HIT & MISS
As a reader of CM since 1960, I greatly enjoyed your 60th anniversary issue. I feel that Rob
Marshall’s piece on the Top 20 Automotive Developments Over the
Decades overlooked two that were important from a safety angle.
First, vehicle testing, which began in 1960 for cars more than 10 years old. In the late 1950s, I owned two cars – a 1935 Austin 10 and 1938 Austin 7 – and neither had any brakes to speak of. Normal driving required great anticipation – which probably made me a better driver! Even normal braking needed all the strength I could muster. Every stop was an emergency stop!
Second, windscreen washers. I well remember driving in the 1960s on a road with a slightly damp and muddy surface. Eventually light rain began to fall and I switched on the wipers, which simply smeared damp mud across the windscreen until I could literally see nothing and had to make an emergency stop. The very next day I went to Halfords and bought a DIY kit to install washers, which involved drilling holes in the bonnet, etc. There was no electric pump, the water being pumped by a plunger installed on the dashboard.