Owners' clubs

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108

One make or many?

Having been almost all my life a motoring journalist or, as I prefer to consider myself, a motoring enthusiast who writes (a word arranger, in less pedantic terms), I have been unable to concentrate for long on one make of car, and I arn jealous of those who can specialise.

One-make loyalty enables lucky people to acquire a specialist knowledge of the cars they own or enthuse over, which must help the running of them. Even those who do not own actual cars, but collect memorabilia, can concentrate better if they confme their purchases to one make of car or commercial vehicle. And how nice and comfortable to be able to study, thoroughly, just one facet of automobile history!

There are subsidiary advantages of being a one-make specialist, of course. I had an inkling of this during the war, when I happened to possess three 12/50 Alvis cars. One day, in the inevitable hurry to refill the radiator of one of them after its winter draining, I dropped the plug down a roadside drain. Where, in wartime, would I have got a replacement of the right size and thread, you may ask? It was, however, a simple matter to take one from another 12/50 in my shed . . .

The same obviously applies to many interchangeable parts. If a tyre punctured I had the choice of ten other wheels which would fit the Alvis I was about to go motoring in. Punch would have called it a blinding glimpse of the obvious!

Then there is the matter of pride in the particular make of car fancied, and the chance to build up an interesting collection of appropriate models— Austin 7, 12/4 and 20, for example, or large and small Rolls-Royces.

One-make loyalty is not confined to the vintage and classic car movement. It began when owners who had good service from a given car in the early days decided to stick to the make which impressed them favourably. Sometimes their children would recall this partiality tor one make, and themselves tend to buy accordingly in later times.

Even today, there are people who concentrate on one make only— Porsche or Ferrari perhaps. The one-make clubs and registers encourage such specialisation and users of one make of car may experience a certain pride when a similar make or model wins a race or rally they are watching.

I am perhaps naive in believing there must be some rub-off on the fellow or girl who has, say, a Renault 5 in the car park, and sees a turbocharged Renault come home victorious in a Grand Prix. Not so naive, maybe; otherwise why do manufacturers of mass-produced cars spend vast sums of money in trying to win rally and race championships, and advertise successes?

A motoring writer is constantly being deflected into thinking about cars of every make, so that although I have a warm regard for the Vauxhall 30/98, believe the 12/50 Alvis to be a very good car, feel a leaning towards Rileys, and regard the A7 as the best of the minors, I have never for long been able to live and breathe in terms of one of those cars.

Nor have I any idea which car breeds the greatest one-make loyalty. It is possible that Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Sunbeam come top or close to the top but that is not to say that those whenever want any make other than, perhaps, Singer or Wolseley are any less enthusiastic or happy.

So I am envious of those able to have one-make loyalties, whether as owners or just followers of the game. But I try to cheer myself up with the thought that, even given the opportunity, I could never match the dedication of the Frazer Nash “Chain Gangsters”, and that, after all, to own or drive a large number of different cars is a means of enjoyably enlarging one’s motoring experiences in a manner not perhaps open to those who remain loyal to one make only. WB