QUITE a lot of cars are mentioned in “Journey to Ardmore” by John Ridgway (Hodder & Stoughton, 1971), which includes the account of the author’s excitrog career and his very adventurous crossing of the Atlantic in a rowing boat with Chay Blyth. There is the green Mini-van in which he discovers his remote Scottish home, the Morris Traveller that a friend hired to visit him there and which got bogged down, and another Army officer’s 150,000-mile VW Beetle that made the 700-mile journey from Aldershot to Ardmore in company with the Mini-van. Yet another friend drove up in his Alfa Romeo, doing the 700 miles in 14 hours, and enjoying Scalectrix motor-racing in the cottage.>/p>
At Sandhurst, Ridgway had used his father’s Ford Consul, which was involved in 3 series of accidents, so that he he had to buy it — it was the first model, “notorious for its poor road-holding on corners” — and was replaced by a £45 MG. An Alvin Healeytook Ridgway to Hyde Park Corner for his walk hack to Sandhurst for a het. its amateur jockey owner changing gear without the clutch. The Consul. rebuilt with a reconditionod engMe and resprayed pale green, hit a smart black Daimler in a narrow Pangbourne lane and overturned. There is a reference to the author’s white MGA, his girlfriend’s blue MG, a Major’s gleaming Sunbeam Rapier up in Scotland and a Dtirmobilc, all leading Up ci those 92 da, in an open rowing-boat on the ocean, a book in which boxing, parachute jumping, canoe racing and climbing also figure.
I have to thank Mr. Stan Simpson of Leicester for an extract from “Travelling Days” by Edith Lyttelton (Godfrey Bles, 1933), a copy of which he found in a secondhand bookshop and bought recently for 10p. It is about journeys in Japan, China and India and there is a story of how a big elephant ran amok in the Palace Yard at Sanchi, where the authoress had been met at the station by the Curator of the Bhopal Museum, with elephant-transport laid on, of course. The other elephant had been attracted by the sight of the Rajah’s new Daimler, “large and shiny and luxurious, just out from England”. The bored beast attacked the car and crashed it against a wall, again and again, until it was in small pieces. It was too dangerous to interfere until the elephant’s rage cooled, or it became exhausted. However, a Scot’s doctor, attending the Rajah, suddenly realised that his “two-seated, seven horsepower Morris Cowley, the pride of his life and also, like the Daimler, just out from England” was also in danger of being destroyed. .He rushed in and started the engine under the very trunk of the astonished elephant . . . his valour was rewarded; he clattered triumphantly out of the gate which someone had the nerve to open for him.”
Although described as a 7 h.p. car, it seems almost certain that an 11.9 h.p. Morris Cowley was involved; how lucky its battery was up to the job, even in the tropical heat of India! — W.B.