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My First Car: Two-tone Taffy a lovely little 1935 Morris 8

PUBLISHED: 11:35 06 August 2018 | UPDATED: 11:36 06 August 2018

Taffy the two-tone, 1935 Morris 8 Cathie Edmunds learned to drive in. Picture: Cathie Edmunds

Taffy the two-tone, 1935 Morris 8 Cathie Edmunds learned to drive in. Picture: Cathie Edmunds

Cathie Edmunds

Cathie Edmunds grew up with cars and learned to drive in her 1935 Morris 8, called Taffy. More than half a century later, she still wonders what became of it.

I grew up in a car family. My father, George Tombs, worked as manager, chief mechanic/technician and chief salesman for a family car sales company called C J Bendall in Hitchin which used to buy and sell upmarket Rolls-Royces, Bentleys, Daimlers and similar classic cars. It would take cars in part-exchange and, in 1961, a lovely little 1935 Morris 8 came into the garage in excellent condition.

I was 17 and my father promptly bought it for £27 10 shillings for me to learn to drive in – I paid him back in instalments out of my small wage. My father had it resprayed two-tone pale blue and navy, and we called her ‘Taffy’ which was written in scroll script along the bonnet.

My father set about teaching me to drive on Sunday mornings. One of the first things was how to double de-clutch, as there was no synchromesh on first to second gear.

After about six months, he felt I was almost ready for my test and a driving school put the finishing touches to my driving. The instructor’s Ford Anglia 105E was so different that I asked if I could continue lessons in my car. I was delighted when I passed my test first time, ripped off the L-plates and drove off to pick up my Mum from work. She was both nervous and thrilled!

I went everywhere in my little car and realised I was very fortunate having been brought up with cars. I always offered my friends lifts when we were going out anywhere.

One Sunday, I was in Hitchin and had parked my little car in Bendall’s showroom car park, where a policeman from Hatfield saw it and begged my father to sell it to him. Dad told him that he couldn’t, as it belonged to his daughter, but eventually my father persuaded me to part with ‘Taffy’ as he felt I was driving her too hard – I was not a timid driver – so my little 1935 Morris 8 found a new home with the policeman for the grand sum of £55.

‘Taffy’ was replaced with a cream four-door Morris Minor DeLuxe, which I owned only for a short while as my boyfriend Eddie and I got engaged and I was driving his rare sports car, a red Swallow Doretti a lot. Only having one car between us enabled us to save, and on New Year’s Day 1966 we were married. Mr Bendall lent us his 1911 Rolls Silver Ghost for our wedding car which he also drove.

Seven days after our wedding, Eddie and I set sail for Wellington, New Zealand, where we lived for almost five years, followed by 15 years in Johannesburg, South Africa before returning to the UK.

I often wonder where my little Morris 8 is now. Did the policeman keep her and nurture her or did she find another loving home?

Tell people about your first set of wheels – email your memories with a picture to motoring@archant.co.uk or post it to Andy Russell, Archant motoring editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.

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