by Fords of Winsford

Where has your FoW car travelled from? What adventures has it had along the way?
Discover the story of one FoW car found thousands of miles from home.

Thousands of Miles from Home
the Adventures of a Car from FoW

If you’ve bought a used car from Fords of Winsford, have you ever wondered where your car has travelled from? Who owned it and what experiences did they have before it got to you?

We heard some news recently that got us thinking about the adventures that cars and their owners have – the everyday ones and those that are a little bit out of the ordinary. What’s the furthest that you’ve gone with your motor? And what were the highlights of your trips?

THE START OF THE FoW ADVENTURE

Our story begins at our showroom in Winsford, and a visit from a chap called James Meager who travelled all the way from Somerset with his daughter to collect one of our cars. Not an inconsiderable trip, you’d think, but this was nothing compared to the trek made by another car that James would later discover.

James responded to a call to work abroad for a couple of months and travelled by air from Heathrow, via Dubai to Cape Town, South Africa. He then boarded the RMS St Helena for a 5 day, 1200 mile sail across the South Atlantic to the tiny island of St Helena.

James’ Story

On St Helena, I became friends with a chap called David (known on the island as Bugman!) who is the resident insect expert on an island that, thanks to its remoteness, boasts 30% of all endemic species found within the UK and all its overseas territories. David and I would regularly go on hikes around St Helena, starting off in Jamestown. However, one of the hikes was at the eastern end of the island, so we agreed to meet up just below Flagstaff at the old Boer war prisoners’ campground near Deadwood Plain. As I followed David’s car, I noticed a familiar sight in his rear window – the Fords of Winsford decal which I recognised from my own car back in the UK!

What is the Car Used For?

The car is a hire car David is using to carry his equipment around the island until his Land Rover arrives from the UK. So far it’s doing a great job – making its way through the rugged terrain of the island – over rough cut pathways, up the sides of valleys and through difficult to cross pasture.

What Kind of Car is it?

It’s a Vauxhall Astra estate.

How Old is the FoW Car?

Due to the way the registration plates are formatted on St Helena, this is difficult to gauge, but I would say it’s a 2002 model. That’s a pretty good age for a car that’s still nipping around the island – good going, but not unusual for a vehicle from FoW!

Why Might the FoW Car be in St Helena?

The majority of vehicles on St Helena are imported from the UK or South Africa. The car was most probably imported by a UK national, on contract to work on St Helena, so brought his own car with him…. and then left it behind when his contract ended. UK cars are imported via Ascension, so it may have had a short life on Ascension, being used by the RAF or BBC Worldwide support staff there.

What Route Do You Think the FoW Car Took?

Easy… the car would have been driven to Bristol and freighted by container ship to Cape Town. Then, it would have most probably been transported by the Royal Navy supply unit to Ascension island. It would then have been brought over to St Helena on board the RMS St Helena (the last true Royal Mail ship to travel the oceans).

What’s the terrain like on St Helena?

Varies from rugged, volcanic areas to desert and lush, green spaces with valleys and mountains throughout. ​The builders of the airport had to demolish a small mountain and use the rubble to fill a valley in order to provide enough flat land to build the runway. At the time of construction, the airport was the biggest earth moving project in the Southern Hemisphere!

  • Temperature range: 20-27°C
  • Hottest months: January – March
  • Rainy Seasons: March – May & July – September

What Are the Driving Rules on St Helena?

Drivers must drive on the left. Single lane roads mean that the driver coming downhill must give way to traffic heading upwards. The drink drive laws are strictly applied with a limit of 50µg of alcohol per 100ml of breath, compared with 35µg in England and Wales. Unless otherwise stated, normal speed limits are 30mph. In the capital, Jamestown, the speed limit is 20mph.

Where Do Locals Buy Cars on St Helena?

They usually buy from garages or from private individuals on Facebook or St Helena Bring & Buy, for example. However, cars are very expensive, and you can expect to pay quite a lot for an old banger.

Whoever brought the FoW Vauxhall Astra estate to St Helena must have thought the cost was worth it. Who they were or why they imported it will remain a mystery… for now.

In the meantime, if you have any ideas how and why the car ended up nearly 5000 miles from home, get in touch. Or if you’ve spotted a FoW car somewhere remote or have your own road trip tale to tell, please let us know. We can’t wait to hear about your road trip adventures!