Globetrotting Bristol goes on show in London

| 16 Dec 2011

A 1956 Bristol that travelled 33,000 miles around the world over 16 months, is having a well-earned rest by going on display at the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall, London from 3 January.

The 405 Drophead, of which just 42 were made, was piloted on the adventure by Royal Automobile Club member and Bristol Owners' Club president Geoffrey Herdman and his wife, Hilary.

Herdman's "wrinkly gap year" involved driving up the east coast of North America to Halifax before crossing Canada and then heading south down the west coast. After a couple of months in South America, they headed across to Australia before the car was shipped back via Turkey for the drive home.

He said: "Central America was perhaps the most exciting part of the trip. There were no signposts or GPS coverage. The first night in Guatemala, having taken three hours to cross the frontier, we climbed for an hour in first gear on precipitous narrow roads.

"Long after dark we gave up trying to reach Lake Atitlan and stayed in a roadside hotel at 8000 feet, it was bitterly cold and we were clearly the first guests to stay in a very long time.

“We lost count of how many times we were stopped by the police in Spanish America, but the record was five times in three hours driving through Honduras."  And the total spent on repairs during the epic trip on rough, often unmade, roads and at high altitude? $125! Herdman added: "The evidence speaks for itself - the Bristol 405 Drophead is the ideal touring car." Ben Cussons, Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club Motoring Committee, added: "We are always pleased to recognise and celebrate the achievements of our club members and Geoffrey Herdman's is clearly one of the most remarkable."