My First Car: Ford Anglia adventure ended with a rescue

Laurence Price with girlfriend Joan, now his wife of 43 years, with the Ford Anglia outside at Torqu

Laurence Price with girlfriend Joan, now his wife of 43 years, with the Ford Anglia outside at Torquay in June 1974. Picture: Laurence Price - Credit: Laurence Price

Laurence Price's metallic blue 1968 Ford Anglia 105E had a habit of reverting to battleship grey but some of their adventures had an added sense of danger.

My first car, purchased in February 1974 for £185, was a metallic blue 1968 Ford Anglia 105E – registration PYC 614F, a local Somerset registration.

I had three cars to choose from – a maroon Wolseley 1500 but, on inspection, the chassis had rusted through, a near-new Fiat 500, very cute, but way too small for me, so the Anglia won.

I learnt to drive in it and passed my test in June 1974, just in time to go on holiday to Torquay, with my girlfriend, Joan, and since my wife of 43 years. Her parents took a photograph of the Anglia and us outside the Hind Hotel – Joan has aged much better than either the car or me!

It was a very good and reliable car but its Achilles heel was the metallic blue paintwork, grandly called Blue Mink.

It had faded to battleship grey when I bought it so my dad, in the motor trade, suggested I had it resprayed. For six months or so, regularly polished, it looked like a new car but, within a year, it was back to battleship grey. Undeterred, I had it resprayed for a second time, and exactly the same thing happened again, so battleship grey it would remain.

I had one awfully big adventure with it later in 1974 – this time, on holiday in October with Joan, in Wales.

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We were in Brecon and Joan had developed an eye problem and I took a wrong turn to the hospital and ended going up a very steep hill away from the town. I saw a gateway entrance to my left, stopped the car just past it and reversed in, until CRAAASH! The nearside rear wheel of the car was overhanging the edge of the track, which had a hidden steep drop, and the Anglia was resting on its doorsills.

Fortunately, a passing motorist drove me to Brecon and we got a very helpful rescue Land Rover to pull us out. Then, CRAAASH! A Ford Escort just missed us, coming too fast down the steep hill, mounted the grass verge on the other side, nearly overturned, and somehow came to a stop the right way up – and with all four wheels still in place. Its lady driver was visibly shaken, as the mechanic and we also were!

Then we went back to the garage, settled the bill and eventually made it to the hospital. With some eye ointment, and Joan feeling a little better, we parked the car and took a long, reflective walk along Brecon Promenade...

On a whim, three years later, I foolishly traded it in for a lime green Skoda S110R Coupe, with Starsky and Hutch-style white 'go faster' stripes, a truly terrible car which got nicknamed the 'Office Porsche' but that, as they say, is another story...

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