Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 5°C

Search

My First Car: Rough and ready for Jeep thrills

PUBLISHED: 09:10 09 November 2015 | UPDATED: 09:10 09 November 2015

Felix Newson's Jeep on the beach at Jacob's Ladder at Felixstowe.

Felix Newson's Jeep on the beach at Jacob's Ladder at Felixstowe.

supplied

Felix Newson really hit the beach in the Sixties in his Second World War Willys Jeep – great fun in summer but freezing in winter.

Reading the amusing stories in your series My First Car has brought back memories of my first vehicle.

Two weeks after passing my motorcycle test in 1960 when I was 18, I was knocked off the bike in Hamilton Road, Felixstowe. I was in hospital for three months and off work for a year. I rode the bike again when my leg was out of plaster but soon realised I needed four wheels to be more visible to other road users.

So, in 1961, I bought an ex-British Army, American-made, Second World War Willys Jeep. I even learned to drive in it, although it was not legal to take the driving test in, as it was a left-hand drive vehicle with no indicators.

I had some lessons in a Ford 100E, with a few problems alternating driving left-hand to right hand-drive vehicles – like trying to change gear in the Ford with the door handle and looking up in the wrong direction for the rear view mirror!

With the Jeep hood and screen folded down it was just like a four-wheeled motorcycle, long before quad bikes came on the scene.

In the summer months it was great fun but in the winter it was freezing, especially the winter of 1963. No sides or doors would’ve meant heaters rendered useless – even if it had any.

With my mates, mainly Ray Wade, Peter Cooper, Bob Taylor and the late Trevor Harvey, we would drive from Felixstowe Ferry to Jacob’s Ladder along the beach, have a game of football, then drive back. Of course this had to be done at low water as the shingle at the top of the beach was almost impossible to drive on.

On one occasion a row of ‘piles’ (posts) blocked our way so, in an effort to get past them, we decided to take a run and drive around them and this meant driving into the loose shingle at the top of the beach. Unfortunately, hidden just under the shingle, was another pile, which we hit with one wheel and it bounced the Jeep on top of it, becoming wedged between the petrol tank (under the driver’s seat) and the rear axle. It took about an hour to hack off the top of the pile to free the Jeep, bearing in mind if we hadn’t it would’ve been under water at high tide.

Once the vehicle was freed, we found out the exhaust pipe had also broken. We managed to tie it up with rope, which had seemed a good idea until it caught fire on the way home.

Driving down Bent Hill one day, the rear axle differential ‘exploded’. We coasted to a stop, removed the axle half shafts and rear propeller shaft, put it in four wheel drive and drove away. In fact, I drove 11,000 miles in front wheel drive only, until I could afford to fit another axle.

Looking back, I seemed to spend as much time working on the Jeep as I did driving it. Even though I ran the Jeep for five years after I married, it definitely wasn’t an ideal family car so in 1969 sold it for £60.

Tell us about your first car – bright spots, breakdowns, delights and disasters. Email your first car memories, with a picture if you have one, to motoring@archant.co.uk

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ipswich Star visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ipswich Star staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ipswich Star account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

It was a case of déjà vu for an Ipswich Hospital practitioner who recently found herself caring for newborn twin girls - 24 years after she looked after their father.

Orwell Park School near Ipswich has held its annual charity fun run.

A fundraising page to help care for horses seized by welfare organisations in Paper Mill Lane near Ipswich has raised more than £3,400.

With festival season nearly upon us, can you name all the acts performing at this year’s Latitude festival from their album covers?

Dear Mum,

Bringing my newborn daughter home from the hospital 10 years ago was terrifying.

An 86-year-old man from Ipswich who was reported missing to police earlier today has been found safe and well.

Care home staff in Ipswich have been praised for their “tireless” dedication by their new manager.

More than 20 level crossings across Suffolk could be closed or modified to improve safety, efficiency and reliability on the county’s train lines.

Clacton MP Douglas Carswell has announced he is leaving UKIP to become an independent MP after helping the party to achieve Brexit.

A 15-year-old girl from Ipswich who was reported missing to police this morning has been found “safe and well”.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24