My Cars - Rex Holford

My first car was a 1950 Sunbeam Talbot 90 of Monte Carlo Rally fame. This was quickly followed by the convertible version which, in 1964, reached the majestic heights of 100mph before the hood collapsed. In those days the roads were far less crowded and the need for good brakes and a strong gearbox was not essential. However, with a well paid job in the bag it was time to step up a cog, so the first of three Mk2 Jaguars arrived. To this day I believe that they were the best all round sports saloons of their day. What more could you wish for, 100+mph coupled with good road holding, classic lines and great comfort.

This only lasted until the early 70's when fuel prices began to sky rocket. It was time to come down to earth and a succession of Escorts, Capri's, 1100's, 1300's and finally a 1600 Caviller followed.

In the early part of the 1980's the mid-life crisis occurred which left me looking for a more attractive and sporty mode of transport. The run of the mill MG's etc didn't raise any interest, but then I spotted the TR7 - that was the car for me. After looking round for a few weeks I found an accident damaged/rebuilt convertible which fitted the bill.

Membership of the TRDC soon followed and I began to learn all about V8ing TR7's. Within two years the second TR7V8 in Hampshire was on the road and emulating the Sunbeam and Jag. It was a great feeling to unleash 200+bhp on to the newly opened M27.

In 1987 I spotted an advert for a genuine TR8 being sold locally. Knowing the rarity of these cars I was a little sceptical, but it was correct although right hand drive, and in a very sad state. The deal was struck and I became the proud owner of KHP 533V a works USA spec car fitted with EFI and factory fitted right hand drive steering. The next three years saw it totally stripped and rebuilt to "as new". A great deal of credit for this must go to Ian Tinsey without whose engineering skills the project would have taken much longer.

Fast forward 25 years and the '8 is still on the road, having covered 22K miles since the rebuild. As I am now eligible for the obligatory bus pass, Ian services it regularly and it is enjoyed during the summer months only.