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Set of motoring cards by Kensitas

Ken-Cards (Motoring).

Sets of collector's cards relating to motoring already feature in this section of the site, ranging from car-specific cards from the 1930s, through to a set relating to racing driver Stirling Moss in the 1950s. This set, offered by tobacco brand Kensitas in the late 1960s or possibly the early 1970s, comprises twelve separate cards, each with a specific piece of motoring advice upon it.
Different sets were produced, this one - predictably enough - is titled "Motoring", and is fourth in their series of "Ken Cards" issues. Each bears a colourful illustration on its forward side, accompanied by a brief explanation of the scene portrayed. On the reverse of each card, is a lengthier description of various factors that relate to the subject in question. A brief summary of each card now follows.
Card no.1 No.1 THE ENGINE.
The series opens with a cutaway drawing of a typical petrol engine. The reverse side explains the four-stroke engine cycle, and also sheds light on carburation and the ignition system.
Card no.2 No.2 HOW A CAR MOVES.
Card two discusses the inner workings of a car's gearbox, and the rear axle, at a time when many new cars still employed a rear-wheel-drive arrangement.
Card no.3 No.3 OFF YOU GO.
Happy family is shown cheerfully motoring along in their shiny red car. None of the cars that feature in the illustrations are of a particular make or model, although influences are clear. The car shown here has echoes of Hillman Hunter in its boxy lines, while overleaf are details about car suspension and brakes.
Card no.4 No.4 SO IT WON'T START.
Cars break down, and in the 1960s it was not an uncommon experience, even with a relatively young vehicle. The poor chap in this image pushes along his unreliable car, while his wife sits in the car, in an attempt to bump-start the engine. Faults, such as a sticking starter motor, and damp electrics (of use to Mini owners at the time, for example), receive a mention on the flip-side of card number 4. The car reminds me of a Minx crossed with a Trabant 601 and a Simca Aronde.
Card no.5 No.5 MAINTENANCE.
Tips on weekly underbonnet checks are given next, these handy hints include checking the oil level in the engine (while wearing a smart jacket), keeping an eye on tyre pressures, topping up the battery as necessary, and ensuring that all the lights are working correctly.
Card no.6 No.6 KEEP IT ON THE ROAD.
Sound advice. Tips on driving in poor weather conditions are given, as are explanations of terms such as aquaplaning, and skidding.
Card no.7 No.7 MUD AND SNOW.
Card seven continues the theme of driving in dodgy conditions. A chap skilfully slides his 1966-registered car through a farm gate in this action-packed illustration. Help on using tyre chains is just one of the topics dealt with on the reverse side of this card.
Card no.8 No.8 PUNCTURE.
Back to potential roadside maladies again, this time dealing with a puncture.
Card no.9 No.9 SPONGE AND LEATHER.
"Maintaining a sound, shining paintwork not only reflects the owner's pride in the car, but pays off in a higher secondhand exchange value" - wise words. Note the letters "K E" visible on this car's bonnet, a subtle reference to the issuers of these cards. The car looks a bit like a Ford Taunus 15M, crossed with a Humber Hawk. Tough work requires the removal of one's jacket and tie.
Card no.10 No.10 SECONDHAND.
This card was aimed at anyone planning to take the plunge, and buy a secondhand car. The vehicle illustrated has echoes of "big" BMC Farina about it, closest being the MG Magnette version with its proud, distinctive, grille attached to the front of the boxy BMC saloon body.
Card no.11 No.11 INSURANCE.
Two cars become entangled in this scene, while a London bus heading in the opposite direction (note the "K" advertisements) dives for cover. The poor bloke in the brown car is bound to get some earache from the blonde lady in the passenger seat, if he was the one that pulled out on the pale blue car.
Card no.12 No.12 DON'T LOSE IT.
Then, as now, the risk of having your car stolen was one to always bear in mind when leaving a car. The illustration shows a toe-rag leaning in through an open quarterlight to grab this car's keys.
If more information regarding these cards comes to light, I'll add it in here. I wonder who the illustrator was? The cards were produced on behalf of Kensitas by J. Wix & Sons Ltd, of London, England.
Return to the motor-related collector's cards section at oldclassiccar, where sets such as "Safety First" can be found.

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