Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Third Godfather

Whilst writing the previous blog mentioning my Godfathers, I was reminded of another story which involved two of them.
GF3 was an American who had had a very smart American car ( beautiful maroon colour) shipped over to the UK. However, he was then sent off to India, and the car was left in my father's care.
Now GF1, he of the eventual British Leyland persuasion, longed to get his hands on this car to take it apart and make it divulge all the secrets of American manufacturers.
The car was parked at the works of OKL's screw manufacturers. One day, two men turned up in suits and bowler hats, as one did at the time, with several bits of official looking paper, demanded the keys and said they were impounding the car as the correct import duty had not been paid. Somewhat bemused by this, and as there was no email, fax, or even meaningful telephone service to India at the time, my father handed it over, getting a proper receipt. He immediately sent off telegrams and all sorts to get an answer from GF3.
As you can imagine, it took more than a week for a definitive answer to come back - no duty was payable according to the American Embassy, as the car was going to be re-exported.
How to get the car back? Phoned the number on the forms - zilch.
Just as OKL was beginning to panic, the car reappeared in the yard, with the same two men, who handed it back and said it had all been a terrible mistake, so sorry, blah, blah ,blah, and off they toddled.
The car was taken out every couple of weeks and carefully driven around. It was lovingly cared for and washed and polished by the mechanic.
Until one day, whilst polishing, a bit of the paint came off. Great perturbation. It was decided to leave it and report to GF3. GF3 expressed astonishment.
The next time the car was washed, a lot more paint fell off.
I won't bore you with the rest of the details, but OKL decided the best thing to do was call in GF1 and try to get it resprayed before GF3 came back.
GF1 looked a bit sheepish.
" Er, we did that already"
Then of course it all came out. He had had the car high-jacked, taken to pieces and put back together, and they were driving it along the measured mile near the Blue Boar garage when it crashed.
And they fixed it, and resprayed it.
Except the American standards at the time were superior to those of the UK, and the paint didn't take properly.
So GF1 and OKL got it resprayed again and left it severely alone until GF3 collected it.
Some months later he called to say the paint was peeling off.

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