Simple times - Revcounter 467

By: Guy Allen

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We're living on a different planet, or so it seems

This is a great example of how one photograph can speak volumes about the culture and the scenes we – deliberately or otherwise – are recreating when we’re preserving and driving old cars. In the line-up are a single-spinner Ford, Austin A30 and FJ Holden.

All three have clearly succumbed to the hot January 1956 weather, on the their climb up the hill to Lacmalac Lookout in the Snowy Mountains. Our thanks to Janettte Asche who posted this pic, taken by her father, on Flickr.

One of the first things to strike you is all three cars with the bonnets up, cooling off. Though born some time after the pic was taken, for me this was nevertheless a common enough sight from my childhood. Cars got hot when they worked hard, and sometimes you just had to accept your trip was going to take bit longer. It was out with the picnic blanket and thermos of tea, and find a shady spot while you waited for the jalopy to cool down.

Now? We’d be outraged if a mere hill – no matter how long or steep, or how hot the weather – had the audacity to slow progress. And there would definitely be complaints to the manufacturer first thing Monday morning. We’d be sending the car back on a flatbed, demanding a replacement.

All that of course changes when you’re in an historic toy. You don’t begrudge the pre-drive rituals. Such as going out to the shed the night before and checking the fluids. Oh, and sticking the battery on a trickle charger. Maybe pump up the tyres.

The next day, you run a quick eye over the thing, fire it up and actually let it warm up. Then jolly it along the road until it gets to proper temps. If it’s a hot day, you wind down the windows – none of that air-conditioning malarky.

Then you get into the detail of the pic. You probably, like the rest of us, hope and pray the Ford’s handbrake was up to spec, given the toddler (named Robert, apprently) was determind to go for a wander underneath it.

And what’s that hanging off the front of the FJ? A canvas waterbag. Who remembers them? The original and surprisingly effective evaporative cooling device. As I say, a different planet.


From Unique Cars #457, Jun/Jul 2022


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