Simon Taylor Full Throttle
Classic & Sports Car|April 2018

We drive classics not just to remind ourselves how cars used to be, but so we can ponder how everything used to be: bobbies on the beat, pea-soupers, driving in mackintosh, scarf and trilby because you hadn’t shelled out the extra £6 for the optional fug-stirrer, winding down the window to give hand signals.

If you broke down and there wasn’t a red phonebox within walking distance, you waited by your car until a friendly RAC or AA patrolman happened along. You would have the appropriate blue or yellow badge on your car’s radiator, he would have his tools in the sidecar of his motorcycle combination, and – cars were simpler then – you would be on your way in no time. And if you weren’t a member he would get you going all the same, and cheerfully shame you into buying a subscription and a badge as he did so.

Of course patrolmen got involved in other tasks as well, and were trained in first aid if they came upon an accident. They herded sheep off moorland roads, cured leaking radiators with oatmeal and ground ginger, helped the police catch criminals, and on occasion delivered babies by the roadside.

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