Facing an uphill struggle to stay awake...

Reading the recent Freddie Dixon book recalled an occasion when we motoring writers received an invitation from Harry Ferguson to attend at his Gloucestershire estate at 9am, with gumboots, to see a demonstration of his four-wheel-drive system.

A steep bank was presented to us, watered by Major Tony Rolt, Ferguson’s manager, but who was to us the well-known racing driver. I thought Ferguson ordered him about disgracefully.

Before this we weary writers had been subjected to a dull lecture about over- and understeer, etc. Maurice Smith, then Editor of The Autocar, sitting in the front row, went to sleep and was given a rap on the knees by Ferguson’s pointer. “There goes a good story,” I thought.

In the afternoon all present were invited to try to drive their cars up the aforesaid steep mound, after a 4WD Ferguson had ascended successfully. All failed until the last to try, in a VW Beetle pulling a trailer, which made light work of the task, thus lightening for we onlookers our long day.