Fond memories of a droopy drop-top

Bob Quelch's brother in the 1946 Standard Flying 8 Tourer

Bob Quelch's brother in the 1946 Standard Flying 8 Tourer

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.

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.

Bob's next car was a 1956 Hillman Minx

Bob's next car was a 1956 Hillman Minx

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, Swaffham.

If you’d like to share your own first car memories, send them in with a photo to Sadie.Jennings@archant.co.uk.

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