Fond memories of a droopy drop-top

My first car was a 1946 Standard Flying 8 Tourer, registration FAA222, which was gray with a red top.

I bought it for �50 in 1962 from my brother, pictured in the car, who was in the Royal Navy and going abroad.

Before this, my transport was a 1935 New Imperial motorcycle, so a car was luxury, despite it having no heater and tending to droop a bit in the middle, causing the doors to distort and leave a gap on the lower front edge, which in turn let in the elements.

As you can see, with the top down and the side panels off it became quite a sporty little car and the windscreen was hinged at the top and would open up almost horizontal via a winding handle at the top centre of the dashbpard, which was fantastic on a hot summer day.

It had a side-valve engine, which was easily changed by removing the grille and radiator and, after disconnecting all the engine fixings, slinging a rope round the engine and, standing one foot on each wing, lifting the engine clear and passing it through the gap at the front. What a difference to an engine change on a modern car.

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The Bendix brakes, as related in My First Car by the Flying 12 owner, were not very efficient and caused me to start a bit of a concertina crash when going downhill. The crash put a horrible crease across the middle of my lovely grille, which I managed to restore by dismantling it and straightening it a strip at a time and assembling it again. The headlights dipped via a solenoid in each unit which made the whole reflector dip.

The next car was even greater luxury, in the form of the 1956 Hillman Minx.

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I still miss the first car, as one does.

I am currently doing a long-term restoration on a 1960 Rover P4 100.

Bob Quelch, Greenhoe Place, Swaffham.

We want to share your memories of your first car. Send memories and pictures of your first car to or Andy Russell, EDP Features, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE. Please include your address and telephone number so photographs can be returned.

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