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What would you have driven 50 years ago?

Seeing the noble old 1950 Healey (Unusual Sightings thread), and Lud having helpfully pointed out that it had a 2.5 litre Riley engine, made me think....

....If you were the sort of person who had a Riley in the 50s, you might have had a Triumph in the 60s and 70s, but you'd now probably have a BMW.

Going back the other way, if we were who we are now, say 50 years ago - or even 20 or 30 for those of you younger than I - what would we have driven?

For me I think it might well have been a Riley 2.5, then a Triumph 2000 /2500 (much superior to the Rover 2000 I always thought).

Pugugly, if you see this, your view as a BMW enthusiast would be interesting.

Comments

mike hannon    on 22 June 2007

MG Magnette ZB

L'escargot    on 22 June 2007

I can tell you exactly what I drove 50 years ago today. It was an 875cc Singer Chamois (in "Forest Green") bought in December 1965., and it was the first car I bought new.

I traded this in for a 1500cc Hillman Minx (in "Midnight Blue") bought new in August 1967. Having got an obsession for keeping records I regret that these are the only cars in the last 50 years for which I've lost the receipts.
--
L\'escargot.

Manatee    on 22 June 2007

Rover 90.

jc2    on 22 June 2007

1965 was only 42 years ago!!

Geordie1    on 22 June 2007

My first car 50 years ago was a 1949 Humber Hawk MK 111 bought for £39.10s (4 months wages) at a local auction.

wemyss    on 22 June 2007

My first was a Morris Minor series 11, 803cc bought in 1960. Built in 1955. Reg YNU 415
Cost £410.00 with basic wages around £12.00 in those days.
Swopped it for a new VW 1200 Beetle in 1964 which cost £624.00.

wemyss

Stuartli    on 22 June 2007

Not quite 50 years, but it was a Morris Minor 1000 (first car), registered in 1960 and bought in 1964 after passing driving test - had just 19k on the clock.

Had it for about two years before finding out that the back seat could be dropped down to extend luggage space - the leather strap that had to be released couldn't be seen when looking into the boot...:-)
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Round The Bend    on 22 June 2007

As a current Mondeo driver, I guess that would give me a Ford Consul.
My dad's first car - about 50 years ago was a Jowett Javelin which I'd prefer that to the Consul.

J Bonington Jagworth    on 22 June 2007

"My dad's first car - about 50 years ago was a Jowett Javelin which I'd prefer that to the Consul"

My grandfather had both - not sure why he got rid of the Javelin, although I suppose the Ford was perceived as better value. My dad, who got to drive the Jowett occasionally, rated it highly.

Lud    on 22 June 2007

"My dad's first car - about 50 years ago was a Jowett Javelin which I'd
prefer


My dad who got to drive
the Jowett occasionally rated it highly.


Best designed British mid-market car of its day by far, and fast too. In earlier threads here some people have said the engine had a weak bottom end. The problem really was that Jowett were under-capitalised, and may have been helped out of business by bigger, fatter, jealous competitors.

William Boddy of Motor Sport drove one for years and loved it. He loved the VW Beetle too. Later he had a Morris 1100.

L'escargot    on 22 June 2007

1965 was only 42 years ago!!


D'oh! Well it feels like at least 50!
--
L\'escargot.

L'escargot    on 22 June 2007

1965 was only 42 years ago!!


In that case it was a clapped out 1936 Wolseley 14 which I bought from a bomb-site dealer for £25. I was young and naive and it was so bad I had to sell it for scrap only a few weeks later.
--
L\'escargot.

tack    on 22 June 2007

1965 was only 42 years ago!!


Yeah, nostalgia ain't what it used to be.

L'escargot    on 23 June 2007

>> 1965 was only 42 years ago!!
>>
Yeah nostalgia ain't what it used to be.


Under the state OAP charter I'm allowed a limited number of senior moments!
--
L\'escargot.

oldgit    on 22 June 2007

Had been driving legally for about 12 months and I am sure that it was an Austin A30 with its 848cc engine and top speed of about 65 mph, or is that too optimistic?

geoff1248    on 22 June 2007

Triang pedal car, I think it was in red....

local yokel    on 22 June 2007

I was -2 at the time, but my father was still enjoying his 1923 RR 20 - he sold it in 61 and bought a new Mini van, 162 AOU.

boxsterboy    on 22 June 2007

The same as I do now (OK, not every day).

A 2CV.

Collos25    on 22 June 2007

"I can tell you exactly what I drove 50 years ago today. It was an 875cc Singer Chamois (in "Forest Green") bought in December 1965., and it was the first car I bought new".

Is it my maths .

L'escargot    on 23 June 2007

"I can tell you exactly what I drove 50 years ago today. It was an
875cc Singer Chamois (in "Forest Green") bought in December 1965. and it was the first
car I bought new".
Is it my maths .


Under the state OAP charter I'm allowed a limited number of senior moments! Or have I already said that earlier? Jeez, everything seems such a long time ago nowadays!

--
L\'escargot.

J Bonington Jagworth    on 22 June 2007

"The same as I do now"

But not the same one, presumably?

I was quite surprised only yesterday to see a Mk.1 Cortina (the first version, without the 'aeroflow' ventilation, c.1963) parked on the road. It was v.similar to my first car - not quite 50 years ago, but heading that way quite fast enough, thank you. I certainly wouldn't have expected it to last this long...

J Bonington Jagworth    on 22 June 2007

"Triang pedal car"

LOL!

Mine was blue, IIRC...

LHM    on 22 June 2007

I doubt I'd be able to afford to drive a car 50 years ago! Cars today are much cheaper 'in real terms'....

Cliff Pope    on 22 June 2007

I doubt I'd be able to afford to drive a car 50 years ago! Cars
today are much cheaper 'in real terms'....


I bought my first car for £10 in 1966. I had saved up my ten bob a week pocket money. I don't think many of today's 17-year olds would say car ownership is cheap.

helicopter    on 22 June 2007

Cliff - you and I must be the same age but you obviously were a saver, I used to get ten bob a week pocket money but spent most of it on beer , cigarettes and women. I squandered the rest.

Fifty years ago I was eight years old and was allowed by my father to drive the old Case tractor we had on the public roads ....
That was in darkest Northumberland where you were lucky if you saw more than three cars a day.

I would kike to think it would be something like a Mk 2 Jag . Armstrong Siddely Sapphire or Humber Super Snipe that I would have been driving 50 years ago.

J Bonington Jagworth    on 22 June 2007

"I don't think many of today's 17-year olds would say car ownership is cheap."

That's because so many of them (or perhaps it's just the ones that get noticed) drive tarted up XR2's, Novas or 206GTi's and then wonder why the insurance premiums are so high! Car ownership in general is pretty affordable, which is why there are so many on the road...

Notwithstanding the above, it's still nice to be able to suck through one's teeth and recall the time when petrol was 4s 6d a gallon!

Falkirk Bairn    on 22 June 2007

I do not know what car I would have driven as I was 11 however
the car would have been British Built - Standard / Triumph / Morris /Austin / Riley / Wolseley / Ford / Hillman / Singer / Armstrong Siddeley / Sunbeam / Vauxhall / Jaguar / Rover to mention a few.

I only knew one person with a non-British built cat - a VW Beetle with a split back screen.

MichaelR    on 22 June 2007

Nothing, becuase students didn't have cars 50 years ago.

Stuartli    on 22 June 2007

>>Nothing, becuase students didn't have cars 50 years ago.>>

You're kidding...:-)

My local college had a number of students in the early 1950s who owned cars - one had a pre-war Austin 7 that he managed to overturn one night after finishing the day's courses.
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What\'s for you won\'t pass you by

Cliff Pope    on 22 June 2007

Our school had problems in the early sixties with pupils' cars, motor bikes and scooters blocking nearby streets. Old cars were so cheap loads of pupils had them. In the end they had to be banned, and possessing a car became a grave offence, like being caught in the pub in the lunch-hour.

wemyss    on 22 June 2007

Cliff. Don't you mean a University and not a School. You couldnt get a licence until you were 18 at that time.
As I recall there was quite a shortage of cars at this time as there had been no production during the war and I don't think production started in any volume until about 1947/8.
As mentioned earlier I paid £415 for a 1953 Moggie in 1960 which couldnt have cost much more than that when it was new.
I think in 1960 the vast majority of cars were pre-war. Most people had motor bikes in my area.

wemyss

Stuartli    on 22 June 2007

>>I think in 1960 the vast majority of cars were pre-war>>

No...:-)
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What\'s for you won\'t pass you by

Cliff Pope    on 22 June 2007

No, school. I got my full licence within weeks of my 17th birthday. Lots of my fellow 6th formers had cars. Scooters were the favoured transport before that.

wemyss    on 22 June 2007

Sorry Cliff...I would have sworn that it had changed in my lifetime. Good job I hadnt placed a bet.
When my dad first got a car in about 1958 (after his motorbikes) he never had to pass a driving test. Don't remember the exact reason but think it was something to do with having a motorcycle one.
I recall my Mother being very annoyed at the time in that she had to have lessons and take the test.

wemyss

L'escargot    on 23 June 2007

I think in 1960 the vast majority of cars were pre-war. Most people had motor
bikes in my area.


Most people in my area couldn't afford either. Although my dad had a licence he never actually owned a car.
--
L\'escargot.

OldHand    on 22 June 2007

50 years ago? Easy a Lotus Seven driven with gusto and a Terry-Thomas 'tache.

alan kearn    on 22 June 2007

Morris 8 Series E, I think it was 1947 vintage

So I can certainly see the improvements in motoring

J Bonington Jagworth    on 22 June 2007

"I only knew one person with a non-British built car.."

Indeed. One of the few I remember from my childhood was a Beetle, too, and there was general amazement when my primary school headmistress bought a Simca in the early 60's!

In the mid-70's I bought a Honda S800 off a chap who had been upbraided in the street by an fierce old lady who accused him of 'not remembering the war'...

mrmender    on 22 June 2007

I was't around 50 years ago (not far off arrival though)
I think i would have liked to drive a Jag XK 150 Or a MK7 Mtype
Interesting note as someone has pointed out all the cars mentioned are British

madf    on 22 June 2007

40 years ago - as a STUDENT - I bought my first car .. for £30.

1929 Riley 9 Monaco. One owner from new.


6 Months later I sold it for £90 plus a non running MGTA





madf

RaineMan    on 22 June 2007

If I had been around and driving then probably a nice ZB Magnette. I am assuming Jags and Bentleys would have been out of my league back then as they are now!

Lud    on 22 June 2007

I was 18 and didn't have a driving licence. Head full of Bentleys and such. Would have been happy to get my hands on any car at all.

oldgit    on 22 June 2007

I was 18 and didn't have a driving licence. Head full of Bentleys and such.
Would have been happy to get my hands on any car at all.


A friend of mine and myself who were very close friends (then but not now) were in a battle to see who could pass the driving test first, after reaching our 17th birthdays. He won, by a few months but I had only six driving lessons from one of my local driving schools and passed first time and that was in 1956.

flunky    on 22 June 2007

I am
assuming Jags and Bentleys would have been out of my league back then as they
are now!


You can get a 5-year-old X-Type (yes, it's a Mondeo) for about £5k. Explains why they are being sold off. What a joke, a Jaguar Mondeo.

milkyjoe    on 22 June 2007

i feel quite young reading some of the oldens reminising here

madf    on 22 June 2007

Further to the above I looked at and rejected buying - when a student - the following iirc:-

1937 Bentley 4.15 litre £50. Needed new clutch which was beyond my technical abilties

Jaguar XK120 fhc black £150 - rusty sills. Could not afford it/fuel or insurance.

1957 Triumph TR3 £120: very rusty and full of filler. BRG

1936 MG PA about £80.. spat oil everywhere.

193? Singer sports car (?name) - orginal engine replaced by Ford E93A: a heap.

193? Austin 16 - rust, rust and more rust. Even the wire wheels looked dodgy.

1959 Mini £50 - holes in floors.

In this period I also owned: Austin A30, A35, Rover 16 (got married when I owned it .. went on honeymoon in it), Rover 75 , Standard 10 (rust),
and my brother had: Ford Prefect, Morris Minor 803 cc (converted to 950cc ) convertible...and Ford E93 Anglia..

Apart from the Rovers most were in apallingly bad condition but all passed MOTs..

I did all my own maintenance: so when I read of complaints of modern car complexity.. all I can say is give me complexity any day... cars then were carp....





madf

ForumNeedsModerating    on 22 June 2007

Not 'would' I was in fact driving a Ford V8 Pilot - with pedals, around the living room & the ocassional weeekend jaunts to the country- well er..garden . I remember it well, big grille & 'stuck-on' headlamps. If I'd been of legal driving age, (and sufficiently pecunious!) it may well have been the real thing - IIRC, they were the first Americany type big motor to be made by Ford (in Dagenham?) & remember my Dad being quite taken with them , the V8 motor before that being thought of as quite unattainable by the 'working' man - now it was in a Ford! We actually made do with Consuls & Zephyrs - never quite got to a Zodiac! Anyone remember the Consul 375? Or Godfrey Davis (Ford Main dealer) in Neasden?

Happy Days!

J Bonington Jagworth    on 22 June 2007

"Anyone remember the Consul 375"

'Fraid so! Not a bad car IIRC - amazingly, there's a cream one (was there any other colour?) still one in daily use near here.

wemyss    on 22 June 2007

Chap across the road had a Ford Pilot at this time. The jacking of the car was fascinating. It had hydraulic ones in each corner of the car. Pressing a button or whatever it was lifted the corner of the car.

wemyss

Westpig    on 22 June 2007

If i was this age 50 years ago i suspect i'd have a Jag mk ix, trying to save for/justify a mark 11

bathtub tom    on 22 June 2007

Messerschmitt KR200 (I wish - actually had a Hunslett Scootacar forty odd years ago).

PoloGirl    on 22 June 2007

Ashamed to say I don't know any of the cars in this thread, and wasn't even a twinkle in my father's eye fifty years ago! However, I've been around here long enough, so you tell me - what would I have driven 50 years ago?

Pugugly {P}    on 22 June 2007

BMW 502 V8 Super.

OldHand    on 22 June 2007

Shame on you PoloGirl they still make the Lotus 7 today albeit under a different name.

Lud    on 22 June 2007

what would I have driven 50 years ago?


Morris Minor 1000 PG. Or perhaps a Beetle.

eProf    on 22 June 2007

Fifty years ago I was the proud owner of a 1939 Lanchester. Upright and imposing, it was powered through a pre-selector gearbox, which took some getting used to! It also came with an amazingly versatile back seat, ideal for the "getting to know you" stage of romance!
--
e Prôf - Another Recycled Teenager

Pugugly {P}    on 22 June 2007

Oh and a Series 0ne Landie.

MikeTorque    on 22 June 2007

A red pedal car, there use to be a lot about at one time, very eco friendly as well.
Drove a Morris Oxford Series 2 for years, column gear change with front bench seat, lovely for romance, life's just not the same with a gear level in the middle !
I changed the Oxford for an Astra GTE mark 2 after one windy morning the Oxford nearly got blown backwards trying to go up a hill, bit of a performance difference ah what but no more fights with headwinds.

Avant    on 22 June 2007

The cognoscenti have taken this as I meant it - what would you have driven if you were who you are now. I agree - pre-Farina MG Magnette would be a worthy successory to one of those long low Rileys. If the children were still at home, there was a lot to be said for (again pre-Farina) an Austin A105 Westminster - big straight-6 engine pulling a body only slightly bigger than the A50 / A55 Cambridge (which i did have as my first car and was really quite lively).

Now there's a challenge, PoloGirl - what would you have driven? A VW Beetle or Austin A30 as your first car, perhaps, and I think you'd have loved a Triumph Vitesse - 1.6, then 2.0 engine in the body of a Triumph Herald. Cornering needed skill, but you would have taken that as a challenge.

gsb    on 22 June 2007

1st car in 1969 MK 1 Ford Consul iirc £45

Lud    on 23 June 2007

The cognoscenti have taken this as I meant it - what would you have driven
if you were who you are now.


Evidently I am no cognoscento because I took it in a literal and dull way.

Speaking as a cognoscento, there were incredibly good vintage and post-vintage cars available for fairly modest sums, and with some modest sums available I think I would have gone for one of them.

Talbot 90 or 105, Aston Martin Ulster (a snip at £450 in the Priory Garage at Old Windsor when I was at school nearby in the mid-fifties), all sorts of Bentleys including Speed Sixes and 8-litres, with 3 litre and 4.5 litre ones as common as muck, Delahayes, Delages and all sorts of other mid and late thirties stuff including lots of nice Rolls-Bentley Tourers, Daimlers, Lanchesters and Armstrong-Siddeleys for people who liked whirring noises, and Hudson-engined Railtons and early Jensens and Jag/SSs a bit further down the market... no list at all, there are dozens more. All available for reasonable money in the fifties. Unfortunately I didn't have reasonable money.

Stuartli    on 23 June 2007

I always thought the Austin A90 Atlantic was a wonderful looking car and wanted one for many years when I was comparatively young.

However, we had to make do (parents' wise) with a 1947 Austin 8, in which we covered many parts of the UK in the late 1940s and early 1950s; the registration was HGJ 888.

I distinctly remember that it had a foot dip switch for the headlights, a blind for the rear window activated by a pull string along the driver's side, a fully opening windscreen (early A/C?) and my father regularly heating up the spark plugs in the oven during the winter in order to (try and) get it started.
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L'escargot    on 23 June 2007

I always thought the Austin A90 Atlantic was a wonderful looking car and wanted one
for many years when I was comparatively young.


Me too. I thought they were really cool, or whatever the trendy term was in those days!
--
L\'escargot.

oldgit    on 23 June 2007

Me too. I thought they were really cool or whatever the trendy term was in
those days!


Better still, surely, the Austin Metropolitan?

L'escargot    on 23 June 2007

The cognoscenti have taken this as I meant it ........


Being one of the cognoscenti is all very well for Johnny Foreigners, but I'm British and I much prefer to think of myself as having connoisseurship! ;-) ~ tinyurl.com/yo4kwp
--
L\'escargot.

mare    on 23 June 2007

Taking this as what car 50 years ago would replace your current one;

Instead of the old Almera i use for work - a Morris Minor or something, until the BMC1100 comes along. Basic transport

Instead of the 206CC - Hmm, not a MG, probably a Karmann Ghia droptop. And no i don't do perms.

Instead of the Mitsi Grandis - some big estate car, after all no seatbelts so six kids in the back wasn't a problem then. Citroen DS Safari if 49 years ago.

frazerjp    on 23 June 2007

Well when Dad was my age i think he owned an Austin Healey because he couldn't afford an MG.
--
Its not what you drive, its how you drive it! :-)

L'escargot    on 23 June 2007

Well when Dad was my age i think he owned an Austin Healey because he
couldn't afford an MG.


Do you mean a Sprite instead of a Midget? Incidentally I saw one the other day and the thing that stood out was how small it was.
--
L\'escargot.

oldgit    on 23 June 2007

snip PU

Yes, despite, now, looking so small and weedy and incapable, in a way, these are the cars that I holiday-ed in all over Europe, when motoring abroad was still a bit of an adventure

Altea Ego    on 23 June 2007

Well I am glad all my years on this board have educated you lot, and you are now all MG Magnette ZB fans. Has to be a varitione tho. 50 years ago - thats 1957 - thats exactly the car I would have bought.

But what was I driving, this time, 50 years ago.

At the age of three, I was being driven to cornwall in - wait for it - a Morris Series E. Aparently I was fascinated by the red jewel stuck in the boot lid.
------------------------------
TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >

Pugugly {P}    on 23 June 2007

Would that have made an early Morris Man then ?

Altea Ego    on 23 June 2007

that would be Boy Morris


------------------------------
TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >

Westpig    on 24 June 2007

that would be Boy Morris

can you dance?.......you've admitted being in Cornwall!

mike hannon    on 23 June 2007

When I was 18 (1968) you could buy a Lancia Aurelia GT coupe for about 200 quid. (Sorry I always have to say quid but my keyboard doesn't have a pound sign).
I drove an A35 because there was a big difference between 95 and 200 in those days...

hillman    on 24 June 2007

I was riding a Matchless 500cc single motor cycle. I would have liked a Riley 1.5, but eventually had to be satisfied witha Wolseley 1500.

Avant    on 24 June 2007

Chauffeured in a E-type at the age of 3, TVM? I'm impressed.

Tomo    on 24 June 2007

Almost exactly 50 years ago I was changing over from a 1940 Austin 8 (really my mother's) to a 1929 Lagonda 3 Litre Special, high chassis, believed to be one of the Brooklands cars; £110. People said "you must be well off"; I said I would be if I did not have it!

Previously, bike was a 1949 BSA B31 which gradually acquired things like a McAndless rear frame, Gold Star engine innards and a close ratio box as and when a bit of cash was available; it just hit an indicated ton on the Kilmarnock-Glasgow road with a strong wind behind it.

Later, just when I could afford something that was good for 90 without worries, they brought in the 70 limit! We are not supposed to enjoy motoring.

Lud    on 24 June 2007

We are not supposed to enjoy motoring.


You among others may have managed to enjoy it a bit though Tomo.

Did the Austin 8 have any brakes to speak of? I ask because I was once offered a mid-to-late-thirties Austin 7 Ruby, bit of curvy coachwork around the boot, that had no brakes at all (I discovered as it charged into Flood Street at undiminished speed with me standing on the pedal and cursing and the owner doubled up with laughter in the passenger seat).

Tomo    on 25 June 2007


"Did the Austin 8 have any brakes to speak of?"

Well, Lud, the 8 did have rod brakes, which one spoke of in rude terms on the occasions of swerves to one side or the other when attempting a hard application. The 8 had little in common with the 7 except the engine from the Big 7, being a reduced 2 door version of the 10 and 12. Suspension was conventional for the time with cart springs all round. Construction was effected by welding a steel body and steel floor to the chassis side members, comprising a sort of primitive unitary construction including the rust. It was bought by my father in 1940 to save petrol, then passed to my mother and then myself. Best speed was just on 70 indicated down the hill into Perth from the west; one needed a clear road because it hopped about a bit, roads being sometimes imperfect in those days too. Exhaust valves lasted 4,000 miles at best.

Yes, I have enjoyed motoring a bit, but the antis have really prevailed on the whole. I hate them!

Bromptonaut    on 25 June 2007

Like to think I'd have had something like a Citroen DS but suspect at the time convention would dictate that a middle manager in the Civil Service had a Vauxhall or maybe an elderly Rover 90.

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