They don’t do motoring press lunches like this now.
Ford did it in the Kintyre Suite of the Central Hotel with partridge terrine, mussel chowder, lobster vol-au-vent in brandy sauce, saddle of venison and mousse of Drambuie. Wines Alsatian Reisling, Gevrey Chambertin 1953, and Château Climens 1952. At a mere 8 years old the Gevrey-Chambertin may have been a bit nouveau. Never mind, I thought I had hit the big time.
It was 1961. Ford wanted dealer principals to hear what JR Read and JMA Smith had to say and meet what it called Gentlemen of the Scottish Press, really the founding members of the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers (ASMW). JB McLaren of the Glasgow Herald, Jim Bowman of The Scotsman and Alistair Cameron of the Scottish Daily Express shared the top table with Harold Nockolds motoring correspondent of The Times, up for the Scottish Motor Show in the Kelvin Hall.
And it was Gentlemen Only. There were 108 guests and not one woman. I did say they don’t do things like this now. Ford dealers included big names of the Scottish motor trade, two of the Skelly brothers Billy who built his own Lea-Francis Special and raced a Formula 2 Frazer-Nash and Ian who had an MGTF. We were all from Motherwell. Ian and I dated the same girl. At different times.
There were Alexanders, Arniel, Carlaw (Dan, the Ford one not an Austin one), Frasers and RL Jobling who could have walked from his big showroom in Bothwell Street. ASMW founders included Bill Knox (Glasgow Evening Times? News? Citizen?), Frank Walker (Scottish Daily Mail) Alex Bruce, Graham Gauld (Motor World), Bill Morris (Daily Record), Frank Walker (Scottish Daily Mail) and Bill Amos (Scottish Field, Top Gear). Ford PR was a young fresh-faced clever Harry Calton. He started my conversation with Ford Motor Company that continues. All credit to Ford. This was my first invitation to anything from any car manufacturer. It noticed my first ever motoring column in The Hamilton Advertiser.