David Gillanders - "I do all the talking"

It’s not that often that I read a book from cover to cover in a week. But, that is how compelling I found “David Gillanders – I do all the talking”.

Of course, it does help that David – who went on to become British and Scottish rally champion – was a contemporary of mine and a member of the same motor club, competing (at an altogether higher level) in the same events as myself.

David Gillanders Rally Champion MG Metro 6R$
David Gillanders in his four-wheel-drive MG Metro 6R4 - “I could drive it at nine tenths of its maximum performance”

But this is no parochial history. The book is well crafted by Jack Davidson, also a contemporary from Aberdeen and District Motor Club.

The foreword is by Malcolm Wilson O.B.E. and includes contributions from two of the best known names in rallying at that time – John Davenport and Nicky Grist.

The motoring adventures start soon after David Gillanders was born into an Aberdeen motor trade family, with a disability affecting one of his hands.

Shockingly, in those days the doctors’ best suggestion was amputation. But, David’s parents weren’t about to accept that.

So began a very young David’s first motoring adventure. As mother, father and baby set off for Harley Street, London in the family Morgan three-wheeler. In those days, driving to London was quite a marathon, even without a baby on board.

That hand disability perhaps gave David his strength of character, and competitive drive. After being bullied at school, he had an urge to prove that he could achieve what others could only dream of.

David’s book is largely about his motorsport career, from local club events in his trusty Mini Cooper S, through to competing in rallies like the Lombard RAC Rally (now Rally GB) in his top-spec four-wheel-drive MG Metro 6R4.

David Gillanders sideways in his Ford Escort
David pleasing the crowds at his local club hill climb, Fintray House just outside Aberdeen, very sideways in his English of Bournemouth Escort.

But there are some amazing stories of life beyond motorsport.

Like taking up the challenge set by Aberdeen club friend Simon Mervyn Cobb to join the crew of his fishing boat and ending up being “rescued” by a fisheries protection vessel.

Or how David became probably the only UK civilian to fly an F-15 jet.

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