I wouldn't usually have made a beeline for a Landcrab at a classic car show. But, while strolling around the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show at the NEC, I stumbled upon this beautifully restored Morris 1800 with a familiar name on the door.
The somewhat lumpy machine was a rally favourite, and gained the nickname Landcrab for its fondness for going sideways. This blue and cream model with pink corners was decked out for the 1970 World Cup Rally, and had the names of three woman drivers on the door. One of them was Jean Denton, who would later become Lady Denton of Wakefield.
I first met Jean in one of the halls at the NEC. I was just starting as Road Test Assistant at Autocar, she was head of external communications for Austin Rover and she welcomed me to the industry.
I got to know her better when I became a patron of WOMAC (Women on the Move Against Cancer), a charity she'd founded and she was always friendly and always encouraging.
Her own list of achievements made me feel quite exhausted. She was Britain's woman racing champion in 1967 and 1968. Within 10 months of passing her test at the age of 26, she was competing on the racing circuit, driving Jackie Stewart's former Formula Three car. In 1969, she drove the only sports car to finish the London-Sydney rally. The next year she raced 16,000 miles across Europe and South America in the World Cup rally, leading the first private ladies' team to reach the finish in Mexico.
She and her co-drivers were sponsored by Woman magazine and its logo featured prominently on the backs of their jackets;the chaps on the NEC stand said they also painted eyelashes on the headlamps.
Later in life Jean went into politics, she became Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Trade and Industry and worked in the Northern Ireland Office. She was a co-founder of Forum UK, the British branch of the International Forum for Women, and was President of Women on the Move Against Cancer. Sadly, we lost her to cancer all too soon, in 2001, at the age of 65.