A lit­tle light read­ing

Classic Driver - - HAYCOCK -

Twelve months ago when I was in Europe my mate James Palmer was trav­el­ling on a sim­i­lar route and at var­i­ous times our paths would cross. It was at one of these ren­dezvous, at our mu­tual friend’s place in Frankfurt, when he pulled out a book he had picked up in Eng­land.

There as here, the AA is a longestab­lished (as old as the mo­tor car!) and very au­gust or­gan­i­sa­tion, not noted for its sense of hu­mour. Yet, they had pro­duced this de­light­ful tome The Gen­tle­man’s Guide to Mo­tor­ing which had me on more than one oc­ca­sion laugh­ing out loud. So you can imag­ine my de­light to see a copy at Oc­tane Books’ stall at the NZFMR meet­ing at Hamp­ton Downs in Jan­uary and I sim­ply had to have it.

To be­gin at the end, there are sum­marised “Ten Rules for the Gen­tle­man Mo­torist” which for your ed­i­fi­ca­tion and ed­u­ca­tion, I shall re­peat for you to learn and prac­tice from this day forth;

1/ A gen­tle­man mo­torist recog­nises only two speeds – a mod­er­ate too­tle and a fair old lick.

2/ The gen­tle­man mo­torist es­chews mun­dane traf­fic ma­noeu­vres and in­stead errs on the side of the im­pres­sively flam­boy­ant.

3/ The se­lec­tion of a ve­hi­cle should be based on the shini­ness of its met­al­work, the volup­tuous­ness of its de­sign and its pre-1973 vin­tage.

4/ Never ven­ture be­hind the wheel of a car un­less in suit­able at­tire ac­com­pa­nied with gog­gles and a pipe. It is im­pos­si­ble for a gen­tle­man mo­torist to wear too much tweed.

5/ Al­ways greet mem­bers of the Con­stab­u­lary with a dis­tant re­spect and avoid en­dear­ments such as “My dear” or “Me old china”.

6/ Never take the names of Stir­ling Moss, Al­fred Dun­hill, W.O. Bent­ley or Alec Is­sigo­nis in vain.

7/ A gen­tle­man re­gards the laws of the high­way merely as a start­ing point on which to build his own artis­tic the­o­ries and ex­tem­po­ri­sa­tions.

8/ Treat fel­low road-users with the ut­most cour­tesy even if most of them are hap­less fools. A gen­tle­man’s motto is “I doff there­fore I am”.

9/ A gen­tle­man must make a study of car me­chan­ics, but only to the point where he is able to con­vinc­ingly fake ex­per­tise be­neath the bon­net.

10/ Re­mem­ber the days of the Lon­don to Brighton Vet­eran Car Run, Sil­ver­stone Clas­sic and Good­wood Re­vival and keep them holy.

The rec­om­mended travel ar­range­ments for par­tic­u­larly un­bid­dable chil­dren

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