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Do You Remember !!!

Pete Lewis

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Following the Old Age and Blonde Moments posts it seems right to have a

Do You Remember These


There, s ramblings on the BBC car building that spurned a thought for this


to add some banter



it covers things we had or did and wouldnt miss for the world


it glances over meccano, soap boxes, old bikes Tuff Shoes etc


so who had Clarkes two strap sandals and ....who had a pair of Bumpers to chase around the rocks and coves after Plimpsols , but well before the days of trainers in the 50s

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Batteries that cost a fortune and lasted five minutes in toys, and then leaked horrible gunge everywhere... clockwork toys that always lost the key... everything said "Made in Hong Kong"... 

Needing a compass and protractor for school...

Dynamos on bicycles....

Wolseley cars with the little grille light...

Texan bars and Spangles...

Roller skates that were always many sizes too small... tin tricycles... 


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I was 13 years  old

2/6d  weekly pocket money provided a gallon of petrol for a weekend driving around a muddy field with my friends.

Previously that year, I had saved up my pocket money  until I had amassed the £5 needed to buy the car from a farmer.He had a field where all sorts of rusting old  cars vans and lorries lay. The £5 Ford was one of the better ones -a Ford 10 model  7W 1937 model..I drove  it illegally down the main road  a  few  hundred yards to the  field  belonging to my friend's grandfather who very kindly let us use it..Apart from a goat the field was empty and  much of it very boggy.It was our race track.My friend acquired a Morris 8 which looked brilliant but had very little power and was no match for the Ford.

Most of my class mates learnt to drive on the Ford,  Thrashing it mercilessly  in first gear it sounded the part after the exhaust was chopped in front of the silencer.

 This is where my friends learnt to drive  and   handle a car in  a slide. later they all went on to pass their tests without problems and they all went on to become safe drivers and  repectable local pillars of the  community.

Sliding about in the  in the mud meant we  became  expert  controlling the old thing although its shock absorbers gone .We becme adept  at "winding it out" on the starting handle (we had seen done with  the Austin ambulance  it in the desert scene in "Ice Cold in Alex"when it got bogged down so it was sort of re-enactment).This didn't always work and a whole afternoon was spent sometimes jacking and planking it out.

Inevitably, the car broke down and  we had to learn how to fix it. This is where I  started  to learn about cars...

There were two rubbish "dumps" a few miles away and evening raids on these to sites provided all we needed  to keep the old thing screaming-

with the  added excitement of doing something rather  daring.

The constant high revving took it's toll on the curious  c shaped vale stem collets. which Ford used. which snapped regularly.These where liberated from engines at the dump.I rember  how engines in those days were incredibly  filthy inside!

Other items "rescued "  were steering box ,distributor , coil, head  But it was during my most ambitious raid -a full back axle with wheels and torque tube attached that I encountered the long arm of the law in the portly shape of Sgt C.

Pulling the axle by the torque tube  along a deserted rough track  I was terrified to see the red face  of  Sgt C approaching wheeling  his bike.

I was even more terrified when he said ," Now this won't do, will it lad ?" -I  found I was quite  unable  to speak....


That's enough for now


If your interested in what happened next in this true story I will post tomorrow night

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In my bright red 53 Hillman Minx a well souped up side valve and just passed a guy in PA Cresta going flat at it in a 30 zone and a tubby red beared policeman steppped out in the road, how she stopped I will never know but halled her into the tarmac , and with a youngsters guilty trip wound down the window expecting a right rocket .....and he said

Sorry lad there, s been and accident you will have to take this detour......well the sweat dried up instantly

But I could see the guy in the Cresta had to get out !!!!


makes you learn a bit quick


Happy days

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One of our 'gang' was fixing his sister's car (possibly a Herald), I think he was fitting a new exhaust. Two of us went round to 'give him a hand'. When finished he got his sister to run the engine - presumably to check for leaks. The boot lid was open and while the engine was running my other mate rhythmically tapped the inner wheel arch with the bent piece of wire used to operate the jack.

'What' that noise? What have you done?' Exclaimed the now somewhat irate sister.

'That, that's jack handling. As bad a case as I've ever heard'


We got quite a lot of mileage out of that before she trigged we were  having her on.

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13 year old's adventure" part 2"


First, a correction  (false memory ) pocket money was a hefty 5/- no 2/6 - cost of a gallon of regular /2 star.


Sgt C: "Well, you've not planned this very well have you, sonny?" 

me: terrified silence.

Sgt C "The gate at the end of the tract is locked with a padlock, you'll not get this bloody  thing  over it."

          " Go up the track to B's cottage -he has the key.Tell him I've sent you and need to open the gate"

Deed done and key returned,Sgt B accepted my grovelling thanks and  began  to wheel his bike away then stopped turned and  pointed directly at me with a  stubby finger, "Give my regards to your mum and dad. Now promise me you won't  forget now, will you?".I nodded.

We both knew what this  meant.

It meant that I had not got off entirely Scot-free. He  knew that I when I passed on his greetings to my parents as I had promised,   I  would be interrogated  as to the nature of my  meeting with the Sgt. He  knew  he could leave  the matter with them.He was right.Quizzed in almost  forensic  detail first  by dad then by mum,followed by a lecture on responsible behavior  from both, it resulted in no pocket money that week-end.


We were always  scared of policemen -merely a  look was enough to strike terror in ones chest.

I don't really know why we were so frightened of them because , in retrospect, we kids were treated very kindly by them, in fact  quite indulgently  at times and tales of being "given a clip around the ear"  that you hear people of my generation bang on about  are complete rubbish.

Incidentally I have a tape recording of my grandfather (done in 1967) where he describes his childhood experiences in Yorkshire in the 1890s and he  remarks on how  reasonable the "bobbies" were with mischievous children on his street.

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Hi Pete, and what a brilliant subject for a new thread, Thanks! And for once I wear a T-shirt that none of you guys have (not even Pete!!) and you will probably not get it either, unless you pay me a visit here on The Aaland Island (You are most welcome! Anytime!).

I bought my first car, a Renault 8 together with my best friend when I had just turned 15, in about 1981 or 1982 (3 years before I could get a driving license). In Scandinavia the Baltic Sea normally gets frozen and has thick ice from the end of December to at least mid March (global warming seems to have an effect on this though…). You do not need a driving license or reach a specific age to drive on the ice here (and no insurance cover accidents, it’s on your own risk…) It´s like autobahn without needing a driving license! Yippee! And since the Aaland Islands consists of more than 6500 islands it is quite convenient to be able to drive to them, and not having to use a ferry or boat in the winter time. Driving on ice is different to normal racing. Power and torque is secondary, it is all about the friction between the tyres and the ice that counts.

Renault eight has a tiny (1100 cc if I remember correct?) rear mounted engine just above the rear (driving) axle which is perfect weight distribution on the ice. My friend and I humiliated several Volvos and Opels that had huge engines, and we had a blast with that Renault. On one occasion we had improvised a drag race on the ice, and my friend insisted that he would sit on top of the engine during the race to increase friction even further. We won the race, but I still wonder how he managed to stay on top of the engine without falling off at 60 mph… Those where the days..

After a few years on the ice, we finally chopped the roof off from that poor abused Renault and made it a convertible with no soft top (why??!? It was bloody freezing cold?!) But it did look cool as a convertible! That old tiny Renault was my equivalence of the old Ford mentioned before, I learned a lot, and no, we did not have any internet, and it was of course extremely dangerous activities… Well said Pete, thank God we did not have mobile phones back then!!

One problem was that we have ice for 3 months, and it was very tempting to use the car those other 9 months, ahum...… I have plenty of more material for this thread Pete!

PS Imps have engines in the rear with rear wheel driving don't they?! I'm glad I never met one of those on the ice ;)

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We had an old Mini that used to be yellow, so we painted it black - with brush-on Hammerite. The wipers didn't work so the front seat passenger had to lean around the screen and move them backwards and forwards. They stuck on once so in a fit of bad temper I bent the metal arm right round and under the steering column, so it looked like an overdrive stalk just below the light stalk...  I fitted reversing lights with a switch in the dashboard and long long cables looping around the pedals under the carpets to the battery in the boot, but one day at traffic lights the metal pedals cut into them and they shorted out filling the car with thick white smoke and melting the rear seat into two halves. I remember getting into the driver's seat then tying a long length of blue string from one door to the other to stop them flying open as I drove.  

I actually traded it in under one of those: "your old car plus £99 as deposit on your next car" schemes... and drove away very quickly before the salesman ran after me and made me take it back again...

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my sons first car was a nappy yellow rusty mini 850 when you opened the boot you could see your feet, but bits of old car and loads of wire coat hangers it was  gas welded into shape.

we painted it bright red and white roof with rollers and brush with JapLac  took all  morning , it looked brilliant from 10ft away

and covered the underside of the rusty wings with self adhesive bitumen foil..it lasted 4 years


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These cars were the reason they introduced the MOT! :D I remember a friend had a big old Austin, he took it for it's first MOT and was outraged to have it fail for woodworm! I think it had a metal chassis originally which had become so rusty a piece of wormy timber had been added to beef it up.

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i once repaired a P6 rover which had a seized dunlop caliper piston so the offset load it kept shearing the disc off its nave , he had fitted three discs in rapid succession and cured the problem by remove the broken disc and add a lump of wood between the pistons    might have suited a reliant brake system.



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