Too Much Spare Time On My Hands (18th Nov 2022)

Too Much  Spare Time On My Hands  (18th Nov 2022)

It’s that time of year, in mid November, when racing is almost finished.

My reports usually become shorter and are rarely updated each week. 

Not a lot has been happening over the past week so this weeks Blog  began as a short one.  Things changed , once I got involved in a long over due project .

It started as a week of docs appointments, and binge TV watching.

Probably the highlight of my week was watching the coverage of the Brazilian F1 Grand Prix on Sunday. This was a good one with a British first and second.


Image courtesy of F1 Face Book page

George Russell got his first ever win , and was followed over the line by Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton. Carlos Sainz in a Ferrari was third.

To pass the time I did a bit of ship watching and caught the Jessica B passing Cornwall on its way to Belfast.

Maybe I’ve got too much spare time on my hands! 

This week , we got our first snow of the winter, so there was no better time to stay indoors and dig into my photo pile where I got started on something I’ve been planning to do for a long time.

This was to scan and record a few memories of all the cars I’ve owned over the years. ( as you can see, the project turned into a marathon job) 

Like most teenage guys from my era, I started off by owning a couple of motorcycles when I was 16.

First a BSA Bantam

Then an AJS 500

At the age of 17,  I bought my first car, a Morris Mini Van that had been converted to a ‘traveller’  with added side windows.

I remember driving to the races at Brafield, and the London tracks of Harringay and Wimbledon in this one.

From then on , 28 road cars. have passed through my hands

That’s a bit of a lie, because there were two more, that I only owned for a couple of days, and never got around to taking pictures of them .

Here are the rest of the cars , through the years.

My second one was a Series V, Hillman Minx.

I had plenty of teen age adventures to the race tracks around England in this one.

Next , I had a couple of Austin Westminsters.

They were ideal for towing my F1 stock car around the country.

In 1977,  I decided to switch from racing F1 to F2 stock cars so didn’t need to have such a big tow car.

So I picked up a second Series V Minx from a work mate who had it for sale at 20 quid .

Towards the end of 1978 , I decided to return to F1 stock cars for the forth coming race season,  so a larger tow car was needed once again.

The answer was a Vauxhall Cresta PC. and I remember using it to tow my F1 to the Stock Car Silver Jubilee races at the Harringay Stadium (London) in April of 1979

This was a great car , until someone rear ended it while it was parked in Dunstable . It was an insurance write off.

It was replaced by an Austin 3 Litre.

did a few a few racing road trips to the Netherlands in this one.

At about this time, a work mate had a SKODA for sale . It was only a few years old and he was ‘almost’ giving it away, so I bought if for a ‘laugh’.

The cheap and quirky Czechoslovakian cars were the butt of many jokes , but the price was right and I spotted a quick profit. I quickly sold it after completing a racing road trip to the Netherlands.

The 3 litre Austin was also sold and I was back to having one car again.

I bought a V4 Ford Capri which turned out to be one of the worst cars I ever owned.

I put a ‘rod through the side’ en route to the Dover ferry and it needed to be flat-bedded back to Bedfordshire by the AA.

A replacement set of wheels was needed in a hurry.

The answer was my third Series V Hillman Minx.

My next vehicle was an Austin Cambridge, that was bought from my brother in laws father. This had been his from new and was a really good car. I had this for quite a while, and it has plenty of memories.

It was the car used to head off on my ‘honeymoon’ and later the car that was used to transport my baby daughter Carla from the Northampton Hospital to home after her birth.

We needed to be a two car family, so a cheap ‘beat up’ ,  Morris Marina  was added to the fleet for me to get to work.

It didn’t last very long before the gearbox gave up, so my dad came to the rescue

He gave us his Austin Princess when he bought a newer car

It was now 1983 , and I’d been on a short hiatus from stock car racing and wanted to return to the track.

I was living just a 20 minute drive from my local Brafield Stadium so once a race car was acquired , the ageing Austin Cambridge was put into service to tow the short distance,

Eventually I swapped the Princess for a Jaguar XJ6 for more towing capability .

This was a real gas guzzler, but we did use it once for a family racing holiday to the Netherlands.

Then another of my spontaneous car purchases came along .

A work mate was selling his , near immaculate Morris Minor Traveler ‘Woody’ at a good price.  I bought it and then sold the Austin Cambridge to a local Banger Racer.

The Morris was a lot of fun and I remember taking it over on the Dover to Calais ferry for a day trip to France. I later sold it for a 100% profit.

By now, the Jag was turning into an expensive piece of rust, so that was replaced by a Ford Granada.

That was a nice car to drive, but recall the engine catching fire on one occasion , and it eventually got written off after being side swiped by a farm tractor.

A Volvo became it’s replacement.

It was another good sturdy car suitable for our towing needs.

For quite a time we’d been back to being a one car family. We were living just a couple of miles from where I worked, so I was able to use a small Yamaha 90 to get there and back.


We really needed to get back to having two cars again , so we went out and bought a Vauxhall Cavalier.

Another nice family car that was big enough to use for holidays.

One such  trip that I remember was a drive down to the South of France , Monaco and Italy. I even managed to drive it round parts of the Monaco Grand Prix Circuit.

I was starting to lose interest in British stock car racing as the sport became too technical, the cars started sprouting silly looking wings, and many of the old characters had disappeared .

I cut down on my race visits , and concentrated more on my other growing interests, Ice Hockey and American Cars. 

I swapped the Volvo for a 1977 Chrysler Cordoba with a guy from Kent. I remember meeting him half way (at the South Mimms Services on the M25) to do the deal

It was a lovely looking car and we took it to many rallies.

When the Chrysler started to look scruffy , as rust took over, I traded it for a 1977 Ford Mustang Ghia (Just like they used on the  Charlies Angels  TV show )

We were now living further from my work place so this tasty looking machine with it’s 302 cu in motor and Cherry Bomb exhausts,  used to the wake the neighbors each morning at 6-00 am as I left home.

We did a lot of shows with it and won it’s class at the UK  Mustang Owners Club Rally .

It was now 1994, and the family had decided to leave the UK and emigrate to Ontario, Canada. The House, Mustang , Cavalier and camping Caravan were all sold a few weeks before we left the country.

On arrival in Canada it was the beginning  of fall, and our first car was a Plymouth Reliant . This was the ideal thing to take our Ontario Driving tests that were required.

This was a reliable little car, although it wasn’t very quick and had no cruise control . It was a long drive to Florida in the winter of 96/97.

We needed two cars, so the next one was a Pontiac Parisienne.

It was a lovely car that was sadly written off in an accident . Pat (my ex wife) was lucky to escape with just a few scratches after hitting a logging truck on unsalted icy roads.

The Pontiac got replaced with an Oldsmobile 98 Regal.



From 1996 , I was living in Maxville , Ontario, and a lot nearer to the race tracks , so I made a few trips to the local speedways in the ‘Olds’ .

I still had the Plymouth Reliant ,but after blowing the head gasket,on the way to work one morning, it never went well again after it was repaired.

A smaller car was needed if I wanted to visit more race tracks, so a Honda Civic was bought from my newly made racing friends, the Ladouceurs at Mr Rad in nearby Alexandria,

I did a lot of miles in that car.

Eventually rust got the better of it, and I decided to trade in my ‘spare car’  the Oldsmobile for a quality used Chevrolet Cavalier Coupe from Cornwall Motor Sales.


The Honda was later sold to someone, who was looking for a good engine

By now  I was well into the media side of racing, so the Cavalier was used to travel all over the place. I was back to being a one car person again

I hung on to the Cavalier for quite a long time , but eventually traded it in,  to the same place I bought it (now called Seaway GM) for a Chevrolet HHR.

This was a handy vehicle to sleep in at the race tracks, and once again a lot of miles were put on the clock , until the day it was stolen by  some ‘joy riders’ who decided  to crash it .

Not bad damage, but bad enough for the insurance company to write it off. 

I was back at Seaway GM once again, where I bought a 2010 Chevrolet Impala as a replacement. 

That’s my present ‘regular’ car, but I recently became a two car guy again , when I bought my ‘dream car’ .

My buddy Stan Cole holding my daughter Carla at the Gruitrode Circuit in Belgium in 1983

Since my racing trips to the Netherlands in the 70’s and 80’s , I’ve always loved the 1978 Ford Thunderbird that NACO used as a ‘Start Car’ . 

One came up for sale in Napanee a few months ago, and I decided to buy it.

The plan is to use it in the Summer only.

So , that makes a total of 28 cars I’ve had , since my first one, over 50 years ago.

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