Our attention was caught by a recent advert for a classic car where the dealer had recorded the history of the vehicle in the first person as told by the car itself. We were reminded of the picture below from our Heritage archives showing a 21st birthday celebration for an Armstrong Siddeley car.
The car is a 14hp Broadway saloon and the date of 27th March 1929 means it was manufactured midway during the final batch of 250 cars. The cost price was £360.00. Additional items were the aftermarket bumper bar and the wing marker. The twin letter registration TM 9 is that for Luton, Bedfordshire. These cars were well built, well equipped, well finished, surprisingly spacious, comfortable and remarkably good value for money.
As children of the post WWII period we recall that it was pretty well the norm that the family car would have a name. Happily, the number plate characters would often help in the choice made. Perhaps we have forgotten just how big a deal it was both pre and post war, even into the mid -1950s, for the average working family to own their own transport, and even then it was very often second hand. As the 1960s progressed and the population prospered the motor industry with frequent styling changes enticed many into car ownership.
By this time the company car was just beginning to be more commonplace. But it was in the 1970s when due to the economic situation in the country that the car was used by companies to aid recruitment, to reward effort, and to make a more mobile and flexible work force. Quickly the car became viewed as a tool, or as a status symbol, and taken somewhat for granted. Today the mystique has gone. We wonder if 21 years from now any one will be inspired to celebrate the birthday of one of today’s electric cars. We doubt it.