That his first car was a Riley Pathfinder might have seemed a strange choice. He was 26-years-old and finally needed to be more mobile than public transport allowed.
How did the Riley cross his radar? He was only in the market for something second-hand. Aesthetics played a part.
He favoured smooth flowing lines and a Mark I Jaguar would have been his first choice but they were out of his price range.
He became attracted to English cars of the 1950s and 60s, Rovers, MG Magnets and Wolseley 444s, an Armstrong Siddeley even. Wolseley also had a larger version, a 690, which was more like a Jaguar.
Then a mate told him about the Riley he’d found for $295. ‘Riley’s shit all over Wolseleys’, his mate said. ‘In their day they were a more impressive marque than Jags. If you don’t buy it I’ll buy it myself.’
He was a young man who wanted to make his marque.
His mate added that in truth the Riley Pathfinder wasn’t a real Riley because it inhabited a Wolseley body – same as the 690 – but it had a genuine Riley engine and a genuine Riley engine was something.
The interior of the Pathfinder was special too, wood panelling on the dash and leather seats. The luxury of 1955 might have been twenty years past but it was still Luxury with a capital L.
It not only looked good, it smelt good.
It also had one really cool feature. A four-on-the-floor right-hand gearstick.
He thought you’d normally associate a right-hand gearstick with a left-hand drive so this was awesome although people didn’t say that then. He was sold.
It made his day.
Just a fortnight later it also made his night when he picked up a spunk from his local pub.
A spunk who liked a bit of Ol’ 55.
A spunk who reckoned a four-on-the-floor right-hand gearstick was ‘Real cool’ as she kicked up her legs and laid back luxuriating in the leather, smelling it, tasting it.
He drove her to where she wanted to go. To where he wanted to go.
He gave her a choice, ‘Your place? Mine?’
‘Yours’, she said.