An apprentice in 1958
I started as an apprentice at Vine and Lee in August 1958. At that time Vine and Lee also had another branch on the corner of South Road and Preston Road in Brighton, just along the road from a garage called Dreadnoughts. Attached to the Portslade Garage there was a cycle shop called AWL Cars, I believe it was the initials of A.W.Lee. The business was started by Ken Lee’s father before WWI on the ground floor of what had been a private house.
Vintage car collector
The proprietor of the motor dealers Ken Lee, was a keen collector of vintage motor cars. I remember there was a 1908 Renault, possibly a taxi, that was so complicated to start up that George Greenfield, then in his 60s, was the only person who could start it. There was a 1936 Aston Martin that was regularly entered for the Concourse de Elegance, and a very early Austin 7 with a fabric body.
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The various local companies that we dealt with, we supplied their reps’ cars, was Ronuk Polishes based at Hove station and H.J. Greens Cake Mixes. Other fellow mechanics that I remember from that era: Melvin Hook (unfortunately no longer with us) and Johnny Wheeler who I still see from time to time, Jim Foster the workshop foreman, and Dennis the Menace the diesel expert.