Time travel is something not many of us will experience, OK, it's something that NONE of us will experience but I'm about to take you back to August 2007.
About a year ago we ran a competition to win access to Fords heritage fleet, now this isn't a car park full of Mondeos and the odd Focus this is a collection of the finest Fords ever produced. In a moment of madness, a suited gentleman from Ford agreed that one PHer, along with a few of his mates, could take some of Fords finest out on their test track for a bit of a blat.
So, the competition closes and a winner is chosen and the lucky bloke is PHer Ian Finlay. As I speak to him on the phone, it turns out that he's not so lucky after all, as he had recently been knocked off his motorbike and damaged his ankle meaning he couldnít drive his own Porsche 928, let alone struggle into a GT40. So the event was postponed to allow Ian to recover and we finally meet up in late August.
Arriving at Fords Dunton facility we try to make our way to the track, but first we are given a tour of the factory. Seeing how things work and finding secret test cars before we get ushered away is fun, but really Ian just wants to drive the cars, so with some relief the tour is over and we head out to the track.
Ford have lined up everything from the Model T to SuperVan 3 with everything in-between, such is the sight that half of the Ford workforce have sneaked out for a look too.
Ian and his guests spend the rest of the day running around the track, jumping from one car to the next, as the suited man from Ford eats most of his fingernails waiting for his cars to come back into view. At the end of the day the cars remain unscathed and as they were loaded back onto the trucks Ian and I reflect on the day- and how we can no longer hear since SuperVan started up and caused us permanent ear damage.
After the track we followed the Ford guys to a non- descript building over in Dagenham. Once inside it became clear that this old building was the home to the full Ford collection- it's not a museum full of polished cars but a dusty place full of cars that are used. Used hard and used regularly. Our winner Ian was then asked to choose three or four cars that he would like to take home for a few days over the coming months- whatever he wanted regardless of value. Needless to say that a few hours were spent sitting in cars and scratching chins and as I left he still hadnít made up his mind. I doubt that I would have been any different to be honest.
It was a fantastic day, and we extend our thanks to all at Ford UK, notably John, Paul and Tim. Cheers guys.
Well done to Ian too, do post and tell us what cars you took home and what you did with them, and we apologise for the late write up of your day. †††