I was five or six years old in 1951. My father’s friend took us to London for the Great Exhibition. I don’t remember the Exhibition but I do remember my father complaining because I couldn’t handle all the walking. On our way back to Sheffield, I think it must have been a Sunday, we needed oil for the engine. The garage we found was closed and we had to steal the bottle of oil from the rack on the forecourt. I don’t know why but I don’t think we made an effort to leave money for it.
When I was around ten, my parents started working for my Uncle and Aunt on the weekends in their pub. My Uncle had a weakness for cars, the first one was a Standard Vanguard, then there was an Armstrong Siddley Saphire, and for a short period an old Rolls-Royce that he never took me in. Even better than my Uncle’s cars was that of his friend, the scrap merchant. He had a 1954 Buick, I have never forgotten the fascia of the car, it was so garish compared to British ones. After that his friend had a Bentley Continental, 120 MPH top speed, which became my “wish for” car after I get my E Type Roadster and my Aston Martin DB5.
The first car I drove was a Ford Anglia van, (circa 1960) 3 speed, no comfort features. It was a big deal for me because my employer required all staff to be licensed drivers. My father never drove, my brothers learnt in the compulsory armed forces service.
In Canada my first car was a 1958 Ford Fairlane, it cost $250.00 in 1966 at a dealer on the Danforth when the Danforth was full of dealers. It was a “Lemon” of lemons. Canadian Tire were the big beneficiary of that car for the next year until I bought a 1964 Plymouth Valiant Signet 100. The insurance cost was insane in Montreal and the dealer forgot to mention that the insurance policy was to cover the car and not my liability. What we learn when we are young!!
LIPSTICK ON A PIG
Avoiding Life’s Lemons
Lipstick on a Pig features excerpts from the vast library of Maurice Bramhall’s experiences.