Minor, Midgets and Hornets are very basic forms of transportation when compared to the digital technology laden 21st century vehicles we drive today. Very few owner/drivers of modern vehicles attempt their own repairs and happily leave it to the specialists who plug-in their laptops to the car's diagnostic system before ever attempting to wield a screwdriver or a spanner. Today we take for granted the amazing reliability provided by our everyday vehicles but that was not the case 80 years ago. Although there was far less to go wrong, maintenance by the owner was required on an almost daily basis. If owners failed to apply the grease gun regularly, change the oil every 1000 miles, clean the plugs or diligently top up the radiator or battery, then 'trouble' inevitably followed. To cater for the growing band of do-it-yourself motorists the publisher George Newnes launched the Practical Motorist magazine in May 1934. (Initially published weekly it became a 'monthly' in the post war years before ceasing publication entirely in 1997.) Throughout the thirties the Newnes magazine was full of items describing in easy to understand language just how to tackle routine (and more complex) maintenance and repair tasks on cars of the period. Many of these hints and tips remain relevant for owners of thirties cars today and remind us that it isn't aways necessary to call a specialist when a problem occurs, as armed with the knowledge that these reader's letters provide, we are perfectly capable of performing the tasks ourselves.
Long term Minor owner Trevor Wilkinson will appreciate these articles more than most. His roadside 'get you home' fixes are legendary and his use of odd bits of timber, rope and string have succeeded in fixing at the roadside what would otherwise have been a terminal 'recovery truck' breakdown.