It’s just our in-car entertainment..

05/04/2011

Michael Green from United Distributing Company tells this week’s industry story – from the good old days, when Rovers were the byword in luxury cars and it was still possible to get orders for 200 fruit machines!

“The year was 1965 and Gordon Marks and I were going on a road trip to the north west, to show a new fruit machine to our customers there. Gordon had a Rover three-litre coupe, which was a fabulous car in those days. I remember the number plate was 1556 MT. The car was navy blue and he was very proud of it.

It was just two months old at the time of our trip. We left London around 7pm on a Sunday evening and were on the M1which in those days did not have a speed limit. I was driving and were traveling at 100 miles per hour, which was quite an achievement in those days. Suddenly, there was a loud bang under the bonnet, the engine died and we came to a stop on the hard shoulder.

Fortunately, we were very near Watford Gap services and were soon being towed into the workshop. Unfortunately, because the model of car was so new they did not have the parts to repair it then, and it would take a few days. We decided to rent a car so we could continue on our trip and would come back on Friday afternoon to pick up the repaired Rover.

Now comes the humorous bit. The rental contract had a box printed in red:

Stating: “Please note we do not rent cars to traveling showmen, people in the entertainment business including pop stars and amusement caterers. Our cars can only be used for pleasure purposes and not to be used for commercial use.”

We still signed the contract and the staff even assisted loading the fruit machine from the Rover to the hire car! We were astounded and also relieved as we were certain once they would realize we came under the amusement caterers banner. But we got away with it. On returning the rental car on the Friday, they once again helped move the machine back into the boot of the Rover.

By the way we had a excellent week and sold around two hundred machines!”

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