DRIV­ING DUR­ING DAYS GONE BY

Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - Memories -

Get­ting out of my car this morn­ing, I got to think­ing of how cars have changed over the years.

I can re­mem­ber back in the early 1950s my fa­ther start­ing his car with a crank han­dle. Turn­ing the han­dle took a lit­tle time and a deal of ef­fort. Later came the cars with a choke. My first car was such a ve­hi­cle and to start the car you would need to pull out the choke and press the starter but­ton. If the choke was out too far or left out to long be­fore the started but­ton was pressed then you would flood the car­bu­ret­tor. Press the choke in and wait a lit­tle while then start all over again.

Back when I first started driv­ing, ve­hi­cles also had brake pads made from as­bestos. Now that is no longer the case. The air­con­di­tion­ing con­sisted of driv­ing with the win­dows open, the in-car en­ter­tain­ment was a tran­sis­tor ra­dio hang­ing from the rear view mir­ror or per­haps just singing to your­self. In­di­ca­tors were merely hand sig­nals from the driver by plac­ing his hand out of the side win­dow to in­di­cate whether he or she was stop­ping, turn­ing right or turn­ing left. The rule of the road at an in­ter­sec­tion at the time was to give way to the traf­fic on the right. Traf­fic on main or ma­jor roads also had to obey this rule if a car was ex­it­ing a street on the right to en­ter the flow of traf­fic on the main or ma­jor road.

You would of­ten carry a bot­tle of wa­ter for the ra­di­a­tor if go­ing on a long trip. Some driv­ers with a sense of hu­mour would per­haps at­tach a “tiger’s tail” to the fuel cap (ob­tain­able from the Esso Ser­vice Sta­tions who had a slo­gan “put a tiger in your tank”)

Men­tion of ser­vice sta­tions also leads me to rem­i­nisce when Ser­vice Sta­tions were just that. No “Self­Serve” petrol pumps. The at­ten­dant would come out and fill your tank, check the wa­ter level in the ra­di­a­tor, check the oil in the en­gine, check the tyre pres­sure in the tyres and per­haps some­times check the wa­ter in the wind­screen wash­ers all at no ex­tra charge. There were more choices in fuel brands back then. Aus­tralian brands in­cluded “Am­pol” and “Golden Fleece” there were also some Aus­tralian brands owned by over­seas cor­po­ra­tions such as “C.O.R” (Com­mon­wealth Oil Re­finer­ies) which was owned by BP (Bri­tish Petroleum) and “Nep­tune” owned by the Shell Oil Com­pany. Such brands have now dis­ap­peared.

I used to carry items in my car such as a spare fan belt, ring clamp, ra­di­a­tor hose and a spark plug cleaner as you never knew when you may have to make some run­ning re­pairs to get home again.

Now with the newer cars there is no starter but­ton to push, no crank han­dle to turn, no choke han­dle to pull out, whilst in my cur­rent car I don’t even have to put a key in the ig­ni­tion to start the mo­tor. The car au­to­mat­i­cally locks the doors when driv­ing.

Ev­ery­thing is com­put­erised. When I start my car a mes­sage will ap­pear on my dash to say if the car re­quires a ser­vice or if the bat­tery is low in the car key. The car will in­form you of the out­side tem­per­a­ture. My head­lights come on au­to­mat­i­cally when day­light is dim­ming or if I drive into a un­der­cover car park. Now I read about self-driv­ing (or driver­less) cars be­ing tri­alled. What next I won­der.

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