Growing up in the 50s and 60s

First experiences of driving in the late 1960s

Welcome to the Down the Lane 'Extras'
Supplement features & Articles to the Down the Lane Website              

My first cars of the late 1960's

Sometimes cars went for a 100 miles without going wrong!

The ironic thing about this is the fact that I paid more for my first car than I have collectively for my last 3 cars !

It was 1969 and upon attaining the age of 21, came into the grand sum of £1000 (my Aunt Lucy had passed away and left me something). I think I paid £340 for it.
I went to Caffyns in Sevenoaks and brought a four year old Wolsley Hornet.
Jam packed with a 1000cc engine, leatherseats and real wood fascia panel, it had the smell of my Grandpa's old cars.

Basically the Hornet, together with the Riley Elf, was a Mini with a bit on the back, making the boot ample large enough to fit one guitar and a microphone in!
I passed my driving test on the second attempt. My Mother and Father taught me. Their patience was outstanding, oustandingly zero. My father would spend most of the time either recollecting his driving in the Desert and my Mother took the routes to look at the houses which were even posher than ours !

But we all recall that huge space on the left of us when we take our first trip out alone after passing the driving test. I drove at night for the first time and remember speeding to the petrol station to say I had a problem, the warning light was on - it was the main beam!

Happy memories indeed with this car. Gone were the days of the 'Bus and Train', now it was courting which was more directly to the point.
I can say that I was once charged by the Penshurst Castle Estate for being towed out of a field by a Tractor after a very nice kiss and a cuddle one night and slept in it along with three other members of the Band on a few occasions when the hydreniline of the night overcame us.
Then there was the bill sent to me by the Hever Castle Estate for reversing into their 19th.Century Greenhouse and................!!!

The Hornet gave me, and others!, great pleasure. Just once in a while I see one now and it always brings a tear and a gulp.

Then the Ford Anglia. After the Hornet, like a Tank. You got arm ache after three miles driving the thing. It looked pretty sharp though
and it was this car which saw me into marraige in 1971.

A string of cars followed; Austin A35, Austin A40 (yes, they got worse). But the favourites were  the Mini Vans I had. Although back down to 850cc, they weighed nothing and you'd scoot around the lanes with ease.

The one car I always wanted was the 'Morris 1000 Countryman' but had to make do with the saloon only version.
Thereagain, it would have been a bit shirt and tie wouldn't it !

The Classic Hornet in, 1969, when

Led Zeppelin released their first album
President Nixon was elected
The Beatles gave their last public performance
Boom Banger Bang jointly won the Eurovision Song Contest

Charles became Prince of Wales
Neil Armstrong became the first man on the Moon
The Woodstock Festival
New comedy series 'Monty Pythons Flying Circus'

and the average......

House £4,874
Cigarettes 28p for 20
Petrol 31p per gallon
Beer 10p per pint
Milk 5p a pint

Good Grief !!!


Growing up in
50s and 60s
The 1960s

50's & 60's In the Blog

1960's Year by Year