A fine day out..

In December 2019 my mother had her 90th birthday, this was shortly after she had zip wired from the Tyne Bridge onto the Quayside beside ‘The Sage’ building in Gateshead, for charity. No ordinary 90 year old is Vera Hewitt.

In the build up to her birthday she had speculated about the whereabouts of her father’s (my grandfather’s) car. The car in question was a 1930s Triumph Gloria 4 seater convertible. As an amateur photographer in the 1980s, I had printed some sepia toned photographs of the car from old 1950s negatives. The prints are still adorning my mother’s walls and I wondered if she might be interested in a little nostalgia trip.

Not wishing to build her hopes up I searched the Internet for Triumph Gloria owner’s clubs and came across your own site.  I used the ‘Contact Us’ link to ask about the potential of getting my mother a short ride in any of the remaining Glorias. The response I received from David Mason was very encouraging and although we couldn’t arrange anything in December, Dave Ferguson was soon in touch and we started correspondence to arrange a date.

In the meantime. I had provided a few details on the original car to David Mason who passed them on to Graham Shipman.  Essentially I was able to give a photo of the original receipt for the car’s purchase by my Grandad (although actually I think my Grandmother bought it as a present!) which was dated July 1947, and a couple of the photos I had of the car.  The registration number was difficult to decipher but Graham assured me that it was ST 7707 adding that my Granddad’s Triumph ‘…was a 1933/4 Gloria Speed Model Tourer. The registration was almost certainly ‘ST 7707’ which was issued in Inverness during 1934‘.   I also included some verbal history, including that I had sat in the car as a toddler and played with the steering wheel sometime around 1961 and that it had been sold on shortly afterwards to someone my mother knew.  My mother had also driven it a few times whilst owned by my Grandad.

The receipt and a photograph of the car outside my childhood home with my Granddad and Nana standing in front of it are attached. It has the top down and my mother has stated that it had a new hood replacement done whilst in my Granddad’s ownership.  Last known location of the car was on St Mary’s Island in the late 60s, which hosts a famous lighthouse and is accessible only via a causeway at low tide.

Graham had no record of it being previously notified to the club and DVLA show no record of it currently.

My mother had her Birthday celebrations including a trip to Venice with me in early October as an early birthday present. Fortunately, this was a few weeks before it flooded which was lucky, although it did try while we were there!

In the background, Dave Ferguson had e-mailed me offering a trip out in his hard top version around Teesside.  This was very much appreciated and having discussed possible dates and logistics, I am from Gateshead but live in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire and my two brothers and my mother are in various parts of the North East (Chester-le-Street, Birtley and Sunderland), we settled on the first weekend in February, weather dependent.

All worked out well and in the week beforehand we sorted out that Saturday had the best weather and settled on a time and place.  I called him on the morning of Saturday, 1 February 2020 and discovered just what an amiable man he is, nothing was too much trouble, even the fact that we were arriving mob handed, me, my mother, 2 brothers and a sister in law! We definitely wouldn’t all fit in, so my youngest brother and  sister in law followed at a discreet distance as Dave took us on far more than the 10 minute round the block we expected.  What we got was an extensive 1 hour tour around the Teesside area taking in views of Saltburn,  Guisborough, Easby, Great Ayton and all points along the way. Dave proved to be the most affable of hosts chatting with my mother all along, discussing his car and my Granddad’s and pointing out places of interest as we drove at a leisurely pace through  beautiful North Yorkshire countryside on the way to a pub for lunch.  The first point of call proved a problem as it hadn’t opened for lunch and another stop off was closed. Undaunted Dave kept us informed and we eventually arrived at The Buck, Great Ayton and had an excellent meal where we all discussed how much we were enjoying the day out and found out just what a fascinating man Dave was and all about his other cars, background and his wife Chris and her wing walking exploits. Something my mother also wants to do if we can get an insurance waiver. I told you she is not the usual 90 year old!

Dave also very kindly let me photograph the car at various stops and even signed a ‘property release’ to allow me to upload images to iStockphoto/Getty Images.  I am still not convinced that he knew it was just for photographs as he seemed a little worried he may have sold me the car!

Here are a few samples Photos from the day, including one with Dave and my Mother beside the Gloria.

It was without doubt a quite enthralling and memorable day which restores your faith in humanity. Dave took time out to do a good turn with no request for remuneration and went over and above all our expectations to provide the most comprehensive and interesting day out, our eternal thanks to this gentleman of the road and his immaculate Triumph Gloria.

Alan Hewitt

Photographs © Alphotographic (aka Alan Hewitt an iStockPhoto and Getty Images contributor), further usage only with prior permission of the photographer.