Day 106 – aka 30th June – Driving Lessons

Some years ago – about 65+ at a guess – I was asked, surprisingly looking back, to go out with a gentleman who lived opposite and who had a Rover saloon. I think this may have been laid up as many cars were during the war (so that German invaders could not easily make use of them) and had been resuscitated. It was a nice car (I was allowed to drive it I remember) and introduced me to the free wheel (lockable and unlockable) with which it was fitted. Unlocked it seemed to me all too easy to run away down a slope since there was no engine braking and if your brakes were to fail would put you in a very tricky situation.

Rover 14, Sports Saloon, c. 1935.
The one referred to below was similar to this and was this same colour. Nice car.
Culled from Wikipedia.

The said gentleman was a bit uncertain about his driving and seemed to think that I ( at the grand old age of seventeen and a bit) might be a good pilot. We drove out several times I think and I noticed that he would speed up gradually to say 40 mph (which was quite fast in those days on the roads as they were) and then slow down again equally gradually. So I asked him why he didn’t keep an eye on the speedometer and give the engine a bit more throttle when going up a slope and lift his foot off when going down and so keep the speed constant ? I think we were stationary at the time. He got out his glasses and put them on, looked down at the dashboard (which I think was in the centre of the car) and said, “Its that one isn’t it ?” But he couldn’t drive with the glasses on so we never really resolved that one. My assistance was no longer required after a time and so that episode ended, but it left me with a great admiration for Rovers, which was not alas borne out when in later years I bought one second hand. It was a Rover P3 whereas I think my neighbour’s car was probably a pre-war model of a more modest style (see photos above and below).

Rover 60 aka Rover P3 1595cc September 1948.
Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Edit : On reflection I remember that I did not pass my driving test until 1953, at which point I would have been 19 and in my twentieth year. So my statement in the post above of being at the grand old age of seventeen and a bit needs to be amended upwards by two years at least, maybe even three, but likely no more, as by 1955 I was in the process of enlisting in HM Forces.

About The Author

Born 9 December 1933. Former Royal Air Force person. Retired Church of England Clergyman. Father. Grandfather, and now, Great Grandfather. Citizen of Europe and Fervent Remainer. Thinks that Members of Parliament and especially Ministers of the Crown, who lie to Parliament should be brought before a public tribunal where the evidence can be heard, and examined, and suitable penalties awarded.
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