Tuesday, 26 February 2008

When Itals were new

On the way into Swansea there used to be a British Leyland dealership called Fletchers. During an out of work period myself and several of my friends occasionally delivered cars for them to various locations. One such journey involved, myself and Christine who was my girlfriend at the time, Dai Bone, Phil the Cobra and of course the and only John Llewellyn, there may have been others but I can't honestly remember.

We collected the cars the day before and met at about 4.00 AM at the Glamorgan Arms where John had somehow managed to get a job as the manager. Breakfast was chicken peas and chips and then we set off for London. The outward journey was uneventful, we were all driving brand new Morris Itals and they completed the journey without breaking down or losing any parts. The only problem I had with mine was that when you operated the washers, water would squirt all over the electrics and the car would misfire for a few miles until they dried out. We reached our destination and found that there were only 4 cars for the return journey.

The cars we were bringing back were Morris Marinas, Christine came back with me, and Phil accompanied Dai. John's Marina had a problem as the drivers window would not wind up, but with some gentle persuasion we managed to close it so he could have a relatively comfortable drive back.

We set off westward bound on the M4, we all had CBs in the cars to keep in touch with each other and had agreed that we would pull off on the first services we go to for a break.

Cruising down the motorway the voice of Phil came across the CB asking John if he had any cigarettes. John said yes and so while cruising down the motorway at about 80, the two cars closed on each other. John wound down the back window, stretched his arm out of it and passed a cigarette to Phil who was sitting in the passenger seat.

Some miles later we were approaching the services, John was going down the outside lane like a bat out of hell passing vehicles as if they were stationary. We approached the 300 yard marker and reminded John that we had planned to pull off for a break.

"No problem" came the reply and at a speed of about 90 MPH and with about 3 yards to go John swerved his car right across all the carriageways and into the services. The rest of the journey was completely uneventful except for John driving round the services with his bonnet open shouting I can't see out of the window.

Other journeys were carried out for the garage mostly straight forward except for the time my friend Huw managed to drive his Ital into the back of mine while driving round the North Circular.

We didn't really make any money out of these jobs but it gave us something to do and we saw a bit of the countryside.