Deja vu all over again

September 15, 2011

The older you get, the more thoughts of the past there are to think about….I think. I had a strangely un-nerving experience of deja-vu the other day. Walking down a corridor I suddenly had a flash-back to the 1970s where in a different corridor in a different city I was having a “flash-forward” to 2011. It’s difficult to put into words…. And then yesterday whilst driving along a road I now rarely visit I suddenly developed total recall of the sights, smells and sounds of driving around that same bend many years ago in a 1960s car, whole vehicle creaking like an C18th galleon, looking out through the letterbox-windscreen, watching the speedo needle bouncing up and down, hearing the rattling tappetts and the buzzing noise from the gearlever, the wind whistling around the flapping hood, the increasingly loud rattle of the bonnet as the side catches loosened and not forgetting the constant whineing of the rear differential. Just for a few moments and then it passed.

I regularly drove across these roads late at night in the 1970s piloting a variety of Triumph cars. Assorted Heralds/Vitesses/Spitfires and GT6s. My Herald Convertible was basic in the extreme compared to my current vehicle. Marginal motoring meant the “spare wheel” was usually on the car rather than in the boot. No RAC membership then, but I usually made it home. There was no point locking the doors at night when the plastic rear window on the hood was held on by staples and sellotape. Security was achieved by removing the rotor arm from the distributor when the vehicle was left in a pub car park. Tools were always at the ready. Once a bottle opener in the glove compartment came in useful to force open the clutch fluid cylinder when low fluid level had created a vacuum that made the screw top impossible to turn. I recall running out of petrol on one of these slip roads in the rain and the dark. The good old Standard-Triumph engineers had fitted the petrol tanks inside the boots of Triumph Heralds and kindly provided a “reserve” lever. Turning that lowered the petrol pipe slightly into the dregs of fuel and gave you a further half a gallon to continue your journey.

Hot car? Luke warm would be a better description.

         Here is a Triumph Herald 13/60 in Greece that hasn’t moved for a few days and may have trouble passing its next MOT.