In 1946, through the generosity of Mr Forrest Lycett and the added support of Cecil Clutton I was able to acquire a 1913-14 long-wheelbase Hispano-Suiza, if I went and collected it from a distant aerodrome at which it was available. Lycett had, I believe, found it at the Phoenix Green Garage, and Hartley Wintney and Mr McKenzie rebuilt it for him with a three-seater body, bringing the weight up to 30cwt.
When I acquired the car the floorboards were very rotten. One day I passed a man by the side of the road thumbing a lift; I stopped and as I had a front-seat passenger the hitch-hiker got into the back. Shortly afterwards my passenger noticed that the stranger’s feet had gone through the floor and unfortunately he could not run as fast as I was driving. When I took the car for repair the coachbuilder said that he had never seen anything like it, as the body must have been carved out of a single piece of timber.
Mr Peter Wike had been one of the Hispano’s previous owners and John Seth-Smith used it regularly in 1945 until his fatal accident in an aeroplane.
I was astonished to learn sometime later that this car had been restored and sold at auction for an impressive price.