Homage. Part 2. The Prodigal Child returns

Kill the calf,
Prepare the feast.
Pour the beer,
The Prodigal Son is here.

Its time to go and meet the maker.
Without piss taking or being overly dramatic, it is a nervous and oddly profound moment getting ready.

I need to drill the ramp extensions I picked up yesterday for bolt fittings and make sure they work as there isn’t much room in Tywardreath to unload (or load) the Elfin, nor time to fix it if it falls off the ramps!
David Emery, son of Peter, all of 5 years old when the car was built, is helping me to “make the entrance”.
Park the van in round the corner and down the road a bit. Car needs to be unloaded, nose and tail cones bolted on, get it started then drive it round the corner and up the street into Peter’s driveway. A stack of stuff needs to be unloaded and relocated to make way, but 30 minutes later, she is on the ground and the neighbours are gathering.

Hook up a jumper battery. Light the fuse.
Yadda Yad Batta BAT BAT BAT BAT.      Jeez, but she has some crackle!
Especially in a quiet {read VERY sedate} Cornish town.

1st gear and gun her down the street and up Trenant Rd.
The family are coming out on the front patio. Give it a bit extra.
Up the drive, a couple of blips on the gas and shut her down.

Peter is smiling so wide its hard to see the beard.
Jeanne is watching the long gone car return and also her husband for his reaction.
David is so happy at Peter’s reactions it is clear we have a magic moment.
Glamorous lady in the pink jacket is Sue, Peter and Jeanne’s daughter who (most fortuitously) had her Wednesday ferry back to Guernsey cancelled for the bad weather and is now here for the moment. She is as happy and excited as the young girl she was when it first fired up all those years ago. Feels like magic.
20150507_131220Peter, Susan and David Emery
Then we get Peter into the car. IMG_0485
Damn, but he still looks so clearly like he fits it properly, more so than I. Happy, happy day.

The moment is lingering and tender, humbling and particularly satisfying. Quite emotional for a cynical piss taker such as myself.
This is Peters car, not mine.
His creation, my responsibility.

And then, the extra bit from the stop at Knutsford,……….IMG_0489
The car raced its first UK race at Donington just the previous weekend and won a trophy in that first ever British race outing.
It is more appropriate for that trophy to reside with Peter Emery than me, so having engraved it with Emeryson ‘ELFIN’ it is passed to Peter. His award to be displayed in some place of pride and accomplishment.
Well done and congratulations Mr Emery, good sir.
Check out that smile. Peter was so enthused that he thought “everything picked up 5 or 6 notches” in energy and concentration levels. “Suddenly I can remember things and explain things clearly”. With the steepness of the driveway and the number of photos being taken with “Dad here”, “Dad there”, I’m impressed with how he copes. A formidable level of stamina required by Peter who enjoyed his 90th birthday 2 weeks ago.

Today has been about Peter Emery, his family and his creation.
My job is to carry the flag he raised when building this car.
8 months of design, build and test, with the collateral cost to a young family and good wife produced the Elfin Mk1.
My ‘Wee Warrior’, she goes willingly and fiercely into battle for me now, carrying the banner of “Emeryson Experimental Limited” proud on her breast
. Emery Elfin Nose badge ‘One of one’ as a BMC engined Elfin FJ car, or ‘one of two’ Emerson Experimental “Elfin” cars, it is the only car Peter built which he never raced. Yet now, it seems to be the only one which fights on, at tracks as far and wide across this planet as can be possible.

There are other Emeryson cars designed by Peter, including the rear engine Formula Junior and F1 cars. Many built and raced by him, especially in the Formula 250 class and more which were built, raced and sold by brother Paul Emery which are “Emeryson” cars.
The Elfin Mk1 and Elfin Mk2 are the only cars, just the two of them, that carry the “Emeryson Experimental Ltd” badge.
How many Emeryson cars in total remain? Some/many seem to be in museums or collections.
How many remain racing? It would be interesting to know.
This car, rare and special, races now and into the future as long as she has someone to pick that banner up and carry it forward. Who will be the next flag bearer I wonder?

Peter, my thanks and gratitude go to you Sir.

Cheers and many, many thanks,


12 thoughts on “Homage. Part 2. The Prodigal Child returns

  1. That’s brilliant Tony – must have been a huge moment not only for Peter and family but for you too. Its like the once in a life time pilgrimage back to the maker.

    Interesting about the gearbox oil quantity issues – I found with the Lola that it was forced out oil and reduced the oil to now less than 1 litre – a different gearbox being BMC smooth case but perhaps the principle the same.

    Weather starting too cool down here as winter approaches and I’m in the middle of going through the Taraschi to accept the new Dan Setford engine being put together here by Allan Cattle. Spent the last day trying to bleed the twin leading shoe front brakes but made up a master cylinder pressure system out of a garden pump sprayer and that ended up solving the problem.

    Had dinner around at Nigel’s on Friday night – promised the girls we would not talk about cars (yeh right!). First dinner start delayed by Nigel and I in the garage (“only for a couple of minutes”) looking over FJ parts and then did delve into discussion on the newly discovered identity of Peter Benbrook’s recently acquired DKW rear engined FJ. Turns out it is the one and only BLW DKW FJ made in US in 1959 and the original driver ended up dying in 1996 of aids after being convicted of meth dealing and accessory to murder! Anyway dinner turned into a 7.5 hour affair and finally got home early morning ……..



    1. Sooooo,
      I’m picking that the car will get a rebuild AND a hosedown.
      Anybody touched the gearstick while loading it?

      I can easily imagine the dinner starting about 2 1/2 hrs late.
      For any visitors to the Yellow Eyesore, there is a lovely space under the Elfin, between the heavy tools bin and the brake and suspension bin on one side and fluids and electrical bins on the other.
      (Mind though, that is the space used by the air bed when the car is out of the van. lmao)


  2. Ollie – don’t forget that Bob and I are leaving London in the Aurelia on or around the 28th May and heading down the east side of France into Italy and onto Rome. Realising Pau ( you lucky bugger from what I hear) is nowhere near our route but – let’s see where you are then. Or we will be heading back to LeMans 24hr after the Modena Cento Ore – so maybe we can come and dine in the Very Yellow Twuck Cafe somewhere


  3. Hey Ollie…shite you’re a tough bugger giving up the comforts of your lovely home and wife all for the betterment of Formula Junior…we should all be bowing to you. Buggered if i could spend too many nights in the van trying to tell myself i don’t need to have a wee, it’s all in my head…and hurry the f$%k up and go to sleep!!!

    Very quiet hear as Auckland goes into Winter hibernation mode, though with 20 degrees and clear sunny days…ok even if its now and again…you could be filled into thinking we might miss out on winter this year…yeah right!

    Anyway off to do Targa for 4 days come Friday…across to the Coromandel and then down to Rotorua…the Toyota is ready to go so hope the weather stays good. Then on the 29th May Tolich and I jump on a plane heading to Europe…Rome specifically where we will meet up with Paul Halford, John Dennehy, David Fitzsimons and Bob Deming for the start of the Cento Ore Rally which ends in Modena. I’ve shipped over my 100S and Paul has shipped his Lancia…David has a 74 911 RS Lightweight which David and Neil will use. Then we are off to Le Man and after Le Man I’m heading back to Italy to do the Vernasca Silver Flag Hill climb…so with a bit of luck we may yet miss the worst of winter …ha.

    Rebuild of my Stanguellini engine started but way behind Roger and inflicted with the same problem…getting the bits from Daniel.

    So hey stay well Ollie and keep living the dream mate….cheers Michael


    1. Man, go for it.
      I’ll google the Cento Ore to see the route and timetable.
      Depending on routes back to Le mans, I may be in Aix de Provence by then or a bit further east.
      Have a ball boys (pun intended).
      Best of luck that all will be reliable and a trouble free run enjoyed by all.


  4. Ollie that is a truly heart felt story… well done mate, and really looking forward to reports of the next adventures


    Enjoying your adventures. Motor racing on the backburner over here. Kids sports dominate. Henry has taken up fencing which is fun to watch and he competed in Rock Quest over the weekend. South Auckland schools Puke and Manurewa High, St Kents and Kings! Kings were outstanding. Rasta band from Puke pretty good too.
    Your not missing much here. Capital gains tax coming and x-factor all over.



    1. From an overnight truck stop about 600kms from my morning start in Amiens, I cruised down into La Rochelle via a side step into Tranche sur Mer, after my 6am breakfast cookup of chorizo and eggs with a cup of tea. Parked the big blaumange and wandered into the old port and found a wifi cafe.
      Great views and people watcingh even if arriving here at 9:30am was too early for most.
      C’est France non?
      More news shortly Simon. Thanks for the heads up. Best of luck to Harry that he doesn’t cop a pointy one and good luck to the kids for whatever else they are up to.
      Cheers and ciao
      “The Gypsy”


  6. Hey Bro, sounds as if you are having an interesting time despite the sleeping arrangements—–how often have you opted out for a more comfortable bed—-don’t answer that—-it may spoil the rest of the installments. Just back from duck slaughtering, with a few goats and wallaby’s added for interest, and had a trip a bit like your last one into France. Got a txt from Interislander at 2pm saying following days ferry likely to be cancelled, so rebooked on only available ferry—10.30pm that night, which arrived in Wgtn at around 2am. Got off and drove to Akl through Desert Rd snow etc and arrived at home 9.30am—cold wet flannel got a lot of use in the last 100km.
    When is the next race meeting—-you seem to have been there a long time for just the Donnington affair, but a nice touch taking the trophy to Peter. He sounded pretty stoked with the whole visit.
    There must be a lot of interesting machinery on display around the circles you are now moving—anything catching your wallet’s attention????
    Took the two sons in law out deerstalking for a week prior to the duck murdering trip, and made a first effort on venison sausages when we got back—pretty good result, and some ideas for improvement on the next batch. Our normal butcher’s example sets a very high bar !!!!
    Off to the beach for some fishing for a few days, then back for a week, then off to SFO for Ed’s wedding and some warm weather. Hope things have warmed up a bit over there, and the kingsize bed hasn’t become too unwieldy atop the rocket. Thought you may have had a bicycle inner tube to a bucket operating by now?????
    Looking forward to future posts, and hope all continues to go well.


    1. Mate, Life is for Living so go and grab a slice eh?
      Am in the North of Spain right now in Orio. Should be hot and dry but is cold, windy and on/off/on/off drizzly rain.
      Wouldn’t be so bad but I just put the washing out for the 3rd time.
      LOL. See ya. Racing vid on dropbox for you now


      1. Just watched video, and looks like a challenging track. Just as well there are so many sand traps eh? Hope you didn’t spend too much of the race just racing yourself, and next time stop for the guy on the pedestrian crossing—or are the laws different over there? A video like this one for each track would be interesting if not too much of a problem.
        Keep playing.


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