One night in 1972, as Robert Gaisford and I were about to leave Martin Tudgay’s house in Marshfield, we jokingly said to Martin, “Lets go to London” and he said, “Yes good idea” and shouted up stairs to his sister Marion, “Were off to London”. She answered, “Hang on I’m coming too”.
Robert and I were just realising they were serious and thought, well why not. So at about half past eleven we set off, deciding to stop off at my house on the way, so we could change from my ‘split screen’ 4 door Morris Minor, to my dad’s three gear ‘flat head’ green Ford Popular, as it was thought to be more likely to make it there and back.
Up the M4 we went and somewhere past Reading on a climbing right hand curve, whilst travelling flat out at about 50 MPH, we were passed by a Marcos 3 litre moving at about 130 MPH.
We arrived in London and found the place was one continuous sequence of traffic lights. We drove around for several hours passing all the major sites. Buckingham Palace being the most memorable, I don’t know why.
On the way back Robert was getting very close to Marion on the back seat and I was getting jealous of this, and also very tired from the long day and long drive. So I suggested he took over the driving and that he did.
During are continuous joking and mucking about I put my foot through from the back between the front seats and managed to switch the ignition off.
The key is in the centre of the dash and when Robert switched it back on, there was a huge bang. This was due to the engine still tuning over and passing unburned petrol into the exhaust.
We now had an exceptionally loud car with a split in the silencer following the explosion. When we decelerated off the motorway at Junction 17 we discovered a delightful new noise the car made, when taking your foot off the throttle.
Here I took over as driver and we drove all around Malmesbury racing up to every junction backing off the throttle to induce the incredulous back fire from the split exhaust at about six in the morning!