Photos and thoughts; Cars; 1950s; 1960s

Archive for June 8th, 2010

Car Club Badges

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I’ve always like those Car Club Badges that adorn the front bumpers of (mostly) British cars.  They look sturdy and classy and just plain cool.

Arnie Brown in Maryland has a bit of history on these jewels.

Motoring had started in earnest in the early days of the 20th Century. It was natural for car owners to form themselves into clubs, and there were good reasons. The condition of the road was abysmal at best, and only by some form of united pressure could motorists hope for improvement.

The main reason behind the formation of these early organizations was to make a stand against the antagonism shown to motorists by the public at large, the legislators and by the Police whose attitude was nothing short of outright hostility.

This was particularly true in Great Britain, because in 1865, the Locomotives on Highways Act restricted mechanically propelled vehicles to a maximum speed of 5 mph on country roads and  2.5 mph in built-up areas. The act required three drivers for each vehicle. Two to travel in the vehicle and one to walk ahead carrying a red flag. (The Red Flag Act) This act was repealed in 1896 when the speed limit was raised to 14 mph.

The “Red Flag Act” was repealed after nearly two decades of strong support from horse interests. Horse-less vehicles were now free to travel faster than walking pace. The Royal Automobile Club was founded, and the first RAC London to Brighton run was held to celebrate the new era of speed.

Car badges were introduced by the Automobile Association in March of 1906 to identify members and warn them of police speed traps up ahead. If the road was clear of police, the AA man would salute the driver if his vehicle displayed an  AA badge. This practice was continued until  the late 1960s.

Car badges have made a comeback in recent years, and rapidly continue to become more popular as a way to dress up your car and show  pride in your club membership.

Arnie Brown’s Automobilia

Written by sorrentolens

June 8, 2010 at 5:25 pm