Marian Williams, president of this year’s Aylsham Show, has always had a love of cars.
Her first driving lessons were in her father’s automatic Zodiac Executive in the mid-Sixties but she also had lessons in her grandfather’s Morris 1000, until buying a small Austin A30 – registration URB 943. Her father thought her preference for a sports car with double declutch was difficult to drive and rather racy!
Of course in those days, you needed to use hand signals to pass your test.
Her grandfather, an engineer at Park Royal Vehicles, and her uncle, a graphic designer of vehicles, were excellent support if she broke down or needed a part for her car – they made and installed it for her. They were also keen to show her how to change the brake shoes on the A30, it is a skill she has nearly forgotten but certainly not used for 40 years!
She can still remember the local policeman pushing ‘URBie’ (as it was known) with her sister, Christine, and herself when it broke down at traffic lights in Twickenham in the Sixties.
She progressed to an Austin 1100, then an MG Midget, Triumph Spitfire and TR6. Her first new car was an MGB Roadster in 1978 (bright yellow – the only one left), which she still has. It was one of the last ones made, built for the American market with the high bumpers.
When her son Anthony was born in 1985 the carry cot just fitted snugly into the back seat. Everyone expected her to sell the MGB and this is perhaps why her son has a love of cars. Later when he went to school people thought she wouldn’t be any good to share the school run with. However she returned to work full time as a bank manager with NatWest in 1990 and her company car – initially a Rover and then a Ford Mondeo estate – resolved those concerns.
When she asked NatWest for a Range Rover because of the access to farm clients, the bank quickly responded by supplying and fitting mud flaps!
The MG – known as the Yellow Peril – was used only at weekends and still has a low mileage at 70,000.
When husband Dick retired some 10 years they bought the new S-Type Jaguar, so reminiscent of the 1960s style as his retirement car. However Marian was always driving it, so Dick moved on to a second-hand 3.0 litre Jag, which Marian can often be seen driving as well as the S-Type – both still going well after 10 years.
Marian Williams, Oulton.
We’d love to hear your own story of your first car. If you’d like to see it on our drive24 blog, send your memory with a photo to Sadie.Jennings@archant.co.uk.