Rumblings, February 1947

When Mr. H. L. Kenward, Director of Dunlop Distribution, introduced “Far Horizons,” the film of Dunlop’s contribution to victory, at the pre-view at Studio One, his speech ended in an appeal for individual effort in a world in which private enterprise is being suppressed more an more as time goes on. (He also said that Dunlop’s employees who were in the cinema were having a day out and that the Press was doing what it is pleased to call its day’s work — but that is by the way!) Now, from our point of view, it is rather gratifying to realise that ownership of an uncommon car can be a very real expression of individuality. A “sports-car,” or, more correctly today, a “high-performance” car, is obviously a more specialised and distinctive product than those bread-and-button, from-A-it-gets-me-to-B devices, the body shells for which you are apt to encounter in stacked tiers on lorries. Being taken to be welded to their chassis, they always remind us of pre-fab. houses on the move. The person who wisely invests in a high-performance car simply in order to enjoy easy travel at reasonable speed from place to place, nevertheless usually gets some satisfaction from the individuality of such a product. But the person who drives an uncommon type of car mainly because it is that sort of vehicle, and, as such, exerts a definite appeal and gives its user a fine sense of pride of ownership, is expressing his or her individuality very strongly. It does not matter whether the car concerned is a vintage or modern high-performance car, a rare Continental or the almost-forgotten production of a small-output Home factory, or even a hopelessly out-of-date small car bought because “everyone in our neighbourhood runs an Austin Seven and I want something different.”

The fact is that such cars single out their owners as beings appreciative of individuality, in a world becoming increasingly more drab. And that is most certainly worthwhile, if only for the innocent pleasure it gives to those so-minded. In the past we have been apt to disdain the near-enthusiast, he, that is, who “talks cars” but doesn’t quite get all his facts right or know much of motoring history, or she, perhaps, who displays a certain enthusiasm by adopting a distinctive colour scheme or extra lamps and instruments, unfortunately on not quite the right sort of car. Possibly we true-believers are taking too strong a viewpoint. Any car which is a source of pride of ownership is to be encouraged — although if we can steer proud owners away from Union Jacks and fancy names towards “genuine team cars” and real high-performance, so much the better. But let us reflect that, with new houses all but nonexistent, clothes rationed, furniture utilitarian and radio almost part of one’s self, individuality is disastrously difficult to preserve. The sports car in its original form appealed strongly to the individualist, and the motor-car still remains a fine medium for the expression of this desirable characteristic. On Nationalised roads crowded with myriads of identical little saloon cars running on rationed synthetic tyres by grace of supplementary allowances of rationed petrol, and actuated by civil servants clad in identical utility wearing apparel, temporarily escaped from their places behind identical folding wooden tables at Ministrys, identical in all-but-name, the presence of any car that is at all out of the rut is to be welcomed.

It is nice to reflect that individuality amongst cars and pride of ownership was fostered by types like the “30/98” Vauxhall and 3-litre Bentley, and today persists amongst the high-performance cars, besides which, such cars are safer, faster and more desirable than any utility vehicle can hope to be. For the sake of sanity and the nation’s future we must preserve our individual personalities. Whether you spend £200 or £2,000 on a car, select one that can be recognised other than by its registration number and, if you are as we are, you will get a deal of quiet satisfaction from your car even when you are not motoring.

Robert Cowell informs us that his Aspin-Cowell G.P. car is being built other than from proprietary parts. He has in hand, also, a 500-c.c. racing engine and a limited-production 1,100-c.c. unblown racing car.

Parker’s Allard won the Full-Moon Trial.