I Spy Cars

Some of the I-Spy books, which in my era were a product of the News Chronicle paper, really do give a snapshot of a very different world from today’s. We expect cars to change over time, and my goodness, they have since this book was in use in the mid to late 1950s.


One thing that has changed, of course, is the price. This book cost sixpence and in pre decimal money that meant you could get forty such books for a pound. There are still I Spy books including an I Spy Cars which retails for about £2.50 which equates to 100 of the old books.

The front cover of the old book shows a sports car with a couple of people on board. There are no seat belts, no roll bar etc. In fact motoring was incredibly lethal back in the 50s.

And the cars on the road were incredibly varied. The testing of cars for road worthiness didn’t come in until 1960. Amazing old crocks were still on the road and were seen. And we saw them, as recorded in our good old I Spy book.

image004Austin 7s dating from the 1930s may have been about the most common cars I saw. Friend’s dads drove them and so, from time to time, I rode in them. They were small, but you could get 4 kids on the back seat with no problem. One of our local farmers drove an A40 which was a modern car at the time.

image006The bullnose Morris was a true antique for production ceased in 1926 so this car was over thirty when I saw one pottering along our village street. I could remind people that when I saw this old car, the space age had started. The Russian Sputnik was launched in 1957.

Maybe I was interested in older things even then for whilst I remember seeing the Morris, The Mercury I do not remember, but I have a date there so I’m sure one will have passed by.

Altogether some 81 cars are illustrated and are there for people to spy. The book, now, is as interesting a relic as the cars.


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