I know that plenty of you are familiar with the story, but for those that aren't, read on. I hope it makes you smile as much as me.
Dad died in 2001. He was only 63 and had been retired less than eighteen months. He was my best friend. We had spent countless days together, whether it was fettling old cars and bikes, doing a bit of sprinting and hillclimbing or just chatting about cars over a pint.
He was a GP, so whilst hardly wealthy, had enough cash to indulge his enthusiasm for cars and bikes. And so through the 1960s he owned a succession of great cars, starting with a Lotus Six, then an XK120, big Healey, an Elan, and a couple of E Types.
Then in 1970, he bought a TVR Tuscan V6. It was to become one of his favourite cars.
Anyway, here we are, outside the factory in Hoo Hill, sometime in 1970. That's me in the Ventora.
The car is a Vixen, which I guess was the factory demonstrator at the time. Dad must have liked the colour.
Here's Mum, having a nosey inside the works.
And afterwards, we went to Squire's Gate airport and Dad showed me the Lancaster which was parked there for many years.
Dad ordered his Tuscan in late 1970. Here's an old TVR brochure that I found when clearing out some of his old things, complete with evidence of Dad picking over the options list.
As you will know, TVR moved to Bristol Avenue over Christmas 1970. Dad's car must have been one of the first cars (perhaps the very first?) to emerge from the new factory. Here's the relevant extract from the factory records, which shows the date of sale as the 4th January. It was registered on the 22nd.
And here she is, back in the Spring or Summer of 1971.
And here's a later pic, showing the Tuscan after Dad had it's arse painted black...
Dad kept the Tuscan for a few years, before eventually selling it to a local chap. And, apart from the fond memories, that is where the story seemed to end.
But it's now about thirty eight years later and Dad has been gone for more than a decade. My wife is away for the weekend and the kids are in bed.
I've just polished off a bottle of Rioja and I'm browsing the interweb. I find myself on eBay, trawling through the classics, when I stumble on an auction for a comprehensively knackered old TVR.
Through bleary eyes I reflect that Dad used to have one just like it. Then I look at the final photo and see the registration.
At which point I sobered up pretty quickly.
The following week was horrible. My sixteen year old daughter was unexpectedly admitted to hospital and ended up having major surgery.
I recall sitting in the day room at Preston Royal, waiting to speak to the consultant. Whilst I sat there, I renewed an old acquaintance and called Steve Reid. Turns out that he knew my Dad when he had the Tuscan. And also knew the chap that Dad sold it to. Small world.
The auction was still running, so I arranged to go to have a look at the car...
Jeez, it was absolutely fecked. But it was Dad's car and by this time I had made my mind up.
The vendor wouldn't end the auction early, so the auction had to run it's course.
A couple of nights later, I had a stiff drink and, with fifteen seconds to go and my heart in my mouth, I banged in my bid.
Two days later, this was the scene.
The car is in a terrible state, but at least it is now safe. It transpires that the chap who bought it from Dad only used it for a short time, before parking it up beside his house, where it remained for over thirty years, gradually deteriorating into the state you can see. Frustratingly, the speedo reads 25,000 miles...
Progress so far has been pretty modest, but I have made a start.
Lotus now sold to finance a start on the restoration.
Nice new floor tiles to make the garage more homely.
Almost ready for the body to be lifted.
I want to get the pedal box and the remains of the headlining out of the shell whilst it is still on the car lift. Then I will have a completely bare shell.
Then it will be time to start making final decisions about engine and gearbox.
Am I completely
certain I want to keep the Essex engine and not fit a V8?
If I am keeping the Essex, then what about the Zodiac gearbox?
So there you are.
I'm absolutely overwhelmed that I've got the car, despite the state that it is in.
Just wish that this fella was here to help with the rebuild.