, given the fact that it was bought new by a Scottish laird in 1954/'55 and would have cost him £5000 – as much as a Silver Cloud or a house (or two).
Last Thursday my friends Claude and John turned up at the Engine Shed to drool over the 300B and go out for a drive in it.
We went over Tetbury where I had spotted a late-'60s Rambler SST Sedan languishing on the forecourt of a furniture store. Sure enough it was still there, and still for sale. Claude was quite enthused and might buy it (or go halves on it with me) if the owner gets in contact.
John keeps me supplied with ‘special’ DVD releases and this time he brought down a box set of Look at Life, the old Rank colour shorts from the late-'50s and early-'60s about well, almost anything really.
In this case the theme was transport: building the new motorways, a great one on police autobahn patrols in West Germany, the scooter craze, the new Hovercraft, and the then-new enthusiasm for restoring, driving and racing funny old cars (wonder what happened to that) with footage of a VSCC event at Silverstone, old boys digging stuff out of scrapyards etc.
Brilliant stuff and I've not got through them all yet so I’m off to watch another.