WATCH: Friends reunited with world-beating Vauxhall – believed to have inspired Disney Pixar’s Cars

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A PAIR of rally drivers have been reunited with the car that once took them on the adventure of a lifetime.

On New Year’s Day in 1988, Mike Perkins and Brian Mullineaux embarked on a journey from London’s Marble Arch to Sydney.

Brian Mullineaux and Mike Perkins with restored Cookie

Brian Mullineaux and Mike Perkins with restored Cookie

Marking the bicentenary of Australia, they made the 17,000-mile, five-month journey in Cookie – a 1924 Vauxhall Malvern M-type convertible.

And with the trek now 30 years behind them, the pals from Southsea and Hayling Island have just driven her again for the first time – following a full restoration at Jim Stokes Workshops in Waterlooville.

After picking Cookie up from the motor specialists last week, Mr Perkins, who is 72, said: ‘We saw some amazing places and met some incredible people on that journey.

‘Getting the chance to drive Cookie again brought all those memories flooding back.

‘The shop has done a beautiful job of fixing her up and she looks and drives just like she did all those years ago.

‘She is a real character, that’s for sure.’

As part of their expedition, Mike and Brian drove through scores of countries – including France, Italy, Greece, Egypt and India – before Cookie was shipped back to her owner by General Motors after the rally.

Reflecting on the vehicle’s history, Jim Stokes engineer Bob Fleming said: ‘You tend to become attached to the vehicles you work on here – the job satisfaction is great.

‘And it’s brilliant to have Cookie up and running again.’

Not only did the yellow Vauxhall’s inspire a book, Cookie & Co, but it is also at the centre of a US lawsuit claiming it is the inspiration behind the Disney Pixar movie Cars.