In my day it was about this time of year that the new car number plates would come out and such was the exciting lives we all lived we would spend our weekends collecting the numbers from cars passing through Finedon. We’d sit beside the Wellingborough road and note down numbers in little books and try and get drivers to wave at us as they accelerated out of town.
We discovered that the numbers could tell you whereabouts in the country the vehicle was from. Course, this wasn’t quite as exciting as it might have been if we were sat next to the new M1 because we found most cars were from Northamptonshire. You see in my day the car was a fascinating thing. Most families in the town didn’t own one and we rarely got to actually ride in one. Gradually, we became experts in recognising the various makes and models. Mind you when we started this was a bit boring because the design of cars was a bit drab.
Now it so happened that a boy called Maurice Austin lived up Oxford Street and his mum had a car. You’ll never guess what make it was; yes, a Ford. It was an old Ford Anglia that she’d had for years. She pootled about in it quite happily until it rained. Then she’d get very irritated because the rain would collect on the rear window and she couldn’t see what was behind her. Now Maurice was a bit of a swat but he had something called imagination. He also didn’t like to see his mum irritated because it usually meant he’d get a clipped ear for breathing too loud, although, on the plus side, he did learn some very fruity new words.
Maurice would sit in the back of the car on drizzly afternoons on the long journey to Wellingborough (the car used to get tired on the hills) and tried to think of a way to keep the rear window clear.
One day inspiration hit him across the back of his head. He scribbled a new design on the back of his Maths exercise book. Not only that but he sent the sketch off to Ford. They liked it and used it for their new version of the Anglia. Maurice’s idea was to have a backward slanting rear window!
The Ford Anglia 105E, what a car. Suddenly, cars could look good. And it sparked all sorts of smart looking models. Basically, the original Anglia had been a good solid popular performer, the James Mason of cars. Whereas the 105E was full of life and a rising star of the time like say, Barbra Streisand.
They should have made a film about the new usurping the old. Course, they’d have to call it ‘A Car is Born’.