Smoking in cars

As my regular reader at my place will know, I’m a huge fan of older cars. I would like to say ‘classic’ cars, but nothing I’ve owned really falls into the category of classic, just old.

I’ve gained over the years, a collection of six or seven books on vehicle maintenance that date back to the sixties and seventies. They contain nothing of relevance to modern vehicles, they’re all about points, carburettors, generators and such, I just keep them out of a sense of nostalgia.

One of these books is called, ‘Know Your Car’, and is from 1975, the year I was born. It’s about general vehicle maintenance, but also contains various driving tips and advice,

Here’s an example from a chapter entitles, ‘Reading the road’:

Give a bettered car a wide berth, it betrays the thoughtlessness and carelessness of the driver. Another bump may mean little to him but trouble for you.

Of course in modern times, every little bump means kerching! Get if fixed, and get the whiplash claim in.

My favourite chapter in the book is called, ‘The art of back seat driving’.  When did you last hear road safety advice for passengers?

Here’s an example:

[A] rule of successful co-driving is don’t get the drivers back up. If he becomes tense and irritated, his driving is bound to suffer. In other words, if he wants the radio on and the window open – don’t argue.

Don’t argue! I like that. I also like the advice on travelling with children:

Rules for children travelling in cars should be strict and simple.Sit down, don’t play with the door handles, talk quietly. Don’t kick or touch the drivers seat. You must instill into them a respect for the driver, who should never have to turn round or be involved in any way with looking after the children in the back seat while he is driving.

Are you listening, school rum mum?

My absolute favourite section of this chapter includes the driver smoking in the car. In a time when the modern day health Nazis want to ban this activity, this book goes to show that we weren’t always so full of shit.

What do you make of this?

[Another] rule is to be at his beck and call. The front seat passenger should be something between a nursemaid and a waiter. If he wants a sweet, find it for him.

If he must smoke while driving, light his cigarette for him. At night give him warning so he is not startled by the flame, and shield the light as much as possible from his eyes. Pass the cigarette (Cold end first) by holding it against the lower edge of the windscreen in the vicinity of his left hand, so his eyes do not have to stray far from the road to see it.

Biscuits, chocolates and sweets (unwrapped) should also be passed in the same way.

Can you believe that? Never mind being progressive, I suggest a return to these simpler times. I would be more than happy to offer Deborah Arnott a lift, if it meant her passing me a lit cigarette. Cold end first, of course.

Excerpts taken from, ‘Know your car’, by John Dyson. 1975. ISBN 0 900 72728 4

7 comments for “Smoking in cars

  1. Mudplugger
    February 10, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    As one who still owns a car even older than Bucko himself, I mourn the passing of the quarter-light window in my newer vehicles.

    Leak-proof and draught-free, it was not only the ideal location to eject ongoing fag-ash and the eventual fag-end, but it also created a gentle extraction-flow which eliminated almost all the tobacco-smoke from within the car. Ideal when kiddie-winkies were on board (as if ! ).

    Drive almost any car from the 1950s or 60s, get your ever-compliant passenger to ignite your fag as described, and then watch the quarter-light do its job with quiet efficiency. Not all progress is good progress.

    • February 10, 2013 at 8:15 pm

      Ahh, the quarter light. Being such a young whippersnapper, I’ve never owned a car with one. Whats yours?

      • Twenty_Rothmans
        February 10, 2013 at 10:32 pm

        I had a Triumph Stag, a 2500PI and a 2500TC. The Torana GTR also had a quarter light.

        Regrettably, my circumstances were more straitened then. Their mechanical problems could have easily been defeated with a bigger, non-uni student budget.

        Like the women in my life, the Stag was the best looking, the most fun and the biggest and most expensive fucking headache you could imagine. It was all worth it when the top came off. :mrgreen:

    • Mudplugger
      February 11, 2013 at 10:05 am

      Regrettably the car I still own which is older than you doesn’t itself have quarter-lights – but then it is a Rolls-Royce, where the owner is expected to smoke cigars in the rear, and Mellors the chauffeur would never be allowed to smoke in the driving-seat.

      Many previous cars enjoyed quarter-lights, including various convertibles, in which the ash-extraction benefit was still effective, even with the roof down. I drove a Vitesse Convertible around much of Europe and once took a Spitfire down to Switzerland, in both of which the quarter-lights performed their duties admirably. Happy days.

      A new Mazda MX-5 tin-top, without quarter-lights, proved quite troublesome when smoking at speed with the roof down – ash blows everywhere – poor design.

  2. Greg Tingey
    February 10, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    Of course some cars have a much older basic design, carried on over the years – my Land-Rover of 1996 make is an obvious descendant of the 1948 original.
    It was only with the lookalike Td5 of 1998/9 that “electronics” came to Land-Rovers!

    • February 10, 2013 at 8:16 pm

      My boss has one of them landrovers and it looks the dogs. It’s looks haven’t been turned in to a standard family, school run car, like many other 4x4s

  3. February 11, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    If he must smoke while driving, light his cigarette for him. At night give him warning so he is not startled by the flame, and shield the light as much as possible from his eyes.

    What we always used to do in saner times.

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