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Motoring Memories Project
Recording your stories about driving in years gone byThe intention of the oldclassiccar Motoring Memories Project (MMP) is to collate personal memories of motoring, gathered from members of our communities who drove cars in the early days of motoring, and record these notes for posterity. The idea of the MMP is to record the impact of the motor car on families and individuals, from several decades ago, and preserve this information while it is still available.
If you know of someone who will have experienced the motorcar years ago, please give some thought to recording their memories of day trips or holidays taken in a new car, first attempts at mastering the art of driving, or the heartache that the introduction of the driving test brought to eager youths wanting to get behind the wheel for the first time.
If you remember the earlier days of motoring, perhaps prior to, or in the years following, WW2, do you have any recollections that could be included in this project? I'd be fascinated to hear memories about driving during the blackout in London during the war, or perhaps the first time you drove your car abroad for the family holiday.
Material need not be confined to the driving of motor cars. Perhaps you, or someone you know, once drove buses or coaches in the 1940s or 1950s. Did you deal in caravans years ago, or work for a particular car manufacturer in one of the great factories that have long since been confined to history? If you live in the Midlands area of the UK, I would very much welcome memories of working at Longbridge or Cowley, when the Austin and Morris marques were world-renowned.
Perhaps your first contact with the car was as a child, sat in the back of a cramped 1930s saloon on a day trip to the seaside? was every run out in a car an exciting event eagerly awaited? Did rationing spoil things for you during, or after, the war?
For some, the motorcar opened up new opportunities for sporting endeavour, aided by the creation of circuits such as Brooklands and Donington Park in the early 20th Century. Did you compete at these tracks? or did you go as a spectator, and gaze in awe at the heroism of the greats such as Nuvolari and Seaman? Or are you memories slightly more recent, of drivers such as Graham Hill, Jim Clark, and Mike Hawthorn for example?
To the majority of the public, in the UK at least, the boom in car production in the 1920s and 1930s brought a freedom to roam the country that hitherto was not an option, travel being restricted to bus and trolleybus routes, and of course the steam powered locomotives that raced up and down the land.
Of course, childhood memories will be just as vivid for those who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, as much as for those who grew up in earlier times. What cars did your parents own back then, and what was the supercar that all the kids aspired to - maybe an Aston DB5 or an Austin Healey?
One area of motoring that seems to have had little material recorded about it, is the garage trade. Motoring has always been a fairly expensive pastime, and manys the bodge that the penny-pinching motorist has resorted to, in order that his/her car will soldier on for a few more miles before breaking down once again. Can any former-mechanics out there relate stories about vehicles that they have has the (mis)fortune to work on? This applies equally to mechanics who worked in civvy street, and for the armed forces.
What single event in the automobile world sticks out for you as very significant to you (if not to others)? Perhaps the launch of the E-Type Jaguar is one that you'll always remember, or the introduction of the 10 year test in the 1960s, that saw so many cars being dumped due to their parlous condition.
As I hope I've made clear, all recollections with a motoring element to them are keenly sought for this project as I feel that it is important for personal recollections to be recorded, while these stories can still be recounted.
If you can contribute anything at all to this Motoring Memories Project, please please drop me a line via the contact page.
My own memories of cars when growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, can be found in this article.
As an example of a motor-related story, Colin dropped me a line with a particular memory that stuck in his mind since childhood:
I don't know what interest my grandad charged, but he paid for the car and my dad had to repay him for it. I can still picture both of the cars, and it was the second time the big ends had let us down on the same journey, so my dad, who was a bit quick tempered, simply threw in the towel and got the first garage to tow us in and he did a part exchange for the motors, it cost him 250 GBP plus his Consul to do the deal, which was a lot in 1968.
I have followed in his footsteps, but I have had a little bit more luck, the big ends in my Mk2 Consul Farnham estate haven't let me down !
As promised, my mother looked through the old family photos and came up with this gem! ! ! It was taken during one of our many holiday/visits to my dad's brother and family, and was taken outside my Uncle's caravan, which is on the right in the photo, in a place called Seaton Carew near Hartlepool. As you will probably make out, it was a light grey and the reg is 8142 NW, and that's my Mom Margaret on the right holding my younger brother Tony (who is now 40) which gives you some idea of the date as he was only around 18 months old there. Also included is my Granny Pheobe, that's my dads mother, who is the wife of the man who started this ball rolling by lending my dad the money to help pay for the car in the photo. I hope this is of a usable quality for your purposes as it's the only one they have of this car."
Thanks for getting in touch Colin!
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