We have a new car… well it isn’t new, it’s quite old but it’s new to us and it has all sorts of convenient features. They are actually the features that cars do have these days, but every so often I think back to my first car – which also wasn’t new to me.
It was a pale blue Austin A35, which is the car in my featured image. It was a great little car which never let me down until it finally failed but I liked it most of all because our first family car was also an A35. This car, known as Aussie was wonderful because ti meant we could travel to see friends and relative far away, in places like Nottingham and Sheffield – this was pre-motorway! You had to double de-clutch to change gear, no synchro, the indicator switch was on the dash-board and looked like a fried egg – there were actual indicator lights on the front and back, earlier models had little plastic indicator arms which stuck out from the side pointing the direction. The windscreen wipers didn’t return to a rest position, they just stopped when you turned them off, and worst of all, there was no heating.
Because we knew no different we had no other expectation, but when in one of the worst winters ever, we went north to visit my dad’s brother in Yorkshire, we were mighty cold! The windscreen kept freezing over and at one point we stopped at a chemist and dad bought glycerine to pour over the glass. There were no seat belts, no head rests – and airbags weren’t even dreamed of! There were only four gears, and when it refused to start the engine had to be cranked by a handle stuck into the front of it… with my little A35 I had to do that from time to time and it wasn’t easy!
Now we have air-conditioning, heating, safety features, radio and other media playing gizmos, the seats are comfortable, we’re strapped in, with airbags at the ready, there’s a crumple zone, shatterproof glass… oh and dozens of other things we don’t even think about.
We didn’t realise the car was primitive, it was a car which took us places, and to us to girls, Aussie had a real personality… he would be a vintage model now!