My brother Chris reminisces:-

I passed my driving test in 1952, but we had no car in the family. I then joined the RAF as a pilot and spent most of my time abroad being trained and eventually flying day fighter ground attack Venom FB4 on 249 Sqn in the Middle East.  I was posted home in February 1957 and bought my first car, the Triumph Gloria, in Hull for the princely price of £60 (about £1500 in today's money).  I drove it back to RAF Leconfield where I was stationed with great pride.  Its next journey was at the end of a rope to a garage for much needed repairs!  I  can't remember what except that it would not start among many other problems.  When I got it back and got to know it better I now know that by today's standards it was only fit for a one way trip to the scrap yard.  In those days cars were scarce and because of that, expensive .  It was a glorious age of no MOTs or safety regulations, just common sense and we often went on delibe rate pub crawls. Mind you, there was a fraction of vehicles on the road then compared to today, but the accident death rate was 10,000 a year!  You insured and taxed your vehicle the rest being up to you. 
The Triumph Gloria's semi elliptical springs were all bowed the wrong way, up instead of down.  Metallurgy of the 1930's was just not like modern stuff. I did not have the money, knowledge or facilities to deal with this so I left them as they were. There was an oil leak in the oil seal on driving end of the crank shaft so oil got onto the clutch and it slipped.  I found the cure for this was to only have the sump half full of oil.  It worked - the mind boggles!!  The front doors opened backwards for ease of occupants use, but rather dangerous if opened when driving could slam back. Mine did not close properly so I had to keep a wary eye for any sign of a gap appearing while driving, sometimes leaning across a startled passenger to slam it shut before the slipstream got hold of it.
But I loved this car and had a great time in it.  It would do 70 mph which was very fast in those days.  Most traffic drove between 40 and 50 mph.  I liked the free wheel option especially then because petrol was back onto rationing after the 1956 Suez 6 day war (I took part in it).  It helped to eek out the petrol which was expensive.  It was 5 shillings a gallon (25p), but allowing for inflation that would be £6.25 per gallon or £1.37 a litre.  Much the same as the inflated prices we pay now except the government tax grab was much less than now.
One thing I really liked on it was the knock on hub nuts holding the wheels on.  I once had a flat so I stopped to deal with it.  There was a cyclist about 300 yards away gently cycling towards me.  I jacked up, knocked the hub nut undone, changed the wheel, knocked nut up tight, jacked down the car and was on my way before the cyclist caught up with me!!  Not up to Grand Prix standards, but not bad!!
There was no heater in cars of those days and I have memories of wearing heavy overcoats and scraping ice off the inside of the windscreen as well as the outside in winter.  Long drives in those days was no fun.  To drive from one end of the country to the other was an ordeal.  There were no motorways and few dual carriage roads.  Mostly winding single carriage roads crowded with lorries doing 40 mph.  You also had to drive through all the towns on route.  Average speeds were about 35 mph.  It took 3 hours to drive 100 miles.  I remember the first time I ever drove 60 miles in one hour.  It was in October 1962 when driving back from our honeymoon in Scotland in my Sunbeam Talbot Mk2 (with rear wheel spats) on the A74 between Glasgow and Carlisle early on a Sunday morning.  Now we sit at a constant 80 mph hour after hour bored out of our brains.
My father took over the car and had the springs replaced and used the car a lot.  However in June 1958 he was driving it when suddenly there was a horrendous bang and loud noise from the engine.  He stopped and called for help from his garage which was not far away.  The mechanic came and asked dad to start up then shouted "Stop!!"  The crankshaft had broken and the noise was the turning  crank shaft running against rough end of the stopped crankshaft.  I've never heard of that one before.  Obviously we should have attended to the crankshaft oil seal and not run it on half oil!!  The car was not worth repairing so it was scrapped.

Bearded Collie
Mothy Band
Austin Seven RP

Citroen Traction Avant

Cars I Have Owned
Niki's Art Gallery
Stationary Engine & Tractor Stuff
Severn Stoke Live Weather using Wunderground
Defford Model Flying Club
©2024 Roland Alcock

The Mothy Web Site