Article header
Parts
Homepage. This page: Collectables relating to this famous breakdown & recovery company

AA Car Badges, and other collectables.

2006 was the 100th year of Automobile Association (AA) car badges, the first ones being issued to members way back in 1906, when motoring was very much in its infancy.
Chrome AA car badge
There are lots of old badges still in circulation, some in good condition like the one shown above, and other badges needing a fair bit of restoration. The shape and style varied throughout the years, with special versions being available to motorcyclists and lorry drivers.

How to date an AA badge

Badges are stamped up with issue numbers on them, the table below gives an indication of when a particular badge was sent out:
  • 1 to 999,999 1906-30
  • A-P suffixes 1930-45
  • RST suffixes 1946-56 (Flat motorcycle badges)
  • WXYZA suffixes 1956-67 (Domed motorcycle badges)
  • OA to OZ prefixes 1945-57
  • 1A-9A prefix 1957-59
  • 1B-9B prefix 1960-61
  • 1C-9C prefix 1962-63
  • 1D-9D prefix 1964-65
  • 1E-9E prefix 1966-67
The badge in the photograph above therefore dates to sometime between 1962 - 1963, being a 4C coded example. The most common AA badges still in circulation, and most likely to be fitted to a badge bar on a classic car, are the domed examples, which first came out in 1945. Owners of cars built from 1967 onwards should really look out for the later square badges, if they want to be 100% accurate. More information on the history of the AA can be found on the AA's website.

Other AA collectables

Many people collect badges, books, signs and other items relating to the AA. Handbooks are very popular items to hunt down, and usually don't cost much money, other than for the earliest examples that would command a premium. I always try to have the correct year's AA handbook casually sat on the back seat, or glove tray, of my old cars. They turn up in old bookshops, car boot sales, and regularly show up in online auctions (click here to see what AA stuff is on eBay today for instance).
AA Handbook from 1966/1967 AA Handbook 1966/1967.

Some handbooks were hardback, others, like this Members Handbook from 1966, are a softback publication, in this case featuring an AA Patrol Austin Minivan on the cover. 254 FGN was probably photographed on one of the new(ish) fangled motorways that had been springing up across the UK.

Information given included the newest road signs, intelligent driving techniques, first aid advice, appointed AA garage locations, and pointers to diagnose problems yourself. AA hotels and various road maps also featured extensively.

Interesting is the section on courtesy to those around you - recommending that you don't go around blaring horns, screeching tyres, slamming doors and bootlids, especially at night. A few people could do with reading this section!
AA Handbook 1928 AA Handbook 1928.

Flipping back to the late 1920s and the keen motorist would no doubt have this handbook nestled in his dashboard cubby hole. Similar information to the later editions is included in this one, including a handy (slightly confusing) car tax table in the opening pages. Car tax could be purchased throughout the year, with an end-date of December 31st. Once you'd decided on the period of tax you needed, you go down the table, til you found the row for your vehicle's Horse Power rating (a system devised I think by the RAC ironically), and work your way across to find your car's tax rate.

Some great photographs of AA patrol vehicles also feature, including a motorcycle and sidecar combination (converted to carry tools rather than the mother in law). Two variants were in their fleet - the AA "Road Service Outfit" and the AA "Night Road Service Outfit", the latter apparently painted in brighter colours and with extra lamps by the look of it. Roadside telephones, the AA Fog Flare, the Super Telephone Box, and examples of AA road signs are also featured.
Stenson Cooke - This Motoring - AA This Motoring, Stenson Cooke, pub. 1931.

This book was published a few times, although most seem to be the later softback version rather than this hardback book, with dust jacket, that came out in '31.

The full title is "This Motoring - The Romantic Story of the AA". The notes inside the jacket sum up the book .. "This Motoring is a simple, human story of the World's largest Motoring Organisation, told by the man who saw it grow from ninety to over four hundred and thirty thousand members, all in twenty-five vivid years. Every motorist should read how it was done".
[return to the Motoring Miscellanea section]
An interesting old photo, of an AA patrol man and his motorcycle with sidecar combination, can be seen here in the vintage motoring photos section.

Custom Search
www.oldclassiccar.co.uk (C) R. Jones. Content not to be reproduced elsewhere.
Website by ableweb.
Privacy Policy, Cookies & Disclaimers