A Grand Day Out

Had a special morning, one of those father / son moments. Lady M was at work, Darling Daughter was dropped off at a stables to go for a group hack, so the boys went off into the local town on the hunt for something to do.

We found the car museum, which has cars from about 1920s onwards and other transport related items. We walked through a set of Tardis doors into the museum and the delights were there immediately. An Austin Seven and an MG from the 1930s were there and I started telling Rory MG were made, which brought around an immediate reaction as it was where I had my business.

We walked around, saw many names that have disappeared from the motoring landscape and some that have remained, such as Morris and Jaguar. We moved through to the more modern room full of artifacts from around the time I was growing up and more than a whiff of nostalgia was in the air. Mini Clubman from 1972, a Ford Zephyr 1970 and then walked round to see a lovely Hillman Imp from 1970.

The nostalgia flowed as I remembered seeing the cars on the railway transporters going over the bridge as a small kid from the Chrysler factory at Linwood, near where I grew up. I was telling Rory that my friends’ dads would likely have worked on that as about 50% of the families in the scheme where I grew up worked at Chrysler. I remembered the relief when the plant was saved as it was bought by Talbot and then Peugeot bought Talbot.

That was followed by a few years respite until the factory closed in the 1980s, part of decimation of manufacturing and heavy industry which hit Scotland. It hit my area hard and so many families, some with many members working at factory and they were all out of a job, with very few opportunities elsewhere. Being told to ‘get on your bike and find work’ was not helpful then and it is still a gaping sore in that area. A lot of men lost more than their jobs back then. They lost dignity, self respect and hope, which some never regained. The area degenerated quickly after that, which was as a direct consequence of the betrayal felt by everyone at the time and still feel.

A good friend of mine who lived in the next street still buys and reconditions old Imps, even now that he’s in California. His dad worked on the production line at Chrysler and may well have built the cars new that Mark is now working on to recover. I’m sure he sees it as a labour of love, a tribute to his father’s memory and all the people who worked at Chrysler and were negatively affected by the closure.

Hillman Imp, c1972. Made in Linwood.

His mum made kick arse soup though, and I’ve taken that one on.

Strange how some mentions send me off on a spiral of contemplation and a news story of a business which has sold up in the same town where I had mine sent me off thinking again. Rumination and raw feelings are an explosive mixture, which I like to avoid. I did around Rory earlier today, talking to him about the Imp, the friends’ dads making the car, a bit of the history.

Felt strange, all those feelings mixed with the next generation in my son, so we wandered off into the Cotswold sunshine and killed some ice cream, fantastic Cotswold ice cream in a waffle cone.

Two dudes, talking about cars and the small one’s favourite was the Jag XK140. He’s got great taste that lad.


5 thoughts on “A Grand Day Out

  1. Nice one Richard. It is amazing to me that the plant has been closed way longer now than it was ever open but still leaves a void.

    You captured the spirit of what happened there. An absolutely horrible time.

    I often think whose mum or dad assembled the different bits of the cars I have that span the range from 1963 to the full Chrysler takeover by 1968.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly what I said to Rory – my friends’ mums and dads built that. If we didn’t know the person, we’d damn straight know someone who did, such was the influence.
      And your opening paragraph says it all, such was the effect then and now on the area.
      Hope all good with you, pal.


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