An old joke about Italian tanks having 7 reverse gears reminded me of an amusing incident some years ago:
We were driving from the pub, the Windmill at Linton at closing time; in those days pubs closed at ten thirty sharp. As we were still thirsty several of use decided to go to the pub in the next village which we knew would have a ‘lock in’ and serve beer after hours. My chum Alex set off first in his rather nice Lancia, a good car if a little unreliable. We followed in Nick’s Austin Landcrab, a comfy six cylinder machine with armchairs for seats. Although not a fast car Nick could really make it move and we drove quite quickly to keep up with the Lancia. As we were leaving the village I think Alex must have thought we were not following as we saw up ahead the Lancia brake and then the reversing lights came on. It started to reverse quite fast. Nick came to an emergency stop but the Lancia kept coming. It should be noted at this point that Alex is fairly rotund, could not comfortably turn his head very far and was accustomed to reversing using the mirrors. We realised that he had not seen us and thinking quickly Nick threw the Austin into reverse and started to back away. Still the Lancia kept coming. We were going backwards at top speed, the engine screaming…. but the Lancia was much faster. It hit us square on, I’m not sure what was going on in Alex’s beer fuelled mind, but he stopped and put the car into first and drove off.
We followed to the pub, at a safe distance, and questioned him as to what he was doing. He replied that he had not seen us, decided to come back to find us but hit something so carried on to the pub! Fortunately there was little damage to either car.