DRIVING DURING DAYS GONE BY
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.