The Stone of Destiny
In May 2007 I attended the Stirling and District Rally which is held at Bridge of Allan. Here I met Willie Bennie who asked about using the car for a film in the process of being made in and around Glasgow. A few photos were taken along with my contact details. As I had been through this before and heard nothing I put it to the back of my mind. Some weeks later on a Sunday evening I received a call from Willie to say the film company wanted to use my car for a character named John McCormack. After some negotiating the fee was agreed, I explained I was the only person that would drive the car and a deal was struck.
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The film ’The Stone of Destiny’ is a true story set in 1950 when four Glasgow University students decide to go to Westminster Abbey and steal the stone and return it to Scotland. The first day’s filming took place in the West End of Glasgow. The scene, McCormack (played by Robert Carlyle) hanging from a tenement window throwing a five pound note out and saying, “You never saw me”. Tilly was used in this scene to hide a post box. The technical term for this is ’street furniture’.
A couple of weeks later it was off to the movies again, in the Campsie Glen north of Glasgow.
The scene this time was a lot more exciting as McCormack’s car was in a lay-by just north of the border at Coldstream (Campsie Glen, by Glasgow). The stone had been stolen but somehow managed to be broken in two. One piece was in McCormack’s car and the other piece was travelling from England in another car to rendezvous with McCormack. When the second car arrived at the lay-by the two pieces of stone are placed together and they all toast the return of the stone.
The Campsie Glen is a beautiful area and when the sun shines the road is a popular drive for a Sunday afternoon, this particular Sunday was very sunny indeed. During filming the traffic was stopped sufficient to allow filming without any background noises.
At the far end of the road where filming was taking place, the film crew set up two border crossing signs. “Welcome to Scotland” on one side of the road and “England” on the other. The look of astonishment on the faces of motorists as they crossed the ’imaginary’ border was hilarious, I even had one poor soul thinking they had only just entered Scotland and wondered how far it was to the Highlands!
Tilly was built on 30th December 1947 and shipped to Sydney on 5th January 1948. She was originally grey with a maroon interior.
In 1975 Mr. Royce Cole was in possession of Tilly and commenced a renovation. This was to turn into a 7 year labour of love and after all the care and attention he eventually took her to Melbourne for her maiden trip. This restoration was finished some 25 years ago and in 1998 Royce Cole sold Tilly to Peter DeMerindol who kept the car for a further 5 years before I purchased her in January 2003.
Sadly Royce passed away in August 2001. I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for all his hard work, dedication and attention to detail. If it were not for him I would not be the proud owner of Tilly.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Rob Turner, Martin Shaw and Jim Moule and for the information and photos they have supplied me with.
I have read your article on your Export 1947 Rover 16 h.p. with great interest. I have been a member of the Rover Sports Register since the mid-1970's. I knew the late Royce Cole very well - in the 1970's we both lived in different suburbs of Sydney, New South Wales. Royce was a craftsman and perfectionist, and I well remember the wonderful restoration he carried out on the Rover 16 h.p. Sportsman which you now own. I lost touch with Royce when I moved to Burradoo in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales in 1984, and Royce moved north to Toukley on the Central Coast.
However, I did catch up with Royce and his wife Gwen in 1986 when we attended the 1986 National Rover Rally in Adelaide, South Australia. Royce and Gwen drove the 1947 Rover 16 h.p. from Sydney to Adelaide and return, a journey of 1,000 miles each way.
I had an article and photos published in Freewheel No. 227 - June 1991 titled "Antipodean Adventures - 1986 National Rover Rally".
I have scanned and attached two photos from my Archives which include your Rover 16 at the 1986 Australian National Rover Rally. Both photos were taken in the Belair National Park, which is situated in the picturesque Mt. Lofty Ranges, adjacent to Adelaide. The National Rover Rally was held over 4 days and on one of those days, we headed up into the Mt. Lofty Ranges for lunch. The full captions for both of my photos are below:
2-318 Royce Cole's 1947 Rover 16 Sportsman and Roly Forss' 1947 Rover 16 Sportsman at the National Rover Rally, Belair National Park, South Australia, 30-3-1986.
4-319 1939 Rover 12 6-Light Saloon, 1947 Rover 12 Sportsman (John Sibly), 1947 Rover 16 Sportsman (Rolly Forss) and 1947 Rover 16 Sportsman (Royce Cole) at Belair National Park, South Australia, 30-3-1986.
By way of explanation, the New South Wales Registration Number 003 which was attached to your Rover 16 Tilly at the time denotes that a car is on Conditional Registration, allowing owners of cars over 30 years of age to attend advertised Car Club Events. Each Australian State has a variation of the Conditional Registration Scheme, which is essentially a Permit To Move, and is considerably cheaper than Full Registration. I hope that the above may be of interest to you. I have copied this Email to Freewheel Editor Ian Elliot, as I am sure that Ian will also be interested. Please let me know if you would like me to re-send the two photos at a higher resolution.
Please find attached two more scanned and enhanced photos from the 1986 Australian National Rover Rally of Tilly. These are the only two colour photos which I have of your 16. Royce is in photo
3-317 with his back to the camera. Photo 22-317 is a colour version of the B & W photo which I emailed to you yesterday.
Back in the early 1980's, when Tilly was under restoration, I was Registrar of the New South Wales-based Rover Owners Club. If my memory serves me correctly, I remember that Royce asked me about the Factory Colour of one of the Rover P5B 3.5 Litre Saloons in our Club, which happened to be Admiralty Blue. If my memory serves me correctly, this is the colour which Royce repainted Tilly. Perhaps you may have some record of this?
Martin Shaw wrote
I have just read the article in the Freewheel about your ex-Royce Cole 1947 P2. Have you any info about this car yet? I have copies of some articles that Royce wrote back in 1983 about his restoration, do you want me to scan and send them? I assume you have been in touch with Jim Moule, if not send me an email and I will forward it on to him for you. Tilly was a very well known car in the Sydney club and was much admired. He bought it in 1975, and started the restoration in 1979. Jim Moule may be able to tell you a lot of the cars history
Martin very kindly scanned the Royce Coles restoration article from his club magazines and you can read the report on the Royce Cole pages