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Cars we learned to steer


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#1 RogerFrench

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 23:10

Prompted by Arttidesco:
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Morris 8, March 1943. Apparently I didn't learn too well, as a week or so after this photo I managed to release the handbrake by standing astride it, and all alone careered down the drive into a hedge.

Edited by RogerFrench, 11 March 2013 - 23:12.


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#2 kento11

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 00:36

Alas no pictures but it was a 1947 Ford pick up in the Saudi Arabian desert and I was 11 or 12.

#3 E1pix

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 04:52

Lovely idea, Mssrs. Desco and French. :up:

First steering I recall was the entire 70-mile drive from Road America back home, in my Dad's proper BRG Morgan +4.

I'm 90% certain I didn't crash into anything.

#4 RCH

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 08:36

Ford Zephyr Zodiac Mk. I

#5 kayemod

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 08:48

Another from the blue oval, Ford Prefect 100E.

#6 garyfrogeye

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 08:53

My first steering opportunity in a moving car was quite late by many standards as I was twelve years old, and the car was a quite unremarkable rental Seat of some kind.
The location though was more interesting. My first driving experience was in one of the craters of a volcano, Mount Teide in Tenerife, steering around the boulders.

#7 fuzzi

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 09:47

I was put into/onto the driving seat of a Lagonda LG6 when I was about seven. I couldn't see anything and was told to hold the wheel and only move it when I was asked. I didn't hit anything and my father didn't buy the car. :wave:

Edited by fuzzi, 12 March 2013 - 14:31.


#8 mikeC

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 10:45

I was put into/onto the driving seat of a Lagonda LG6 when I was about seven...


I can't top that - my first go at the wheel was aged ten in the family Lagonda Rapier...

#9 john winfield

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 11:13

In our cream Austin 1100, trundling down a leafy, surprisingly straight, Devon lane, aged eight, in the summer of 1966. England had just won the World Cup, the West Indies Test team were touring England, and my collection of bubble gum cards was building well; the Batman ones probably, maybe The Man from Uncle, possibly even the American Civil War set, with 'real' dollars and loads of blood and gore.




#10 nicanary

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 11:43

1959 Hillman Husky, so I didn't as much "steer", as just generally held the wheel. Family cars in the 50s didn't always go where the steering wheel wanted them to.

#11 kayemod

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 11:54

1959 Hillman Husky, so I didn't as much "steer", as just generally held the wheel. Family cars in the 50s didn't always go where the steering wheel wanted them to.


Yes, I remember that only too well, a Husky was the first car I actually owned, and the steering was vagueness personified. After I found that it shared all its underpinnings with the far more attractive Sunbeam Alpine though, I decided that what I really had was an Alpine estate.


#12 nicanary

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 12:28

Yes, I remember that only too well, a Husky was the first car I actually owned, and the steering was vagueness personified. After I found that it shared all its underpinnings with the far more attractive Sunbeam Alpine though, I decided that what I really had was an Alpine estate.


Walter Mitty ! The Husky followed a Minor 1000 Traveller - I wish I'd had my first steering experience on that instead, but was too young to understand at the time. My subsequent ownership of a Moggie showed me what I'd missed - a real hoot if you're prepared to "press on".

#13 FredF1

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 12:38

I don't think I ever learned to steer in such a fashion. I *was* however present when my brother let off the handbrake in our Hillman Avenger estate which was parked on a steep hill. We went about two hundred metres without hitting anything with him sawing at the wheel in a panic. We mounted the pavement and the sump dragging along the kerb slowed us enough so that we just 'kissed' a garden wall. My brother scrambled into the back seat with me and tried to pretend that the car had done it all by itself but too many people had spotted him at the wheel for that to work. He was in the doghouse for quite some time after that.

A neighbouring kid topped that though. He climbed into his dad's Renault 4 work van, started it up, put it in gear and drove off up the road only to crash into our gate pillar. The crack in the wall is still there to this day.


#14 barrykm

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 14:14

Ford Anglia - up and down our longish straight driveway, starting at age 10, progressed to driving around the 'hood in the evening, with Dad, at age 12. My Dad trusted me, which I will never forget :up:

#15 RCH

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 14:30

Yes, I remember that only too well, a Husky was the first car I actually owned, and the steering was vagueness personified. After I found that it shared all its underpinnings with the far more attractive Sunbeam Alpine though, I decided that what I really had was an Alpine estate.

My first car was '59 Hillman Minx, the downmarket Special so it had a floor change. I don't recall the steering being particularly vague by the standards of the time and I would say it probably outhandled my father's Mk. 3 Zephyr. What I hadn't realised at the time was that the anti-roll bar it had was definitely not standard, wonder if it had any more Rapier parts?

#16 Bloggsworth

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 14:45

When I was 12 and driving from London to Sevenoaks, where we lived, down the A21 in my father's Sit Up and Beg Ford Anglia, I used to steer by leaning across from the passenger seat while my father operated the pedals.

#17 john winfield

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 15:08

My first car was '59 Hillman Minx, the downmarket Special so it had a floor change. I don't recall the steering being particularly vague by the standards of the time and I would say it probably outhandled my father's Mk. 3 Zephyr. What I hadn't realised at the time was that the anti-roll bar it had was definitely not standard, wonder if it had any more Rapier parts?

That was my brother's first drive, Rod, I was too small! We had three Minxes, a 'post-war' style (Mark VII?) and two of what must have been Series III, from the late 1950s. He progressed from up and down the drive, aged 12, to unofficial autotests aged 13 in the Ashridge estate near Berkhamsted, using the avenue that leads to the Bridgewater monument, and the convenient quiet bays used to house tanks, I believe, in WWII.

Edited by john winfield, 12 March 2013 - 15:09.


#18 E.B.

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 15:16

I learnt to steer a car at the age of about 8 I think - a Morris Marina around a gravel tip that many years later became Cam & Dursley railway station.

My favourite early driving experiences pre-dated that and involved trains actually - a couple of times I was allowed to drive the large and small shunters at Sharpness Docks, and believe I may well be the youngest person in the world who can claim to have driven a Class 52 Western in the 1970s. As long as you take a fairly loose definition of "driving", I couldn't reach the brake lever..........









#19 David Lawson

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 15:20

I remember from about the age of eight sitting on my father's lap and steering his Riley Monaco down the umade lane to the barn he parked it in. He sold the car for £15 in about 1960.

David

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#20 LittleChris

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 21:23

Can't remember the car ( though I think it may have been a Mini Cooper ) but do remember sitting on my Dad's lap at the age of 6 and steering it from wherever we'd parked to the exit behind the Woodcote stands following a trip to Silverstone in the late 60's - may have been the day Tony Brooks demonstrated the Vanwall.

#21 Doug Nye

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 22:26

In my case circa 1936-37 Rover 20 Hastings Coupe, followed by a Standard Vanguard Mark II - the one with the notchback and separate boot. I'd love to have a go again in both...

DCN

#22 kayemod

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 23:39

...a Standard Vanguard Mark II - the one with the notchback and separate boot. I'd love to have a go again in both...

DCN


My dad had one of those, the paint on all of them lost any shine and became matt after a few years. Vinyl covered bench seat and a column change, you're welcome to that one!


#23 D-Type

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 00:23

In my case circa 1936-37 Rover 20 Hastings Coupe, followed by a Standard Vanguard Mark II - the one with the notchback and separate boot. I'd love to have a go again in both...

DCN

You've just got to find an excuse to run one of them up the hill at Goodwood! Difficult for cars that are so vanilla and pedestrian.

#24 BMH Comic

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 00:43

Conceived in a Vauxhall 30 - 98 and driven home from the hospital in it too, that was Xmas day 1959,

Driven around as a child in a Wolsley 444, driven to my first day at school in a Cedric 1900, delivered to high school in a Fairlane 500 and taken home every night in the foot well as there had to be room for my 5 siblings on the seat, so the rush was on to get to the driver’s seat so I had a go in this!

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=B6E6B...93F667E!328

I mastered the crank handle at 14 years without removing my thumb and drove it to the petrol station to buy petrol and made it home without any serious incidents, might have been a bit of curb hopping!!

And I have been driving it ever since. Even sat my license in it. The friendly police officer gave me the license just for making it to the licensing centre.

Edited by BMH Comic, 13 March 2013 - 01:02.


#25 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 01:05

I don't think I ever got to steer until I was driving, that being in a VW 1200 when I was 14...

But the bus driver did let me change gears in the wartime Chev school bus when I was in high school. A 3-speed with conventional pattern, it was no problem at all.

#26 GMACKIE

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 01:23

Hope you don't mind, BMH......I sneaked a peek at the rest of the photos. :blush: Nice shot of Dick Willis smiling, with Mike Vigneron looking on. :up:

My first drive - age around 12 - was a '27 Chev 'ute', given to my brother and I, by a neighbor. Mother made us give it back. :(

Edited by GMACKIE, 13 March 2013 - 01:24.


#27 BMH Comic

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 02:26

Hope you don't mind, BMH......I sneaked a peek at the rest of the photos. :blush: Nice shot of Dick Willis smiling, with Mike Vigneron looking on. :up:

My first drive - age around 12 - was a '27 Chev 'ute', given to my brother and I, by a neighbor. Mother made us give it back. :(


Yes a younger Dick at Hampton Downs 2010, we had to stage the photo so that no one could see that Dick had taken mums sizzors from home and was using them to make head gaskets for the Mildren Cooper!!

Can appreciate you having to give back the Chev 4, my twin and I scored a Lambretta, we never took it home so Mother couldn’t make us send it back, It lived under a piece of corrugated iron in the blackberry bushes across the road, that was until Mr. Plod told mother that we had it and can we stop riding it down the airport runway trying to dodge the Oshkosh fire truck with its water cannon on!


#28 giffo

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 03:08

I remember steering the ol’ man’s XW Falcon at about 6 coming back from the rubbish dump in Kambalda. That was about 74. Next was as an 11 we got a mini and I started to drive on my own, by 12 I had turned it into a race car.
One of my biggest memories was in 82 as a 14y/o when Constable Sloan came out to our house to tell me off and lecture me for driving the racing car around the streets of the town we lived in. Someone dobbed me in. It didn’t matter I also used to drive the other cars, van & truck on the same roads around town. Just the racing car was a problem.
Good memories :)

What happen to those days? Its a shame I cannot allow my kids to do the same. Probably just as well however.


#29 BMH Comic

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 03:37

What happen to those days? Its a shame I cannot allow my kids to do the same. Probably just as well however.



Because the fun police will arrive at your door if you do these days buddy!!

Despite this I have had to move the letterbox off the driveway because my young bloke keeps flattening it every time he loses control of the Landfill special, so probably better to just use the approach, NO you can not!!

https://skydrive.liv...f...=1&authkey=!

Edited by BMH Comic, 13 March 2013 - 03:38.


#30 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 03:43

Western Australia... so backward...

We had police like that in the sixties in NSW!

#31 BMH Comic

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 03:54

Western Australia... so backward...

We had police like that in the sixties in NSW!


As my good friend Hoffers use to say

"WA just Queensland 15 years ago!"

Would that be why we are called Wait Awhile?

#32 GMACKIE

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 04:22

I remember steering the ol’ man’s XW Falcon at about 6 coming back from the rubbish dump in Kambalda. That was about 74. Next was as an 11 we got a mini and I started to drive on my own, by 12 I had turned it into a race car.
One of my biggest memories was in 82 as a 14y/o when Constable Sloan came out to our house to tell me off and lecture me for driving the racing car around the streets of the town we lived in. Someone dobbed me in. It didn’t matter I also used to drive the other cars, van & truck on the same roads around town. Just the racing car was a problem.
Good memories :)

What happen to those days? Its a shame I cannot allow my kids to do the same. Probably just as well however.

Yep, those were the days alright.....when you could pick up a reasonable XW Falcon at the rubbish dump. :wave:


#33 Allan Lupton

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 08:51

There is a photo of me at the wheel of the Allis Chalmers tractor in wartime Devon - but at 5 or 6 I wasn't steering it.
No picture was ever taken but, aged 11 in Southern Rhodesia, I drove the pre-war Massey Harris tractor after father had sacked the tractor boy!
I'm told my driving still shows signs of being learned on a tractor, but I no longer stop to change gear!

#34 bill p

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 09:54

1948 Citroen Light 15 (Slough built) aged 8, steering while Dad did the important stuff although I did eventually master the gear change for him - proper driving aged 12 in a 105E Anglia!


#35 BRG

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 23:22

I seem to remember steering a rented Morris Minor in a clifftop grass car park in Dorset when I was maybe 8 or 9, and driving it into a gorse bush gently. Then driving a Bedford CA Dormobile (camper van) on an old bit of road (by passed by the new road) on the Isle of Skye when I was maybe 11 or so, then in a Morris camper van on a country road near Loch Ness a year or so later. Dad reckoned by then that I could already drive although he had never really taught me.

#36 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 00:03

Being a young bloke in a semi rural area I drove, not just steered a variety of stuff starting at 11 or 12. A 50 Vanguard ute, my first car, a 32 Dodge Truck, the family EK Holden auto plus tractors and the frontend loader. I really do not remember which was first! though between then and getting my liscence at 16 I had owned a quite a few more inc FJs,an FE, a Mk1 Zephyr. We had an 11 acre backyard. And was regularly driving to the vineyard to pick up my father 3 miles away or ferrying tractors and equipment home,[trailers, spray carts, rotary hoes and on a few occasions to building sites too. He would be shot today ofcourse for allowing it,, though I am sure there is still thousands of rural kids doing it worldwide even now.Though I never got to drive the tip trucks until I was closer to 16, and never on the road, just around the depot and loading them with the front end loader. Both the small Fiat with 1/2 ton bucket and the big Allis Chalmers with the 3 ton bucket.
How many others of us have done it? Quite a few at a guess.

#37 RonPohl

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 00:21

Well, not the first car I steered, but my first "stick shift" - Lotus31 at the Jim Russell School at Willow Springs in 1967. Made it about 20 feet before stalling. Ohhhhh.... The humiliation

#38 seldo

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 02:09

I think my first was at about age 9 driving our FJ Holden along deserted King George V Ave in the outskirts of Tamworth, with my dad squeezed up next to me.

I very quickly began to love washing the car which allowed me to back the car out of the garage solo and drive it up the side lane and onto the front lawn for a tub, and then back again.

About a year later my mate Murray Swinbourne and I, using his Dad's Fergy and grader-blade carved-out a dirt circuit in the back paddock of their little farm just outside Tamworth, and would spend days drifting his dad's FB Holden and his mum's Fiat 500 around this circuit.

When we moved back to Sydney I used to "borrow" my dad's FJ Holden in the middle of the night by pushing out of the car-port, jumping the ignition (in those days you didn't lock the car in the car-port) and tearing around like a lunatic, terrified - not of being caught by the constabulary, but by the old man.

Then when I went to boarding school at age 12, I found there was an abandoned '27 Dodge Flying Four ute in one of the sheds on the shool's 53 acre grounds, and was given permission to see if I could resurrect it.

With some assistance from another mate's dad who was an engineer with GMH and somehow amazingly sourced a set of new pistons for it, my mate and I rebuilt the engine and got it going like a train.

The school principal was quite impressed since he thought we had no chance at all, and we were given permission to drive it within the school grounds, complete with a faux "licence".

I thus learned to drive a crash gear-box with quite some dexterity, especially when a rear-axle oil-seal ruined one of the only 2-wheel brakes, which necessitated all stopping being mostly done by using the gear-box.

Since the massive 4 cylinder engine had an enormous flywheel and idled like a clock at about 250rpm, I was eventually able to actually start from rest, go through all the gears and back to a halt, without using the clutch at all. To start I would listen to the engine and could judge the moment to snick it into first, and with a little jolt, away we would go without so much as a crunch.

If the Principal had ever ventured down to the bottom of the school grounds off the beaten-track behind the tree-screen he would have been horrified at the way some unknown vandals had left massive skid marks and drift-marks in the grass.....

...I could go on and on...



#39 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 03:55

You could have done better, David...

Maybe these blokes could have been an example to you.

Mind you, if you have a good look through their site you'll see they strained the machinery a little.

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#40 FrankB

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 04:33

https://www.google.c.....er3DRuuBgY7M:


Occasionally Dad would bring his work home. At a time when there were a lot fewer vehicles about I would quite easily hear as he drove up the road parallel to ours. I would run to meet him, climb on his lap then "steer" down the street. It was only years later that I realised that a skinny 8 year old wouldn't make much difference to the direction we were going in.

My first real driving, a couple of years later, was in Dad's Riley RMB around the WW2 airfield at Grafton Underwood.

#41 Wirra

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 05:18

First solo steer was an open-wheeler.

Posted Image


#42 seldo

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 05:21

You could have done better, David...

Maybe these blokes could have been an example to you.

Mind you, if you have a good look through their site you'll see they strained the machinery a little.

Great story Ray, but without wanting to take the thread O/T it also raised a query for me in that I'd always understood my Dodge was a '28 Flying/Fast ? Four, yet it had a different engine to that depicted in your link.

In particular, it had an updraft carburettor on (I think) the LHS of the engine which drew intake air via a centrifugal "air-cleaner" on the RHS of the block, through a pre-heating channel through the block between #2 & #3 cylinders and hence to the carby on the other side of the engine. I seem to recall that this was just above the generator which drove the water-pump via a fabric coupling from its rear...or maybe the w/p drove the gennie...

Edited by seldo, 14 March 2013 - 06:04.


#43 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 06:14

Yes, a different engine, David...

The Fast Four was only in production for seven months. It's even possible, I guess, that none made it to Australia. Then the Dodge Brothers empire was swallowed* by Chrysler and they went to sixes and eights.


* Loosely speaking. It was a share issue transaction that multiplied the Chrysler empire by many times what it had been previously. In just a year or two Chrysler went from being Chrysler to being the Chrysler Corp with Dodge, Plymouth and De Soto brands under their wings, along with Graham trucks, which Dodge owned.

The Dodge Brothers, who had been building T-Models for Henry Ford went out on their own in 1914 but both died within a couple of months of each other in 1920 and the family sold the business to some investment bankers. By 1927 they wanted to offload the business and made the deal with Chrysler.

#44 seldo

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 07:05

Yes, a different engine, David...

The Fast Four was only in production for seven months. It's even possible, I guess, that none made it to Australia. Then the Dodge Brothers empire was swallowed* by Chrysler and they went to sixes and eights.


* Loosely speaking. It was a share issue transaction that multiplied the Chrysler empire by many times what it had been previously. In just a year or two Chrysler went from being Chrysler to being the Chrysler Corp with Dodge, Plymouth and De Soto brands under their wings, along with Graham trucks, which Dodge owned.

The Dodge Brothers, who had been building T-Models for Henry Ford went out on their own in 1914 but both died within a couple of months of each other in 1920 and the family sold the business to some investment bankers. By 1927 they wanted to offload the business and made the deal with Chrysler.

Ok, thanks - that makes sense.

#45 eldougo

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 08:48

Dad had 1938 Chevrolet when we lived on the farm at Rydal and i learnt sitting on his lap and eventually used to drive 3 k/l up to the front gate with my brother and sister aboard and catch the bus to school in Lithgow.
We also had an old International truck with wood spoke wheels and i got the nack of using it around the farm picking up firewood until my sister crashed it into a tree one day dad pulled the front guards off and we had an open wheeler it was great to see the wheels turning and sliding around while paddock bashing i was 11 or 12 years old . :cool:

Edited by eldougo, 14 March 2013 - 08:50.


#46 Wilyman

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 09:02

No cars in the Wily household. "Drove" my uncle Fred's Fordson Major dual fuel on their farm in Wirrula Sth Aus.
Age 9 or 10, steered, standing betwixt uncle's legs.
Wasn't aware later on that my '52 Simca 8 was the basis of Amede Gordini's race cars.

#47 Dipster

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 09:27

I was blessed with growing up around cars in the 50's. Dad allowed me, aged 8, to play first with a 1934 Austin 10, driving around the yard. I spent my childhood trying to grab keys of whatever I could to try them out. Dad was absolutely adamant that we (my older bruv and I) NEVER took a car out on the road without insurance (which, of coure, meant we never drove on the road as kids). And he meant it. As he said "don't worry about what the police will do to you, worry about what I will do to you...." He was keen on boxing so we listened carefully. But over the years of childhood we had great fun.

These years of play came home to bite me in later life however. By the time I had to take my drivng est at 17 I was, I must admit, a cocky young bloke who thought he knew it all - the next World Champion. To those of you who know the strange ways of driving examiners and the UK test it will come as no surprise that I failed spectacularly that day. And the next 4 times I tried. My dad was great and supportive but found it all hilarious. I did not! But each time I got a little smarter and I eventally got my licence at the 6th attempt.

It was quite a humbling experience that did me no harm, quite the contrary in fact

Edited by Dipster, 14 March 2013 - 09:28.


#48 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 12:34

Originally posted by Wilyman
No cars in the Wily household. "Drove" my uncle Fred's Fordson Major dual fuel on their farm in Wirrula Sth Aus.....


What we call 'dual fuel' in automotive terms to day is no doubt different to what you'd call 'dual fuel' in tractors in the fifties...

I'm guessing petrol to warm up, kero for running?

#49 RogerFrench

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 15:47

What we call 'dual fuel' in automotive terms to day is no doubt different to what you'd call 'dual fuel' in tractors in the fifties...

I'm guessing petrol to warm up, kero for running?


Kero would be what we called TVO in the UK? Tractor Vaporising Oil, or paraffin with some aromatics added.


#50 ewanarm

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 15:54

Ford Zephyr V6 1971 in dark metallic green. Sat on my dad's knee aged 8, I steered, he operated the pedals. Loved that car, we used to call it the Big Green Monster.