As a Christmas present in 1963 I was given a pretend steering wheel.
This was jointly given to me by my mother, who’d passed her driving test the previous months in fog, snow and hot pants and my father who, after a span of twenty years consisting eleven unsuccessful and one complete freak of driving nature successful driving tests.
I inherited my father’s poor driving ability and really should never have progressed to anything further than a pretend steering wheel made of light plastic, not having any electrical power and only able to affix itself to something with the use of a big rubber sucker.
My steering wheel had many levers. One was the indicator (this is something Volvo drivers won’t understand) and a gear stick; this often came off in my hands, but had an extra use as I’d emulate my dad’s road rage by shaking the detached gear stick at passing (invariably innocent) drivers. In the middle of the wheel sat a hooter, which sadly didn’t play Colonel Bogey’s March when pressed.
I enjoyed making the noises small children think cars make and would couple this by copying my vituperative father. It brought pretend driving to life for me; Dad put the F in Ford.
I failed my first driving test in Sutton. Having to sit next to a complete stranger AND having no plastic steering wheel to manoeuvre were distinct disadvantages; saying “parp, parp, said Noddy” as we did the emergency stop didn’t exactly help my case.