Members History – Ian Harkness

I passed my driving test, first time, in 1955, driving a 1938 Morris 8Morris_8_1936 from the Romford School of Motoring – I had six lessons. The test was taken in Romford on market day so it was no picnic!

My parents bought me my first car which was a 1934 Morris 10/4 with the accelerator pedal in the middle and a starter button on the floor. I had arranged to take a girl friend down to Cornwall and on the way from Maldon, where I lived at the time, to Leigh, the hydraulic brake pipe sprung a leak. The consequence was that I drove down to and around Cornwall on the handbrake and gears!

From the Morris I progressed to a new Ford Popular (the sit up and beg variety), which was like driving a tractor. I sold that and bought a 1934 MG J2 J2_advertwith a 1937 body, which I took with me into the RAF for my National Service. Unfortunately, it had a three bearing crankshaft and this eventually broke on me.

Then onto a new Morris Minor 1000, a cracking little car which I had for several years before buying a new MG Midget. On joining a publishing group I was supplied with a company car, so I sold the MG.

I have had a list of cars supplied to me while working in publishing from a Vauxhall Viva, larger Vauxhalls (I can’t remember the name of the model), Ford Cortina Mk 11, Alfa Romeo GTV6, and a Vauxhall Omega.

The one car that I had always dreamed of owning was the Jaguar XK 150 or the E Type, neither of which I could afford at the time. On retiring, I bought the nearest thing to the E Type – the XK8 convertible. I purchased it as a demo model but had Brembo brakes, Detroit wheels, Alloy pack, Xenon lights etc added. In the 10 years that I have owned it I have used it as a daily car alongside my Vauxhall Omega, which I have recently sold.

I have yet to reach 60,000 miles, although that is just around the corner. The car has been maintained throughout by Grange of Brentwood and I can say that I have been extremely lucky, she has run very well. My partner loves her and we do take her over to France on numerous occasions.





If money was no object I would be able to afford the XK150, as well as a Bentley Convertible in dark Blue with cream upholstery.

Ian Harkness