The picture heading our Jottings this week has, since we scanned it as part of our Heritage negative collection, caused us to wonder why these gentlemen seem so pleased and interested in the badge adorning the radiator grill. The gentleman on the left is Mr Carter, owner of the car, and that on the right Selwyn Sharp the publicity and public relations manager for Armstrong Siddeley. The car is a two-tone, six light, Armstrong Siddeley Mk2, 346 Sapphire, registered in late 1955. The slightly strange condition of the radio aerial and further research indicate that this meeting took place sometime a little later.
The lettering on the badge is C.A.M.D.A. with a Latin inscription placed at the lower edge. Searching the web for a possible explanation as to the meaning of these letters, we were quizzed by Google, that surely we meant Canada, then followed a variety of possibilities, ranging from climate control through medical matters to diesel generators. The Cheltenham Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts looked promising, as the translation of the Latin inscription is ‘Let us aspire to greater dexterity’. This proved to be an attractive, but blind alley.
Sometime later Heritage was requested to give an opinion concerning an A.S. car badge found in a house clearance and it was when checking out the lettering on this badge we noticed the badge pictured below which clearly matches that fixed to the car’s radiator grill. Now we know that the badge indicates a driving school.
In the late 1950s and into the 60s we recall that there was a push to get road users to improve their driving skills. There were a couple of organisations where members joining made a voluntary declaration of intent, promising to improve their skills and road awareness. Purchase of support in the form of a key ring, car badge or lapel badge indicating safer driving was part of the deal. As car ownership grew, driving schools flourished and this is where C.A.M.D.A. fits into the picture. On the sales websites in recent years the badge has appeared in different forms showing the growth of the organization and concentration on the new phrase which came into vogue, that of the ‘advanced driver’. It is often remarked that the full meaning of the letters CAMDA is not known. We believe thanks to the careful notation of the A.S. factory negative we may have the answer.
Carters Advanced Car and Motorcycle Driving Association