Geoffrey Herdman, a member of the Royal Automobile Club, and his wife, Hilary, recently completed a remarkable trip around the world in a 1956 Bristol 405 Drophead Coupe, of which only 42 were made. The trip, which Herdman describes as a ‘wrinkly gap year’ took 16 months during which time they covered more than 33,000 miles.
To celebrate this achievement, the Royal Automobile Club is to put their Bristol 405, registration 10 DPG, on display in the rotunda of its Pall Mall clubhouse from 3 January 2012.
The Herdman’s incredible journey involved driving up the east coast of North America to Halifax before crossing Canada and then heading south down the west coast. After a couple of months in South America, they headed across to Australia before the car was shipped back via Turkey for the drive home.
Geoffrey Herdman, who is President of the Bristol Owners Club, says: “Central America was perhaps the most exciting part of the trip. There were no signposts or GPS coverage. The first night in Guatemala, having taken three hours to cross the frontier, we climbed for an hour in first gear on precipitous narrow roads. Long after dark we gave up trying to reach Lake Atitlan and stayed in a roadside hotel at 8,000 feet, it was bitterly cold and we were clearly the first guests to stay in a very long time.” He continued “We lost count of how many times we were stopped by the police in Spanish America, but the record was five times in three hours driving through Honduras”.
During the incredible road-trip, the Herdman’s travelled over 33,000 miles, sometimes on awful roads, many of which with no tarmac, climbing to 10,000 feet on several occasions and yet only had $125 spent on repairs! As Geoffrey proudly states “the evidence speaks for itself – the Bristol 405 Drophead is the ideal touring car”.
Ben Cussons, Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club Motoring Committee, says: “We are always pleased to recognise and celebrate the achievements of our club members and Geoffrey Herdman’s is clearly one of the most remarkable.”