The storyteller had my full attention. He leaned forward in his seat, and lowered his voice, almost conspiratorially: "Of course, one of the reasons we were so damned fast was because we still had drum brakes, and I couldn't slow down through the towns. Good job, really!", he chuckled.
It was a great punchline, and one of epic modesty. For my narrator was Sir Stirling Moss OBE, and he was describing what many people all over the world regard as the greatest motorsport victory of all time - his still unbeaten drive in the 1955 Mille Miglia. Aboard the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, numbered "722" Moss and navigator Denis Jenkinson entered the history books.
Later that night, at home, I searched YouTube for some footage of Stirling in the race. Among the search results was an interview he'd done, recorded sometime in the 1970s. Resplendent with then-fashionable bushy sideburns, Mr Moss was enthusiastically telling the very same story, almost word for word, with the same level of detail and humour.
The next time we spoke on the phone, a couple of weeks later, I asked Sir Stirling about this. "You must have told that story hundreds of times," I said. "How on earth aren't you bored of repeating it?"