bangers4ben Blog

10.02.09: Bangers4BEN – the success story in full

Time 13 years ago


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1,496 miles, three days, seven fill ups, one flat tyre and a leaking radiator – but our £200 chariots made it. 

No, I can’t quite believe it either. But you know the really shocking bit? We didn’t get caught in traffic once.

Not once did we have to stop and wait in a traffic queue other than at a red light.

Considering we’ve quite literally covered the length of Britain I think that’s even more amazing than the fact our Bangers made it.

I’m not going to say it was easy. The very fact I’m writing this the day after we got back is testament to how hard 12 hours’ driving and 603 miles in a day is.

Yesterday we left the frankly quite luxurious Best Western hotel at Inverness (reluctantly) at 8.45am and we crossed the threshold of Portsmouth exactly 12 hours later.

We encountered two foot of snow in the Cairngorms, speed cameras on the M6 and then some torrential downpours in the south east.

But still the cars – which actually cost less each then the hotel room we’d been upgraded into the night before – made it all the way.

It wasn’t completely without drama. As we were pulling out of one petrol station near Carlisle, Duncan’s Calibra sprung a leak.

After coping with the coldest night in Scotland on record, the radiator decided it enough was enough and dropped its contents into the slush on the forecourt.

Not to be beaten we set to work with some Radweld. Luckily it happened at a petrol station as we could top up on caffeine while the magic formula got to work.

Within a few minutes the leak was plugged and we were back on our way – only some 470-odd miles to go. But it held out fine. The only thing we had to battle for the rest of the day was service station fast food and many, many monotonous miles.

I actually got quite attached to my Mondy. After so long behind the wheel it began to fit like a glove; I knew instinctively where the heater and stereo controls were without looking and began to love its throaty V6 rumble.

I even put up with its weird wobbly steering wheel, Christmas tree-light dash and funky smell.

The other guys were just the same. Will’s Volvo was solid as a rock and in absolutely A1 condition at the end of the trip. Dan’s BMW was like a brick, completely unbreakable and a bit rough round the edges, while Dunc’s Calibra defied the odds by holding onto its internal fluids for the rest of the journey.

Ok, so we had to ditch the track day on Saturday because of the flat-tyre start, but the trip was still eventful – and a resounding success.

We did, after all, make it all the way from Portsmouth to John O’Groats and back in cars costing just £200…

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Now we’ve just got to find some mugs, sorry I mean customers, to buy the cars. Might be a bit harder than we first imagined.








James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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