It will not have escaped your notice that National Car Parks made a huge profit out of the motorist last year. Here is a cautionary tale for those of your readers who drive cars with wooden or fibreglass bodies, for the sword of NCP, like that of Damocles, is raised against them and when it falls there will be no reparation.
I was entering NCP’s Mount Street establishment in Nottingham in my 1949 Lea-Francis estate car, newly sprayed and varnished; I took my ticket, the barrier opened and in I nearly went. Nearly, for the barrier closed on the roof, immediately above my head, causing extensive damage.
A minion issued forth from the ticket office and accused me of having too long a car and driving too slowly. An argument ensued and the manager was called. He admitted freely that the reason for the mishap was incorrect setting of the metal-sensitive eye of the automatic barrier control; but added that NCP would admit no liability because of a disclaimer on the ticket. This proved to be correct and the AA Legal Department could do nothing to help.
In future, if I am using an NCP park, I shall have the barriers operated manually and I would advise others with non-metallic-bodied cars to do the same. Meanwhile a week’s salary goes to pay a bill that NCP would rake in the money for in under a minute on last year’s showing.
On a different tack, the Lea-Francis estate with Blydenstein-modified head has a maximum speed of 80-plus m.p.h., reaches 60 m.p.h. in well under 20 seconds and does 25 m.p.g. on 2-star fuel. All this despite a weight of 1 1/2 tons and only a 1 3/4-litre engine. It says a lot for Lea-Francis engineering and a good bit for Mr. Blydenstein, too. Furthermore, it will tow two or three tons of car and trailer all day without fuss. “The poor man’s Riley”, forsooth!
J. S. Philbrick.