Friday, June 23, 2017

Keith Simpson - 1

I purchased my first car in 1962 for £35.  It was an Austin Sixteen of 1947 vintage, a carry over production from the pre-war model.  The only modification was a new overhead valve engine with increased capacity from 1600 to 2199cc which I only discovered after purchase, a salutary lesson to check before you buy.  Being used to more modern vehicles at work, e.g. 100E Fords equipped with independent Macpherson strut front suspension, I at first considered the wandering steering, requiring great concentration, was the norm, until a neighbour suggested that the tracking could be misaligned.  With the help of my then girlfriend, now wife, two pieces of wood, screws and an expanding rule I discovered the error.  From memory I think it was toeing out about 1/2" instead of in 1/8".  What a difference! I could now glance out of the window at the passing countryside.

July saw Bev and myself travelling to Barmouth for our two weeks holiday.  Dreading the long steep climb of Dinas Mawdwwy, having previously driven a 'sit up and beg' Ford Prefect, fully laden with passengers and luggage, up the same hill when the vehicle in front came to a crawl and the Prefect's mechanical fuel pump was incapable of supplying sufficient petrol so the car ran out of power and stopped.  Not so with the very long stroke high torque Austin, it romped up the hill in third gear with power to spare.  The holiday was one of the wettest I remember, we climbed many hills and mountains including Cader Idris where rain and hailstones the size of marbles rained down on us, keeping only marginally drier in the Austin, which leaked or ingressed water by the gallon.  Damp pieces of rag and the then newish polythene bags hung around the windscreen and sunroof seals giving the car's interior a look of Widow Twankey's laundry.  We did however enjoy the holiday in spite of the weather, the car's water problems and its far from frugal 16 mpg (we quickly became friends with the owner of Barmouth's petrol station).

Keith Simpson                                                                      BACK TO TOP OF PAGE