Two Trojans

Ronald Barker, my friend of very long standing, has been recalling the Trojan. I had two of these decidedly unconventional means of getting about. The first Trojan I had I never drove. I bought it unseen, very inexpensively, on the recommendation of the makers that a Trojan was a car for those who couldn’t afford a car, and had it delivered by rail when we were living in Hampshire. When I saw it at Fleet station, it was not the vintage tourer I had expected but a delapidated truck on solid tyres. I advertised it hastily and a buyer took it away before the station-master blew his top over its non-collection.

I did drive my second Trojan. I bought it in 1947 from the Phoenix pub yard in Hartley Wintney, then the HQ of the VSCC. An old chap who worked there had the thing for sale, for £6 if memory is correct. It was an all-original brown fabric four door 1929 Apollo saloon, with pneumatic tyres so large (29x5in) they made the steering heavy. One, to me, endearing feature was that you started the underfloor motor with a lever which retarded the ignition as it pulled back. If you forgot to push it forward as you drove off a projection on the flywheel sounded a warning bell, reminding you to advance the sparks. How could I resist it? The position of the engine gave rise to the story of a Trojan owner trying to find the factory: “Where are the works?” he asked a bystander. “Under yer seat, guv’nor,” came the reply…

So I bought it, and after a few local drives took Jenks in it to a film show in the Firestone building on the Great West Road. On the way home, going up Egham Hill, we were overtaken by some bicyclists. Jenks was not amused and told me to sell it at once. I did, but have ever regretted it.