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FastFreddy2

Close encounters - with Mr Reaper.

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I remember back in my teenage years the older brother of a friend of mine getting arrested for doing 135mph in his souped up Plymouth. He complained to the arresting officers, as they slapped the 'cuffs on him,  that he'd been in a hurry because he was late for a meeting with his parole officer (which was true!) 

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Freddy's 'overtaking' incident reminded me of my own most memorable near-miss in broadly similar circumstances, albeit not so dramatic.

The year is (I think) 1972 and I'm on a long, straight stretch of the dual-carriageway A1 in Yorkshire, returning south on a business trip with a male colleague of my age as my passenger.   My car is an Austin Maxi 1750, not the sleekest of vehicles but a nippy enough performer for the time - and one of the first UK cars to have a fifth gear.   We are driving quite safely and sensibly 'in fifth' at just under the 70mph limit in the outside lane, gradually overtaking a line of slower-moving vehicles of various sorts in the inside lane; the weather is fine and fairly sunny.  

Without any warning, and as we were about to pass it, a saloon car (type and driver long-forgotten) in the inside lane pulled out to overtake a lorry some yards in front of it.   The car driver had clearly not looked to see what might be alongside him (in his blind-spot perhaps?) and gave no signal.   I had little choice but to swerve to my right - partially onto the grass strip that was (then) the only thing between my lane and the opposite carriageway - and accelerate past until I could safely regain the metalled road.   I well-recall the 'bump-bump-bump' of my offside tyres as I did so, and the speedo showing about 80.   It was fortunate that there was no central crash-barrier there at that time, nor any other obstruction apart from a few bushes and the usual debris, any of which could however have caused me much mischief.

There was no need to stop and I carried on south after making a somewhat restrained remark about the other driver to my companion.  The latter was a very taciturn individual (not particularly good company when we worked together) and he made no comment at all, but I could sense that he was rather shaken and somewhat grateful that he was wearing the proverbial brown(ish) trousers.  

These days, I have a dash-cam; the reason is obvious.

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On 05/09/2017 at 9:37 AM, Puffer said:

Freddy's 'overtaking' incident reminded me of my own most memorable near-miss in broadly similar circumstances, albeit not so dramatic.

The year is (I think) 1972 and I'm on a long, straight stretch of the dual-carriageway  ....

 

Without any warning, and as we were about to pass it, a saloon car (type and driver long-forgotten) in the inside lane pulled out to overtake a lorry some yards in front of it.   The car driver had clearly not looked to see what might be alongside him (in his blind-spot perhaps?) and gave no signal.   I had little choice but to swerve to my right - partially onto the grass strip that was (then) the only thing between my lane and the opposite carriageway - and accelerate past until I could safely regain the metalled road.   I

 

When starting to read that, I had something of a fearful moment. ..... :huh:

I caused some trauma doing exactly 'as described above', but on the M1 some years later. Me in my supercar, joined the M1 at Hemel Hempstead on the South bound carriageway. I almost immediately went into lane 2, with the intention of passing an articulated lorry in lane 1.

Including the very long (as was) slip road, this section of motorway had four lanes.

As I began passing the lorry, I could see some fool driver trying to beat the lorry to the end of the slip road he was on, which me and the lorry driver knew was unachievable. To avoid an accident, the lorry driver indicated right, and started pulling into my lane. In turn (with me aware I was going to get bumped by the lorry,) I moved toward lane 3. Unfortunately, the vehicle behind us had missed what was going on, and carried on driving - and my rear off-side quarter, nudged the drivers front near side quarter. I felt almost no sensation of contact, but looking back, the vehicle I had touched was spinning like a top, travelling down the motorway still at around 70mph.

I know (or have known) people who in my position, would have carried on going. (No cameras in those days, nor onboard video.) But I pulled over and met the driver I had sent spinning down the motorway. We exchanged details, and quite rightly, I was sent a bill for his repairs. (Circa £50.) The spinning bit didn't seem to be a problem, only the minor dent in the wing. Lucky me. I'd been given credit for avoiding the lorry, rather than driving like a twat.

Subsequently it turns out, I had made an innocent omission on my insurance application, and was not covered. (Just to confirm, the driving history I declared with the same insurance firm the previous year had the endorsement mentioned, but was missing for the current year. To this day I don't know how I missed it! The omission certainly wasn't intentional. Of course the insurance company ONLY picked up my mistake - when I needed cover and some 6-8 months after I'd paid my very expensive premium.)

Back then £50 was a lot of money (about £400-£500 now). The company that owned the 'injured' car were very reasonable though, and I paid off the repair bill in installments.  

 

I've always felt a bit hard-done-by with this event, because I always felt the injured party could and should have seen what was unfolding in front of them. With another 40 years of driving experience behind me, I suppose the sensible/ideal thing to do back then, was to brake - and not so quickly the car close behind me would drive into the back of my car. (As happens so often on motorways.) Thing was, back then me and the brake pedal were almost naive to the others presence. I had a tendency to drive out of a problem, rather than use the brakes. I drive much slower cars these days, so that 'tendency' is no longer available to me. ;) Maybe just as well.

 

As this event was (clearly) not a risk to me, it was never intended to be mentioned. And if I wanted to start a 'bad driving thread', it would have begun with the two times (I remember), I've driven into the back of cars that hesitated at empty roundabouts. :rolleyes: Fortunately, these and other 'incidents' occurred at very low speeds. :wacko: So no 'rubbing shoulders' with Mr Reaper.;) 

 

Edited by FastFreddy2

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17 hours ago, FastFreddy2 said:

...

Subsequently it turns out, I had made an innocent omission on my insurance application, and was not covered. (Just to confirm, the driving history I declared with the same insurance firm the previous year had the endorsement mentioned, but was missing for the current year. To this day I don't know how I missed it! The omission certainly wasn't intentional. Of course the insurance company ONLY picked up my mistake - when I needed cover and some 6-8 months after I'd paid my very expensive premium.)

Back then £50 was a lot of money (about £400-£500 now). The company that owned the 'injured' car were very reasonable though, and I paid off the repair bill in installments.  

I've always felt a bit hard-done-by with this event, because I always felt the injured party could and should have seen what was unfolding in front of them. With another 40 years of driving experience behind me, I suppose the sensible/ideal thing to do back then, was to brake - and not so quickly the car close behind me would drive into the back of my car. (As happens so often on motorways.) ...

 

Your incident raises some interesting points about accidents, claims and insurance.   Without being too technical:

1.   The incident illustrates well the chain of causation that underlies fault and liability.   I have little doubt that the 'slip road' driver's conduct was the 'active efficient cause' - but he got away and was probably oblivious.   The chain of events he set in motion (lorry swiftly moving over, Freddy having to do likewise) resulted in the almost unavoidable impact with the lane three driver.   The latter was innocent in that he was driving safely enough in his own clear lane, although one might criticise his failure to see the hazard developing and react promptly by braking sensibly.   His car was damaged by Freddy, who in turn could assert that he was forced to swerve by the lorry, who was forced to swerve likewise by the slip road car.   But Freddy was the immediate, traceable (and honest) instrument of damage and got lumbered with the repair bill that should have been the liability of the slip road car's insurer, if identified.   

2.   From what Freddy says, he insured his car with the same insurer (not just through the same broker) in the year of the incident and in the previous year.   On making his application to renew his insurance for the year of the incident, he should have declared his past endorsement (if not 'spent') but forgot to do so.   Such an endorsement is a 'material fact' and must be declared when proposing for or renewing insurance unless it is a fact already known by the insurer - which this clearly was, as it had been previously declared.   In my view, the insurance was not invalidated by the alleged omission and the claim should have been met (less any excess, which I assume was low).   Did the insurer (a) merely avoid (reject) the claim, but maintain cover, perhaps after demanding extra premium; or (b) avoid the claim and avoid (cancel) the cover?   If the latter, did you then get any premium refund and get new cover - after declaring (of course) the cancellation - in itself a 'material fact' which any new insurer would wish to know?   (After 1981, the rejected claim could have been referred to the Insurance Ombudsman for adjudication, but I'm guessing the incident was earlier than that.)

Lessons learned the hard way, as usual. 

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13 hours ago, Puffer said:

Did the insurer (a) merely avoid (reject) the claim, but maintain cover, perhaps after demanding extra premium; or (b) avoid the claim and avoid (cancel) the cover?   If the latter, did you then get any premium refund and get new cover - after declaring (of course) the cancellation - in itself a 'material fact' which any new insurer would wish to know?   (After 1981, the rejected claim could have been referred to the Insurance Ombudsman for adjudication, but I'm guessing the incident was earlier than that.)

Lessons learned the hard way, as usual. 

The claim I had made an omission on the application form was 'refuted', which I challenged right up until I was sent a photocopy of the original application. There was never, and will never be a time when I would intentionally lie or mislead an insurer. Back then, my form would have been filled out by a broker on the other side of a desk. I still remember the name of the brokerage and its location. The original sole trader, long passed onto the next world.

Ultimately, the responsibility was mine to ensure the application was filled out correctly, which plainly it wasn't. I don't recall anything about a refund. Back then, consumers were much less educated on these matters, and enjoyed much less protection. At the time I felt like I was in a situation that could have turned a bit nasty. With the opportunity to settle on reasonable terms, I felt relieved there was an agreeable solution.

While the initial cause of the event may not have been mine,  I was the instigator of the knock. Again, the event could have had a much worse outcome, so I was relieved at only having to pay for a modest amount of damage.  As you rightly say; "lesson learned".

  

 

Edited by FastFreddy2
Grammar changed to remove ambiguity.

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Freddy:   'refuted' is not really the word; possibly it was 'repudiated'.   But was your cover maintained, despite the rejected claim?   And was your actual insurer the same for the two consecutive years?   If so, I maintain my view that your innocent omission on renewal was not a ground for your claim (or cover) to be avoided - the insurer already knew of the material fact of your endorsement.   If the broker only filled in what you said, the responsibility for the omission remains yours - but a good broker should prompt the proposer and also check its records for anything in a previous application that might have been missed this time.

Yes, as I have said already, the immediate cause of the damage was your collision, and you were first in line to pay (with no-one down the line to recover from, alas).   Fortunately it was not more serious in either effect or cost.

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33 minutes ago, Puffer said:

Freddy:   'refuted' is not really the word;

It's good enough.

Refute.jpg.666bd1be1727a14b3fff50bee07b37c0.jpg

 

And you are 40 years too late to offer advice.

 

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The second definition in whatever dictionary you are referencing is incorrect. The word has been misused frequently enough that some measure of tolerance is creeping in, but that usage is nevertheless still incorrect. 

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It wasn't the only place I found that reference, and it's been my understanding of the word for some considerable time.

If the attached reference had been taken from chav.com I might have been more inclined to agree, but it wasn't. You can clearly see the source from the picture.

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I was (and am) interested professionally in Freddy's 'lane change' incident as it illustrates more than one issue which was and is relevant to accidents and insurance contracts.   Even 40 years on, there are lessons to be learned and pointers for the future.   But the full story has not emerged so I'll leave further comment on the legal issues.

I am perfectly familiar with the language that an insurer would (or at least should) use when rejecting/repudiating/denying/avoiding (etc) a claim.   'Refuted' is wrong in that context but would be right if applied to the rejection of an assertion etc made in relation to an accident, claim or proposal.   Freddy's edit, if I understand it correctly, appears to recognise this.  

The word 'claim' (and its derivatives, such as 'claimant') gives all sorts of problems in relation to insurance and litigation as it can mean different things, e.g. one's claim under insurance, or a third party's claim against an insured.   Even more so since we are no longer supposed to speak of a 'plaintiff' in litigation, only a 'claimant'.   And a 'writ' is now therefore a 'claim form' - which is also what one might fill in to send to an insurer to recover under insurance.    

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2 hours ago, Puffer said:

I am perfectly familiar with the language that an insurer would (or at least should) use when rejecting/repudiating/denying/avoiding (etc) a claim.   'Refuted' is wrong in that context but would be right if applied to the rejection of an assertion etc made in relation to an accident, claim or proposal.   Freddy's edit, if I understand it correctly, appears to recognise this.

The "edit" recognises some potential for ambiguity. (The original narrative was edited down from a longer statement, and when published, made perfect sense to me. It still does, but I had hoped the potential for ambiguity was removed with the last edit.) It seems it may not be the case...

The person doing the "refuting" was me. I vehemently denied I had completed the form incorrectly, I was adamant I had included the endorsement mentioned on my previous application. On production of a photocopy of my second years application, (with the same insurer) it was self evident I had missed the endorsement mentioned on the previous years application. Were there any intention of deceit, I would have at least changed insurers, and brokers too. I had not, and thought I had completed the second years application, in exactly the same way I had completed the first. Certainly the premium was identical, but the photocopy indicated I didn't mention the endorsement. While my driving conviction was known to the insurer, and the inclusion of it would not (seemingly) have affected the premium, I gave the insurer an escape route. AFAIK the same thing still applies. Details missing that could affect the "risk" being taken on by the insurer, are opportunities for cover to be declined - almost always after a claim. As in the example here.

If there's a need to dig deeper, please feel free to start a new thread. 

I've nothing to hide, and everything I've written here, fits in with everything else written about it. There's no lack of continuity, despite me relying on a 40 year old recollection. To that end, a post-mortem on events of 40 years will produce no benefit to me, but I'm happy to respond to further queries - but NOT here. :wacko:

 

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, FastFreddy2 said:

It wasn't the only place I found that reference, and it's been my understanding of the word for some considerable time.

If the attached reference had been taken from chav.com I might have been more inclined to agree, but it wasn't. You can clearly see the source from the picture.

Nevertheless, it is still incorrect, a lazy slang usage that has gained currency. Refute (along with 'enormity') is one of the most frequently misused words in the English language. I am a professional writer. Words are my living, and my art.  I know my palette. 

Edited by Shyheels

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Thank you for the further insurance clarification, Freddy.   I stand by my earlier remarks about material facts and the insurer's pre-existing knowledge.   There is nothing now that merits further discussion.   I'm just sorry that you lost out, wrongly in my professional opinion.

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7 hours ago, Shyheels said:

Nevertheless, it is still incorrect, a lazy slang usage that has gained currency. Refute (along with 'enormity') is one of the most frequently misused words in the English language. I am a professional writer. Words are my living, and my art.  I know my palette. 

Thing is, when the rest of the world says "leaves are green", they are green .... 

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5 hours ago, Puffer said:

Thank you for the further insurance clarification, Freddy.   I stand by my earlier remarks about material facts and the insurer's pre-existing knowledge.   There is nothing now that merits further discussion.   I'm just sorry that you lost out, wrongly in my professional opinion.

Had I the benefit of your expertise back then I would have gladly put it to good use. B)

At the time, I had escaped a possible court appearance for a 'driving without due care' charge. My then subsequent best interest, was keeping the injured party as 'on side' as they deserved. While the £50 was inconvenient, some of that would have been due under any excess arrangement anyway. I didn't feel unhappy about the £50, as I think I got off quite lightly given the circumstances. As before, my only gripe (so to speak) was that contact could have been avoided if the driver barrelling down the outside lane in the company Granada, had been a little more observant. But ultimately, I was responsible, and it cost me a bit of money. All-in-all, a 'fair' outcome regardless to anything else. B)

Edited by FastFreddy2

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6 hours ago, FastFreddy2 said:

Thing is, when the rest of the world says "leaves are green", they are green .... 

Not an argument that would be worth making to any copy editor who knows his or her business. Or an English teacher for that matter, not one who genuinely knows the language. The English language has wonderful depth and precision, more than a million words - the richest language, in that regard, on the planet. The richness and precision it offers should not be lost because of laziness or ignorance. 

Edited by Shyheels

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4 hours ago, Shyheels said:

Not an argument that would be worth making to any copy editor who knows his or her business.

When copy editors start running the English language, that will be a point worth making.

As you will know, language isn't a static commodity. We have Americanisms thrust upon us every day (thru TV) and other media. Street slang has also worked its way into every day - common English. My favourite from a whole list of misdemeanours ..... "Hugely". Something is either huge, (referred to as huge) or it isn't. "Hugely" suggests 'large-ish'. This is now a word I hear and read everywhere, included use by Oxbridge educated journalists during news reports on prime time television. To try and keep words in a box with the notion they are precious enough for limited use, suggests a distant family connection to King Canute. ;)

As to 'refute' or 'repudiate', and accuracy of either, I will agree the latter may well have be more accurate in the 'text-book' sense when used above, but repudiate isn't part of my vocabulary nor have I ever seen it used in prose. I "refuted" and I'm not the one who has developed it's use as a common term in deference to repudiate.

Nor and I responsible for the adoption of "hugely". For example; "it is a hugely important aspect of the governments policies...." :rolleyes:

 

As with "insurance debates", I think grammar debates" might deserve a different thread if there's a need to continue a general debate. B)

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I didn't suggest, Freddy, that you 'repudiated' anything (or used that term yourself); it was my belief that the insurer, in rejecting your claim, would likely have 'repudiated' it, in such terms.   You apparently 'refuted' an assertion made by the insurer in relation to your renewal application with which you disagreed; fine by me!

Yes, maybe we should have an 'English language' thread in which definitions, objectionable words and the like could be discussed.   I will only say here that, whilst the English language undoubtedly develops and becomes richer over time, it should not be allowed or encouraged to do so in a totally unstructured and often ignorant manner.   Embracing willy-nilly the latest Americanisms, slang or solecisms (however widely (mis)used by Joe Public) may seem clever and trendy but does nothing to improve our culture or literacy.   'Make haste slowly' (or festina lente for those of a old fogey persuasion) is not a bad maxim.

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Looking for another thread, I came across this ....

With at least one event to follow. Maybe I can get it finished without debate over my version of the English language. ;) :P :D

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10 hours ago, FastFreddy2 said:

Looking for another thread, I came across this ....

With at least one event to follow. Maybe I can get it finished without debate over my version of the English language. ;) :P :D

Then tread carefully, mon brave. B)

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48 minutes ago, Puffer said:

Then tread carefully, mon brave. B)

:P :D

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I have many bad stories of driving in the late sixties and early seventies, one comes to mind chasing a rover down the outside lane of the M3 flashing  it out of the way in my souped up mk11 Cortina, then saw a sign in the rear window Thames valley high speed training car, opps quick change to the inside lane and drive home carefully, but I was flashing it out of the way at over 100mph.

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5 hours ago, dww said:

I have many bad stories of driving in the late sixties and early seventies, one comes to mind chasing a rover down the outside lane of the M3 flashing  it out of the way in my souped up mk11 Cortina, then saw a sign in the rear window Thames valley high speed training car, opps quick change to the inside lane and drive home carefully, but I was flashing it out of the way at over 100mph.

Which reminds me .....

Circa 1981, I briefly owned a 2 door Cortina MKII GT. If I remember, there probably so few of these made, it would be worth a fortune now .... I've never seen another 2 door MKII, and not seen another 2 or 4 door GT version either. I bought it off a fella who was giving up driving, with him being about 110 years old. The mileage was something ridiculous, like 20k. It wasn't in showroom condition, but it was certainly unblemished.

Returning from a nightshift stint working in the computer department of a large/well known supermarket chain, I was driving home in daylight around 7 am. I wasn't aware of the road conditions, though the cold should have been something I paid attention to. I turned into a road called the Ridgeway (another clue) and found myself behind a very slow moving coach. Being a complete twat, and driving a reasonably quick (for the time) car, I decided to overtake. Nothing coming in the opposite direction, and I had some 3-400 yards of clear road to get past him. What the coach driver knew that I didn't, was that road being on top of a hill with a meadow on one side, was prone to icy up. That's why he was driving so slowly....

About the time I got level with the coach, I discovered I was on an ice rink. The back wheels started to spin, and the steering wheel went so 'loose' it was obvious the front wheels had lost traction too. I was sitting in a 30 mph sled passing a large vehicle, and as this realisation arrived, so did traffic from the opposite direction. Luckily for me, but not the car, it pirouetted once across the path of the coach (which had slowed) and continued on until it met what we know as a telegraph pole. It left the vehicle with a large inward bend where the rear passenger door might be on a 4 door version of the car. I was unscathed, save embarrassed at my poor driving skills (ineptitude). With the apparent damage, which included a bent floorpan, the car was technically a write-off.  It hadn't been worth so much I would have had full comp, and even if I did, the write off value would have been circa £150/£200.

Had I never driven the car but put it into 'mothballs' for 30 years, it would doubtless be worth 10 - 20 times that money.  (As detailed >> here << )

 

  1969-ford-cortina-1600gt-3.jpg?mode=pad&

 

The colour of mine was a blue-ish metallic grey, but this image details what mine looked like before striking the telegraph pole. :wacko:

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by FastFreddy2

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8 hours ago, dww said:

I have many bad stories of driving in the late sixties and early seventies, one comes to mind chasing a rover down the outside lane of the M3 flashing  it out of the way in my souped up mk11 Cortina, then saw a sign in the rear window Thames valley high speed training car, opps quick change to the inside lane and drive home carefully, but I was flashing it out of the way at over 100mph.

... and which reminds me of a Plod encounter too:

Some 35 years ago, I was travelling into deepest Lincolnshire on an unfamiliar road and had just come over the brow of a hill with a long slope down to the junction where I needed to turn right.   A police car was parked across the major road at the junction and a copper with his back to me was bending down, speaking to its driver.   There was obviously some problem or road closure so I gently coasted down the hill until I almost reached the copper, who only then turned round and walked the few paces to my open driver's window.   Despite the fact that there were no signs out, he had not given any prior signal and I had pulled-up quite correctly, he enquired why I had failed to stop earlier 'as directed'.   I pointed out to him, politely, that waving his arse in my general direction did not constitute any road traffic instruction known to the Highway Code.   After a penetrating stare, he told me that there had been an accident in the major road ahead but I was OK to take the right turn I wanted.   I proceeded accordingly and he resumed his arse waving.

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There were quite a lot of 2 door mk2 Cortina's, but as you say not many GT's I wonder did it have to extra gauges in a hump in the middle of the dash or were they mounted in the dash just under the dash top, a redesign for the American market.

Talking about policemans bums I remember one day on the M40 travelling towards London a policeman had stopped a mini on the hard shoulder and he was talking to the driver arms folded on the roof and his bum was just sticking out in the inside lane, could not resist came in really close on the inside lane and just brushed his bum, he sort of span round in mid air, in my mirror I watched him sprint sort of to his car, knowing I was coming of at the next junction about 3rd of a mile I booted it and shot of in the direction of the M25 as it is now, but did not exist then, he never caught me.

My mk2 Cortina was bored to 1740cc very wide wheels, standard but cut in two and banded (illegal now) as 7j wheels were not available and it was made look like a 1600e, and fitted with two nikki twin choke carbs. It went very well, it was written of just outside Coventry, hit a phone box at 100mph, policeman told me if had been wearing my seatbelt I would not be here today, what happend the drivers seat was ripped out of the floor and I was thrown backwards onto the rear seat the roof was crushed totally on top of the drivers seat and if I had my seatbelt on I would have been under it, but I just got out via what was left of the rear window. But I still love mk2 cortinas, and wish I still owned one.

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