“I had a love affair with anything on wheels from an early age. Raised on a farm in the Esk Valley, I fell in love with a Bristol 407and bought it at 16 years of age. The engine was stripped down and sitting in a hen hut and it needed a complete rebuild. I sourced the engine parts in Toronto Canada at ‘Hasanalies Spares’ which was a dodge spare parts shop. With the starter motor in my hand luggage and pistons in the suit case, there were no questions asked.”
Sebastian was trained as a fitter and turner at the RAF Ballistic Missile Early Warning Station where there was a four minute warning of ballistic missile attack on England. According to Sebastian there was just enough time to make a good pot of tea. He then migrated to Australia in 1982 and worked in the construction industry in the Australian outback.
He has pursued his love affair with cars and started restoring Bristols in 1993, “I’ve restored everything from a Citroen SM, DS23, 2CV, Renault 4, Chrysler Royale, Bristol 401, 403, 405, 406, 406Z, 407, 410, 411 to a 1924 Hupmobile.”
The Australian outback proved no barrier to a hardened Yorkshire lad. He travelled through rugged and remote regions including the Gunbarrel Highway and the Great Sandy Desert where the heat and the wet provided some of the worst driving conditions imaginable. The humidity and temperature was over 450 C (1130 F) with flooded rivers, mud and sand in the mix. According to Sebastian the upside was: ‘you could fry an egg on the bonnet by lunch time’.
In his 18 years with the Bristol Car Club, he has driven over 60,000 miles across Australia. Peking to Paris however is his ultimate dream.