I am 63 years old and drove my first car, a T-Model Ford, standing up, at the age of six years. The incident occurred outside the Red Lion in High St., High Wycombe. My father, a pioneer driver, dashed out of a nearby shop and stopped the vehicle before I could do any damage. Our next family transport was the Triumph motorcycle shown with me “riding”. I could just about write a book regarding our adventures with this machine. When it was purchased from a yard behind a pub at “Fighting Cocks” near Wolverhampton, it had a basket-work sidecar, and this appendage resembled an old-fashioned bath-chair. The smart “Watsonian” coachbuilt “chair” was purchased and fitted by my father. Next came the Rover 8, It was a very rare four-seater. Most models were either two-seaters or Chummies. The car was purchased in 1923 from Cyril Williams in Chapel Ash, Wolverhampton. This was about the first garage in that town to have a petrol pump, Pratts, I think. Cyril Williams took part in several TT races, always riding an AJS. Once, as a small boy, I was privileged to actually sit on a machine which had actually won one of the classes.
Not far away from the Williams establishment was Clarks. This famous firm used to build magnificent bodies for Rolls-Royce and Daimler cars, and I was often allowed in the workshop to watch the marvellous craftsmen at work.
Following the Rover my father had a Bullnose Morris, a 1931 Morris Cowley (an awful car) and a Rover 12 sports saloon. The latter was a magnificent vehicle and probably the last of the “real” Rovers. Wolverhampton in the 20s was a marvellous place for a car-mad young boy. I frequently visited the Sunbeam, Clyno and Villiers works and my father knew A.J. Stevens. At the age of 10 I was a competent driver and frequently drove a 1923 Austin 7 and the Rover 8, on pre-war roads, of course.
My first car was purchased in 1932. when I was 18. It was a Clover-Leaf Citroen and I purchased it in Cirencester for £4. This was followed by a Square-nose Morris Cowley and a Morris 8. An MG TA came next and our photograph [Not reproduceable —Ed.] I shows this particular car alongside a friend’s Riley and my father’s Rover. think the Riley was a 12-h.p. but I do know that it had a Wilson pre-selector gearbox. Since I came out of the army in 1946 I have owned many cars including several MGs, TR4A, Rover 100, etc. etc.
I am now starting all over again and have just purchased an Alfa Romeo 1.6 Alfetta. This is a delightful car, with an awful gearbox.
Dawlish, W.C. Clements