On one of our boys’ nights out, we celebrated Gordon Sherris’s achievement in obtaining his driver’s licence. None of us were able to afford a car of any description, however Gordon’s father was a traveller for a local paint company and drove one of the firm’s Hillman estate cars. We had a few pints at the Wellington, then headed for the United Services Club on Grange Road to finish off the session and have a game of cards. Gordon leaned across the table.

“How do you feel about going for a spin? We can borrow dad’s car.”

Gordon’s dad was also a member of the club and was playing snooker upstairs. We all thought it was a great idea. Malla spoke for the rest of us: “Let’s go!” he said.

Dion & The Belmonts – ‘Teenager in Love’  1960
Each night I ask the stars up above
Why must I be a teenager in love?

The car keys were in his dad’s overcoat pocket in the foyer. In no time, the car was speeding along the Trunk Road with everyone egging Gordon on to take the next bend a bit faster. I was in the front passenger seat and Malla and Gordon Patterson were in the rear. The car made it around the first curve of the Grangetown round-a-bout, but as Gordon tried to pull back onto the straight, the car flipped. It ended up on its roof with the engine still roaring. What a mess – no windscreen and a dramatic crease along the full length of the roof where it hit the sharp shoulder of the round-a-bout.

We managed to clamber out of the smashed window, miraculously unhurt, and threw the car back onto its wheel as though it weighed nothing! We were desperate to get the car off the road. Gordon somehow got back inside and drove the car about 100m, where he ran it off the road and into the bushes, just as the engine seized.

Mr Sherris had no idea that the car was missing, when Gordon rang him at the Club from a nearby phone box. After confirming that everyone was unhurt, he reported the car stolen and after a solemn meeting and a stern lecture we were told to keep quiet. Gordon didn’t drive again for quite a long time.

Chubby Checker – ‘Let’s Twist Again’  1960
Do you remember when
Things were really hummin’
Yeah let’s twist again
Twist the time is here

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