Book: The Autocar Handbook (ILIFFE & SONS Limited Third Edition 1911)
The Autocar Handbook, where do I start with this ? My dad said he picked this up at a boot fair for 50P years and years ago…
As you can see the condition is terrible, but inside the book it’s still in good shape besides the spine being on the brink of collapse. In the top corner it states 1 /6 NET which I thought meant it was book one of six 😀 But actually this is the price of the book. So with that cleared up lets see what it’s about !
The book had no date other than the stated ‘Third Edition’ but wait what is this annotations ? This book was once owned by what looks to read “CT Paice” or “Paige” I’m not sure and the date 10/10/1911. From my guess this would of have been the original owner of the book, and either a passionate motorist or mechanic to be as we can now look further on.
On a page for ignition system wiring the person has decided to introduce some extra illustrations of his own which are really cool.
Also further on were examples of translastion from French to English, was this person originally French, who knows ? I also found annotations in Spanish as well…
The book is a great all round publication of understanding and working on cars from the era, check out the three main sources of power Petrol, Steam and Electric Cars which is just what you woul….Wait a minute Electric Cars ?! Yes folks the electric car which has only just really come around for us in the last decade can be traced back over 100 years ! It just shows how the desire for fossil fuels dominates us until it eventually runs out, and we will all need our electric cars eventually whether you like them or not 🙂
Lets have a look at some annual pricing costs for the classic car driver. Petrol for the year well that’s £13.00 and insurance oh £10.00. Also notice things like repairs and grease, clearly a more common thing to be working on your car just as much as you drove the damn thing.
Here is the diagram for Steering Axis Inclination or SAI. Because the car has not fundamentally changed in terms of it’s concept a lot information from this book is still totally relevant today.
Another example here is Ackermann Steering Geometry, this is exactly how my lecturer drew it up on the board in tech/theory class a few months back…
The book really shows its age when you get to the back. This section is about what you should wear when you drive and this is description of the “Parapluie Coat” a type of overcoat:
“The coat is a the piece de resistance. It is the sort of thing upon which one aquires ideas of one’s own. Ours materialised as follows: A rather dark drab waterproof cloth, cut double breasted, and with a serviceable turn up collar, with tab to button across the throat. Straps to the sleeves, so they could be folded and secured around the wrists. Lined with chamois leather throughout, and the sleeves lined again with Italian cloth to prevent the leather clinging in putting the coat on. Usual four pockets outside, and inside a breast and two large “poachers” pockets. It answered very fairly well, but was neither quite as warm nor waterproof as we had hoped.”
I think it’s hilarious how something is described so well yet they come to the conclusion that the product is not very good 😀
Here is a another bit I like in the section about how to drive in town:
“Of course, drivers of all vehicles should observe these rules, but a good many do not, cabmen plying for hire being the worst offenders”.
“Pedestrians are allowed to walk where they like on a road provided they do not unreasonably obstruct other traffic.”
The end of the book has various adverts that are really a far cry from today. One of the most controversial has to be this one for your own personal safety when being out and about in your vehicle. Overall this book to me is priceless, it’s amazingly relative in some aspects of motoring today though mostly on the principles of physics, but the lifestyle and culture is very different making it so interesting. There are sections on touring, going on holidays etc. which are quite funny to read as well as giving you a vivid picture of what driving was like back then. A must read for the automotive enthusiast !