Lancia Memories

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Sir,

I have just noticed a statement in your V-E-V Miscellany regarding the Lancia armoured car being the only one in existence.

I have no desire to dispute this only a desire to keep records straight and would like to add that i have seen one of these cars in a scrap yard just outside Belfast. This being approximately three years ago; also at the same time another one was advertised in the local newspaper, the address being completely removed from the scrap yard. Condition of both vehicle’s, one as seen and one described, were vastly different and from that I assumed there were at least two!

On the subject of Lancias, enclosed is a photograph of a Lancia Charabanc that was driven by a retired neighbour.

The vehicle was operated by a firm called Mitchells Tours of Bangor, Co. Down, and at that time (1929) was used for transporting tourists from the rest of the UK around Northern Ireland. In those pre-inflation days an English tourist could spend a week in Bangor staying at a good hotel for an all in cost of £5 per head. This included boat fare and bus runs during the stay. The driver and guide could earn £4 per week each, including tips. Apparently these vehicles suffered from poor brakes and they had to be constantly adjusted before and after descending steep hills. A spare mag. was always carried and never lent to anyone but a very dear friend.

Photographs were taken at the beginning of each holiday and the prints distributed on racks in each hotel where holiday makers could recognise and purchase, hence the reference number just above the front wheel.

Just in passing, the tread on the front tyre doesn’t appear as if it would pass present day restrictions, the horn is fairly primitive, child-proof door locks are not apparent. The hood, I am told, was covered with patches and when erected (every passenger helping in this operation) leaked profusely. Perhaps it’s my imagination, but are those passengers actually smiling; unlike their present-day counterparts normally couped up in an automatic, power-assisted, tinted glassed, air conditioned, vinyl cushioned, chromium handled, shutter doored, zombie driven, Leyland coach. Have we taken a wrong turn somewhere?

Bangor, NI W. Basil McCoy