False Plates John

False Plates John © David Forward

False Plates John © David Forward

It was assembled from parts from seven different cars all of the same type. Dorothy Smith of 21 Rodbourne Road Corston lent me the £260 to purchase the original vehicle from The Ferns Tetbury, it was originally two tone grey. Mike Aubrey supplied the 3 donor gear boxes which I stripped down to their individual 163 pieces each and used the best bits to build a good one. It was Christened False Plates John by PC 941 Patrick, Thames Valley Police and was known as The FPJ Car by James Beesley + Trevor Pratt, to everyone else it later became The Grim Reaper. Sandra Goulding learnt to drive in it and she passed her test shortly afterwards, she then bought a Mini also from West Street Tetbury. Caroline Holden purchased the Grim Reaper and later sold it on to someone in School Lane Cirencester. Once when Sandra and I were travelling back to Corston in it, we were pulled by a Traffic Car who wanted to know why we had no doors, they were at home having had Grim Reapers painted on them and were waiting to dry, they smiled and said on your way after checking all the switches hanging from where the dash board should have been, actually worked.

Back in the 1980s I was going out with my perfect match, Sandra Goulding, who I had first met at her house while I was still riding The Green Bean a Kawasaki Z652 motorcycle, DMR 741V. A couple of months later Sandra’s Gran offered to lend me the £260 purchase price of a Two Tone Grey MG1300 two door car from The Ferns in Tetbury, so as we’d have a little more comfort in the coming winter months.

Not long afterwards I was already eyeing up its potential and first on the list was to remove its chrome strips dividing the two colours down its length. That was followed by a visit to see George Fitch working over at Long Newnton Garage, George topped up the hydolastic suspension for me, asking me to say when as it rose up in the air. It returned to Malmesbury looking like a scaled down Monster Truck.

After a week of the car pretending it was a short wheel base Landrover, I re-visited George to have him set the suspension to its correct settings. This was then taken full advantage of around Malmesbury, each time I stopped to talk with friends, I quietly put the hand brake on, then select reverse gear and as the clutch was gently let out, the front wheels would move six inches towards the stationary rear wheels, lifting the back of the car up into the air, a strange sight to see and only possible with this type of swinging arm sub-frame, a trick I learn’t from Denis Fitch when he used to work at Westend Garage, the trick his own personal speciality.

Dave Moore + Harvey Perks © David Forward

Dave Moore + Harvey Perks © David Forward

One day whilst spinning through the streets of Malmesbury with Dave More and Harvey Perks, both from Tetbury, we turned into Avon Road from Pool Gastons Road. There to the left, was a long row of parked cars, we saw another car approaching in the opposite direction and we both came to a halt 20 yds apart, neither of us moved. I could just make out the driver of the other car, and recognised him as one of the local legendary tough guys you don’t mess with. So I quickly, selected reverse and retreated up Pool Gastons, down St.Aldhelm Road, into Old Alexander Road, still in reverse and looking over my shoulder at where we were going whilst Dave and Harvey gave a running commentary on the car that was now in hot pursuit.

We eventually had to stop outside the Swimming Pool where we quickly locked the doors. Then a heavily built lad got out of his car and approached us, I didn’t actually know him personally and had never met him before, I only knew who he was by reputation. He got to the drivers window and on looking in began to smile, it seemed that he knew me, he became totally relaxed, and said, “Oh it’s you Dave, thought you were Tetbury come to cause trouble”, and off he went. Apparently I also had a reputation to others, as an “okay bloke, not one to make trouble”. That was the day I first met Kevin “Bruno” Brown.

FPJ-HC © David Forward

FPJ-HC © David Forward

17 September, 2017
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