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My First Car: Ford 100E van gained loads more comfort

A model of a Ford 100E van like the 1960 vehicle bought by Peter Lane for £300. Picture: Peter Lane

A model of a Ford 100E van like the 1960 vehicle bought by Peter Lane for £300. Picture: Peter Lane

Peter Lane

Peter Lane bought a year-old Ford 100E van in 1961 and he and a school friend enjoyed some memorable, and eventful, camping trips in Scoland with it.

The receipt for £5 four shillings and 10 pence to cover buying and fitting a new water pump fitted in 1963. Picture: Peter LaneThe receipt for £5 four shillings and 10 pence to cover buying and fitting a new water pump fitted in 1963. Picture: Peter Lane

This is a model of my first vehicle – a Ford 100E van, registration DEX 677 – in a smart dark blue.

It was bought for £300 in 1961, when it was one year old, and I had this vehicle for three years.

I decided, for comfort, to upgrade the seats to some bucket-style ones taken from a 1940s Austin from a scrapyard at Gorleston. To make the van quieter, and less noisy, I lined the floor and roof with felt, which was then covered in white linen, and carpeted the floor. I also fitted front fog and spot lamps and twin reversing lamps activated when the gear lever was put into reverse and hit a leaf switch.

A school friend and I decided to buy a tent from the Army and Navy store in Great Yarmouth in 1963 and tour Scotland. After a few camping stops, we arrived in north-west Scotland and the water pump packed up. We always carried plenty of water and managed to top up every so often until, finally, we came across a small garage miles from any town. The owner said he would order one from Oban and it would arrive the next day by train. In the meantime, we could camp over in the field and use the bathroom in the bungalow over there as the owners were away. We did so gladly.

The next day the water pump arrived as promised and was fitted. After paying the bill of £5 four shillings and 10 pence we were on our way again. I still have the receipt.

We used this vehicle again in 1964 to go to Scotland – there was still no Forth Road Bridge. We hired a Motent – a tent on a trailer – which was very basic but comfortable, and ended up at the Mull of Kintyre.

We parked up for the night but got the front offside wheel stuck in a hole. After jacking the vehicle up, and filling the hole with stones, we got it out. And then we ran out of petrol but, fortunately, we always carried a can of petrol. We then prepared something to eat and turned in for the night.

This vehicle was no more trouble. It was regularly polished and looked very smart. In 1964 I changed it for a green and white 1958 Hillman Minx Estate with a bench seat and column change but that is another story.

Tell us about your first set of wheels – email your memories with a picture to motoring@archant.co.uk or post it to Andy Russell, Archant motoring editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.

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