Remembering a time when dad maintained the family’s car

Spanners.
Spanners.

During my childhood if your parents owned a car you were very lucky. On our street there were maybe five cars to begin with.
As kids you would try to be mates with those whose family had a car as they sometimes included you on their drives; it didn’t really matter where to, the ride was enough.

There were Fords , Austins, Morris,Hillman, Rover, Wolsey, Standard, Riley and Sunbeam amongst others whose names elude me now with the passage of time. My dad eventually bought a Hillman 10. It was second hand, all we could afford and he had to do loads of repairs to make it roadworthy. That was the thing in those days, most dads seemed to have some knowledge of how to maintain a car. At weekends you would see bonnets up all over the place with rags, oil and tools around the front of the car and some dad with his head under the bonnet. They would help each other too, all trying to sound like expert mechanics.

Some of the cars had stickers in their rear windows from places they had travelled, like Skegness, Mablethorpe or what was then some far distant destination like Cornwall or Devon. No motorways then so a major drive for dads who only really had one long drive per year.

The kids of the dads who took them on distant holidays of course had bragging rights on places visited.

My dad used to take us sometimes on a Saturday or Sunday evening for a drive maybe around Derbyshire or the countryside of Nottinghamshire. This always included a stop at a pub for a drink and pop and crisps for us kids. Smiths crisps only, with the little blue bag of salt inside, still the best ever in my view.

I think fuel then was about five bob a gallon, twenty-five pence now. There was always an attendant to fill up your car.

When dad took us for a rare ride to the coast or somewhere distant after about five miles would come the inevitable, “are we there yet dad”.

T