I heartily applaud your efforts to better the plight of motorists in Britain and wish you every success. Perhaps you might be interested to know the position of motorists here in Gibraltar.
Gibraltar has an area of roughly five square miles, of which a sizeable proportion is Military property and out of bounds to civilians. There are approximately six thousand vehicles on the roads at the moment and about one hundred are registered every month. The streets are very narrow, necessitating a speed limit of 20 m.p.h. in the town area and an overall speed limit of 30 m.p.h. anywhere else. On some roads outside the town the limit is 10 m.p.h.! Inside the town the parking problem is even worse than in London. We haven’t even got room for parking meters, let alone cars!
As you may imagine, driving under such conditions is certainly no pleasure and most of us cross over to the Spanish mainland at weekends hoping to get rid of our frustration. Alas, this is not to be. The roads within a radius of thirty or so miles from Gibraltar are in a very bad condition and the dictatorial attitude of the Spanish Police to Gibraltar registered cars (who fine on the spot as and when they please) does not help matters. Incidentally, their attitude to tourists from other countries is the complete opposite! To add insult to injury every car is searched at the Spanish Frontier (they even poke pieces of wire into the petrol tank), and on Sundays one may have to queue up for over an hour just to get across the frontier.
Representations have been made both to the Spanish Authorities locally and to the British Government but the Spaniards are adamant and our Mother Country does not care a hoot.
We have an Automobile Club here which is rather dormant, due solely to the lack of co-operation from the Military and the Civil Authorities. The club once tried to stage a Go-Kart meeting but permission was refused on the grounds of safety and traffic disruption, the authorities conveniently forgetting the fact that the traffic is constantly being disrupted by the many military ceremonies and rehearsals held monthly.
My personal transport is a 1956 Austin Healey 100/4, with which I am very satisfied. I have, however, four grumbles:
(a) Awkward and exposed position of twin batteries.
(b) The clutch relay rod has broken three times.
(c) Low ground clearance (broken sump guard and exhaust system twice).
(d) Slow gear-change for a sports car.
Our family car is a 1956 Opel Kapitan which I cannot fault in any way. It was decarbonised for the first time at 70,000 miles, has now done 110,000 miles, and still looks good for a few more years.
Charles W. Facio.