But that was the experience also of a working-class kid like my father. In Birmingham after, he grew up in a street where the only motor-vehicles until the 1950s were a motorbike and a delivery van. No one could afford a car. Whereas my upper-class paternal grandfather regaled us with tales of his outings in Bugattis in the 1930s, and beat his cars to bits, my paternal grandfather treated his 1960s vintage gold metallic Vauxhall Viva like it was a crown jewel and liked to take the family for “a drive”. No destination. Just for a drive. In the early 1970s that was, for their generation, still a precious and exciting novelty.
This is from a fun post by Adam Tooze interweaving some of his own personal history and that of the motor car. The going for “a drive” echoed with me. My father drove many miles on some bloody awful roads in Wales in the 1950s through to the 70s. And yet, at the weekend, his relaxation was to just go for a drive somewhere. Sometimes we would end up at Cardiff docks where you would see thousands (yes, I mean thousands) of MGBs and other small sports cars waiting to be loaded onto ships. No longer.