I should have known to bring a toolkit. If I had a screwdriver, I could have removed the Elise’s gearlever gaiter and realigned the plastic cover plate, enabling me to find reverse. If I had a set of spanners, I could have released the tension in the TVR’s manual door-release cable, allowing the mechanism to re-engage. But I didn’t, so the Lotus needed a push back, and I had to drive the TVR with a ratchet strap across my lap.
Welcome to British sports-car ownership, where occasionally there are issues. But look: everyone talks about old Porsche 911s as a paragon of reliability, while earnestly enquiring if the engine’s IMS bearing has been done. In both instances, I knew I could have done something about it, if I’d been a proper boy scout. Neither incident took the shine off a lovely day out – in fact, there’s something curiously reassuring about having an issue that (tools permitting) you’re able to do something about. Nowadays it’s electrics that go cock-eyed, and you ain’t fixing those with a spanner.
Photography: Jonny Fleetwood