Space Station started life as a series of shipping containers sat next to a tip in Colnbrook. The company was called ‘Sure Store’, a name that was dropped later because people had difficulty spelling it.
Alastair shows the 280 SL rally plate.

The fact that we finished third overall enraged them because we weren’t meant to be car 60, not car 3.

1991 A Highland Fling

Alastair is persuaded to take part in the Highland Fling and finds he enjoys being poorly received in his ‘tart’s car’.

The first historic rally I entered was called the Classic Marathon. This was an international rally which meant you had to have an international licence. I didn’t have an international licence so I had to do four domestic rallies in the UK to get one. I entered the Highland Fling with a neighbour of mine, I did it in my wife’s 280SL Mercedes, which I bought for her; it wasn’t meant to be a rally car.

Well the Highland Fling was a hoot. The car was brilliant because people in the rally didn’t consider it a rally car: they thought it was a tart’s car. They asked me what I did and I told them I was a hairdresser and they believed me. They made me take the hubcaps off because they didn’t think it looked like a rally car at all, so I very reluctantly gave in and left them in the lobby of the hotel.

One of the best tests they had was a hill climb up the old rest-and-be-thankful, which was a pretty rough, steep road. I was sent out last because they thought I was rubbish. I was car 60 out of 60. When we got to the top of the hill the marshall was waiting for us; a caricature of a Scotsman with a sporran, kilt, big wooly socks and a sgian dubh (pronounced “skin doo”, a traditional Scottish dagger). I asked him: ‘How did I get on?’ He said: ‘Och, you get that tonight, laddy.’ I said: ‘No no, I’m the last car up, you’ve got the times there, how did I get on?’ He said: ‘No, no, no, you get that tonight, laddy.’ So, much to his amazement, I reached out and plucked the list out of his hand and looked down the list: I was fastest.

My fellow competitors in the Highland Fling were funny because some of them were just so competitive and serious. The fact that we finished third overall enraged them because we were meant to be seeded car 60, not car 3.

They had other trials that we enjoyed such a tests in car parks. I love to read the rally regulations like I used to do in motor racing and I looked at the different rules and saw that knocking over a cone was a 5-second penalty. I calculated that if I knocked over three cones it’s a 15-second penalty but I can go from start to the finish in 2 seconds. So I did, and won. Everyone else was going round the cones in 30 seconds. I just drove straight there and added 15 seconds to my time.
That didn’t go down well so the next year they introduced a new rule that gave a big penalty for ‘not attempting the test.’

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