As an ex-chain ganger I was delighted to read in your V-E-V section that “Patience” is alive and well, albeit a trifle wayward, in the hands of a Mr. Jones. However, as you have a reputation as an authority on the history of cars of this type and period, I was not too happy with the rest of your information about her. I can remember her being driven by Derek (I am fairly sure it was Derek) Parker regularly in competitions until his untimely death in an accident—in an A40—somewhere about 1952 or maybe a bit later.
There was then an interval until she appeared again, this time in the hands of Derek’s widow Betty, aided and abetted by Mike Parkes, who was soon doing the lion’s share of the driving, and to very good effect, though Betty did not exactly hang about herself. It was, however, this alliance of Parker and Parkes that caused utter confusion among race reporters at the time, each one being credited with the other’s surnames, successes and incidents at one time or another.
One of these incidents was responsible for the uncovering of the origin of the Dubonnet suspension. “Patience” had come to rest in some straw bales at Silverstone to the detriment of one front corner, and some suspension unit spares had to be found. Until then it was suspected, but never actually mentioned within earshot of “Patience” herself, that the units were from an old Vauxhall. This quickly proved not to be the case. Several weeks of detective work followed until it was found that the suspension had been specially made by Alford & Alder for a prototype Avon Special which I don’t think ever saw the light of day. Whether they were bought from Alford & Adler by Raymond Mays and subsequently acquired by Derek Parker is something I do not know.
To return to Mike Parkes, the only car that I can remember him racing that he actually owned was a TD MG. I also remember being strongly admonished at the time not to tell anyone in case his father got to hear that Mike was motor racing!
These are the facts as I remember them, and if subsequent information can be found to add to them, or even deny them, at least the record will be straight. Cars like “Patience” and nice people like Betty (with an r) and Mike (with an s) deserve no less.
R. N. Robinson.