I’m a Ford Cortina, rescued from the scrap heap many times. My heyday was the 1960s and ‘70s, and my speciality was Family Holidays. Seatbelts were not considered necessary; you just crammed several children and a dog onto the backseat and set off. There were no child safety locks; you just banged the doors hard.
In my family, the most carsick child was allowed to sit in the front, relegating the “navigator” mum to the backseat with the map. Place names like Crewe and Wrexham still send a chill along my chassis as I relive the emergency U-turns I performed when our journeys to Wales went badly wrong.
Here is an artist’s impression of what it all looked like. The artist is the 12 year-old daughter of that most carsick child with the privileged seat.
There were two highlights to the journey. The first was passing a sign which read “Croeso y Cymru, Welcome to Wales”. This counted as “going abroad”. The most carsick child wanted to learn Welsh. The second highlight was the challenge “First One To See The Sea”.
The dog suffered badly from carsickness and once took a desperate leap out of the driver’s open window when we stopped at some lights. My driver reached out and grabbed her mid-air, saving her life.
My driver made the journey more interesting by tooting the horn whenever we saw a pedestrian or cyclist on a country road. The whole family would wave madly at the person and watch their reaction.
My family decided to save money by buying a large tin box to live in on holiday. They attached me to the front of the box and I pulled it along country lanes with breath taking bends. I still feel a lurch when I remember a hairpin bend. There was a car coming towards us towing a caravan. The car took the bend but the caravan didn’t. It swung out to meet our car traveling in the opposite direction and only my driver’s skill averted a crash.
My driver was always reluctant to stop anywhere. My job was to get the family to the seaside as fast as I could, then get my well-earned rest. In a couple of weeks we’d have to do the whole journey again in reverse (not literally) and I’d be glad to get my family home safely. Nowadays I look with envy at cars equipped with air bags, seat belts, child locks and a crate for the dog; to say nothing of satnavs.