My father had a life-long interest in motor vehicles. As a boy he made Meccano models of cars. He obtained a driving licence as soon as possible and to the disappointment of his father he left school to serve an apprenticeship with a local garage. He was later to be persuaded to study for an HND in Mechanical Engineering at Heriot-Watt College. Unfortunately the war intervened but at least he got to work on Merlin engines for the duration. After the end of the war he continued briefly with aero-engines at RNAS Donibristle and then moved to Birmingham to work for the Rover Car Company and its successors for the rest of his working life.
Meccano car model
Bunty, Margaret and Jim on the running board of ES8461, their father's 1926 Hillman 14.
Painting of 1939 Vauxhall 10 Four
This painting by my father shows WS5702, the Vauxhall 10 Four car that his father bought in 1939 for £65 (less a trade in of £15 for his Hillman car). Eventually my father inherited this car, keeping it until about 1955. I don't remember this car being used very much, (shortage of money?). He used to cycle to work but then started bringing home development vehicles so we never really had a need for our own car.
Talago P6 101FGO in Switzerland
In 1964 my father made his first purchase of a car! This was the first Rover 2000 produced on the production line. Technically it was the first of three pre-production models, built to prove that the production line worked. Despite what others may say this car was painted City Grey and was fitted with 'Talago' badges and registered as such. It spent the first year or so as a development vehicle, being used for brake testing in Switzerland for instance. After my father bought it from the company for £60 it continued to be used as a trial vehicle for such things as different variants of tyres and brake pads. When we first had it as a family car it still had one of the 'Talago' badges on it, a bare aluminium dashboard switch rail and some rather tatty seats.
Rover P6 101 FGO at Carding Mill Valley
As part of one trial the car was taken back into the works and painted 'Copper Beech Red'. At the same time it was probably re-badged as a 'Rover' and red-trimmed seats fitted. I remember my father replacing the bare switch rail with a black leatherette covered version and some time after that changed the cylinder head to the TC (twin carburettor version). Then the Rover management decided that there were too many old cars going in and out of the works. Rather than pay their engineers more so that they could buy new cars the Management Car Plan was introduced. Essentially new cars were leased to the senior employees for a year to eighteen months at a time, with a deduction from their salaries. Thus 101 FGO was returned to the company for disposal and was the last car that my father owned until he retired.
James Shaw and Rover
James Shaw III