Memories of flying the flag for British motors Down Under

Torbay Weekly

Paul Jolly, classic car specialist and valuer:

My past has finally caught up with me thanks to the power of the internet and the undisputed fact that the world has shrunk.

Many moons ago, I left the comfort of my Jaguar/Rover dealership in Surrey to take up a position doing the same thing but 12,000 miles away, ‘Down Under’ in Sydney, Australia.

A motor trade sabbatical, if you will.

Great fun it was, too, for a ‘twenty-something-year-old’.

My flat mate sold new Mercedes Benz cars and I kept the British flag flying by outselling him week on week in the same street.

My Jaguar dealership was a privately run outfit on the North Shore near Manly Beach.

Weekends were so different to February in London, you can take it from me, but this idyll had to end and, after a year, I returned home to the three-day week, Lord Lucan, Ted Heath... and I even sold a new Rover 3.5 to Joe Gormley, the miner’s leader, who lived down the road in Hampton Court.

House purchase, mortgages, realism, et al, soon followed and I never gave Australia another thought until last week when an email pinged in asking: "Did you work for Rowley Motors in Artarmon, Sydney, in the 1970s? I bet it was you!"

Crickey Sheila, that’s a bit rich? But my first thought was who on earth could remember me and how has this come about?

The trouble was it was signed ‘Ann from the office’.

Now I was friends with a lot of people but had no recollection of an Ann from the office.

Was she a girlfriend, inquired my wife with distinct cynicism? No, I instinctively replied, rapidly trying to think back.

However, it turns out she did work in the back office, loved E Type Jaguars and has finally bought a new F Type from the current Jaguar dealership in Sydney.

The receptionist there knew she had worked for Rowley Motors and together they rattled out some names and somehow mine came up.

A Google search then revealed my website and the rest is history.

Strewth, Bruce, that was a close call!