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Homepage. This page: A copy of Good Motoring from the year 1963.

Good Motoring, January 1963

Magazine cover dating to Jan 1963
The publishers of Good Motoring relieved the reading masses of just one shilling, or 5 pence in modern money, for each monthly issue. January 1963's edition featured the delights of Issigonis' wonder-mobile, the Morris Minor, here finished in an attractive shade of creamy beige - interior decorators on TV today are sure to approve of this inoffensive shade. Was 8028 MY a factory demonstrator, a road test car, or just one picked from a local dealership to use for a photoshoot? whatever, it is a 4 door example and is shown on the full page cover advertisement, promoting the Morris Minor 1000.

By this time the Minor was approaching middle age, yet still sold strongly despite fresher automotive offerings from rival manufacturers. The first Minor appeared in 1948, some 15 years prior to this issue of Good Motoring hitting the newstands. The Minor of 1963 would cost 426 GBP, plus 89.6.3 Purchase Tax. BMC were not backwards in coming forward to promote their cuddly car - slogans such as "Britain's Most Successful & Highly Proved Car", "Non-Stop Demand - on to the 2nd million", and "Unchallenged for Sheer Sterling Worth" tell the reader that what they were looking at, was a proven and popular design.

The first few pages are advertisements for motor part suppliers. Girling promote their Powerstop brake servos, as fitted to BMC cars, and opposite is a plug for Gamages' range of oils, a smart 6v/12v car battery charger, clip-on parking lamps, and high-grade brake linings. Tyresoles, and their tyre re-treading service, also has a look in. Further pages present more great old adverts for products such as the "Trufit" seat covers (a full range of patterns were available - including Leopard skin, tartans, bedford cord, moquettes, duracour and more). Conway radiator blinds, perhaps a good seller for the time of year that this magazine was published, cost 39/6 and were available for all the popular makes and models.

Accident warning system proposal
The first article proper discusses the dangers of the road, and previews a novel idea that was developed by Associated Electrical Industries - a large roadside warning system, advising motorists of any hazards further up the road, and operated remotely by the operator. This reads like a forerunner of the overhead motorway message boards that we have today. The early 60s equivalent, shown during a pilot test at Brands Hatch, shows the message board warning of an accident ahead, with a staged BMC Farina looking very secondhand further down the road.

A few pages further in is an advert for the 12 seater Bedford (CA) Utilabrake, as converted by Martin Walter Ltd of Kent. Facing it is an article that will strike a chord with classic car owners today, that of the dreaded salt, that gets spread all over our roads as soon as the temperatures begin to dip sharply.

The author draws the reader's attention to the benefits of improved grip on the road surface, thanks to the laying of a salty mixture on the highways, yet balances this with a debate on how destructive this briney mix can be to the nooks and crannies of a car's underside. When hosing down the underside of the car, we're told that the best time to do it is while the road muck is still wet underneath, ie before the salt gets chance to dry and crystallise. Once it has done, it becomes much more difficult to shift. Oil, sprayed to a dry underside, is highly recommended as a conclusion in this mini-article.

Other News for Jan 1963

Joy to the world - motorists can now drink and drive!! or so the 60s motorist was told, thanks to Carlsberg's new non-alcoholic lager - or low alcohol, as it should really say, having less than 2%. Donald Campbell announced that he would be having another crack at the Land Speed Record at Lake Eyre in Australia in April or May, and demand for seatbelts in BMC cars, 18 months after their introduction, was showing no sign of abating.

For those who sported string-backed gloves and a handlebar moustache, there was an interesting article about how John Surtees would be switching from Lola to Ferrari in Formula 1, just as the former team were losing their key sponsors - UDT and Bowmaker. Other team updates included confirmation that Clark would continue to race for Lotus, Graham Hill would be at BRM, and rumours continued about Honda entering the F1 ring some time later in that year.

Further articles in this month's Good Motoring included a motor tour of Morocco, touring Tunisia by open-top Rolls-Royce, motoring in the very early days thanks to an article by Mrs D. Critchley-Salmonson OBE (including photos of a Spyker touring car known as the Flying Dutchman). This month's major road test was of the Standard Vanguard Ensign, both in saloon and estate format. The remainder of the magazine had smaller articles on various motoring matters, and adverts for products such as the Desmo paraffin sump heater, the Eltron Car Kettle and Carfri (mini 12v fryer), and Listaflex car washing brushes.

Morris Minor seat problems

One contribution to the Letters page is worth mentioning - headed "Criticism of Morris 1000 Seats", as it could still apply to classic motorists now. The letter, from a Miss Gardner of Herts, went as follows:

"With the present emphasis on safety inside the car it amazes me that BMC have not modified certain features of the Morris 1000.
A friend was in the nearside back seat of a Morris 1000 with a baby beside her. The front passenger seat was empty. The driver braked suddenly to avoid a child and my friend and the baby were thrown forward, finishing on their heads in the front. This was because the seat folds twice on the two-door model. My friend's legs and arms were so badly cut on the ashtray on the floor in the middle of the car that she had to have 38 stitches at a hospital.
I suggest all owners of Morris 1000s should remove the ashtray, BMC should consider making safety belts for back seat passengers standard and a catch should be fitted to the front seats - as on some Continental cars - so the seats will not tip forward in situations like this one."

Something to bear in mind, even when using a Moggie today! there's no doubting that safety standards have improved significantly over the years, although this improvement is probably lessened by the fact that people feel more invincible, and shut off from the outside world, taking more risks behind the wheel of a modern car than perhaps those driving cherished classics would.

Usefulness score: (5/10) Interesting, if a little brief compared to other mags
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Price today score: (5/10) 2-5 GBP a copy
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Finding a copy score: (3/10) one of the lesser-spotted titles
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