GEM’s Jubilee Jewels
AS GEM Motoring Assist celebrates its 80th anniversary, we are delighted to extend our congratulations to Her Majesty the Queen as she celebrates her Diamond Jubilee. Just as we did last year when we wrote about the various cars owned by the royals we thought this occasion should be marked with a few interesting motoring facts relating to Her Majesty and to the motoring world in 1952.
The Queen learnt to drive at the age of 18, when as Princess Royal in 1945 she was a member of the Auxiliary Territorial Service.
A driving licence was created for her, carrying her signature ‘Elizabeth’. However, she is the only person in the United Kingdom who is not required to have a driving licence in order to drive.
She also does not require number plates on any vehicles which are personally owned by her.
In 1952, around one in 20 people in the UK owned a car. Compare the number of road deaths in that year (4,706) with today, where around one in two people owns a car and there are approximately 2,000 road deaths annually.
The most popular car for sale in 1952 was the Morris Minor, which cost £631. 1952, the year Queen Elizabeth acceded to the throne, saw the introduction of the Austin A30, a much smaller car than its rival the Morris Minor. It was equipped with an 803cc A series engine. The vehicle cost £520.
Also in 1952, rivals Austin and Nuffield completed a merger to form the British Motor Corporation (BMC). At the time it was Britain’s largest motor manufacturer.
Lord Montagu of Beaulieu opened Palace House to the public in 1952. A small collection of early motor cars were placed on display as a tribute to his father, the pioneering motorist John Scott Montagu, 2nd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu.
Did you own a car in 1952? What was it and how much did it cost you? Share your motoring memories of 60 years ago…
For more interesting royal reading here’s a wonderful article about the late Miss Maud L.MacLellan, OBE who taught our current monarch how to drive!