As we pulled onto the wide gravel drive, with the flag of St George gently flapping in the breeze, we just knew that we were going to meet a successful guy. The garage alone was the size of two detached houses, the lawns were pristine and every detail of the house immaculate.
'Around the World in 40 Days', 'East Africa Safari Rally', 'British Rally Champion', 'British Trials Champion' and even London to Timbuktu and back without a spare wheel to prove the strength of the tyres!
We both stood silently and in awe as he recounted stories of the most amazing adventures during his life. His record run to Cape Town with Ken Chambers back in 1963, with no radio, no satellite phone, no 4-wheel drive and for most of the way no roads, makes our own plans look very tame by comparison.
"This any good" he asked, pointing to a fully restored 1963 Cortina GT Rally car! There, along with with a host of Jaguars and a 1920's Roller was a near copy of what he and Ken had driven 10,000 miles to Cape Town in.
He jumped in and sped out of the garage, belying his 85 years as he did so. He sat talking in detail about that trip as though it were yesteday. I could barely remember what I had for breakfast that morning and there he was recounting in great detail the run across the Sahara and down the east of Africa.
After four hours of the most amazing stories, we had to bid him and his lovely wife goodbye. Hopefully though he will be able to make our reception in Marble Arch before we set off - it would be an honour to have him there.