Concorde and a Ford Cortina
During a summer in the early 1990s while Concorde was in her “blue tail“ livery, I drove to Heathrow Airport for a 2nd time from home to see her, this time round I called BA and found out what time she was taking off.
After a 2 hr drive via the M25 I got to Esso petrol station near Terminal 4 and waited for her. When I saw her coming I realised she'd be taking off over Hatton cross as from Esso station she'd be making the take off run and i'd be taking photos of her tail
I wanted to take photos of her front at the Eastern (Hatton cross) side of the runway but that was 3 miles a way at the opposite end of where i was.
I saw Concorde lined up at the end of runway I drove out of the Esso petrol station went around the round about at the end of dual carriage way and headed back towards Hatton cross as I did this I accelerated the car to the dual carriage way speed limit and I hoped to beat Concorde to Hatton cross.
The idea was while Concorde was waiting at the end of the runway for the take off run, I would take my car to dual carriage way speed and get to Hatton cross before Concorde, park the car and wait for Concorde before Concorde had taken off……..
In theory that would have worked (if I had souped up Ferrari or souped up F1 car + clear stretch of road) but I had a 2.0 ltr Ford Cortina which followed (normal speed limits) and although it had 2 ltr engine wasn’t that quick and I forgot that the car could never reach Hatton cross in time.
5 mins after driving the Cortina past a “standing” Concorde I heard a huge whooooooooosh and raw of Concorde’s engines getting louder and louder, by the time I got to the round about on the dual carriage way next to Terminal 4 VIP area I’d already seen Concorde effortlessly step in to air and accelerate hard ……..as usual her roar defended me.
When I heard this I knew I’d failed in my quest to get to Hatton Cross before Concorde and take good take off photos of her from there…… At the time my heart sank and I felt gutted that I’d put in so much effort for nothing….. That I’d missed a chance to take photos of her….. it would have been better if I’d stayed at the Esso station and taken pictures of her instead of wasting my petrol in trying to beat Concorde to Hatton Cross (as at Esso I would have got some photos)……but now while sitting in my car driving around that round about and heading towards Hatton cross (at normal speed) I was still only half way to Hatton Cross and had missed my chance.
When I got to Hatton Cross I stopped the car in its car park and sat there for a while thinking about what happened.
Over all I felt foolish that I’d done this in a Ford Cortina but that’s life, No one got hurt, the car was not being driven dangerously and I did not break any speed limits but I wasted time and petrol.
At the time was around 18-19 years old and at that age I thought I could conquer the world as I was young, but the world and Concorde bit back.
After that I learned from my embarrassment and stuck to getting to one place and waiting for her.