Escape From Zanzibar
 

Here is the story of my Cambridge :-

FX 7 (It's original number) was registered new in Zanzibar in April 1960, assigned to C.F.Long of the Education Dept, then sold to Mr G I Walker of the Ministry of Agriculture in August 1962.

He purchased the vehicle for his wife, as she had recently written off her Fiat 500 after swerving to avoid running over a local, then unfortunately hitting a palm tree!

Mr Walker was employed to train the locals of Zanzibar (then a British Protectorate) to grow crops other than the Cloves that they then relied on for income, diversifying into coffee and various herbs and spices to provide other income should the Cloves harvest fail .

Mrs Walker was employed as a nursing sister in the main islands only hospital, and they both lived with their 3 children in a large house called Kisambani.

In 1964 the Islands were invaded by the Tanzanian Rebel Army, at which time all foreigners were told to leave. The Cambridge was loaded up with as many belongings as possible and was driven to the port. Mrs Walker came back to Britain with the children, whilst Mr Walker returned in the car to help others escape.

 

1 month later the car was loaded up again, driven back to the port, loaded onto a ship and returned to Britain via the Suez Canal.

The car was then registered in London, and subsequently driven to Aberdeen to rejoin the family.

The car was used that summer, but Mrs Walker found it difficult to get used to the volume of traffic (!) in the city compared to what she had been used to in Zanzibar, so the car was put in the garage on blocks , and there it stayed for 33 years, until she sold it in late '97!

The engine had suffered because of this long period of no use, as had the brakes and suspension etc., which can only be expected.

The gentleman that she sold it to carried out the necessary repairs to make it roadworthy again.

He sold it to a friend of mine, and I have hounded him to sell it to me for quite some time.
A few months ago the car became mine.

It has still only covered less than 31,000 miles from new, and only needs some minor attention to make perfect again. It has it's original bench seat and column gearchange.

There are marks on the steering wheel where the pet monkey that the family had in Zanzibar used to hang on it, and tiny teeth marks in the brass ring on the end of the gear lever where it used to chew it.
If ever a car had a story to tell, this is it.

What happened to the original number is unclear, but I guess it is either something to do with either the big logbook changeover in 1977, or the guy who did the work on it sold it on separately from the car.

Les Dolan lsd509@hotmail.com