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Cars Then & Now


hilldweller
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Driving around in my latest car with a 7 speed automatic gearbox, turbo assisted engine, touch-screen display for dual zone air conditioning and everything else, speed warning, disks all round and lord knows how many other things thought necessary in a modern car; when my thoughts turned to my first vehicle bought in 1969 for £50.

It was a Austin A35 van identical to the one Wallis ( & Gromit ) drive around in. It was even the same colour. It was 5 years old and "fitted" with an old bench seat in the back which was loosly fastened to the plywood floor. Rear seat passengers sat with their knees up under their chins but at least the passenger behind the driver could rest his feet on the battery, this helped to stop it sliding about !

The A35 brakes were a legend in their own lifetime, they were so poor. The front brakes each had one slave cylinder and one leading and one trailing shoe,always a recipe for disaster and the rear brakes only had one slave cylinder between them. This was connected in the rod operated hand-brake mechanism. The hand-brake was located on the off-side of the driver and in the linkage to the rear of the van was a mechanism cosisting of two sheet steel open sided boxes linked together like links of a chain with the hydraulic cylinder in between them. When the piston moved out it was supposed to shorten the linkage and pull on the rear brakes. The rod linkage connected to a bell-crank mounted on the rear axel and rods ran out to each rear brake. When you stood on the brakes the steel boxes stretched and the bell-crank mounting tilted over and if you were very lucky the van slowed slightly.

Motoring down the bottom of Baslow hill one day, before the present roundabout was built I shot straight across the tee junction and ground to an impressive halt about 2 feet short of the Chatsworth Golden Gates. Another time descending a hill in Lincoln I came round a corner to see standing traffic just in front of me, I stood on the brakes and the van shot sideways and I came to a halt on the footpath about four cars down the line. After that episode I decided to get shut before it got shut of me.

I'm sure other posters have horror stories about early cars.

HD

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My first car was an old Austin Devon which I paid £5 for, being the cost of the road tax (I think). The brakes worked when they felt like it, so you had to hope that nothing popped out in front of you and that you had to stop suddenly. The suspension was very soft - in fact it used to start bouncing on Archer Road and was still at it when I reached Hutcliffe Wood Road. The interior was lovely though, with real leather seats and wooden inserts (not in the seats, the dashboard and trims etc). If I was feeling rich I would put in a gallon of petrol, other than that I used to put in half a gallon. The garages didn't seem to mind :) It used to jump out of first gear and occasionally the rear door shot open when you went round a corner. When I first got it, the exhaust was wrapped around with a tin can - so my dad welded on a lorry part. It had a hand pump for pumping the petrol through and the choke used to stick - so when the car was warm I had to stop and open the bonnet and push it back in. This was in 1966 when M.O.T's hadn't been invented! I loved that car and was sorry when I eventually sold it for £10. I don't think I'd let a daughter of mine ride around in something like that nowadays, but I went all over in it at the time and felt quite safe.

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Driving around in my latest car with a 7 speed automatic gearbox, turbo assisted engine, touch-screen display for dual zone air conditioning and everything else, speed warning, disks all round and lord knows how many other things thought necessary in a modern car; when my thoughts turned to my first vehicle bought in 1969 for £50.

It was a Austin A35 van identical to the one Wallis ( & Gromit ) drive around in. It was even the same colour. It was 5 years old and "fitted" with an old bench seat in the back which was loosly fastened to the plywood floor. Rear seat passengers sat with their knees up under their chins but at least the passenger behind the driver could rest his feet on the battery, this helped to stop it sliding about !

The A35 brakes were a legend in their own lifetime, they were so poor. The front brakes each had one slave cylinder and one leading and one trailing shoe,always a recipe for disaster and the rear brakes only had one slave cylinder between them. This was connected in the rod operated hand-brake mechanism. The hand-brake was located on the off-side of the driver and in the linkage to the rear of the van was a mechanism cosisting of two sheet steel open sided boxes linked together like links of a chain with the hydraulic cylinder in between them. When the piston moved out it was supposed to shorten the linkage and pull on the rear brakes. The rod linkage connected to a bell-crank mounted on the rear axel and rods ran out to each rear brake. When you stood on the brakes the steel boxes stretched and the bell-crank mounting tilted over and if you were very lucky the van slowed slightly.

Motoring down the bottom of Baslow hill one day, before the present roundabout was built I shot straight across the tee junction and ground to an impressive halt about 2 feet short of the Chatsworth Golden Gates. Another time descending a hill in Lincoln I came round a corner to see standing traffic just in front of me, I stood on the brakes and the van shot sideways and I came to a halt on the footpath about four cars down the line. After that episode I decided to get shut before it got shut of me.

I'm sure other posters have horror stories about early cars.

HD

Already posted mine in another topic last October hilldweller

Triumph Mayflower

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For those younger members unfamiliar with these older vehicles here is a summary of the cars mentioned in this topic so far.

hilldweller's car, an Austin A35 van, like the one in Wallis & Grommit

Ellesse's car, An Austin A40 Devon

DaveH's dads car, a Triumph Mayflower

I know a lot of members are interested in older cars and vehicles as many of my older pictures posted on here got comments from Stuart0742 / transit / busman more about the vehicles than the actual Sheffield locations. So how about more stories about our first cars, with pictures (from the net perhaps, - not your actual car) if possible.

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Pathe News Footage.

1939 Car Catcher why dont all cars have these fitted ??

http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=37163

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I know a lot of members are interested in older cars and vehicles as many of my older pictures posted on here got comments from Stuart0742 / transit / busman more about the vehicles than the actual Sheffield locations. So how about more stories about our first cars, with pictures (from the net perhaps, - not your actual car) if possible.

One of these.

Consul 375

I put the story on a while ago.

POST

I've had lots of old/classic cars over the years

I made a list once with them all in order. (Don't know where that went.)

I've got photos of some which I'll post if I can sort them out and scan them.

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I've had lots of old/classic cars over the years

I made a list once with them all in order. (Don't know where that went.)

I've got photos of some which I'll post if I can sort them out and scan them.

Somewhere on here there is a list, not of the cars you have had vox but of the Sheffield addresses you have lived at over the years.

I seem to remember that it was quite an extensive list.

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My interest in cars was first awakened by an uncle of mine who used to spend almost every hour when he was not working or sleeping, fiddling about with his Austin Seven Ruby car. Rather I should say his cars, because he had two of them and used one or the other to keep the other one on the road. One of them dated from about 1933 and had a two bearing engine, the other was a couple of years younger with a 3 bearing crank. He used to do a sort of "pick & mix" to keep a car running. He always ran on the same reg plate and used to swap the engine numbers to suit. They were fastened to the engine block with drive-screws which could be prised out in a trice. When I was a lad of about 12 he used to ask me to lift the engines in and out for him because of his bad back. With the bonnet and radiator removed it was easy to ease the engine back over the front axle and with an aluminium crank-case and a capacity of around 750 cc it didn't weigh much.

He taught me how to use a rotary burr in his "Bridges" drill to align the inlet and exhaust manifolds to the engine block and by all this work we improved the performance by about zero %.

The starter-motor had a copper disc contact on the top and the starter-switch was mounted over this and operated by bowden cable from the dashboard. When the starter gave trouble he decided to test it by holding the motor directly on the 6 volt battery with the motor body in contact with one pole and the button against the other pole. The battery was fitted in a steel box above and behind the engine and just in front of the windscreen. Of course when he made contact the motor shot out of his hands, straight through the windscreen, cleared the front seats and landed in the back seat.

The oil consumption was horrendous and needed filling more often than the petrol tank.

He took my mother and I to the coast one day and by the time we got to Skeggy we were using about a pint every mile. In order to get back he purchased a large drum of Silver Knight oil and a length of rubber gas-pipe. With the drum being held on the parcel shelf by yours truly and the pipe running through the car from drum, threaded though one the many holes in the dash and into the oil filler cap, we made our way home. The drum was fitted with a brass tap and every time the oil-pressure gauge dropped it was my job to turn on the oil until it arose again.

Happy Days !

HD

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