Ernest Mason started Success School of Motoring in 1970. His first tuition vehicles were the popular cars of the day: the Mini and the Vauxhall Viva. Later, he would buy two teaching vehicles of the same make and model (red & blue); always Fords or Datsuns.
During the 20 years Mr Mason had taught in South London, he estimates that Success received around 2000 customers. There have been many occasions where Success School Of Motoring has taught the children or grandchildren of Mr Mason’s successful ex-pupils.
He retired from teaching in 1990 and returned to the Caribbean, to venture into the brick production business. When his new business was firmly established, he started a driving school in Kingston, Jamaica where he continued until 2006. He is now retired, living in London.
Before I became a driving instructor, I worked in the motor trade for fourteen years as a motor car and heavy goods vehicle technician. In the early 1990’s many motor vehicle companies were releasing staff due to the economic climate of the day. I, unfortunately, was one of the unlucky ones. A colleague, not too long before I became redundant, had just became a Driving Instructor. He had advised me to leave my job a week or two before my employer at the time, made me redundant. I replied “Who wants to be a driving instructor”. After two weeks without work, suddenly the driving instructor profession looked appealing.
A New Career
I phoned LANES driving school and there it started. I stayed with Lane’s sister driving school “ABLE” for 6 years, then moved over to another branch in the franchise: “No1 Driving School”. I stayed there for three years, and after building up a large clientele I decided to go solo. Over the years I have come across all sorts of characters; 99% of whom have been fantastic. I do intend to write about my experiences… when I retire.
Fame at Last!
Two of these experiences I include here: I received a phone call from Channel 4 (through recommendation), asking if I would take part in a documentary on driving in South London. The documentary was for the Cutting Edge programme “Gridlock & Road Rage” shown in May 29th 2008. It was a fly on the wall documentary on driving experiences in traffic jams around the country, from the perspective of a long distance lorry driver, a salesman, a school run mum and a driving instructor. That was my brief fifteen minutes of fame, it certainly brought in customers.
Then on the back of that documentary, I received a phone call from a production company asking if I would film a mini series “Britains’s Worst Drivers”. I had to drive around Britain (Cardiff, Nottingham, Manchester, North & South Yorkshire) giving intensive driving lessons to struggling learners. They would then travel to London to take their driving test (Louis Hamilton’s ex- driving instructor being the examiner), and if they passed they won a car. I had six learners and four won a car. That series was shown on Virgin One in October 2008. Making the programs was very tiring, I don’t think I would jump to do that again.
I have enjoyed every minute I’ve been a driving instructor teaching around 2,500 customers to date and more to come I hope. I have been a qualified DVSA Driving Instructor since 1992, and hope to continue in Mr Mason’s footsteps for many years.