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Homepage. This page: A rarely-encountered motor trade magazine from the fifties.
Motor trade magazine cover

The Garage and Motor Agent.

This is definitely one of the more obscure motoring magazines getting a mention on the site. As is the case with Motor Trader magazine, The Garage & Motor Agent was aimed squarely at those engaged in the garage and motor car servicing profession. Unlike The Motor Market, another trade title, it didn't concentrate on parts supply only. The copy shown here dates to September 17th 1955, quite when this magazine title disappeared from market I'm not sure but this is the only copy I've got. This issue was number 2183, part of Volume 83 (25), approximately A5 in size.

Whereas a title such as Car Mechanics was aimed at the enthusiastic DIYer, who was only happy when lying underneath his old motor, gearbox oil running down his sleeve, the mag shown alongside was packed instead with trade-related advertisements, and articles of a motor-trade nature. No jazzy piece of artwork on the cover here then, no elongated Humber Hawk or Ford Zephyr Zodiac with tiny smiling passengers on board, no, just an advert for Motor Union insurance, offering "A motor garage policy without annoying restrictions".

Magazine contents.

So what did Mr Garage Owner get for his weekly 1/6 purchase in September '55? Before finding any content to speak of, adverts were shown for John Bull tyres, Super Fina petrol ("no stalling, run-on or knocking in the hottest weather"), Nissen-type buildings, Hills number plates, Tecalemit servicing, and something called the Pierce Tyre Wrapper, an ingenious machine designed to make wrapping up tyres that bit easier. Tyres could be wrapped in 30 seconds a go, handling sizes upto 8.20x15. Tyres wrapped up in this way would stay cleaner, look better and therefore be easier to sell, so the blurb promised.
Device for wrapping car tyres
The first main article looks at the design of lubrication bays in the modern workshop, written by a Mr A. V. Jay, who was Manager of the Lubrequipment Department of C. C. Wakefield and Co. Ltd. There were many things to consider it seems, when planning such a facility in your own garage. The size, shape and location of your building was the first thing to consider, along with the local client base, and then the type of work that the owner wished to see being undertaken in his or her premises, as to install a new lube bay was not a small undertaking. A smaller estalishment, perhaps targeting family motorists who lived on nearby estates, would have different requirements in terms of equipment, to a commercial vehicle service agency, which would need more substantial lifting gear at the very least. Two different installations were shown, both at Kidderminster Motors Ltd. One area in the service bay was given over to cars and light vans, and the other to heavy commercial vehicles. The former had two lifts, one shown with a 100E Ford in residence. The lorry bay used a pit arrangement rather than a lift.
Radiomobile A30 Van
Following several more pages of advertisements (Dunlop, National Benzole and Bostik) is a profile of the Smiths Radiomobile trade partnership. The idea was simple. Most garages of the day were ill-equipped to recommend and install quality car radios into their customers' cars. So Smiths Radiomobile came up with the idea of working with certain car dealers, offering their service and installation expertise to each trader. Appointed dealers would then advertise within the trade, offering their car radio service to other local garages, the installers often driving around in Radiomobile-liveried vans, which were actually owned by the dealer rather than the expert installer behind the wheel. The A30 van shown actually belonged to Mann Egerton, but was liveried solely in the colours of Smiths Radiomobile.

Bargain bucket motors at the car auctions.

Page 1628 outlined the joys of increased regulation with regard to income tax procedures, and the following three pages looked at some of the ways a good quality voltmeter could be used, rather than just as a test lamp. Recent results at car auctions were also listed, which can make for interesting reading some 50+ years later. With say GBP 350 in your back pocket, you could have gone down to Southern Counties Car Auctions in September '55 and driven away in any of the following cars: 1934 3.5 Litre Bentley (235 pounds), 1952 Ford Prefect (327 10s), a 1949 Austin A40 Devon (332 10s), a 3.5 Litre Jaguar from 1946 (225 pounds), or a shiny 9-month old Standard Ten for GBP 525, to name just a few.
The Bentley wasn't the only mouthwatering car on sale either, how about a 3.5 Litre 1951 Allard for GBP 320, a 1938 Hillman Minx Coupe for GBP 107 10s, 1939 1.5 Litre Jaguar at GBP 122 10s, or a 2.5 Litre Jaguar Coupe for a seemingly giveaway price of just GBP 40? If you were on a tight budget, and looking for a real 'bomb site' special, then the 1934 Daimler Fifteen of 1934 might have been worth a look at just GBP 10, although you'd be in for some bills if the pre-selector gearbox was playing up.
Various results from a Dixon and Wallace sale in Glasgow were also featured. The day's cheapest buy was a 1937 Pontiac Six, snaffled for just GBP 32 10s, the priciest car was a 1954 Vauxhall Velox, knocked down for a whopping GBP 572 10s. And the cars to jump in a timemachine for and buy with the benefit of hindsight? probably the two Rolls-Royce 20/25 limousines (1934 & 1935), albeit with no warranty, but just GBP 115 a piece.
A selection of new gadgets were also looked at in this issue, including the Barwell Tyre Spreader, and a heated spray cup designed to fit onto all conventional spray guns. Anyone regularly servicing mopeds and scooters might have been interesting in the next product, a special grease gun designed specifically for the Lambretta scooter. Apparently these scooters came fitted with hexagonal grease nipples that wouldn't take standard grease guns, with their round nozzles. This new grease gun, produced by Ch. J. Neuman Ltd of South Croydon, came with a universal nozzle, and was only available direct from Lambretta retailers, for GBP 1 4s 9d.
Sombre news of how a garage worked died by ingesting a one-inch length of wire is also recounted in this particular magazine. It is believed that the wire somehow got lodged within his sandwich. The poor chap was found dead in his garage, and investigations showed that this small piece of wire, possibly eaten several weeks earlier, had caused coronary thrombosis.
Garage equipment adverts

Recollections of the magazine.

Several years after this page went online, Nick Hall dropped me a line with his personal recollections of the magazine, his father having worked on it for a number of years.
"I was just searching the internet to find anything that might be published regarding The Garage and Motor Agent magazine, and found your website and article on this.
"In your commentary you say "The copy shown here dates to September 17th 1955, quite when this magazine title disappeared from market I'm not sure but this is the only copy I've got." - I think that I might be able to help with some further information:
"My now late father, Edward (Ted) Hall, was the editor of this magazine starting around 1960 until late 1963 when he left to join Castrol, so the magazine was still going until at least this time. His office was at 62 Doughty Street in Holborn, London which I visited as a young boy (this address was on some of his old correspondence that I saw many years later). I've just looked on the internet and the photos of this building look very familiar.
"With regard to content, I recall that we had a new car on test almost weekly, everything from a Messerschmidt, to an NSU Prinz, to a Jenson CV8, to the 3.8 E-Type Jaguar at the time of its launch. Later, we also had a long-term Mk1 Lotus Cortina from Ford at the time of its launch. I remember him telling me that he wrote articles on each of these cars for inclusion in the magazine.
"When he died in 2003 I did look to see if there were any examples of his time at the magazine but unfortunately, it seemed that after his many years of working in the oil industry, he retired with my mother to Australia and, with this, many personal items were thrown away including almost all memorabilia.
Thanks for the extra information Nick, I wonder if anyone else reading this worked on the magazine at any point in time?
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