The Indian Goes to London

Category: The Rear View Mirror & Nostalgia
Published on Friday, 31 August 2012 19:00
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The Indian Goes to London

From the June, 1986 Gazette

Do you know that our Oklahoma Region has made existence known in the hallowed hangout of British racing elite? Well, it certainly has — let me tell you all about it.

In my November 1985 column I mentioned Dr. Leslie Moorish and wife, Joyce who were from England. Doc was an exchange student at the OU Medical School studying to be a psychiatrist. He had been active in sports car racing in England and had brought the family TR-4 to this country. They joined the Oklahoma Region and were active in racing and rallying during their two years here. They returned to London in 1963 where Doc took up his psychiatric business.

Margret and I had kept in touch with them after their return and when we wrote we were coming to England in June of 1966 they urged us to visit them, which we did.

Our Pan Am flight arrived at London’s Heathrow Airport at 6:30 a.m. and arranged for a rental car for us; he and Joyce were still driving the family TR-4. Our car was a right-hand drive Mini and my baptism of fire in driving on the wrong side of the street in the second largest city was both traumatic and enjoyable. Doc took us on a memorable ‘pub crawling” trip which covered metro London and environs, and at three in the morning we were doing a bit of impromptu road racing from one pub to the next. Fortunately, the London traffic cops were not out in force. But let me get back to the plot.

The highlight of our London trip was a visit to the very exclusive private club “The Steering Wheel”, hangout of the Royal Auto Club race drivers as well as visiting racers from the continent. It was reported that one wall of the inner lobby at the club was decorated with car badges from every sports/racing club in Europe and we felt it was only fair that our Oklahoma Region be represented. We had brought along one of our badges-the brass circle with the Indian and I approached the very solemn appearing man at the desk and explained our mission. He was surprisingly cordial and not only agreed to put our badge on the wall but invited us into the clubroom for a drink. We eagerly accepted and were soon sipping our drinks in awe. Seated nearby was Innes Ireland and our waiter advised us we had just missed Jim Clark, the World Champion, by just a few minutes. It was pretty awe-inspiring for this Okie!

Doc and Joyce were great hosts and our visit will be forever remembered by the England family. Capping off it all, Doc had managed to get hold of a genuine Royal Auto Club car badge, a really hard to get item, which he gave to me. It is one of my prized possessions today.