THIS is the time of year when good resolutions are made and the war should make no difference to that. First and foremost is the question of whether or not to lay up the car, in view of fuel rationing, the black-out, the rising cost of petrol and, in particular, the new 25/- per h.p. tax. If you can afford it at all, make a good resolution to re-tax the car:–that is not so much a good resolution as sound common-sense. You have only to recall the times when the car was temporarily laid up to know how lost you felt without the knowledge that it was there at hand if wanted, to know that you will feel the same now if you lay it up, even though, taxed and ready for service, the car must now be used sparingly to spread its fuel ration over the whole of the month. Even the family man with his little 8 h.p. glass-box knows how much pleasure a car brings him, and is very reluctant to give up motoring. Alas, in large numbers his primary means of relaxation will have been laid up from December 31st last, and his hard-earned cash will now be spent on wireless, cinemas and “the dogs” when, but for the brutal tax increase, it might still have maintained the motor business as our Third Largest Industry. Thinking along these lines, the enthusiast may feel strongly inclined to lay up too, even though not financially compelled to do so, as a protest against a most unfair tax. Let him remember that by doing so he will not only be punishing himself, but will be promoting greater stagnation in the already hard-hit Motor Industry, on which the grip of unemployment and bankruptcy is already closing. So let Resolution No. 1 be to keep on motoring if at all possible, even if in a smaller car than previously. If the car has to be laid up, make a resolution to store it properly, jacking it up, removing the battery to a charging station, inserting graphited lubricant into the cylinder bores, coating plated parts with vaseline, and so on. Remember that if you are called away on Active Service you will get some leave some day and may be very pleased to motor for relaxation, taking out a quarterly licence and cashing-in on the unexpired portion. So, in laying up, endeavour to leave the car in as accessible a location as possible. Make a resolution to buy fuel and oil from one garage in particular whenever possible, because you will then encourage your local garage to carry on, confident of a certain flow of trade. Lots of garage proprietors already say that there is no worthwhile money in selling “Pool,” but lots will prefer to keep open rather than close down and live on capital or the dole. A regular cash deal with known customers will be some small encouragement.
We only wish we could induce some club Secretary to make the Very Good Resolution to hold a car trial in 1940. The motor-cycle lads had a trial at Brands Hatch last year and the Expert’s Trial later, and on Boxing Day went out in crash-hats, with racing “dope” and healthy exhausts, for a Scramble near Pirbright, which had a great entry and was very well attended. Added to this, they had a trial near Reading on January 7th. But if no car club secretary follows suit and gives us a trial before the war gets going in earnest, let those of us who continue to operate trials’ motors make a resolution to keep them as spick and span as we did when we sought the admiration of fellow enthusiasts. And let us resolve to keep the club badges out in front, paying with a good will any subscriptions due, and occasionally to wander from the hard high road for a little slime-storming practice, keeping in tune for better times ahead. Let us all, utility or sports-car drivers, resolve to drive with due care and attention, not only in the black-out, but over deserted roads which might lull one into a sense of false security. If you feel you can do with more good resolutions for 1940, how about spending some of the time normally spent in unrestricted driving in putting in useful work on the car? First in getting it into really good mechanical fettle, later by carrying out simple modifications, such as alterations to seating, the addition of map-cases, parcel nets and such like, to render it an even more useful servant than it has been in the past. It surprises us to notice how infrequently even an expensive car is really decently equipped for everyday requirements; some of the less drastic items from the sort of cars which men like Humphrey Symons equip for long-distance adventure could often be incorporated with advantage in your own personal carriage. And increased efficiency resulting from an overhaul is valuable in this blacked-out age when garages shut at dusk and economy is on every car-owner’s lips. Let motoring scribes resolve to give us some new motoring books. We enjoyed old favourites like “The Lure of Speed,” “Motor Racing,” “Full Throttle,” “The Autocar Biography,” etc., over Christmas, but still cannot forget that aviation has been productive of far more literature than motoring—which reminds us that 90 per cent. of MOTOR SPORT readers will enjoy “Sagittarius Rising,” a flying book by Cecil Lewis which Peter Davies now publish for 3/6.
Whether we go on motoring or not, let’s remain cheerful. Lots of cars will be laid up, but we expect to see quite a lot of motoring still happening and confidently expect to see plenty of sports cars still in use. Not readily will the enthusiast discard his greatest interest. Finally, the weekly motoring Press is continually appealing to its readers to “Place a Definite Order . . . ” We do not think our readers need to be continually reminded thus, but we would ask them to make, and keep, a resolution to keep their newsvendors up to scratch and to induce any newcomers to the fold, who may not previously have had the time or inclination to read MOTOR SPORT, to order it now. This will enable us to keep our resolution of carrying-on under war conditions. A Happy New Year to You!