Anthony st Matthew Crichton Barrett
Born in 1967 in Birmingham to a family surrounded in vintage cars, it was no wonder that they would become part of my life, my earliest memories were of me clambering over Vintage Rolls Royce’s.
Dad sat on a 20hp ex hearse some time around 1972.
growing up in south Staffs in the late 70s and all my friends being into the cars of the day, Escorts, Capris, minis and the like, my eyes were set on a black Derby Bentley with Park Ward body that sat under an oak tree on the family farm, it just fell in love with the lines on that automobile and unbeknownst to me it must have been my first love affair.
at the age of nine learning to drive a big old Humber hawk I was hooked to cars, my first purchase was a 1940s Rover 12 sports for £75 whilst Dad was buying a Bentley R Type or Mk6, got it dragged home by a family friend on an old GEC plant trailer that hydraulically raised and lowered, it was unceremoniously dumped in the back field where I set to work to get it running, wearing my blue flared jeans and my favourite Blue Yamaha sweatshirt.
well after a few hours of ripping the old rotten body off and finding where to connect a battery, which was found after emptying 4lb of acorn husks from the battery box.
Dad always taught me if there’s was fuel and a spark anything will start, he drummed into me that before I flattened the very important battery that I had to carry across the field, I would have to first get ignition! Ie key, switch, power! If this was not achievable then a cable from the live terminal on the battery to the positive on the coil, before conecting I must remove the distributor cab, remove contact points and with some fine grit emery cloth clean the build up of staining on the flats of the points, then clean the brass end on the rotor arm then flick off the build up of carbon or corrosion from the ends of the hot lead pickups.
Then once I put it all back together and there was a good blue spark I would move onto the fuel system, this would entail finding the old SU pump and removing the Bakelite cover and doing the same remedy as I did with the contact points, cleaning the dirt off to make a good clean contact.
failing this, which was so often the way, I would have to improvise and fill an old washing up liquid bottle with fuel and squirt it down the intake direct.
this early lessons stood me in good stead throughout the 80s and 90s when discovering Barn Finds.
sure enough the Old Rover smoked into life with a couple of throws of the starting handle and the petrolhead in me was born.
theres a classic car magazine clipping of me proudly standing in a cloud of white smoke stood next to the Rover floating around somewhere.