Jay Dalgarno – A car fit for a King

“I need a very specific spanner. It’s a 90s luxury saloon BMW 5 Series. Here, I have a picture. And my boss at the garage wrote down the specs I need for the bolts too, here you go. Do you have these in?”

“Wow what a beauty. Never seen a car like it. How much did you get it for?”

“A tenner.”

“What? No, you’re pulling my leg.”

“I swear to you, it was ten whole pounds. I know, I couldn’t believe it either. Funny story behind it too.”

“Go on. I’ve no customers in.”

“Well, it was a few years back, I was a teenager, just starting out as an apprentice at the BMW garage. Irony is, I couldn’t drive yet, so I used to cycle in. And sometimes, on a nice day, I’d go the long route, lose myself in the back streets a little bit, look at all the big houses. And I cycled past this kind of ordinary house, but with this car outside. And being a petrolhead, I had to stop and have a closer look. A vintage BMW luxury saloon just sat on the driveway covered in moss and leaves, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Could tell it was in bad nick, but the bones of it, just beautiful.”

“So, who owned it?”

“I went and knocked on the door and this old guy answered by the name of Paul. 

And I asked him about the car and how he came by it, and we ended up having a good old chat. Turns out, it was first bought in 1992 by the King of Jordan, Abdullah II.

“Oh, Royalty is it?”

“The King had bought it for his son, the current King of Jordan. He still had the original receipt, it was sold for £34,000, but Paul had persuaded the King’s chauffeur to sell it to him.”

“Wait, it’s worth £34,000 and was bought by a King, and then a lowly apprentice snapped it up for ten quid?”

“Exactly, I was bowled over. Paul didn’t have any interest in cars really, and no family to pass it onto, so he said, “I tell you what, you give me whatever you can, and you can drive it away right now.” The guys at the garage couldn’t believe it.

“How did you drive it away if you couldn’t drive?”

“My dad came and got it. And gave me his tenner to be fair. It became our project – me and my old man. All the apprentices helped get it in working order again, I was like a celebrity at the garage that day. But then it was me and dad, doing it up over the years.”

“That’s grand, lovely to have something like that with your dad.”

“Yeah.”

“You alright son?” 

“Yeah. Sorry. He passed on before we could get to the nuts and bolts do up job. It was our thing, but now I’m doing it solo.”

“You’ll do him proud. You do that car up to honour him, and then you drive it around the world. You drive it to Jordan and show it off. You’ll feel like a king.”

“Nah, the King bought it for his son, and my old man bought it for me. He was the King. One day I’ll return the favour Paul did and pass it on. For now, I’ll take that spanner and those bolts mate and I’m going to make it a car fit for Royalty again.” 

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