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My First Car: 1950 2.0-litre Triumph Renown lovingly called ‘KDD’

Philip Fowless cousins, Brian and Terry, with the Triumph Renown on a family visit to Holyhead in Wales. Picture: Philip Fowles

Philip Fowless cousins, Brian and Terry, with the Triumph Renown on a family visit to Holyhead in Wales. Picture: Philip Fowles

Philip Fowles

Philip Fowles was given a beautiful 1950 Triumph Renown saloon when his father had to give up driving... on condition he ‘chauffeured’ him around. What a great deal!

Philip Fowles, aged 17, with his Triumph Renown. Picture: Philip FowlesPhilip Fowles, aged 17, with his Triumph Renown. Picture: Philip Fowles

My first car was a beautiful 1950 2.0-litre Triumph Renown – registration number KDD 555.

It was previously our family car, owned and driven by my dad who had to stop driving due to ill health. He gave – yes, gave – it to me as a gift... after I had agreed to drive him when and wherever he needed. What a great deal as I was just 17 years old at the time!

Before dad bought her, she’d been chauffer-driven and was in great ‘nick’.

‘KDD’, as we lovingly called her, was the razor-edged saloon version of the burgundy-coloured 1.800cc Triumph Roadster featured in the BBC TV drama Bergerac set on Jersey in the Channel Islands. My saloon car was finished in metallic silver-grey finish on an aluminium body frame. She had those enormous chrome headlamps, solid bumpers, big fog lamps, running boards and a boot lid fitted out with all the roadside tools for changing tyres.

Fiancée Maggie getting into the car in 1967 -  in reality the front bench seat wouldn'’t go forward far enough for her  feet to reach the pedals. Picture: Philip FowlesFiancée Maggie getting into the car in 1967 - in reality the front bench seat wouldn'’t go forward far enough for her feet to reach the pedals. Picture: Philip Fowles

The interior was in luxurious soft grey leather, with wooden dashboard and door trims, a bench seat in the front and a column change gear stick, plus twin-tone Maserati horns – what a beauty. Seating six people in comfort, it’s no wonder peopled called this model ‘the poor man’s Bentley!’

On a holiday in Cornwall, we were a bit surprised when a farmer, leaning over his farmyard gate, doffed his cap as we drove past on the way to Tintagel. And even more surprised when he did it again on the way back. I guess it was an impressive-looking car that often turned heads.

During that holiday I also turned into a very narrow road in Brixham, Devon, to discover it full of tourists meandering around and completely blocking the way. So I pressed the deep-throated horn which instantly had the desired effect, as pedestrians quickly leapt sideways, scattering out of the way. None of the soft ‘beep’ of modern car horns.

Another enduring memory was when taking my girlfriend, Jean, for a spin before seat belts were compulsory. Everything was going well until she lent on the door handle and gently slid out sideways as we went around a bend – ending up sitting on the running board. I quickly stopped, picked her up and drove her straight back home but she’d broken her beautifully manicured finger nails so no guesses why that relationship ended swiftly.

An advertisement for the Triumph Renown.An advertisement for the Triumph Renown.

However, there was a successful conclusion as I started dating her friend, Maggie, and we got married in 1968, meaning we’re celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary later this year.

Tell people about your first set of wheels – email your memories with a picture to motoring@archant.co.uk or post it to Andy Russell, Archant motoring editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.

Soft grey leather, wood trims and a front bench seat. Picture: Philip FowlesSoft grey leather, wood trims and a front bench seat. Picture: Philip Fowles

The Triumph Renown had a luxurious interior. Picture: Philip FowlesThe Triumph Renown had a luxurious interior. Picture: Philip Fowles

A Triumph Renown similar to one owned by Philip Fowles. Picture: Philip FowlesA Triumph Renown similar to one owned by Philip Fowles. Picture: Philip Fowles

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Andy Russell

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EDP motoring editor, journalist who loves wheels and engines but hates cleaning them.

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