The Kitchenmobile

related by Alan Thomas

Ford VanAmong the Killerton fleet were a couple of Ford vans.

One such vehicle was owned by David Kitchen. An off-white Ford 300E.

David trundled (there can be no other word to describe the motion of the van) back and forth to college in this van, and even home to Winchester and back.

The van was well past its prime. With three people in it struggled on hills - even going down!

The windscreen wipers were driven by a vacuum system that was drawn from the inlet manifold. Quite an innovative design at the time of its introduction, but it suffered from the fact that when the engine was under stress the windscreen wipers slowed - almost to a standstill - very disconcerting in the Devonian rainy season.

David owned the car for a couple of years but as we neared the end our time at Killerton he felt it was time for it to go.

He decided to put it into the Exeter Car Auctions - but could not face the emotional separation so persuaded Taffy Thomas to go along as his representative.

On the day of the auction Taffy together with Paul Nation and Milko, dutifully went along and watched the events as cars were driven through the auction bay, were bid-on, sold, and driven out. 

The three of them spread out across the auction shed to avoid being noticed - and to minimse the risk of them buying anything.

The Kitchenmobile's turn came and the gathered buyers looked expectantly at the entrance. No roar of an engine, just a gentle squeak of binding brakes and the sound of heavy breathing as a couple of locals pushed the van through - they hadn't been able to start it!

The bidding started - well, actually, no it didn't. The auctioneer asked for bids. None came. He pleaded for bids. None came. Eventually someone in the audience relented and offered £5. The auctioneer repeated £5 and asked for any advance. There was none. He looked around hopefully, still none came. The hammer came down. £5.

Milko, Paul and Taff returned to Luke's where Kitch was supposedly working - but in fact was sat in Killerton Corner.

He asked them how they had got on.

They told him that the car had been sold.

He smiled happily and thanked them for their trouble and asked them how much it had gone for.

They told him it had been sold for £5.

He chuckled. "No, seriously, how much did it sell for?"


He laughed - nervously this time. Still disbelieving he said "Seriously – you only got £5?"

They nodded.

Then in the voice that only David could produce : "Oh No!"

They handed him £4.25.

He looked at the money and then questioningly at the two of them

"Yes, it sold for £5 - but then there was the auction fee!"

Again: "Oh No"

Several Killertonians were sat in the corner watching events and fell off their chairs at the sight of David with his mouth still open in disbelief.

Two weeks later a police Panda car turned up on the drive. The policeman got out and came to the door and asked to speak to Mr Kitchen.

David was summoned and the two went to the music room to chat.

"Are you the owner of a white Ford Van registration number ....?"

David explained he had been, but it had been sold (for £5)

"Well the car has been found abandoned on the grass embankment by the side of the A38.”

Fortunately, David was able to produce the auction receipt and the matter ended there.

It appears whoever bought it, bought it for the wheels. They'd taken the wheels and dumped the car by the roadside!