Mrs. Anderson standing beside the long wheel base Lancia Astura

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1 The Steady Special

2 The Steady Special Mrs. Anderson standing beside the long wheel base Lancia Astura Life Cycle of the 'Steady Special' and other stories... Imagine being taught to drive in a supercharged Morris Minor, owned by the ex Pathfinder pilot and editor of Autocar, Maurice Smith. What sort of a silver spoon was that! Having passed my test, I was then rewarded by Maurice and allowed to drive his Aston Martin DB3 convertible over to his road test editor at the Autocar, Ronald Barker. As a result of this meeting, I became a dedicated Lancia car enthusiast as Ronald Steady Barker was a fanatical lover the Italian mark. At that time Steady had a stable of amazing cars consisting of a hp Peugeot Quadrillate, a Lancia Dilamda, a Lancia Short Astura and a Peugeot saloon.

3 I spent weekend after weekend driving the 10 miles to Weybridge to work on the Dilambda and spent an awful lot of my time wanting the 2 seater sports racing car that was gathering dust in the back of the garage. The rolling chassis after the body had been removed and 4ft cut of the chassis. Being towed back to Cheltenham from the coach builders

4 Steady and friend when rebuild was nearing completion Steady driving the Astura with Maurice Smith in the passenger seat?

5 Start of its first race at VSCC Silverstone Still ahead of the Alfa after five laps About this time Steady managed to buy, from a retired Colonel on Odium, a prewar Grand Prix Napier and at the time I had a Land Rover and trailer and we collected the parts and brought them back to the overcrowded garage in Weybridge, and I spent next few years helping Steady reassemble the Napier which he then raced at Silverstone and all over the country.

6 Another picture of Scottie standing beside the bones of the grand prix Napier soon after it was collected from the post office in Odiham, where it had been dismantled just after WW1.

7 Rather serious Scottie!

8 The finished article racing at Silverstone

9 The Short Astura been a six-seater limousine owned by BOAC s director of Engineering. Steady had the notion that by removing the massive coach built body and shortening the chassis, he could produce a lightweight sports racing car. Years later this was achieved and the car raced at VSCC Silverstone, Oulton Park and Prescott, achieving fastest laps at all three circuits.

10 In 1955, Motor Sport published an article all about the Steady Special.

11 Soon after this Steady managed to purchase a famous an ex-mille Miglia Lancia Astura and decided he would finally agree to sell me the short Astura; 400 lighter, I towed the car home. Once I had got the car running and had it painted In Italian Red, I planned to go to the South of France for a holiday and stay with my current French lover! Chris Sykes posing in front of Scottie's car, beside Michael Lewer (my co-drivers') AC ACE Bristol and the Mini pick-up.

12 To make this trip, I thought it wise to have a spare wheel and as usual my very good friend Steady happened to know where there was one. Less than a mile away from his home in Weybridge and we duly went to see the car, and bought the whole car for 15, taking just wheel and agreeing to collect the car after my trip to France. The 15 tyre donor in a dilapidated garage on a private estate in Oaklands village, Weybridge.

13 TURIN SHOW AND BATTISTA PININ FARINA At this time, Steady was at the Turin Motor show and took with him photographs of the Astura, and showed them to Battista (Pinin Farina), who immediately recognised the car as one of the first he had designed when he left his father s business and started up on his own. Spontaneously he announced that if I brought the car to him, he would rebuild it free of charge to celebrate that the car was still in existence. Steady returned with this amazing news, and hardly able to believe my own good fortune, I started the mammoth task of rebuilding the mechanical components of the car. A year later, I advised the Pinin Farina factory that the car was ready to be delivered and on receipt of a telegram, I set off to deliver the car to Torino. The car was duly delivered and I managed to find a Lancia B20 saloon to bring back from Italy, via the South of France, and the same girlfriend On Tow!... On Scottie's return from France.

14 At the flat in Reigate, being prepared for the journey to Italy. The built engine returning to be reinstalled.

15 En route to Torino, via the old Le Mans pits.

16 A year later we received a telegram, saying the car was ready for collection. John Bowman, Chris Sykes and myself, left England in John s type 57 sc Bugatti. Having driven through the Alpes and slept on the side of the road on army camp beds, we arrived at the Pinin Farina factory, in what Battista claimed was the only car could upstage the Astura. Driving at 100mph in John's Bugatti, en route to collect the Lancia.

17 The epic journey to Turin, passing through the Alpes. Stopping for the night

18 Early morning campsite On arrival at Pinin Farina with Battista

19 Proudly presenting his 275 GTB The great man with the now wonderful Astura

20 The final press picture of this magnificent car. For the next few years, I used the car to promote our newish classic car brokerage firm, John Scott and Partners. Then disaster struck and I was divorced and had to sell the car.

21 A wedding celebration Moody shot from Michael Cooper

22 It was offered of course to Pinin Farina who was not in a position to buy it, so I put an advert in Classic and Sports car and the legendary Eric Clapton asked me to show him the car. He bought it in 1976 for 10,800. The sale to the legend... At the same time, I sold the short Astura as the VSCC had refused to let me race it with its non period Aston Martin bonnet. The car was sold to a fellow Lancia Club member, Roland Grazebrook, who removed the body and did nothing else to the car until he sold it back to Steady in 20 years later The short Astura returns to Steady's and Scottie buys it back after 30 years for 15,000.

23 The day we collected it. The car remained with Steady and he designed the body that he considered to be acceptable to the VSCC as a PVT Tourer.

24 Steady's design for the replacement body. In 1991, I repurchased the car for 15,000, and so shall the story continue

25 Article from Classic & Sports about Eric Clapton

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