DAY three provided comedy relief. All the teams were required to dress like Clint Eastwood as he appeared in ‘The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly’, and that meant ponchos, hats and spurs. Instead of the man with no name’s Colt 45, we were all asked to bring along water pistols – big water pistols. The mood of the day was set right from the beginning, thanks to the huge display of team cars in Tirano’s piazza, and the waterfight that soon ensued.
Alexander, Declan and me sat that one out – mainly. Declan proved an effective shot, whereas I didn’t even manage the art of pressurising my Super Soaker (all I managed to get out of it was a pathetic dribble – until I decided to take a drink from it). I managed to get another soaking from a member of one of the other teams – he’d brought along a water-filled fire extinguisher instead of a water pistol, and I had invited him to aim it at me me. Oh what a good shot he was…
The challenge for the day: to get the team photographed in front of pump number three at every Esso station along a 300 mile stretch of Autostrada. We managed the task – finding ourselves partaking in a number of impromptu water fights along the way.
The further south we travelled, the hotter the weather became – and the more I feared for Molly’s cooling system. As always, Alexander was calm and composed and hat the situation comfortably in hand. I sat out most of this day’s driving, and rested in the rear. Molly’s rear bench is a comical place – well, it is if you’re watching the bemused and good-natured reactions of other drivers keen to take a closer look. Whenever we stopped at service stations, people would stare (we shed our cowboy outfits pretty sharp, so they clearly weren’t admiring Alexander, Declan and me).
Molly had settled into a routine by this time – two hours on the road at 60-70mph, followed by a top-up of coolant. It was slow progress, but rather relaxing for the passengers, and I continued to admire Alexander’s knack of getting the most out of Molly. Clearly he is a much more patient man than me, as by this time, I had decided I really didn’t want to bring her home with me.
Along the way, Declan and Alexander both had a crack at driving Molly, and both seemed happy with her progress – perhaps it was me, but having decided I didn’t want to drive her home, I started to think about bringing someone else’s car home instead. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t consider a Volkswagen Polo, but thanks to our being short of cars at home, and Sue needing something to drive around in, I spotted the 1985 example owned by Team Foggy Performance during our lunch break – and a deal was struck. I’d take this home, and Alexander would drive Molly home – from there he would try and sell her on eBay Germany.
After another long day on the road, our overnight stop was a very welcome relief. When we pulled in to Viterbo, north of Rome, we arrived in the ancient walled city’s piazza and found our competitors’ cars hard to miss.
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.