Round-the-world couple arrive back in Britain with a bump

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A couple who completed a 33,000-mile trip around the world in a rare classic car came back to England to find a “large dent” in the side after leaving it in a supermarket car park.

Geoffrey and Hilary Herdman, who are both retired, took 16 months to complete the trip that they described as a “wrinkly gap year”. They travelled in style, in a 1956 Bristol 405 Drophead Coupe, of which only 42 were made.

Despite encountering some of the toughest roads on the planet without any problems, it was when they got home and parked the Bristol in a Sainsbury’s car park that they ran into trouble.

Having popped into the supermarket they returned to their prized car and found that another motorist had dented it.

Mr Herdman, a retired chartered accountant, said that while they were travelling they were constantly warned about the dangers – from theft of the vehicle to kidnap and worse – but other than a few minor repairs, including a couple of punctures, they did not have any problems.

“It was a very nice reflection on human nature. The bad thing is when we got back I leave the car in Sainsbury’s car park and find there is a large dent in the front wing,” he said.

“A car is for using, it’s not a work of art... well, it is a work of art, but it is to be used rather than put in a glass cage and admire. And so these are things you have to face up to.”

During the couple’s first 24,000 miles they only had to spend $125 (£79.50) on repairs. But the dent could cost them around £300.

Mr Herdman lovingly finished off the restoration of the car – started by its previous owner – after buying it in 1999.

The car – registration 10 DPG and the 29th to roll off the production line – is now believed to be worth around £90,000.

Mr Herdman has travelled 135,000 miles in the Bristol since 2001 and believes it would have completed around 500,000 miles in total.

The 68-year-old and his wife, 70, a retired lawyer, started their incredible journey in July 2010 from Miami, 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 through Europe.

The couple, who are from London, and currently living in Sussex, eventually returned to the UK in November.