Ward’s World: These car ads give us fuel for thought - by inventor John Ward.

John Ward.
John Ward.
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Having to wade through those programme bits between the adverts on the gogglescreen of late, it’s getting a bit much these days to work out just what the super glossy, stylish (?) adverts that include anything from computer generated trips to outer space to seeing folk sitting there in false amazement (well the rehearsals must have gone well) as their status symbol reverses itself into a space are all about, until the last few seconds that you realise its about flogging cars to the unsuspecting public plus a lot of them feature left hand drive vehicles so do they know something we don’t yet?..

Now based on this wondrous age we live/survive in, do the following sets of numbers mean anything to you?. 49.6, 72.4 and 61.4. No, not the scores for Celebrity Went Dancing but these are the fuel economy figures for a certain breed of car currently waiting in a showroom for a new owner to be enchanted enough to buy it and drive off into the sunset, weather permitting, to bore those around them with its abilities like self reversing but you still have to be with it plus how many cup holders it has.

It’s the fuel figures that grab me so to speak as where do they get the .6, .4 etc. from?

Bearing in mind fuel is sold with the cost per litre ending in .99 and I have yet to clap eyes on a .99 pence coin, so has anybody ever popped in for a single litre in a specimen jar or whatever container of choice to power their ciggie lighter or chainsaw and got the .1 in change back?. Answers on a postcard, to the usual address and rules apply.

Some years ago in the last century my then next door neighbour Tom and I came up with a sort of system that graded cars or vehicles by the size of their petrol filler caps – yes, honestly – would I fib to you? – and now after many years I can reveal to you the Ward-Hawkins Fuel Assessment System which was based on observation of the vehicle in question and this is how we did it on a cool summer’s evening.

We called it F A G which went as follows: F was for Frugal and was usually fitted to small cars and A was Acceptable and G was for Gobbler as in the size of the filler and the amount of fossil fuel it got through to maintain its mechanical lifestyle in its size and ability to burn fuel and for the record I had a Austin Mini which was Band A and Tom had a Morris Oxford which was Band A although Gerald at the end of the street had a Standard Vanguard which we decided, without his knowing input, as being in Band G due to its petrol filler cap size.

There was talk about making a steam car locally as there was an abundance of coal and coke – the burning sort used in fires and not the drinking or other varieties – and Ken the railway man was quite helpful but plans came to zero as he pointed out ‘they’ would then put the price of water up if it was popular and judging by today’s bills, he got that about right and I may go to a seance to tell him so as well.