So I headed out into Home Counties traffic in the 1953 Le Mans winner, went down to the Longcross test track near Chobham and so far was safe and prudently possible, put the car through its paces until I felt I could learn no more without taking unacceptable risks. I then drove back and returned the car. ‘Have a good day?’ was all Adrian had to say on the matter. It still seems barely believable even now.
I did quite a few stories with Adrian and his cars over the years. Unlike some dealers, he rarely rang up and tried to persuade me to drive and therefore advertise metal he wanted to shift. Usually I’d simply be looking at a magazine ad or surfing around his website and see something. And if he could help, he always would.
The last time was five years ago when I saw he had a gorgeous Alfa Romeo TZ1 for sale. Usual form. Could I drive it? Of course, where would you like it? The car had some hillclimbing history so I ventured Prescott and that was that. The car was duly delivered, I had a riotous day in it and we all went home.
I’ll miss Adrian, a larger than life character who for some reason always regarded me as one of the good guys. And not everyone was: I remember years ago him fulminating after Top Gear borrowed the C-type, who gave it to whoever was playing the Stig at the time who, at least in his view, then totally abused the privilege of being in such an important machine by driving it like a drift car. He was far more careful about whom he let borrow cars thereafter. If it had been my car I’d have never let anyone near it, but that was just Adrian’s way. Our world is a poorer place without him.
Images courtesy of Motorsport Images.