Motor Trade Memories

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Sir,

Motor Sport invariably reminds me of bygone days in the trade, which in my case began in 1919 and this time Ford, Citroen and Crossley started the ball rolling. When wondering how modern drivers would fare at the wheel of a Model-T, hand throttle and all, I was reminded of how I used to clean up the ignition coil tremblers for a farmer during my school holidays during World War I and how I was told not to remove the old boot slung from the windscreen alongside the dash-mounted coil box, the banging of which up against the box kept the tremblers buzzing — otherwise he had to give it a kick himself as and when it misfired. Your comment that driving a Citroen is a way of life and a state of mind, reminded me that the first car I ever drove was an 11.4 hp tourer on its introduction in this country (1919 or 1920) and although I was under age I have never forgotten its plain steel disc wheels and smooth performance. From then until ten years ago I had little to do with Citroen but since have had three, and liked them very much, but in fairness must add that our local dealers are so friendly and helpful. Owen John’s mention of Crossley reminded me of “my most embarrassing moment”. A customer of mine in Warwickshire — a certain Lady X — was interested in the newly introduced Crossley 16 hp (or thereabouts) sports fourseater for a son and I arranged for the works to send down a demonstration car to Birmingham as we had not yet even seen it ourselves (would this be late 20’s or early 30’s?). It was a handsome car with a black Weymann-type body and red leather upholstery and Rudge wheels and quite captivated the son and various of his friends who had all foregathered to try the car, followed by a sumptuous tea. Afterwards Lady X (a widow) signed the order in her estate office calling for a similar specification but emphasised that it must be a new car and not the one I had brought along, which was licensed anyway in Manchester. Imagine my feelings when, some weeks later, I delivered the new car and her Ladyship bent down and looked under the front wing to show me a cross she had scratched through to the metal with her steel nail-file — on the “demonstrator”.

Farnborough, Hampshire W. A. EMETT