Motor vehicles

Dear Peg and Friends,
It would seem over the years we never have had a fair deal regarding motor vehicles. Before the War we had access to both American and English cars. They were cheap at the time, when compared to other consumer products, but there was a small problem, not many of us had money enough to buy a car. American cars at the time tended to be muscle cars, as over in America, fuel was plentiful and cheap. They were a better buy too as they didn’t require the constant tinkering that the English cars demanded. I owned a four litre American car for twenty five years, it’s running costs were minimal, it required very little mechanical attention over the time I owned it. However I also owned a couple of English cars, they were a different proposition as they required constant attention.
They had another problem too, as the engines that were fitted to UK manufactured, units were subject to a horse power tax. To keep this payment low, engines were designed, not for efficiency, but to avoid this tax. One of the ways around this anomaly was to lengthen the stroke, which was fine for the tax problem but not performance. It wasn’t until the Japanese cars arrived, and I had been told that one of their models was based on the Austin A40. The Japanese immediately altered the stroke of this engine to ‘over square’, which decreased the piston speed, gave a much better performance and cut down wear and tear. At the same time they had built themselves a winner. They also solved the problem of leaking oil.
All fuel at the time was sold by garages, and these businesses was probably split 50% repairs, and 50% for the sale of fuel. After the war the American Vehicles seemed to disappear from our car showrooms. There were many reasons for this but the main one was, import restrictions. By limiting the number of new units arriving in any given year, it meant we were forced to repair our older vehicles, to well past the time to when it was practical to do so. It gave the dealers and those who held import licences unprecedented power.
With the ability to give or deny a car to anyone out in the community, brought out the worst in many dealers. For a new car many dealers demanded a ‘trade in’ at a price that they set, on a ‘Take it or leave it basis. Overnight they became the most hated section of the public, somewhere even lower than politicians. We had a army of mechanics keeping a fleet of ‘dungers’ on the road, costing the motorist an are and a leg. Common sense was telling you that all these units should have been consigned to the scrap heap.
The government of the day tried many schemes to limit the use of cars. On top of rationing the fuel, another idea was introduced, this was the ‘carless’ day, it was necessary to nominate one day a week that you wouldn’t use you vehicle. Another bright idea was that no fuel sold after 5 or 6 pm. None of these bright ideas saved any fuel. To most people they didn’t save anything, they were just an inconvenience. I got caught out badly on one trip to Invercargill. I where I had been invited to attend a conference. I arose very early in the morning. A difficult drive through snow. Arrived late, took Laura to the venue that was planned for wives, I was locked up all day. When I returned to my car at the end of the day I found to my horror that all service stations were now locked up. I spotted a dealership t5hat still had lights on, so banged on the door and the kind  owner reopened for me, and filled our car. I said, ‘I come from Queenstown’, ‘If you are ever in Queenstown and need a favour, I will be pleased to repay your kindness’. Fifteen years later I was in A Queenstown Supermarket and I bumped into Jacqueline Montagnat from New Caledonia. After greeting one another, we had a short conversation in French. While this was going on, I could see someone was watching us both closely. When we parted, this guy approached me and said. ‘Do you remember me’? I had to confess that I didn’t. He said, ‘Fifteen years ago you said to me if I ever needed a favour in Queenstown I could call on you’. He said, ‘I heard you talking to that attractive lady in French’. ‘I have a problem and need a French speaker for a small task’.
It turned out he had just moved to the area and his daughter who also lived here, had moved house recently too. They had two grand daughters over in France. They hadn’t corresponded for three months, and wouldn’t know about the new arrangements or phone numbers. Would I call their contact in France who only spoke French, and give them the new telephone numbers, and ask the girls to call home with the new numbers, ‘collect’? I said, Of course I would do this small task, it was a small price to repay the favour he did for me. But to wait fifteen years, made me smile about leaving favours lying around. I made the call to France and the girls made their call
The next big event in the car market that we enjoyed, was the importing Second Hand vehicles from Japan. We who had been starved for fifty years of any car bargains, now we had simply hundreds of near new cars at a very discounted price. We couldn’t believe our good fortune. But we reckoned without the dealers who did everything in their power to discredit these units. They weren’t properly serviced at home and so on. Tis was when they should have embraced  the scheme to take advantage of whet was being offered, they fought against it by not trading in these units, and many actually went bankrupt.
How things change, we now have access to a great number of both new or second hand vehicles, which require little or no attention.
Love to all from Christchurch,
Wally

It would seem over the years we never have had a fair deal regarding motor vehicles. Before the War we had access to both American and English cars. They were cheap at the time, when compared to other consumer products, but there was a small problem, not many of us had money enough to buy a car. American cars at the time tended to be muscle cars, as over in America, fuel was plentiful and cheap. They were a better buy too as they didn’t require the constant tinkering that the English cars demanded. I owned a four litre American car for twenty five years, it’s running costs were minimal, it required very little mechanical attention over the time I owned it. However I also owned a couple of English cars, they were a different proposition as they required constant attention.

They had another problem too, as the engines that were fitted to UK manufactured, units were subject to a horse power tax. To keep this payment low, engines were designed, not for efficiency, but to avoid this tax. One of the ways around this anomaly was to lengthen the stroke, which was fine for the tax problem but not performance. It wasn’t until the Japanese cars arrived, and I had been told that one of their models was based on the Austin A40. The Japanese immediately altered the stroke of this engine to ‘over square’, which decreased the piston speed, gave a much better performance and cut down wear and tear. At the same time they had built themselves a winner. They also solved the problem of leaking oil.

All fuel at the time was sold by garages, and these businesses was probably split 50% repairs, and 50% for the sale of fuel. After the war the American Vehicles seemed to disappear from our car showrooms. There were many reasons for this but the main one was, import restrictions. By limiting the number of new units arriving in any given year, it meant we were forced to repair our older vehicles, to well past the time to when it was practical to do so. It gave the dealers and those who held import licences unprecedented power.

With the ability to give or deny a car to anyone out in the community, brought out the worst in many dealers. For a new car many dealers demanded a ‘trade in’ at a price that they set, on a ‘Take it or leave it basis. Overnight they became the most hated section of the public, somewhere even lower than politicians. We had a army of mechanics keeping a fleet of ‘dungers’ on the road, costing the motorist an are and a leg. Common sense was telling you that all these units should have been consigned to the scrap heap.

The government of the day tried many schemes to limit the use of cars. On top of rationing the fuel, another idea was introduced, this was the ‘carless’ day, it was necessary to nominate one day a week that you wouldn’t use you vehicle. Another bright idea was that no fuel sold after 5 or 6 pm. None of these bright ideas saved any fuel. To most people they didn’t save anything, they were just an inconvenience. I got caught out badly on one trip to Invercargill. I where I had been invited to attend a conference. I arose very early in the morning. A difficult drive through snow. Arrived late, took Laura to the venue that was planned for wives, I was locked up all day. When I returned to my car at the end of the day I found to my horror that all service stations were now locked up. I spotted a dealership t5hat still had lights on, so banged on the door and the kind  owner reopened for me, and filled our car. I said, ‘I come from Queenstown’, ‘If you are ever in Queenstown and need a favour, I will be pleased to repay your kindness’. Fifteen years later I was in A Queenstown Supermarket and I bumped into Jacqueline Montagnat from New Caledonia. After greeting one another, we had a short conversation in French. While this was going on, I could see someone was watching us both closely. When we parted, this guy approached me and said. ‘Do you remember me’? I had to confess that I didn’t. He said, ‘Fifteen years ago you said to me if I ever needed a favour in Queenstown I could call on you’. He said, ‘I heard you talking to that attractive lady in French’. ‘I have a problem and need a French speaker for a small task’.

It turned out he had just moved to the area and his daughter who also lived here, had moved house recently too. They had two grand daughters over in France. They hadn’t corresponded for three months, and wouldn’t know about the new arrangements or phone numbers. Would I call their contact in France who only spoke French, and give them the new telephone numbers, and ask the girls to call home with the new numbers, ‘collect’? I said, Of course I would do this small task, it was a small price to repay the favour he did for me. But to wait fifteen years, made me smile about leaving favours lying around. I made the call to France and the girls made their call

The next big event in the car market that we enjoyed, was the importing Second Hand vehicles from Japan. We who had been starved for fifty years of any car bargains, now we had simply hundreds of near new cars at a very discounted price. We couldn’t believe our good fortune. But we reckoned without the dealers who did everything in their power to discredit these units. They weren’t properly serviced at home and so on. Tis was when they should have embraced  the scheme to take advantage of whet was being offered, they fought against it by not trading in these units, and many actually went bankrupt.

How things change, we now have access to a great number of both new or second hand vehicles, which require little or no attention.

No ShoutBacks yet. (Be the first to Shout this post)

Comments are closed.