A Misconstrued Humber

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Although the recently-passed Law which forbids exaggerated or downright dishonest claims in advertisements will take away the fun out of deciding how much to believe and how much to discount in the copy presented to gullible readers and may tone clown some of the more imaginative layouts to dull mediocrity, it is a move towards, integrity and must be commended.

Those who advertise used cars will have to be very careful not to infringe the new Act. For instance, last month a well-known vendor of what he describes as thoroughbred cars issued an illustrated advertisement about a 2-litre Humber. This Humber was described as a 1929 “Grand Sports” tourer of which only four were built, custom made for the Humber Company Directors for a “golden handshake” just before Humber was taken over by Rootes, the copy said in 1930. Described as unique, this Humber was advertised as the last built by the Humber Motor Company. The picture showed a very odd sort of Humber tourer with fold-flat windscreen, two aero-screens, and stoneguards on all its lamps and the radiator grille, which turned the normally dignified 16/50 tourer into a quite inappropriate imitation of a speed model, not at all the kind of golden handshake we would wish to receive, in the highly unlikely event of being offered one.

Now the Humber Register, which should know about these things, tells us that it is unlikely that Humber offered any golden handshakes in 1930, for the very good reason that they were not absorbed by Routes until two years later. The attempt to endow this odd car with the allure of being the last one built by Humber’s also falls down, if we believe the Humber Register when it says that it was neither the last one built by Humber’s, nor even the last Humber built in 1929, the year of manufacture to which the advertisement in question confesses. Indeed, the Humber Register says that although it may have been registered on the last day of 1929, this particular 16/50 left the factory on 17-12-29 and a further 100 of its type, not to mention other models, were built before the end of that year. Who was so misguided as to fit the embellishments aforesaid, and comic knock-off hub caps, presumably dummies, into the bargain, we do not know. But we do consider that this advertisement is going much too close to the mark under the new Act (unless the Company which perpetrated it is correct and the Humber Register mis-informed). Such claims may speed up sales and inflate prices but they are far from honest.—W. B.